BEIRUT: The world’s oldest marriage has come to an end. A pair of turtles that have been together for 115 years are now refusing to share their cage, the Austrian Times reported Friday.
Management at the Austrian zoo in Klagenfurt tried everything – from couples’ counseling to feeding them romantic mood food to getting them to play games together, but to no avail.
Zoo director Helga Happ said, “We get the feeling they can’t stand the sight of each other anymore.”
Bibi and Poldi have been a couple since before anyone alive can remember. They have been together in Klagenfurt for 36 years and before that they lived at Basel zoo in Switzerland.
Happ added: “They are both 115 years old. They have been together since they were young and grew up together, eventually becoming a pair. But for no reason that anyone can discover they seem to have fallen out, they just can’t stand each other.”
Zookeepers knew they had fallen out when Bibi attacked her partner, biting off a chunk of his shell, then attacking him several more times until he was moved to another space.
They say that aside from their separation, nothing has changed in the turtles’ routine, except that Bibi wanted to have the cage to herself and be single.
Still, some members of the staff at zoo are hoping to see the once-devoted couple reconcile.
“We have staff talking to and trying to engage the two in interacting, and we hope that they might find their harmony again,” Happ said. “We were told that it’s very rare that after so many years animals who are a pair will fall apart, but that’s where we are. We hope though we can bring round a reconciliation.”
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 11, 2012, on page 12.