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Tortoise declared oldest ever at 190 years or more

Tortoise declared oldest ever at 190 years or more
Jonathan, a giant tortoise with an estimated age of at least 190 years, was officially declared the oldest chelonian ever by Guinness World Records. Photo courtesy of Guinness World Records

Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A tortoise previously declared the world's oldest living land animal by Guinness World Records has been awarded a second title -- the oldest tortoise ever.

Jonathan, a tortoise that lives on St. Helena, a British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean, is believed to be at least 190 years old, as the animal was fully mature -- at least 50 years old -- when he arrived on St. Helena in 1882.

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The tortoise's latest Guinness World Records title is officially "oldest chelonian," a category including all turtles, terrapins and tortoises.

The previous record-holder was Tu'i Malila, a radiated tortoise that died at the estimated age of 188 in 1965.

The St. Helena government said Jonathan is blind and has lost his sense of smell, but eats well when hand-fed by his veterinary team.

Veterinarian Joe Hollins said Jonathan still is active, and often enjoys the company of fellow giant tortoises David, Emma and Fred.

"In spite of his age, Jonathan still has good libido and is seen frequently to mate with Emma and sometimes Fred -- animals are often not particularly gender-sensitive," Hollins told Guinness.

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