Nothing compares to relaxing outdoors on a peaceful Sunday with Jonathan, a friendly elderly tortoise.
This is Teeny Lucy’s life; she lives on the island of St. Helena, caring for the oldest tortoise in the world.
“That area is tranquil. As It Happens presenter Nil Köksal was informed by Lucy, who works for the St. Helena Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, “I can sit under a tree in the dripping rain with him for an hour just feeding [Jonathan] because there’s nobody around, especially in the winter.”
“Being with a man like him is a very unique experience. He really is an icon.”
Kind of Speaking, Jonathan almost celebrated being 191 years old, but it’s possible that he’s much older.
Jonathan is the oldest surviving land animal in the world and the oldest chelonian (a category that includes all turtles and tortoises) in history, according to Guinness World Records.
However, Lucy notes that his age is a “conservative estimate.”
He was first transported from the Seychelles to St. Helena, a British foreign colony, in 1882 as a gift for the governor William Grey-Wilson.
Although Jonathan’s actual year is unclear, he had already achieved adulthood by 1882—a milestone that Seychelles giant tortoises typically attain around the age of 50.
Nigel Philips, the territory’s current governor, said only last month that Jonathan’s official birthdate is December 4, 1832, which is 50 years before he moved to his new residence.
Additionally, Jonathan has made many TV appearances to celebrate his new birthday with fanfare.
Lucy said, “We can’t be sure, but we have noticed that sometimes he almost feels like he’s playing to the camera.” He doesn’t just kind of go off. He just remains at your side.”
She claimed that additional portions of all his favourite fruits and vegetables had been given to him as payment for his efforts in the media.
“To be honest, he’s been a little spoilt this week. He’s probably on the mend now,” chuckled Lucy.
An iconic bisexual mingling with the nobility
Jonathan has spent over two centuries on our planet leading a colourful existence. He is one of the island’s main tourist attractions and has hosted a number of well-known guests and members of the Royal Family, including the late Queen Elizabeth when she was a young princess.
“He was just five years old when Queen Victoria took the throne. When you consider this, it’s really very fantastic,” Lucy said.
He doesn’t, however, just mix with others. Along with Emma and Fred, two other tortoises, Jonathan was also given; he has been known to engage in extramarital affairs with each of them.
Joe Hollins, Jonathan’s veterinarian, told Guinness that “despite his advanced age, Jonathan still has a good libido and is seen to mate with Emma and sometimes Fred.” “Animals frequently don’t show much gender sensitivities.”
Changing to a healthier lifestyle
According to Lucy, Jonathan is in generally excellent health despite having a few age-related ailments, such as cataracts.
She said, “We’re pretty sure he no longer has a sense of smell and can only see shadows.”
She is positive, however, that he recognises his carers’ voices.
“All I have to do is walk into the paddock and start talking, and he will automatically gravitate towards my voice and approach me,” she said.
But she laughed and continued, saying, “It’s only because he associates the vet and me with food.”
Jonathan says that eating, which is a fresh mixture of seasonal fruits and vegetables, has been a big help.
There was grass he used to graze freely. However, Hollins discovered in 2014 that he was having trouble locating quality food and was often gobbling up leaves and twigs due to his diminished scent and vision. He was becoming weaker and losing weight as a consequence.
Thus Hollins implemented a fresh feeding regimen. These days, Jonathan’s diet consists of lettuce, cabbage, and carrots. His particular favourites are the locally produced guavas and bananas.
Jonathan’s carers have a rigorous policy of avoiding doing anything to put him under unnecessary stress, which is another lifestyle adjustment that keeps him healthy.
According to Lucy, there was a period when visiting dignitaries would place their kids on the backs of the tortoises to take photos. We wouldn’t do it now.
“They must have experienced extreme stress as a result of it. Therefore, we make an effort to avoid doing anything that will annoy them,” she stated.
Jonathan is now content with his life. Despite having cataracts, he has gained weight and is in generally good condition for his age.
Lucy is appreciative of it. She has become rather fond of Jonathan because of his leisurely pace, which has taught her the need of patience and rest.
“Tortoises approach things slowly and think things out. When I go up, everything moves more slowly and it really helps to ease any worry you may be experiencing,” the woman said.
He is an endearing elderly guy. He is, in fact.”