A 344-year-old tortoise, said to be the oldest in Africa, has died in the palace of the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Jimoh Oyewumi.
The tortoise died yesterday, after a brief illness.
According to the Private Secretary to Oba Oyewumi, Toyin Ajamu, who broke the news, the tortoise which had turned Ogbomoso to a tourism centre would be missed greatly.
He said the tortoise, which was popularly called Alagba (elderly) had lived in the palace for centuries, saying “the tortoise played host to many monarchs in Ogbomoso in the past.
Could Alagba really be 344 years old?
While most domestic tortoises usually only live between 10-80 years, others are thought to be able to live far longer.
The oldest tortoise on record was called Adwaita, who lived at the Alipore Zooilogical Gardens in Kolkata, India.
Staff believed Adwaita was around 250 years old when he died in 2006.
Although Alagba’s age does seem staggering, some tortoise conservationists believe that some of the creatures can live for 500 years.
“Alagba became popular because Oba Oladunni Oyewumi, son of Ogbomosoland, used his personal resources to cater for her well being.
“The tortoise had two staff members of the palace dedicated to her. They provide food, health support and other logistics, so as to make sure she gets the best treatment.
“Often times, Kabiyesi shares great moments with Alagba. On a daily basis, Alagba had tourists visiting her from different parts of the world. The palace household, Ogbomoso community and stakeholders in the tourism sector are mourning Alagba’s passage.”
The palace secretary added that plans were underway to embalm Alagba’s body for historical records.
San Miguel Times Newsroom with information from allAfrica.com