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191-years-old: Meet the World’s Oldest Living Animal

Jonathon, an Albadra giant tortoise, was born on November 30, 1832, making it older than the postal stamp, basketball, and most African countries. Within his 191-year reign (and still counting), he’s lived through two world wars, the great depression, the infamous Californian gold rush, and an array of other historical events while remaining as calm and composed as he was when he first hatched.

Credit: World Guinness Book of Records

Residing in the remote volcanic tropical island of Seychelles, renowned for hosting a plethora of remarkable animals, from blue whales and Aldabra flying foxes to threadfin butterflyfish, he’s regarded as a national treasure, featuring on the country’s five pence coin.

While it’s widely predicted he’ll surpass 200 years, Jonathon has lost both sight and smell, which led to the Governor taking him in – he currently roams around the picturesque gardens of the esteemed Governor’s estate.

Jonathon In The Garden Credit: EuroNews.Green

The world’s oldest living animal, outdoing the likes of whales and sharks, its legacy was cemented by the World Guinness Book of Records.

The Nod of Approval From The World Guinness Book of Records

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Credit: World Guinness Book of Records

Characteristics of Albadra Giant Tortoises

The Albadra giant tortoise, often associated with the Aldabra Atoll, is renowned for its longevity and colossal size. These magnificent creatures are herbivores, predominantly grazing on a diet of grasses, leaves, and vegetation. The Aldabra Atoll provides an abundant natural buffet for these gentle giants, offering a variety of plants that contribute to their sustenance.

An Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea) from the bottom, in a forest in Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

In the wild, Aldabra giant tortoises are known to roam freely across the Aldabra Atoll, an isolated paradise that allows them to thrive in their natural habitat. The atoll’s unique ecosystem provides the ideal conditions for these tortoises to flourish, ensuring a harmonious coexistence between the giant reptiles and their surroundings.

The colossal size of the Aldabra giant tortoise is a spectacle in itself, with some individuals weighing over 500 pounds and boasting shells that can measure up to four feet in length. Their massive yet graceful presence is a living testament to the unhurried pace of life on the atoll, where time seems to stretch along with their impressive lifespans.

In essence, the story of Jonathon, the 191-year-old Albadra giant tortoise, is a captivating narrative that intertwines with the rich tapestry of Seychelles’ natural history. His presence serves as a living bridge between centuries, a gentle reminder of the enduring marvels that nature can bestow upon its most resilient inhabitants.

Wildlife in the Seychelles

Anse Source d’Argent beach, La Digue island, Seyshelles

The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, harbors a diverse and unique array of wildlife. Its azure waters and lush landscapes are home to an enchanting variety of creatures. Majestic Aldabra giant tortoises, like Jonathon, roam freely, sharing their sanctuary with vibrant birdlife such as the endangered Seychelles magpie-robin and the Seychelles warbler, both successfully rescued from the brink of extinction. The Aldabra Atoll shelters an array of marine life, from vibrant coral reefs to playful green and hawksbill turtles. The deep blue waters surrounding Seychelles host a plethora of marine species, including whale sharks, manta rays, and diverse fish species. The Seychelles indeed stands as a haven for biodiversity, where terrestrial and marine ecosystems intertwine to create a living tapestry of nature’s wonders.

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