Given that humans can be so goshdarn shitty, here’s another animal story. Now, I have never been a big fan of zoos, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a recent visit to the Honolulu Zoo. You can get lost wandering around in there and the animals are entrancing. Rusti the orangutan was freshly shampooed and awaiting the arrival of his new companion, Violet, in 2 weeks.
She will be quarantined for a month in their new quarters, before he will be allowed to join her. They should be able to smell each other, however. Their cohabitation may not turn out to be the bliss that we romantics imagine – according to the keeper orangs are usually solitary and males spend little time with females in the wild.
In any event, the venerable spinster Harriet the Tortoise is turning a mind-boggling 175 years old. Although it is controversial, legend has it that Darwin took her from the Galapagos to England and she was later transported to Australia (where she currently lives in a facility run by that nutty Australian crocodile guy). For the first 125 years of her life she was “Harry” – before they figured out that she was female.
Munching hibiscus flowers and blissfully ignorant of the controversy surrounding her ancestry, the wrinkled old lady marked another birthday yesterday.
Born in the days when slavery was practised around the world, her real claim to fame is that Charles Darwin may have brought her back from the Galapagos as an example of his budding theory of evolution.
But detractors argue that DNA testing shows that Harriet, a giant tortoise, was born on an island the naturalist did not visit on his groundbreaking trip.
Unfazed, her handlers threw a big party yesterday to celebrate her birthday. It was the big 175 yesterday — at least as far as the best guess goes.
Harriet’s year of birth was long ago pegged at 1830, based on a description of Darwin finding creatures the size of a typical five-year-old.