Jonathan the Tortoise: How Old?
By J Brock (FINN)
Jonathan, a Seychelles giant Tortoise, lives in the South Atlantic Island of St Helena on the grounds of Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor.
What’s unique about Jonathan is the tortoise’s age – 189 years – estimated because records say he was ‘fully mature’ when brought to Saint Helena in 1882. Jonathan was brought to the South Atlantic Island with three other tortoises when he was 50 years old. Jonathan was named in the 1930s by Governor of Saint Helena Sir Spencer Davis.
It is common knowledge that Tortoises live very long, but Jonathan, a Seychelles giant tortoise is perhaps the oldest known living land animal. Seeing two world wars, the Great Depression, the deadly Spanish flu and now the COVID-19, Jonathan continues to thrive at the island.
Originally from Seychelles, he was brought to the South Atlantic Island in 1882 with three other tortoises when he was 50 years old. ‘Fully mature’ means at least 50 years old and thus reaffirms that Jonathan was not born later than 1832. Jonathan was named in the 1930s by Governor of Saint Helena Sir Spencer Davis and is now 189 years old.
Living on the grounds of Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of St Helena, Jonathan is taken care of by Vet, Joe Hollins and other members of the Veterinary Staff.