Tu'i Malila : World Oldest Animal : 188 Years

Tu'i Malila (1777–May 19, 1965) was a tortoise given to the royal family of Tonga by Captain James Cook. It was a radiated tortoise from Madagascar and is the longest-lived tortoise according to authenticated records. Verification of the age of another tortoise, Adwaita, is still pending; that animal was said to have been born around 1750 and died in 2006 at the possible age of 256.

The name means King Malila in the Tongan language. Tu'i Malila was born around 1777 and then given by Captain Cook to the Tongan royal family upon his visit to Tonga. Tu'i Malila remained in their care until death on 19 May, 1965 due to natural causes. The tortoise was estimated to be 188 years old at this time. During Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Tour of Tonga in 1953, Tu'i Malila was one of the first animals shown to the monarch on her official visit to the island nation.

In the Tongan National Center on the island of Tongatapu, there is a preserved radiated tortoise labeled Tu'i Malila. Little other information is given in English, but the Center staff attest to the fact that this is indeed the body of the famous tortoise.



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