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3.23.2006

From The Department Of Zany Reptile Stories, Drink Tank Brings You Adwaitya, The 255 Year Old Tortoise

CALCUTTA, India, March 23 (UPI) -- Adwaitya the tortoise, once owned by the man whose British East India Company helped colonize India in the 18th century, has died at the age of 255.

Adwaitya, or "The only one," was one of four giant Aldabra tortoises given to Robert Clive by British seamen who caught them in the Seychelles Islands, reports The Times of London. The other three died soon after they arrived in India.

In recent years, Adwaitya had numerous illnesses.

"Our records show the tortoise was born in 1750, but some have claimed he was born in 1705," said the Calcutta zoo's director.

"Adwaitya, who delighted the zoo visitors for 131 years, died (Wednesday) morning. His shell will be preserved in the zoo."

Clive, who became known as the "Conqueror of India," arrived in South Asia 1743 as a clerk in the East India Company. But it was his military skill that helped him lay the foundation for eventual British rule of India. Clive died in 1774.

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