Blackpool Zoo announces death of beloved 105-year-old tortoise

Darwin had helped inspire the next generation of conservationists.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 14th April 2022

Blackpool Zoo has announced “with great sadness” that its oldest resident and much-loved tortoise has died.

Darwin – who was an Aldabra tortoise, was believed to be around 105-years-old, and was a popular mainstay at the Lancashire zoo – had been receiving specialist treatment for a severe progressive leg problem for a period of time, but despite all the best efforts of his keepers and veterinary team, his condition kept deteriorating.

After consulting with leading worldwide reptile veterinarians, Blackpool Zoo said that there was sadly there was no cure for his decision, and “the very difficult decision” was made to put him to sleep earlier this week.

Darwin arrived before the zoo opened in 1972, and it’s fair to say that he became an iconic animal, mostly due to his hefty size and the fact he was the first animal that people came across when visiting the zoo.

Blackpool Zoo described him as “a wonderful link for so many people to the fascination of reptiles”.


He helped inspire the next generation of conservationists, the zoo said.

Aldabra tortoises are one of the largest species of tortoise in the world, and they originated from the islands of Aldabra Atoll in the Seychelles.


They are known to be the longest living animal on the planet.

As mentioned, Darwin himself was thought to be around 105 years old, although the zoo doesn’t have an exact age as there are no detailed records of his history – but what they do know is that he remains “an irreplaceable feature” of the Blackpool Zoo’s history.

Blackpool Zoo said that Darwin had “a personality on par with his size”, which is what made him such a “hugely popular member” of the family and was loved by all of our visitors.


The staff and the keepers at Blackpool Zoo have said that they are “extremely saddened” at Darwin’s passing, but they are being comforted by the “kind messages of condolence” they are receiving from members of the public.

R.I.P Darwin.

Featured Image – Blackpool Zoo