The Seychelles giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea hololissa), known as Jonathan, has lived on the remote south Atlantic Island of Saint Helena since 1882 after he was gifted to the governor at the time.
Estimated to have been born in 1832, his age is a conservative estimate as he was fully mature — meaning he was at least 50 years old — when he arrived, meaning he could be even older. His assumed age was supported when an old photograph taken between 1882 and 1886 was discovered showing Jonathan grazing in residency gardens of William Grey-Wilson, the Overseas British territory Governor of St. Helena at the time.
Seychelles giant tortoises have an average life expectancy of 150 years. Although Jonathan is blind with cataracts and has lost his sense of smell, St. Helena veterinarian Joe Hollins said he remained in good health — with a strong libido and healthy appetite. According to GWR, he still attempts to mate with the tortoises he lives with — Emma, who is about 55 years old, and Frederik, is 32.
“Animals are often not particularly gender-sensitive!” Hollins said.