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Bristol Zoo Remembering Bristol Zoo Gardens

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by ThomasNotTom, 27 Nov 2020.

  1. ThomasNotTom

    ThomasNotTom Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    With lots of discussion on the Bristol Zoo thread regarding its closure, I thought that it would be nice to have a place to talk about our memories and experiences...

    I'll get something posted in the next few days, but for now... I'll leave it to you guys :(
     
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2020
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  2. FBBird

    FBBird Well-Known Member

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    One of my fond memories of Bristol Zoo is the ‘Whipsnade Paddock’ that was replaced by Seal & Penguin Coasts. With a hillock and the odd tree, it held White Storks, Demoiselle Cranes, Axis Deer, Red Kangaroos and Peafowl, some of them Black-shouldered.
     
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  3. Tim May

    Tim May Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I have many fond memories of visits to Bristol Zoo, over four decades, so today's sad news came as a nasty shock.

    For me the most noteworthy animal I saw there was, without doubt, "Charlie" the Siberut macaque which I was fortunate to see on several occasions; I'm quite sure I'll never see another individual of this species

    See the link below for details

    https://www.degruyter.com/view/journals/mamm/66/4/article-p533.xml
     
  4. The Hedgehog

    The Hedgehog Well-Known Member

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    I remember spending my 12th Birthday at Bristol Zoo! @ThomasNotTom a really funny memory from approximately 4 or 5 years ago is my younger sister Jesse going on the Zooripia course. Jesse only got less than halfway before she stopped stood still screamed and cried. The person overseeing Zooropia that day had to winch a very panicked and scared Jesse down LOL!
     
  5. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    This is certainly IMO the biggest news on the UK section of Zoochat for a very long time....it was on BBC news also. My very earliest memory of Bristol Zoo was a visit there with my mother, circa 1955 when I was aged about 8. Leaning over the Black Rhino(now Pygmy Hippo) outdoor enclosure. For one who is very interested in gorillas its strange I don't remember them (or any other apes) from that first visit. Later I would visit as a schoolboy in the holidays, spending the whole day in there from opening to closing time. Got to know the keepers in several of the 'houses'. Used to 'help' them too- those were the days... I've been a regular visitor ever since. From those early days I remember particularly;

    Congo and Josephine the gorillas.
    Rosie the elephant.
    Willie and Stephanie the black rhino pair( first breeding in UK- I was allowed to see the first calf at 5 days old).
    Jack & Jill orangutans.(other pairs came later)
    Buttons and Susan the chimps(parents of Timothy) + Lulu and Leslie the 2nd pair.
    Monkey temple- rhesus monkey colony. The noise of the little tin swinging doors as the monkeys used them.
    Penguins in enclosure nearby- King, Blackfooted, gentoo etc. It had a curving barrier with wooden rim like the deck rail of a ship.
    Monkey house/row; Mandrill, Drill, Guinea and Yellow baboon + others.
    Lion House- every big cat species, including after mid 60's, the famous White tigers Champak and Chemili.
    Old antelope house- Beisa oryx, reedbuck, bushpig, llama( with plastic screen in front of stall due to his aggressive spitting) the Grevy zebras, in particular the stallion 'Rastus' whose braying call would ring around the whole zoo every halfhour or so.
    The bears- William & Cynthia the Polar Bears-(parents of Sebastian) a SunBear called 'Benjamin'. Brown and Himalayan bears. the pit in the centre of the Aquarium was still used by Sloth Bear then. Wolves in the adjacent cage above the rock garden.
    The 'hill' paddock with Axis deer, cranes etc as described by ffbird.
    Bird House. The macaws and cockatoos chained on perches- the perches would be hung on hooks in the Cedar tree outside when weather was fine( now the area of the splashplay area.)
    The Lake- Pelicans plus there was a flock of geese including barheaded, snow + hybrids and Magellans- some were full-winged and would fly around sometimes.
    Two sets of aviaries. One was called the 'Dalton Burgess' aviaries but can't remember if it was the upper or lower ones. Lower one is still there(or similar on same site) Upper one contained, in different sections; foreign finches; flock of budgies; pair of ravens; ground hornill; pair of gibbons including dangerous female Pileated called 'Blackie' and semi-blind Grey male ' blind Pugh'.
    The central lawns with huge crowds of picknickers in summer.
    The kiosks/zoo shop in the central office building selling ice creams, postcards etc.
    Guthrie Road entrance- much quieter, no/less queues.
    Lastly- the bell of Clifton College across the road- 'dingdong' on the hour...
     
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2020
  6. The Hedgehog

    The Hedgehog Well-Known Member

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    @Pertinax do you know if the current Bristol Zoo staff will work at the new Bristol Zoo? Will the new Bristol Zoo have some elements from the current Bristol Zoo for instance the Bear Pit Pole or some of the buildings demolished brick by brick and rebuilt at the new zoo?
     
  7. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    No idea I'm afraid. I did wonder what will happen to the listed buildings on the zoo site though.
     
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  8. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    They called it a 'macaque hybrid' for some time before settling on 'Mentawi Island Macaque' finally.
     
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  9. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Great idea for a thread @ThomasNotTom !

    My memory is of my one and only visit to Bristol zoo around the early 2000's but it was evidently a very memorable one as there are one or two things which are still quite fresh in my mind (though a lot of other things are kind of hazy).

    The strongest memory I have is of the Livingstone's fruitbats in that wonderful walkthrough enclosure and being able to get so close to such an endangered species. I particularly remember watching one of these awesome animals stretching out its wings whilst yawning.

    Its only a faint memory now but I also remember seeing the black lion tamarins on one of those little island enclosures ( a species I have since also seen in the wild).

    Another thing I remember is the brilliant nocturnal house and seeing the aye-aye there which was the first time I saw the species so really quite memorable.

    It looked like such a beautiful and green compact little zoo and very modern in its facilities.

    I was hoping one day to revisit but I doubt very much that this will happen. :(
     
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  10. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    My first visit to Bristol was around 1973 and my last visit until 2008 was in 1975.
    I can remember seeing my first okapi there and being thrilled to find that the plastic animal in the set I got for my first birthday really did exist! London didn't get them for several years after that 79/80).
    It was also the first place I had seen white tigers and probably young gorillas too, (I had grown up with seeing Guy and Lomie at London regularly but no baby there until Salome in 1976).
    I also have memories of the Polar Bear pit, which these days would be considered truly awful but at the time was considered acceptable and the monkey temple.
    By the time I finally visited again after a 33 year gap, the zoo was almost unrecognisable, but the new zoo had the nocturnal house, seal and penguin coasts and the gorilla island which were all excellent 'new' exhibits. I have visited another 4 times since and hope to visit at least twice more....
     
  11. Dassie rat

    Dassie rat Well-Known Member

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    Hello, Pipaluk. Bristol Zoo was also the first place I saw okapis and white tigers.
     
  12. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Although London had had Okapi previously, when Bristol acquired their first ones in the 1960's they were the first(and only) ones in the UK for some time. The male of the initial pair died literally as the plane bringing them from Africa, landed in UK, leaving only the female 'Bakeda', so they had to quickly import a 2nd male 'Mazanga' to join her. Breeding soon followed but the initial calves died soon after birth, until they realised that the hay bedding was causing aspergillosis/death. After replacing it with peat, success followed. They have bred many since then and have held them continuously at one or other site.
     
  13. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Bristol zoo back in the day was known for a number of firsts most often with rare/hard to acquire species they also seem to appear in the news of the day quite often!
     
    Last edited: 27 Nov 2020
  14. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    That is fascinating, had no idea about that history with the okapis.
     
  15. Onychorhynchus coronatus

    Onychorhynchus coronatus Well-Known Member

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    Not related to okapis, but I'm just wondering, do you remember when the Livingstone's bats first arrived at Bristol ?
     
  16. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    @Pertinax .I dont want to go off the subject with this thread but do you remember back around 1970ish that Longleat wanted to obtain both Okapi and Bongo for their collection?, I know they got the Bongos (not sure how many they got or have now) but as far as I know never obtained the much wanted Okapis? :)
     
    Last edited: 28 Nov 2020
  17. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    I believe they arrived around 1998 or thereabouts.
     
  18. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    No, Longleat have never had Okapi.
     
  19. Pertinax

    Pertinax Well-Known Member

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    Three major first UK breedings for them were Black Rhino, Okapi & Gorilla. In those days they had good publicity through the children's T.V. Animal Magic series which through Johnny Morris brought the zoo to a national audience. More recently they have had a very efficient PR department and so numerous press releases.
     
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  20. Zorro

    Zorro Well-Known Member

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    Thats what I had thought, but I wanted to ask you if you knew that Longleat really wanted them back in the 70s?