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ZSL London Zoo London Zoo's Famous 5's!

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Panthera1981, 14 Mar 2015.

  1. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Hello All!

    I am fascinated by the history of UK zoos, particulary the ZSL. IMO there isnt nearly enough on (or said of) Whipsnade, but I really should visit the ZSL libraries more often!

    For the purposes of this discussion, I'd like anyone with the knowledge (or with their own opinions) to fill in the gaps for me. The "5 famous gorillas" board at London got me thinking-if the zoo were to recreate the same for it's other animals, who would they include and, in your view, why? Ive started below so please fill in the gaps (please focus only on London Zoo):

    ELEPHANTS:
    1. Jumbo 2. Suffa Culli 3..... 4..... 5.....

    through no fault of their own I did not include Diksie or Pole Pole (maybe the latter was more infamous!)

    BEARS:
    1. Brumas 2. Pipaluk 3. Winnie 4. Chi-Chi 5.....

    HIPPO (Common & Pygmy):
    1. Obaysch 2. Henry & Belinda (inseparable!) 3..... 4..... 5.....

    GORILLAS:
    1.Guy 2..... 3..... 4..... 5.....
     
  2. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    ZSL Iconic animals.

    'Animal Fame' is indeed an interesting concept, particularly exactly how and why it happens. In respect of London's animals, certain individuals stand out way in front of their competitors or 'rivals'. For that reason I am not going to try and grade the above as requested but here's a few comments.

    Most famous Elephant- 'Jumbo'. No other Elephant there has been famous in that way. In more modern times, African female 'Dicksie' who fell in the moat achieved a measure of posthumous fame through that sad event though.

    Most famous Bear- undoubtedly 'Brumas' First Polar Bear cub born in UK. Again no other bear comes near- difficult to know exactly why but her status reached a level of hysterical mega-fame for a short while.

    Most famous Panda- should be ranked seperately from the other Bears perhaps. Although London had other Giant Pandas both before and after her,Chi Chi remains the only really famous one. The circumstances of her arrival and acquisition by the Zoo as a cub, her playful early years and then the failed mating attempts were all documented by the Press and ensured she was in a 'fame' class of her own.

    Gorillas- again, 'Guy' was almost a household name and 'Guy the Gorilla' was a popular phrase for very many years. Interestingly it has even passed down to later generations too as you still sometimes hear people who would never have seen him, use it when looking at Gorillas. Guy's situation as the only adult male Gorilla on show in the UK for many years, his longterm solitary existence and his location at London all contributed to his lasting fame I think. No other Gorilla at London has come anywhere close.
     
  3. Animal Friendly

    Animal Friendly Well-Known Member

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    I agree with the above comments, also perhaps London's most famous bird of prey would be Goldie the Golden Eagle due to her escaping from the zoo, her time at liberty and her return.
     
  4. Panthera1981

    Panthera1981 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry guys, just to clarify, NO grading is involved-it's just the 5 you can think of!
     
  5. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely- Goldie was equally famous-albeit for quite a brief time. Probably London's most famous bird, not just b.o.p.

    I would say fame is created in Zoo animals (including at ZSL) either by them being e.g.the first to be seen, or the biggest, or the first born there, or having done something unusual, e.g. escaping.
     
  6. IanRRobinson

    IanRRobinson Well-Known Member

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    I doubt if Panthera's list can be managed: well into the post World War II era, gorillas, Giant Pandas and elephants were prone to ill-health and premature death in captivity.

    Really, Guy (died 1978) was London Zoo's last star animal. Good zoos move their animals around at the request of studbook co-ordinators too much now for it to be any other way.

    I suppose the exception to this might be a zoo that establishes a breeding herd of elephants and is lucky enough to have a cow who becomes a matriarch by producing heifer calves which produce heifers in their turn. Chester fans might care to say whether Thi has reached that status. (The mischievous might suggest that Thi's contribution to Chester's Asiatic Elephant successes ought to earn some "thank you" gesture to the collection that sent her...;) )

    However, I'd say that the five all-time London stars would be

    1)By a long way, Jumbo

    2 - 5 are harder, but I'll try.

    2)Brumas the Polar Bear. Even if she grew to be an unremarkable animal who died young, the animal responsible for taking the gate over three million has to be given some credit.

    3)Jubilee the Chimpanzee. Born in the year of George V's silver jubilee, 1935 - hence the name. Deserving of special status partly for having been ZSL's first captive bred great ape and possibly more for having been the inspiration for a soft toy given to the very young Jane Goodall.

    4)Ming the Giant Panda. She came to London Zoo in 1938, the year the collection reached its apogee. Apart from a period in the early days of WWII she remained in London; heaven knows what stress that gave the poor animal, for she died in 1944, only seven years old. But she had "done her bit" in terms of giving war-weary Londoners something to think about other than the horrors going on in the world at that time. Maybe she helped some think about the need to treat nature with greater kindness after the war. She was undoubtedly the Zoo's star in some of the toughest days of its history.

    5)Guy the Western Gorilla. In many ways his life was a tragedy; he was humanised as an infant and kept in grossly inadequate accommodation for most of his life. But he was the first gorilla to reach maturity in London, the first I ever saw, and (I think) the last London Zoo animal who the general public would have recognised just from his given name, rather than his species.
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2015
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Polar Bears grow fast- I think Brumas had already shed her star status by the time she was a year or so old, but her name lived on quite a long while after.

    As I commented above, Guy seems to somehow have left his name in our national psyche- you still sometimes hear people(often morons) going 'ooh, ooh! its Guy the Gorilla' when viewing Apes in zoos.:rolleyes:
     
  8. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    In literary circles, I would suggest that the most famous animal from Regent's Park would probably be Winnie the bear, whose name was adopted by A A Milne or his son, Christopher Robin, for Winnie-the-Pooh.
    Scientists might nominate Jenny the orang utan who greatly interested nice Mr Darwin; she impressed Queen Victoria too. That's quite a fan base :)
    But I don't think either could outdo Jumbo for the Number 1 spot.

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 15 Mar 2015
  9. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I'd follow the Zoo's list for these. Mine would be- in no particular order- Guy, Meng, John Daniel, Mok & Moina (joint). No 5 is more difficult- perhaps 'Zaire' purely for the length of time she has been there....
     
  10. oflory

    oflory Well-Known Member

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    Think Obaysch needs a bit more love on this thread - not every animal has a dance inspired by them...

    [ame=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obaysch]Obaysch - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame]
     
  11. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I really don’t think that there is any doubt whatsoever that “Jumbo” is London Zoo’s most famous animal; indeed, he is not only London Zoo’s most celebrated animal but probably the most famous animal from any zoo in the world!

    I also agree with the previous posters that “Guy”, “Brumas”, “Pipaluk”, “Chi-Chi” and ”Ming” would all be amongst the most well-known London Zoo animals.

    However, I think that special consideration should be given to the following:-

    • “Jim” the Indian rhinoceros who lived at London Zoo from 1864 to 1904 and for many years held the longevity record for a captive Indian rhinoceros

    • “Guy Fawkes” the hippopotamus; born London Zoo 5th November 1872 and died 1908

    These animals might not have been household names but the toy Indian rhino and hippo in the Britains Zoo Animal Series were modelled on them.

    These model zoo animals were on sale for many decades (originally made of lead, subsequently made of plastic) so generation after generation of children played with models of” Jim” and “Guy Fawkes”.
     
  12. Crowthorne

    Crowthorne Well-Known Member

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  13. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    ...most famous....

    Let's get some Orangutans in here. Bulu, the first ZSL born Orang, who died a few years back at Paignton, her father (Charlie?) brought back by David Attenborough from a Zoo Quest.
    What about poor little Reuben, the short-lived Mountain Gorilla.
    Incidentally, Goldie was male, and Dicksie was a particularly beautiful elephant, I believe ZSL's first post-war African.
     
  14. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for this, I hadn't seen it.

    Why do current zoo directors seem to find it necessary to have a dig about how much better their zoo is now?! There are plenty of us who can find many faults with Mr Field's London Zoo in 2016!!
     
  15. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    For some reason 'Charlie' did not seem as well known as the two other adult male Orangutans of the time 'Jiggs', and 'Alex'( who later went to Edinburgh). None of them were as well known as Guy the Gorilla though- possibly because much of the time they remained inanimate, hidden under big piles of straw where they couldn't be seen.:(

    Reuben had a sadly short life. I think Guy's appeal lay in his size and visibility and also his longevity-from year to year he was always there to see. Few visitors had the chance of seeing a Gorilla outside of London either.
     
  16. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I saw “Reuben” in the old Monkey House at London Zoo when I was a very young child. He was the only genuine mountain gorilla that I have ever seen (unless, which seems unlikely, the much discussed contentious specimen in Antwerp Zoo really is a true mountain gorilla and not an eastern lowland gorilla). I just missed the mountain gorillas in Cologne as they died not long before my first visit there.

    Sadly “Reuben” was a short lived animal; he arrived at London Zoo in 1960 and died of pneumonia during the bitterly cold winter of 1962. There is a nice photograph of “Reuben” in the ZSL Annual Report for 1960.

    In 1962 London Zoo acquired two other young gorillas that were then considered to be mountain gorillas but were actually eastern lowland gorillas. Consequently, for a short time, London Zoo had three different types of gorilla simultaneously: a mountain gorilla (“Reuben”), a western lowland gorilla (the famous “Guy”) and the two young eastern lowland gorillas.
     
  17. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    I think its now accepted 'Amahoro' at Antwerp is definately an Eastern Lowland- since the recent death of 'Victoria' she is now also the only one in captivity.
     
  18. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Thanks for the confirmation, "Pertinax"; I thought it unlikely that this individual is a true mountain gorilla but, periodically, somebody claims that it really is one.

    It is a sobering thought that there is now only one eastern lowland gorilla left in a zoo.
     
  19. gentle lemur

    gentle lemur Well-Known Member

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    For the record, I have just posted a photo of Guy with the young female Lomie in the Gallery. It was taken on the 1st of March 1972, soon after they moved into the new gorilla exhibit in one of the Sobell Pavilions. It's only black and white I'm afraid as I'd only just moved up from a Kodak Brownie to a 35mm SLR ( a Zenith B :)).

    Alan
     
    Last edited: 4 Jun 2016
  20. Ned

    Ned Well-Known Member

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    Is John Daniel the same one that is referred to in the following article? London Zoo isn't mentioned.
    The 'almost human' gorilla who drank tea and went to school