St Helena is home to a 186-year-old gay tortoise called Jonathan

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Jonathan is 186 years old and has been living with his male partner for 26 years (Wikipedia)

A 186-year-old male tortoise has spent the last 26 years smitten with another male tortoise, who keepers thought was a female.

Jonathan is thought to be the world’s oldest living creature and has been leading a happy life on the British Overseas Territory of St Helena, some 1,200 miles off the coast of southern Africa.

The governor of St Helena was presented with what they believed to be a female tortoise, named Frederica, in 1991 as a possible mate for Jonathan.

For the past 26 years, the pair have been inseparable but a recent examination on Frederica found out that she was probably a male, according to The Times.

The tortoise has been living on St Helena since he was in his 30s (Wikipedia)

It had been hoped the pair would mate when they were introduced but no offspring has ever been produced – and it seems now there is finally an explanation.

Jonathan is something of a star on the tiny island in the South Atlantic Ocean – he features on tourist posters and even appears on one of the island’s coins.

He arrived on the island in his thirties, a gift from the Seychelles in the 1880s, and has been pictured with monarchs, princes and statesmen.

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He is blind from cataracts and lost his sense of smell but he has recently been given a new diet to extend his life.

Last year a bill was introduced to allow same-sex marriage on St Helena but it was later withdrawn after opposition from islanders.

Jonathan may just be the animal that could finally pave the way for equality on the island.