It is the oldest known living land animal.

Jonathan, the oldest turtle in the world, celebrates his 190th birthday on the island of Saint Helena, a British territory in the Atlantic Ocean where the inhabitants have been celebrating the birthday since Friday.

"When you think about it, if it hatched in 1832 - the Georgian era - my God, the changes there have been in the world" since, muses Joe Hollins, the island's retired veterinarian who takes care of the turtle.

“The world wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the successive governors, kings and queens, it's quite extraordinary!

“, he lists.

His age is only an estimate

The animal, entered at the beginning of the year in the Guinness Book of Records, has lived since 1882 in Saint Helena and its age is only an estimate.

A photo taken upon his arrival on the island shows that he was already at least 50 years old at the time, but he is surely older.

The tortoise saw 35 governors pass through this British Overseas Territory but missed Napoleon, who was exiled to the island from 1815 to 1821.

Jonathan now lives in the governor's residence alongside David, Emma and Fred, much younger turtles.

“I hear him regularly on the lawn frolicking with Emma.

But I have to watch them when they go into action because turtles can roll over on their backs and not get up.

It was not in my job description!

“, had assured in 2017 the governor of the time, Lisa Phillips.

To celebrate the anniversary, the inhabitants of Saint Helena have been organizing since December 2 three days of celebrations at the island's governor, who will feed him on Saturday with his favorite vegetables.

And on Sunday, Jonathan - blind, without smell but with intact hearing - will have the right to a birthday cake.

A special stamp has also been created to celebrate the most famous inhabitant of this island of 4,500 souls.

It already appears on 5-cent coins and immigration stamps.


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