Bibi and Poldi, female and male respectively, have been together for about 115 years. For the last 36 years they have lived together at an Australian zoo, and before that they were at a zoo in Switzerland. Staff members realized something was amiss when Bibi bit off part of Poldi’s shell. When the attacks continued, Bibi was moved to another cage.
Animal people – tortoise whisperers? – have tried to reunite the two with aphrodisiacs and other playful enticements, but haven’t had any success. The pair want nothing to do with each other.
There’s a lot that’s troubling about this story. I dislike the captivity of the turtles. If they were rescued, then that changes things in a major way. At Epcot, where our daughter did her Disney internship, the two manatees were rescues – they’re missing large parts of their dorsal fins, which were destroyed by boats. One of the manatees is missing 90opercent of its dorsal fin. It will never return to the wild. I support this kind of captivity.
But we don’t know from the article what the story is with these turtles, except that they’ve been together 115 years and are now divorced. Yes, 115 years is a long time to be with someone. Issues multiply, your partner does stuff that pushes your buttons, and after more than a century of it, you decide you’ve had enough and bite off part of your partner’s shell. Okay, we get that.
But what about the metaphorical interpretation? The shamanic interpretation about turtles? In their representation as mother earth and, in this case, as male/female energy, anima/animus/ or yin/yang – what are they saying by turning away from each other? What’s the message? Or, is there any message at all?