Thursday 29 June 2017

Jambo bronze returning to Jersey

A Jersey-based hotel group paid nearly £20,000 at auction to bring the statute of Jambo back to the island
A Jersey-based hotel group paid nearly £20,000 at auction to bring the statute of Jambo back to the island
A life-size bronze cast of Jambo the gorilla has been sold at an auction for nearly £20,000

A life-size bronze cast of a famous gorilla will return to the island where the primate lived and died.

A Jersey-based hotel group paid nearly £20,000 at an auction to bring the statute of Jambo back to the holiday island.

The gorilla hit the headlines more than 20 years ago for guarding a five-year-old boy who fell into his enclosure at Jersey Zoo.

The primate was credited with changing public perception of silverbacks from dangerous King Kong beasts to gentle giants and went on to become immortalised in bronze by sculptor David Cemmick.

Seymour Hotels beat three other bidders to secure the cast for £18,080 when it sold at Dominic Winter Auctioneers in South Cerney, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Jambo became famous when the boy, Levan Merritt, was knocked unconscious on landing in the gorilla enclosure on July 31 1986.

His mother watched in horror as Jambo walked towards Levan, sat down beside him and, as if guarding him from the other gorillas, stayed with him and stroked his back until Levan was rescued by the emergency services.

The cast was based on a drawing by Cemmick, who visited Jersey Zoo to sketch Jambo and the other gorillas in 1987.

Cemmick went on to work with mould-maker Sebastian Wylder to create the cast.

The gorilla lived in Jersey Zoo until 1992 when he died of a chest haemorrhage.

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