Ingredi Brunato, under the supervision of Thiago Lincolins Published on 09/11/2021, at 10:00 am
Jonathan is a giant tortoise that has been in the news around the world more than once in its lifetime. The main reason for this, of course, is how long it has been.
The reptile celebrated its 188th birthday in 2020 and is still going strong. Although old age has cost him his sense of smell and vision (this is due to a cataract), his hearing remains impeccable, for example, and his health is generally good.
He lives on the island of St. Helena, a British overseas territory located in the South Atlantic. Jonathan was sent as a gift to the site in 1882, along with two other turtles.
There is even a black-and-white photograph of him dated 1886, which is one of the main clues that helped to determine his exact age, according to a 2017 story in Folha de São Paulo.
Another well-known fact about the centenary reptile is that, since 1991, it has spent its days together with Frederica, his beloved partner, who is 150 years old. By the time they were introduced, she was easily irritated in the presence of other animals, and the new company was intended to calm her down.
The pair have developed a beautiful relationship since then: they eat together, sleep in the same place, and have been spotted mating several times — basically, they behave as expected for a pair of turtles.
In 2017, however, animal caregivers were surprised to discover that Frederica it was actually a male. The revelation occurred when the animal had a hoof wound, and needed to be seen by a veterinarian.
“Jonathan he came to see her and did not leave her side during the entire treatment of his partner,” reported the government of St. Helena in an official press release at the time. At that point, they had not yet heard of the news.
The fact, although unexpected, helped to explain why the pair had never managed to generate offspring, despite their many attempts over the decades.
If the pair of turtles was already loved by those who followed the news about Jonathan rather, due to their unwavering proximity, after the update on the sex of “Frederica“, the pair started to be mentioned by many among the guidelines of the LGBTQ+ community.
One of these subjects, precisely, was marriage between people of the same sex, which was not allowed on the island of Saint Helena until 2017, and even today it cannot be performed in certain parts of the world.
The pair of animals, however, ended up sparking debate at the national level in the territory, which has about 4,500 inhabitants, and making many aware with its apparent example of homosexual love in a species other than human.
“We feared a reaction from homophobics, but the majority of the population was in favor of the measure. We cannot and should not discriminate against people and we must strive to ensure equality for all,” he said Christine Scipio-O’Dean, one of the lawmakers who was in favor of the measure, according to the website Vipado.