University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
University of Wisconsin-Madison Zoological Museum Collection

Page View

New York Zoological Society / Bulletin - New York Zoological Society
(January/February, 1935)

Slevin, Joseph R.
[An account of the reptiles inhabiting the Gal├ípagos Islands],   pp. 2-24


Page 13


NEW YO1K ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY
  "Upon their disposal, or distribution, this one
was given b)y Captain Meek to King Kaukeouli,
Kamnehameha III. During the time the High
Chief Paki was Chamberlain to the King, it was
under his charge and cared for at his Aigupita
premises, Ewa-Nwards of the new Young Hotel,
on King Street.
  "After the death of the King and of Paki,
this tortoise became the property of B. Nama-
kaleha, first husband of the late Kapiolani, and
was taken to his premises at Kaalaa. At Nalna-
kaeha's death it was moved to Waikiki, where it
has sinceI been eared for by two old retainers
fromn Paki's time. Upon the death of Kapiolani
a few years ago, it naturally came into the pos-
session of her new nepihew, Prince David.
   "There is another similar venerable-looking
tortoise in Nuuanu Valley, owiined by Mrs. -.N
E. Foster, whieh is said to have beer brought
here on a whaleship miany years ago from the
Gallipagos Islands, their natural habitat, but
no further particulars can be gathered. These
two are t)robatl~y the o011y ones of their kindt on
tile islands."
   In -May, 1915), Mr. Thomas Gerrard of Ion-
don visited Honolulu and reported five tortoises
living on the Hawaiian islands at that time.
Two of these lie secured for Lord Rothschild
and shipped to England. The clerk of Public
Parks at Honolulu reported that the last of the
(lid tortoises in Kapiolani park died in 1929, but
was unable to give any information regarding
the two remaining ones reported by Gerrard.
I have bleen unalble to find any trace of them
through othler sources, so it may be that they
have since (lied.
   Another Giant Tortoise was rep)orted blv Mr.
 Edward W. Gifford as living on the island of
 Tonga in 1921. His letter dated January 29.
 19,21, from Nukualofa gives the following infor-
 imation regardilng it:
   "Tiere is a tortoise in Nukilalofa known as
 Tui ?-i alila (King of Malila). It is the property
 of tile Queen. One story has it that Captain
 Cook presented it to the roler of Tonga; an-
 other 'that King George I obtained it from a
 vessel which called in Haapai, probably in the
 first half of the last century. As Cook does not
 mention tile presentation of a tortoise, I think
 tile latter story is the ilore likely."
  (Cocerning this tortoise, Sir Joseph Carru-
thers in his work on Captain Cook, (Captain
James Cook, R.N.; 150 Years After. New York.
1930), says: "Although there is no mention of
the matter in Cook's journals, there is, from
Tongan sources, handed down from generation
to generation, the tradition that Captain Cook
left two tortoises at Haapai, one of the islands
in the Tongan group, during one of his two
visits there between 177 1 and 1777. One of these
still survives and is an honored guest in the
grounds of the Royal Palace at Nukualofa, in
the island of Tongatabu.
   "There is no doubt about the tradition, which
was committed to writing as soon as the na-
tives were able to do so. I received a copy of
this from the Rev. R. Page, chairman of the
Tonuan Wesleyan Mission, in 1927, when I
first visited the Tongan islands. I then also met
the Prince Consort, Tungi, the grandson of thie
Chief to whom Cook gave the two tortoises. At
the royval palace Prince Tungi showed me the
tortoise,. now partially blind and considerably
battered as the result of bush fires (in which
it was three times caught) and of an injury from
a heavx limb of a tree falling on it and par-
tialyx crushing its shell. Otherwise the tortoise
was doing as well as could be expected at his
age, possibly 2(00 years and certainly more than
160 years."
   Sir Joseph further states: "Two tortoises were
 lbrought, but one died. The other, Tu'i Malila.
 is still alive. The name originated from   the
 residence of the Tu'itoga, the nanle of which
 is Malili; and the name, "King of Malila." was
 given to the tortoise, which had free run of the
 grounds. The tortoise was cared for by the peo-
 ple, just as if it were a chief, and it went where
 it pleased in Tonga.'
   At various tines in p)ast years exp)editions
 have visited the GalMpagos for the purpose of
 bringing   ack lixing tortoises for zoological
 gardens, notably those of New York and Lou-
 don. In 1897 the schooner Lila and Matlie ar-
 rived in San Francisco with live tortoises to be
 shipped to London, and in 19012 the schooner
 Mary Sachs arrived with a load for the same
 destination. Another schooner, the IF. S. Phelps,
 Captain Richard Nye. arrived in 190(2 with a
 cargo of 37 live tortoises. One of these is still
V'ol. xrxxviii, No. I
10"


Go up to Top of Page