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Why Gorillas?

Alfed the gorilla in bristolBristol zoo has been involved in primate conservation since the late 1990s, and supports a charity called Ape Action Africa, which rescues and cares for young primates in Cameroon whose parents have been illegally killed by poachers.

Gorillas have been one of the Zoo’s main attractions in Bristol, since Alfred the Gorilla arrived at the Zoo in 1930. He was found as a tiny baby in the Congo where was apparently suckled by a local woman. He was eventually sold in 1930 and when he was bought by Bristol Zoo he was living in Rotterdam. His date of acquisition by the Bristol Zoo, 5th September was celebrated as his birthday. In 1946 a thyroid deficiency was diagnosed and cured, however his health kept deteriorating and when he died of tuberculosis on the 10th March 1948, he was the oldest gorilla in captivity anywhere in the world.

He was loved by the bristolians and became famous over ocean during the second word war when visiting American troops took into the habit of sending a photograph of him to their families. His skin was mounted by the renowned taxidermist Rowland Ward and it is now kept as a specimen in the Bristol Museum’s world wildlife gallery. He has survived in the collective memory of the city and he is still fondly remembered by those who saw him at the zoo.