Born circa 1832 – five years prior to the coronation of Queen Victoria – Jonathan the tortoise is due to turn 187 years old in 2019. That makes him the oldest-known land animal alive today.
This puts him just one year away from the title of oldest chelonian ever, currently held by Tu’i Malila, a radiated tortoise that reached at least 188 years old. She was owned by the royal family of Tonga between c. 1777 and 1965, and had been presented to them by British explorer Captain James Cook during his third – and final – Pacific voyage (1776–80).
In his lifetime, Jonathan has lived through two world wars, the Russian Revolution, seven monarchs on the British throne and 39 US presidents.