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Guy the gorilla heads north

16 October 2006

Guy the gorilla, the famous captive gorilla living in London Zoo up until the seventies, is settling in to his new temporary home at Weston Park Museum in Sheffield.

Guy the gorilla is on display at the Weston Park Museum, Sheffield.

Guy the gorilla is on display at the Weston Park Museum, Sheffield.

Guy is on loan for a year from the Natural History Museum's Zoology Department who have looked after the specimen since Guy's death in 1978.

Guy was born 60 years ago and captured for the Paris Zoo when he was about a year old. He arrived at London Zoo in 1947, clutching a hot water bottle, on Guy Fawkes day .

A London Zoo favourite

Guy was one of London Zoo's best-loved animals and appeared on television many times. He eventually grew into a massive 240 kilogrammes (35 stone). Despite having a reputation among his keepers for a bad temper, Guy was known to carefully scoop up sparrows that entered his enclosure, peer at them and then let them go.

In 1978, Guy diedĀ of heart failure during an operation on his infected teeth. Natural History Museum head taxidermist at the time, Arthur Hayward, was given the task of modelling and mounting Guy's skin. After nearly nine months of painstaking work, the magnificent re-creation of Guy was put on display at the Natural History Museum in November 1982.

Years later Guy was taken out of public display and moved into the scientific study collections. He will now be on display in the Weird and Wonderful section of the redeveloped Weston Park Museum, opening on 14 October.

Lowland gorillas

Guy was a western lowland gorilla, Gorilla gorilla gorilla , from French Cameroon. Lowland gorillas are the world's largest primates and the males can weigh between 140 and 275 kilogrammes.

Lowland gorillas are on the IUCN Red list for endangered species , threatened mostly by destruction of their habitat . They live in family groups and despite their great size and strength they are gentle creatures, eating plants and sometimes insects.