Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Furry friend

Winifred Hope Smith, 92, of Cincinnati, Ohio, and her 3 sisters were raised by their parents - Presbyterian missionaries - in Cameroon, West Africa. They had some interesting pets, though Mom wouldn't allow them in the house. In the photograph above, Esther on the left and Roberta on the right are holding baby gorillas. An 8-year-old Winifred is in the center, cuddling a monkey they named "Minky." The orphaned baby gorilla in Roberta's arms was called "Bushman," and was in their care for about a year until he was sold to the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago in 1930. “He spent the day with us. We took him everywhere. It was an awful lot of fun....He probably thought we were his mother or his sisters....He was very fond of us....He was such a sweet little guy,” Winifred remembers. Not so after he was in captivity, where he grew to 550 lbs. and became known for his temper tantrums and for throwing food at visitors. She went to see Bushman at the zoo on her honeymoon in the 1940s, but her most recent reunion had to take place at Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History (PHOTO HERE). The gorilla died in 1951, was prepared by a taxidermist, and has been on permanent display at the museum ever since.

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