Beau and Monique, Dogs, Dog, Travel, Australia, Photos and Pictures

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Harriet the Giant Galapagos Land Tortoise

Giant _Galapagos _Land_ Tortoise

Harriet the Giant Galapagos Land Tortoise was a national treasure, a beloved member of the Australia Zoo family. Harriet passed away peacefully at Australia Zoo on 23 June 2006 , Harriet was collected from the Galapagos Islands in 1835 by Sir Charles Darwin when she was just the size of a dinner plate. This means that she probably hatched somewhere around the year 1830. Harriet was brought down under by Darwin’s friend John Wickham to enjoy a warmer climate in Australia.  John Wickham arrived in Brisbane, Australia with Harriet in 1842. For more than 100 years Harriet called the Brisbane Botanical Gardens home and it was here in the early 1900s that she was given the name Harry, in honour of Harry Oakman, the groundskeeper of the time. She was eventually transferred to Fleay’s Fauna Sanctuary on the Gold Coast and as it turns out, it was owner David Fleay who discovered that Harry was, in fact, a Harriet. Harriet lived out the last two decades of her life in the lap of luxury at her Australia Zoo home in Beerwah on the Sunshine Coast, under the watchful and loving care of Steve and Terri Irwin. The Irwin family acquired Harriet for what was then the Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park in 1987, and it was love at first sight! Steve and his entire family have enjoyed a wonderful friendship with Harriet throughout the years, and she was always thought of as an honorary grandmother. A firm favourite with staff and guests as well, Harriet spent her days at Australia Zoo receiving attention and affection from people of all ages, and enjoying a diet of an assortment of fresh vegetables, greens and - her favourite - hibiscus flowers. DNA testing told us definitively that Harriet was at least one generation older than any existing tortoise in Australia.  Its not Harriet on the photo, we took this photo in januari 2007 at Australian Zoo.  

posted by Monique at 10:21 am  

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