One of the pioneering British soldiers who played a pivotal role in establishing British supremacy in
was Robert Clive. The son of a Shropshire Squire in India England, he rose from the ranks to command the British Army and set the English on course to rule . India
Clive later became an opium addict and committed suicide in 1774 at the age of 49. More than two hundred years later, one of Clive’s pet died in
in 2006. Unbelievable? Read on. India
Clive had settled down in a beautiful villa at Latbagan in Barrackpore near
. He had several pets and one among them was a male Aldabra Giant Tortoise. Calcutta
This tortoise was a gift to Clive from the British sailors who captured the animal from the
. Clive had four such tortoises in his villa. While three of them had died, the one he named as Adwaita had survived. Seychelles Islands
Nobody knows why the tortoise was named Adwaitha. All we know is that it was pet he treasured and he left behind when he went back to
Carl Louis Schwendler, the founder of the Alipore Zoo in
, transferred the tortoise to the zoo in 1875. Adwaita lived in a enclosure in the zoo until its death in 2006. Calcutta
It weighed 250 kilograms (550 lb) and it was a bachelor with no records of his progeny. Though he was huge, he lived on a simple diet of wheat bran, carrots, lettuce, soaked gram, bread, grass and salt. He was a loner and when he died he was the world’s oldest bachelor.
He died in March 2006 after his shell cracked and a wound developed. By then, he had also developed liver infection. At the time of his death, Adwaitha was one of the longest living animals in the world.
Generally, Aldabra tortoises are found in the Aldabra atoll of
. It is today a world heritage site with about 1.6 lakhs such tortoises.These animals are similar in size to the Galapagos Giant tortoises. Seychelles
The average weight of a male is around 250 kilograms (550 lb). Females are generally smaller than males, with average specimens measuring 90 centimetres (35 in) in length and weighing 150 kilograms (330 lb).
Adwaita died at the age of 255. This makes it the oldest tortoise of modern times, living longer than Harriet by 80 years, and Tu’i Malila by 67 years.
Harriet, a 176-year-old Galapagos tortoise, lives at the Australia Zoo north of
. She was taken from the Brisbane by Charles Darwin in the 19th century. island of Isla Santa Cruz
Though Clive is long dead and gone, his legacy continues to live in Kolkata and elsewhere. His estate was at Barrackpore and it can still be seen. The
Fort William here was commissioned by Clive and it is still one of the best preserved forts in . The fort is used by the Army and entry is restricted. India