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ZSL London Zoo Obscure galago question!

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by sooty mangabey, 17 Aug 2014.

  1. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    This is a fairly obscure question; however, I think I might have more joy from the Zoochat community than from a direct address to London Zoo itself!

    In the ZSL Annual Report for 1995, an unknown species of galago is listed as both arriving and departing; no more information than this is given.

    On Zootierliste, this animal is listed as a Rondo bushbaby / galago (Galagoides rondoensis) from southern Tanzania. if it was such an animal, it would almost certainly be the only Rondo galago to knowingly be held in a zoo. ZTL mentions that it escaped (!) - and quotes Richard Weigl's Longevity of Mammals book as a source.

    Does anybody know any more about this animal? How and why did it arrive at London? Was it a deliberate acquisition, or a customs seizure of suchlike? And did it indeed escape, never to be seen again? And have Rondo galagos been kept elsewhere?
     
  2. MikeG

    MikeG Well-Known Member

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    The galago did indeed escape, never to be seen again.
    Moreover, I believe this to be another crime that can be placed on the shoulders of Rolf Harris!
    The galago-getaway happened during filming for the BBC television series Zoo Watch, presented by Cuddly Rolf. Camera crews were ready in the nocturnal house to watch the bushbaby being introduced to its new surroundings. As a keeper began to release the animal from its metal carrying cage, the galago made a dash for freedom. As he watched the animal disappear, Harris reportedly said "It's all my fault. If we hadn't have been filming this would never have happened."
     
  3. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you Mike. Always thought that Rolf Harris was a wrong 'un!

    Any idea how the galago ended up at London? And how was it identified as a Rondo galago, given that it was, apparently, of unknown species when it escaped?
     
  4. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Obscure galago question

    Mike is right about the galago being filmed as it was due to be moved from one enclosure to another.
    I've had a couple of chats with Simon Bearder about this. Simon is one of the world experts on galagos and noted that different species may look alike, but differ in other essentials, such as call. I went to a talk about this at a Prosimian Seminar at Chester Zoo
    Simon said that he had presented the Rondo galago to London Zoo and at the time it was the only specimen of that species and would have been the type specimen. He was not happy that it was filmed and was able to escape. As Mike said, it was never seen again, as far as I know.
     
  5. sooty mangabey

    sooty mangabey Well-Known Member

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    Thank you, both. As I suspected, the font of knowledge here was, indeed, great!

    Simon Bearder is an interesting chap; he is also married to one of the MEPs for south-east England!
     
  6. MikeG

    MikeG Well-Known Member

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    I recall teasing the late, great Frank Wheeler - much-missed doyen of small mammal keepers - about the loss of this unique specimen. I'm pretty sure it was never recovered, alive or dead.
    Rolf Harris's greatest crime = denying me the chance to see a Galago rondoensis in the flesh! They should lock him up & throw away the key!
     
  7. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, Simon Bearder is THE galago expert, he has studied the call of wild galagos in-depth and as a result came up with several new sub-species.

    He was one of the three lecturers on a two part zoo course I once did. Tess Lemon was another I think, and the other chap`s name eludes me for now. But a very knowledgeable chap is Simon.
     
  8. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Further details from Weigl's book:-

    Arrived 12th June 1995; escaped 27th July 1995