As a silverback gorilla was recently the subject of great controversy after an incident in an American zoo, my mind went back to 1986 and the English Channel island of Jersey.
In August of that year at the island’s Durrell Wildlife Park (formerly Jersey Zoo), a five-year-old boy fell into a concrete ditch in the enclosure housing silverback gorillas – including the then 25-year-old Jambo.
As the boy lay unconscious, Jambo approached the boy and fended off the attentions of other curious gorillas. He was seen to stroke the boy’s back and as the boy slowly regained consciousness and began to cry, Jambo led the gorillas back to their house.
There was a happier ending to this event than that in the recent incident in America, even leading to Jersey issuing a stamp set in 2012.
The set, featuring Jambo, was issued to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his death.
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