CouncilZoo once home to oldest known living creature

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Zoo once home to oldest known living creature

Torty postcard
Torty the tortoise was once the oldest living animal in Queensland. She called Alexandra Park Zoo her home.

Bundaberg's Alexandra Park Zoo today features a range of amazing animals, but did you know it was once home to the oldest known creature in the state?

It was recorded that the female land tortoise, named Torty, was 36 years old when she made the trek to the region in 1884.

Torty was such a well-loved animal at the zoo she even featured on local postcards.

One of those postcards, acquired by the Bundaberg Regional Libraries Picture Bundaberg files, relayed all sorts of facts about the Madagascar radiated tortoise.

“Torty's known life history began in the island of Madagascar, off the south-east coast of Africa, back in 1847,” the postcard reads.

“That year, en route to Australia, Mr John Powe went ashore the island and on his return to the ship, the ship's captain presented him with a recently hatched baby land tortoise.

“Mr Powe put the baby in his pocket. So began Torty's life as a pet.

“She stayed with the Powe family for five generations and lived in Sydney, Gladstone and finally Bundaberg.”

On 20 May 1964, Miss Ethel Powe (the great-granddaughter of Mr John Powe) donated Torty to Alexandra Park Zoo, where Torty lived for almost 20 years.

In 1979 Torty was declared to be the second oldest living creature at the time by German scientist Klaus Lehmann.

Torty passed away on 20 February 1984 at the age of 136 years.

Today, Alexandra Park Zoo is home to the popular turtle called Alby, who sports some crazy hair made of algae.

alby eccentric hair
Alby, the white-throated snapping turtle, is nearing celebrity status thanks to his luscious locks, that are actually a naturally occurring algal growth

Alby is an adult male white-throated snapping turtle, a critically endangered species and is only found in the Burnett, Fitzroy, and Mary River systems of Central Queensland.  

If you want to see one of Torty's land dwelling cousins, however, pay a visit to Snakes Downunder Reptile Park and Zoo at Childers, where five Madagascan radiated tortoises have recently been put on display.

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