Twycross Zoo is honoured to have recently received a gift in the shape of Guy the Gorilla’s bust, sculpted and donated by the late Mr Sydney James Parker.
Mr Parker was a skilled pattern worker from Bedworth, who sculptured the bust from glass-fibre after receiving the dimensions of the gorilla from Zoo officials at the London Zoo. It was not until he had finished the sculpture that he went to the Zoo and visited Guy the Gorilla. Mr Parker was a great Patron of Twycross Zoo and closely followed the conservation work of our CEO Dr Sharon Redrobe.
Guy the Gorilla was a Western Lowland gorilla, who arrived at London Zoo on the 5 November 1947, Guy Fawkes Night, hence his name. Although Guy never lived at Twycross Zoo, his popularity helped us and other zoos across the UK to educate the public about natural history and the world of animals, which is something we all still strive for.
Western Lowland gorillas face an uncertain future in the wild as their numbers have dramatically declined by more than 60% in the last 20-25 years and scientists predict they will become extinct in the next 20 years or so. To help this turnaround, Twycross Zoo is a partner in the United Nations Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP), working to ensure the long-term survival of great ape species and their natural habitat.
We also, work closely with Ape Action Africa in Cameroon, a forest sanctuary which is home to around 140 rescued and orphaned great apes and monkeys. Our CEO, Dr Sharon Redrobe, is the Chair of Trustees for Ape Action Africa and regularly visits the sanctuary to administer health checks and, when required, carries out specialist veterinary surgery.
In addition to ensure we have genetically-healthy animal populations in zoos, we are a member of European-wide breeding programmes and have recently welcomed a new addition to our troop of Western lowland gorillas. The family group now has three adults and two youngsters and all our keepers work hard to make sure that they live in a stimulating environment that provides lots of different enrichment and places for them to explore.