Jonathon Tortoise (twitter)

Nearly Two Centuries of Life: Saint Helena’s Jonathan Tortoise Hits 191

January 26, 2024
1 min read

Recently, the 191st birthday of a living being was celebrated on the naturally beautiful island of Saint Helena. Owned by Britain, this island is situated in the Atlantic Ocean near Africa. The celebrated animal is a tortoise named Jonathan, who, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the oldest living being. He subsists on a diet of carrot, cucumber, and radish.

Jonathan’s 190th birthday was officially celebrated between December 4 and 6, 2022, over three days. During this time, the whole island was illuminated. Fans of Jonathan, both of classical and pop music, enjoyed the festivities. This tradition is now followed by all the residents, who cut cake in their homes on December 4 to celebrate Jonathan’s birthday. The Governor of St. Helena visits the humble tortoise on this occasion, followed by a photo session.

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It is believed that Jonathan, or Joe to his fans, was born around 1832. His 50th birthday was celebrated when he was gifted to the governor of St. Helena after being brought from Seychelles, an island in the Indian Ocean off East Africa. Joe traveled 1200 miles, or 1920 kilometers, to be the guest of honor of then-Governor Sir William Grey Wilson. It was at that time that he was named Jonathan. Since then, Joe has been living on a vegetarian diet, fed once a week. He resides on the compound of Plantation House, the official residence of the Governor of St. Helena.

Jonathan lives in the posh surroundings of the green lawns of this beautiful mansion, leading an enviable life. He has seen 31 governors of this lovely island. Despite leading an otherwise healthy life, he is deprived of sight and smell. His weight is 200 kilos, but his ability to hear is very sharp. He can easily recognize the voice of his doctor, Joe Hollins, a veterinary doctor.

Jonathan enjoys the status of national heritage of this island. That is why his picture adorns the 5 pence coin, an honor of old age. Any tourist visiting this charming island does not feel satisfied until they see this oldest being on Mother Earth. Jonathan is indeed a celebrity!

ike the cellular jail of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India, St. Helena was notorious as the place where Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was exiled after being defeated by Britain, as this island was used as a prison in 1815. There is a palindrome about Napoleon: “Able was I ere I saw Elba.” A palindrome is an arrangement of words that can be read from back to front without changing meaning. It is not certain whether Elba was the name of the prison on St. Helena. Today, however, St. Helena is more famous for our good old Joe or Jonathan, the oldest living being on earth.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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