Saturday, March 25, 2006

255-year-old tortoise dies in Kolkata zoo

By Indo Asian News Service

Kolkata, March 23 (IANS) Adwaita, the nearly 255-year-old
giant tortoise that roamed the Alipore Zoo here, has died.

The Aldabra-Seychelles tortoise had not been well for the
past few days. It was found dead by zookeepers Wednesday when
they went to his enclosure with medicine.

'He had developed a wound on his chest. He was not keeping
well. We were keeping a close watch on him,' West Bengal
Forest Minister Jogesh Burman said, mourning the death of
Adwaita, meaning the peerless one or the only one.

In deference to his more than two-and-half-century's
existence, this grand old resident of Kolkata was named
Adwaita by Burman last year and given more green space to
amble along.

The 250-kg male was a vegetarian. He was brought to the city
255 years ago by the British colonialists.

Adwaita was brought to the zoo 130 years ago after spending
years in the garden of Robert Clive (1725-1774), the victor
of the Battle of Plassey in 1757 who consolidated the British
empire in India.

When the zoo came up 130 years ago, the tortoise was shifted
to the premises.

Since then, the dark grey land tortoise has lived in a small,
rocky enclosure.

Alipore Zoo director Subir Chowdhury said there were
documents to prove the tortoise is about 255 years old.

'A tortoise of this species can live up to 320 years
according to available records. He may even be over 300
years,' Burman said.

If only the tortoise could speak, what a tale he would have
to tell!

There was an old tortoise that got sent off
Whose life had an East India kick-off
Tho’ never that nifty,
He made 200 and fifty
Which is more than Strauss and that Flintoff!!

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