Jonathan the Tortoise

The oldest-known living land animal in the world!
Estimated to be between 170 and 200 years old, Jonathan is St Helena’s oldest Saint, and the official Guinness World Record holder for the oldest animal on land in the world!

A national treasure Jonathan is one of several giant tortoises that live in the grounds of Plantation House. Thought to have arrived on the Island in 1882, in lives at Plantation House with David and Emma (who arrived in 1969), and Myrtle and Fredrika, (arriving in 1972). His handsome face also appears on the reverse of the local 5 pence coin.

It is believed he was brought to the island aged about 50 in 1882, which would make his date of birth 1832 (life expectancy of a giant tortoise is approximately 150 years or thereabouts), and he remained unnamed until the 1930’s. Named Jonathan by Sir Spencer Davis, Governor of the island between 1932-36, unfortunately it isn’t recorded why he was named Jonathan.

Jonathan has been identified as a Seychelles Giant Tortoise, Dipsochelys hololissa. Which makes him a solitary example of only a handful of surviving Seychelles Giant Tortoise existing in the world. We love him so much we even created a bread in his honour.  

Watch the video below or Learn how and why we made Jonathan bread here.
A photo dated to c. 1882–86 taken in the grounds of Plantation on St Helena – shortly after Jonathan arrived on the island (Jonathan is shown on the left).
Jonathan the tortoise St Helena Island
Jonathan (left) with his friend David.
Jonathan enjoying his dinner.
MOre about What makes St Helena so special...
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