Jonathan’s birthday… what the tortoise never taught us

Jonathan looks straight at the camera

We hate to disappoint the newspaper readers of Holland, but Jonathan the Tortoise will not be celebrating his birthday on 7 February… regardless of what it may say on  the Wikipedia website. Since exact age of the oldest known living creature on the world can only be guessed at, it was hardly likely that his […]

The day a tortoise turned turtle for the King of England

Flags flapped along the seafront as King George VI stepped ashore on St Helena… a small island, somewhere off the coast of France. Quite a long way off, actually – and the same goes for the rest of the text that accompanies newly released archive footage of the royal visit. One is left wondering whether […]

When Jonathan met Sally – and the story went global

  The BBC’s prestigious From Our Own Correspondent programme evidently has a fascination for St Helena: the island has featured on it at least four times in the space of five years. Judged against the size of the island’s population, this might make it – unofficially – the most interesting place on the planet, in […]

Games baton approaches: no need to get sniffy, Jonathan

It’s too bad that Jonathan the tortoise no longer has much of a sense of smell. The Commonwealth Games baton is to arrive on St Helena on 19 February 2014, and it might well carry, to the well-tuned nose, the faint whiff of a giant tortoise. Which would doubtless make an interesting change from the aroma […]

After 150-plus years, Gentleman Jonathan gets his privacy

St Helena’s “creakingly old national treasure,” Jonathan the tortoise, will soon be protected from over-enthusiastic tourists, in an effort to extend the long life of the oldest known creature in the world. Work has started on building a fenced walkway at Plantation House to protect its tortoises.  by St Helena Government writer  Tortoises are sensitive creatures and, as we all […]

Death of Lonesome George is a bleak warning for St Helena

The death of a giant tortoise in the Galapagos Islands gives a gloomy foretaste of the sadness to come when St Helena’s best-loved inhabitant passes on. Preparations have begun in readiness for the day when Jonathan the tortoise, the oldest known creature in the world, finally dies. He is at least 160 years old, but the hope is that […]

Sculpture could help Jonathan live on for centuries

A life-sized bronze sculpture of Jonathan the tortoise has been proposed to commemorate the life of St Helena’s oldest resident. But there is another possibility: a stone carving. Lonesome George, the last of the world’s giant Pinto Island tortoises, who died earlier this year, is currently being immortalised in stone on the Isle of Portland, in the […]

Keep your distance, please: Jonathan gets some privacy

Jonathan stares at the camera, beak open wide

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 […]

Love nest planned for the oldest old romantic in the world

Jonathan the tortoise may still have the energy for romantic love-ins with his young lady companions, but it seems the attention of tourists on St Helena may be too much for him. Despite the evidence of his lively libido, there are concerns for the health of the giant tortoise – the oldest known living creature […]