The next time I saw Alfred he was stuffed and on display in the Bristol’s museum, still the cause of great civic pride as recounted by Hannah Paddon in Sam Alberti’s The Afterlives of Animals. That was in 1957. Bristol Zoo went on to have other gorillas in the 1950s and I took photographs of the new accommodation when I went to my last visit to Bristol Zoo in 1963.
|Bristol Zoo Gorilla House, 1963|
As I wrote in my post of 16 June, the privilege of being able to visit groups of Western Lowland Gorillas and observe the other mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians in the Congo Basin is an experience of a lifetime. In the middle of May we were with a group of ten clients of Naturetrek in the camps in the Republic of Congo run by Wilderness Safaris, Ngaga and Lango, 340 miles from Brazzaville, both in or adjacent to the Odzala-Kokoua National Park.
I shall never forget the sight of Neptune climbing the tree with consummate ease—and even striking the pose of the long-dead George. But the large tooth display was the result of a languid yawn as he paused before climbing even higher.
There is no greater privilege in the world than seeing a group of lowland gorillas in the wild in the Congo—sixty-eight years after seeing that unfortunate but great ambassador for gorillas, Alfred.