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Blackpool Zoo Announces Death of 105-Year-Old Giant Tortoise

Clare Fitzgerald
Photo Credit: Sebastian Kahnert / picture alliance / Getty Images

Blackpool Zoo has announced its oldest resident animal, a 105-year-old Aldabra tortoise named Darwin, has passed away.

Darwin first arrived at Blackpool Zoo upon its opening 50 years ago. He was a member of a giant tortoise species originating from the Aldabra Atoll, in the Seychelles, which are among the longest-living animals to inhabit the earth.

In a series of tweets, the zoo shared that the decision was made to put him to sleep after he suffered an incurable leg injury:

“It is with great sadness that we announce that Darwin, the zoo’s oldest resident and much loved Aldabra tortoise, has passed away. Darwin had been receiving specialist treatment for a severe progressive leg problem for a period of time.

“Despite all the best efforts of his keepers and veterinary team, and consulting with leading worldwide reptile veterinarians, sadly there was no cure and his condition deteriorated, and the very difficult decision was made to put him to sleep.”

The zoo also added that Darwin “was a wonderful link for so many people to the fascination of reptiles and he has really inspired the next generation of conservationists.”

Aldabra tortoise lying on the ground

Aldabra tortoise. (Photo Credit: Arthur Gurmankin / Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images)

More from us: Harriet, the Galapagos Tortoise, Lived To Be 175 and Was Reportedly Collected by Charles Darwin in 1835

While Darwin is believed to have been around 105 years old, his exact age was unknown, as the zoo doesn’t have any “detailed records of his history.” He was said to have a unique personality and, as such, “staff and keepers are extremely saddened at his passing.”

If estimates about Darwin’s age are correct, it would mean he lived through both World Wars, as well as numerous global pandemics. He also bore witness to some of the most important inventions and events of the past century, including the moon landing, the advent of television and the internet, and the fall of the Berlin Wall.