St Helena Online

Keep your distance, please: Jonathan gets some privacy

Jonathan stares at the camera, beak open wide

Jonathan stares at the camera, beak open wide
Oi! I was here first! Jonathan the tortoise, pictured by Guy Gatien

The paddock that has been home to St Helena’s oldest resident for more than 100 years is to be given a makeover. The island’s planning board has given approval for new fencing to protect Jonathan, one of the world’s last surviving Seychelles Giant tortoises, from the attentions of over-intrusive visitors at Plantation House.

Planning board member Vince Thompson said: “The new fencing will do away with the kissing gate which people used to pass through to get a closer look at the Jonathan.  Now they have to stand at a distance.”

Jonathan’s age has been calculated at between 160 and 180, meaning he has already exceeded his life expectancy by at least a decade. Joe Hollins, the island vet, said being swamped by visitors could be “too much” for him.

The planning board also approved a new shelter for St Helena’s donkey sanctuary, and the siting of containers and a sign for a recycling centre to be run by SHAPE, the island charity providing disabled people with work.

FEATURE: Jonathan the tortoise: a slow heart-throb keeps on going
FEATURE: The great survivor: how Jonathan turned out not to be extinct

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