September 10, 1941, 72 years-ago yesterday, Phil the Gorilla arrived at the St Louis Zoo. Weighing 30 pounds, he had been captured in Cameroon (then known as French Equatorial Africa), & was named after Phil Carroll, the collector who brought him to our city. The zoo had purchased him & three other gorillas for a total of $14,000.
At one time, Phil weighed 776 pounds, & was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest lowland gorilla in captivity. His normal diet consisted of 22 pounds of vegetables a day, along with an orange soda. He was always a zoo favorite, so when he became ill & stopped eating, concerned fans started bringing him food from their homes. Local newspapers featured daily updates on his health & when he died on December 1, 1958, it was front page news. An autopsy determined that the cause was ulcerative colitis.
“Stuffed” by Schwarz Studios, Phil is still on display at the zoo.
Thanks Gary S
I remember seeing Phil when I was a child. He was a massive beast who had the most tender look in his eyes. Then after he died I remember seeing him stuffed on many visits to the zoo.