The year was 1832 – and Jonathan, just a little turtle baby.
The world was definitely a very different place then; the lamp hadn’t been invented yet, and the cars were still half a century away.
But Jonathan, a huge specimen of Seychelles Turtle, lived to coexist with all this. Stop to think: Since he was born, he has witnessed two world wars, technological revolutions, the founding, merging and the collapse of hundreds of modern states and the birth of more than 7 billion people!
At about 187 years old, Jonathan is currently the oldest animal in the world. And still lives a comfortable and calm life on the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic since the mid-1880s.
Teeny Lucy, president of SPCA, an international pro-animal NGO with an affiliate on the island, is one of her primary caregivers. Jonathan lives in the lush gardens of the governor’s mansion in St. Helena, where Lucy and several others visit him during the week to offer him fresh vegetables.
“Jonathan is an icon here,” says Lucy. “He is a great living being who has seen everything. He landed in St. Helena in 1882 already as an adult and yet he saw entire generations of people coming and going. “
Jonathan’s longevity certainly surprises a lot of people, says Lucy. He is the oldest member of his companions in the mansion, which consists of three other giant tortoises; the second oldest turtle is his friend: David, 80.
Jonathan is almost completely blind, but having memorised the way he has done every day for more than a century, he certainly knows where to go.
He usually spends his days resting in the sun, chewing the grass and relaxing with his friends. It’s a very quiet life for someone of status-size; in fact, he is so popular that his portrait is engraved on the five-cent coins of the small island.
“Being the oldest terrestrial animal in the world, he has almost real status here,” said Lucy. “He is amazing and interacts in a friendly way with all the people who visit him regularly. We all like him very much. “
A few years ago, after presenting some medical problems, Jonathan had his diet changed and returned to be in great shape, strong and healthy in the middle of old age.
“We started feeding Jonathan weekly a few years ago to supplement his grass diet and increase his nutrition,” she said. “This happened because the vet on the island noticed that his beak [with which he cut grass] was soft and brittle due to age. And that he was feeling cold and had lost weight. All of this is reversed now and he is healthy again. “
Jonathan has had dozens of caregivers for the past 130 years, but for him, all are his favorites – as long as they bring their favorite snacks, of course.
“He knows my voice and knows the veterinarian’s voice and reacts by walking in our direction,” Lucy said. “It’s all about food!”
Source: Portal Do Animal