The car climbed the steep bank at high speed and then rolled – nose to tail – back on to the motorway hard shoulder, the impact ripping the roof and shattering windows. I suffered head injuries, as did Amy, the one-year-old orang-utan I had rescued after her mother abandoned her. The death of her childhood sweetheart days before they were to marry left a bitter resentment that she took to her grave.
Luckily, my girlfriend Meryl was unscathed and my son Jamie escaped with bruising. The orang-utan, though, is a simple, solitary creature that just wants to eat, sleep and work out mechanical formulas. I too had been discarded by my mother, Jill, who ran our family zoo in the Pennines, as punishment for making contact with my absent father. After I left home, I briefly worked with chimps at a zoo owned by family friends and later at Colchester Zoo, where I gained my first introduction to orang-utans.
Some of her earliest memories are of playing with tiger cubs, taking them for walks on the beach and even sharing her bath with them.
Charlotte’s father bought the Isle of Wight Zoo in 1976 when she was a baby and relocated the family there from Cheshire.
Starting with a one day tournament and live music into the night on Friday, and followed by a two day tournament with Saturday’s results determining the groups for Sunday’s leagues.
Concludes with more live music and a legendary fireworks display.
A policeman, arriving at the scene, crawled into the mangled wreck from the rear and saw the back of my blood-soaked head. There was always an innate attraction between me and the orange people – the orang-utans (the name actually comes from the Malay for 'man of the forest'). It is the grumpy old man of the forest, something I empathise with. I was forced to live in a beaten-up caravan at the age of 12, deprived of love and affection. Here was I, a troubled 18-year-old, responsible for chimps, baboons, spider monkeys, capuchins, gibbons and lemurs.
By the time Amy was born, I had tried to save her mother Jane's two previous babies.You just get on better with some people than others and it is exactly the same with animals.In 1975, I was hired as a keeper at a private zoo in Surrey owned by Gordon Mills, a multi-millionaire music impresario.Both died before they reached three months, despite my constant attention.Amy's birth was thankfully trouble-free, but from then on she was in grave peril. I kept her warm by borrowing a hospital incubator and force-feeding her milk every two hours.