He's a key tourist attraction in Durban!
It's interesting that, despite the many popular highlights on offer in Durban, one of its key tourist attractions over the last century has been Admiral, the tortoise! This giant Aldabra tortoise is endemic to the Aldabra atoll in the Seychelles. In the past, giant tortoises were found on many Indian Ocean islands but became extinct historically due to exploitation by sailors from passing ships.
It is said that Admiral was dropped off at Durban's Mitchell Park Zoo in a cigarette box by a naval officer in 1915, as he was leaving for the World War I battlefront. The zoo was asked to keep his tortoise safe until his return, but he never came back. So, at the ripe old age of 108 years, Admiral is still being well looked after and continues to receive admiring glances from visitors and his female tortoise companions alike!
Admiral, however, is but a spring chicken compared with other giant tortoises worldwide! Here are some interesting old-age, giant tortoise facts...
- Jonathan, The current record holder, has reached the ripe old age of 187 and resides on the island of Saint Helena.
- Harriet, (RIP) Estimated 175 years at the time of her death. Reportedly collected by Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands, transported to England, and then taken to her final home, Australia, by a retiring captain of the Beagle.
- Tu'i Malila, (RIP) Captain James Cook was said to have given her to the royal family of Tonga. She died at 188 years old and was the all-time verified record holder of the world's oldest tortoise.
- Adwaita, (RIP) Resided in the Alipore Zoological Gardens of Kolkata, India, and is believed, by unconfirmed reports, to have lived to 255 years.
So this begs the question... what description would be given to someone beyond the years of a supercentenarian?!