Friday, December 5, 2008
The above photograph was taken circa 1900 and is part of collection of Boer War images that recently sold at auction for £4,000. Taken on the South Atlantic island of St Helena, it pictures a prisoner and guard, with a seventy-year old tortoise named Jonathan. When the auctioneers were researching the images they discovered that Jonathan is still alive, and with the help of the photograph they are able to identify his age as at least 176-years old, making him the oldest tortoise on the planet, and therefore the oldest living animal. The previous record holder was Harriet, a giant Galapagos Land tortoise, who died in 2005 aged 175 in Australia.
The below picture shows Jonathan he is today. One and three-quarter centuries old and blind in one eye, he apparently still has the energy to regularly mate with the three younger females he is housed with.