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Tortoise celebrates his 190th birthday

Jonathan has lived through two World Wars, watched more than 35 governors of the island come and go and has seen the island introduce radios, telephones, TVs, internet, cars and an airport.

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By Athena Stavrou via SWNS

A tortoise which is the world's oldest living land animal is celebrating - its 190TH birthday.

Jonathan was born in the early 1800s, and has been named the oldest living land animal - as well as the oldest tortoise ever recorded.

He has lived on the remote Island of St Helena situated in the midst of the South Atlantic Ocean, since 1882.

Shell measurements documented upon his arrival to the island show that he was at least 50 years old at that time, and it is likely that he is even older.

Jonathan has lived through two World Wars, watched more than 35 governors of the island come and go and has seen the island introduce radios, telephones, TVs, internet, cars and an airport.

Joe Hollins, who cared for Jonathan as St Helena’s vet and, although now retired, still helps care for him, said: "When you think, if he was hatched in 1832 – the Georgian era – my goodness, the changes in the world.

"The World Wars, the rise and fall of the British Empire, the many governors, kings and queens that have passed, it’s quite extraordinary. And he’s just been here, enjoying himself.

"I do think he’s fabulous actually, he’s a great animal. And as a vet – what greater privilege is there than to be looking after the oldest known living land animal in the world?

"I mean, how often does that happen? It is such a privilege to be able to care for this magnificent animal."

As a much loved member of his island community, and the most permanent resident, locals have thrown the lucky tortoise a three-day birthday party, where he can feast on all his favorite veggies throughout.''

Beginning on Friday, December 2, a range of posters celebrating Jonathan's life, with pictures and messages from those who have visited him over the years, will be put on display at the grounds of his home, Plantation House.

The following day, a series of activities honoring Jonathan's big day, including a big veggie feast, will be live streamed across the world from Plantation House on St Helena Tourism’s Facebook page.

To conclude the three-day festivities, Jonathan's birthday will be celebrated at an open-air market at Plantation House on Sunday, with an animated video and song about Jonathon's life will premiere.

Finally, Jonathan will be given his birthday cake, crafted entirely out of his favorite healthy foods, and to remember the occasion, a special stamp issue will be on sale.

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