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250 yr old Tortoise Dies
KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - A giant aldabra tortoise thought to be around
250 years old has died in the Kolkata zoo of liver failure, Indian
authorities said on Thursday.
The tortoise had been the pet of Robert Clive, the famous British military
officer in colonial India around the middle of the 18th century, a local
minister in West Bengal state said.
Local authorities say the tortoise, named "Addwaitya" meaning the "The One
and Only" in Bengali, was the oldest tortoise in the world but they have
not presented scientific proof to back up their claim.
"Historical records show he was a pet of British general Robert Clive of
the East India Company and had spent several years in his sprawling estate
before he was brought to the zoo about 130 years ago," West Bengal Forest
Minister Jogesh Barman said.
"We have documents to prove that he was more than 150 years old, but we
have pieced together other evidence like statements from authentic sources
and it seems that he is more than 250 years old," he said.
The minister said details about Addwaitya's early life showed that British
sailors had brought him from the Seychelles islands and presented him to
Clive, who was rising fast in the East India Company's military hierarchy.