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Bristol Zoo July 1989 - Inside Great Ape House

Bristol Zoo July 1989 - Inside Great Ape House
Ste-W, 16 Jun 2010
    • Pertinax
      see Pages 33 & 34 for photos of Bristol gorillas in 1989. There is also one on page 17. This is the male 'Daniel'. There are a few more even further back but I didn't get that far...
    • IanRRobinson
      A terrible waste of a fine animal. The first gorilla born and raised in the UK, he was fertile, but never had the chance to lead his own group. I still don't understand how Bristol ended up managing their gorillas in such an odd manner. It was as if they'd copied protocols for Cheetah...:(
    • Pertinax
      He was certainly a fine animal.

      Bristol were to an extent stymied by the design of the house, actually designed for three Great Ape species though they gave up the Chimps fairly early on. At the same time they hung on to 'Daniel' because he was their first Gorilla successfully raised there, whereas in fact he would have been better off moving elsewhere. He fathered a number of infants, mostly with 'Diana' but all of them died. He himself died prematurely at age 23/4. Poor management/diets/housing/lack of enrichment/ unsuitable groupings- you name it ,Bristol had it at the time- the Gorillas were still being kept more along the lines Zoos kept them decades earlier, plus darker theories about genetic reasons given for so many young Gorillas not surviving in that era, though nothing was ever proven.
    • IanRRobinson
      That house might have worked better for Orangs, although the outside areas were way too small. It's frightening to think that an aviary holding Kea now held Orangs when it was first built....and that was in 1976!!
    • Pertinax
      The problem, particularly indoors was that the Orangutans could not get off the ground as there was nothing to climb on. They actually had more climbing ability in the old ex Lion House cages (the previous Ape House) near the Zoo entrance- there were cage bars to climb and some trunks, chains and the barred roof in the outside cage.

      The '1975' house(above) was simply built to display all three species in virtually identical environments, which admittedly, was pretty much still the widespread style in those days. The central cage(above) was much larger than the other four and designed to display a Gorilla group. However, the main reason they had them so oddly organised was primarily lack of sufficient adult females (ones that they owned permanently, didn't die or weren't just visitors for mating that is). It ended up with Gorillas using three indoor cages and two outside, and the Orangutans two indoors and one outside. Not what the house was designed for at all.
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    Bristol Zoo
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