jambo DVD

New Limited Edition DVD

Buy the DVD here...


The video of Jambo looking over Levan Merritt at the Jersey Zoo was voted number one by the Channel Island public as the “Shot that shook the Island.” More here


Ya Kwanza leaving Durrell for France

Ya Kwanza, the silverback gorilla at Durrell in Jersey is leaving the island

Unfortunately n his 18 years in Jersey, Ya Kwanza has turned his back on all but one female introducing only one surviving offspring.

He will be joining a bachelor group in France, which will make way in Durrell's group, for a younger and hopefully more virile male to help with the captive breeding vital for the conservation of the Western Lowland Gorilla,


Bronze Statue of Jambo goes on auction and fetches £18,080

A bronze cast of Jersey Zoo's famous lowland gorilla - Jambo - has been bought by local hotel company Seymour Hotels.

In 1987, sculptor David Cemmick vistied the zoo and made some sketches¬ of Jambo. In collaboration with mould-maker Sebastian Wylder, Cemmick¬ went on to produce six life-sized bronzes of the famous Silverback


23 years Ago

23 years ago the story of Jambo hit the headlines around the world.

The gorilla became known as the 'gentle giant' - shattering myths about gorillas being violent and savage animals.

To celebrate Durrells 50th Anniversary Channel Television have re- released a limited edition DVD on the story that made Jambo famous world-wide

Buy the DVD here...

18th June 2009

jambo DVD

This Durrell 50th anniversary DVD tells the story of Jambo the gentle giant. When a young boy fell into the gorilla enclosure Jambo stood guard over him, placing himself between the boy and other gorillas. This special anniversary DVD includes extra feature items.

Everyday Heroes NBC

dateline nbc2

19th March 2009

“Everyday Heroes” a programme listing the top ten heroes caught on video tape. The zoo keppers and ambulance man coming to Levan Merritt’s rescue coming in at number 3.

The Everyday Heroes include

  1. Hero on the Hudson
  2. In chopper chase hero emerges
  3. Zoo incident turns heroic
  4. Saviours save injured motorist
  5. Driver saved by strangers
  6. A Hawaii hero helps a trapped pilot
  7. Two citizens help in an arrest
  8. Heroic cameraman moves to centre stage
  9. Dad credits son with saving life
  10. Brave brother comes to the rescue

The programme includes footage of the event and interview with Brian Le Lion

Click here to view the video

Hero Animals

“Animal Heroes” a programme covering the drama of the event was shown on Channel Five the 18th March 2009.

The 30 minute programme followed the entire event as it unfolded on the day. This also included interviews from Stephen, Pauline and Levan Merritt: Brian Fox and Richard Johnstone-Scott.

To help with the reconstruction of the story it was decided to film an actor in a gorilla suit inside the Gorilla enclosure, however this footage was cut from the final edit as it was found that there was nothing like the original video to illustrate the drama.

The excellent programme “Hero Animals” was produced by Big Wave TV

18th March 2009


Youngest Gorilla Dies.

The youngest member of Durrell's western lowland gorilla group has died.

Four year old Ya Pili started showing signs of illness at the beginning of the week. She was taken into intensive care at Durrell's veterinary department yesterday morning.

Despite efforts from the veterinary team, members of the mammal department and a team of medical experts, she continued to deteriorate. She died in the early hours of this morning.

 it's likely a viral infection caused her sudden death.

10th October 2007

Ya Pili

Ya Kwanza undergoes successful operation

Ya Kwanza has undergone a successful operation to remove a testicle.

The Western Lowland gorilla Ya Kwanza had to have the procedure to prevent him suffering future health problems.

Suspicious changes were discovered in the testicle, which was not thought to be functioning normally.

After extensive consultation, medical advice suggested the safest option for the 22 year old male would be to remove the testicle completely in order to avoid any future health implications.

Despite the removal of the organ, there is no reason to suggest this will affect his ability to continue to reproduce successfully.Ya Kwanza is recovering well and has now returned to the rest of the group.

19th June 2007

20 Years on

Channel Television and channelonline.tv have marked the 20th anniversary of when Jambo the looked over Levan Merritt the boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at Jersey Zoo.

To mark the 20th anniversary the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust has republished a biography of Jambo and copies will be signed by Richard Johnstone on Monday the 4th at 10.30am and 3.30pm.

31st August 2006

Channel Report: The Shot That Shook The Islands

The video of Jambo protecting Levan Merritt was voted as the Number One “Shot that Shook the Channel Islands”. Channel Report selected 10 pieces of film from the past 40 years and asked the public of the Channel Islands to vote that “Shook” them the most. The voting was made by phone and via the channelonline.tv website. The list of shots included:

  • Jambo The Gentle Giant
  • The Eclipse
  • Channel Island Ferry Disaster
  • Dakota Plane Crash
  • Orion Oil Rig
  • Gas Works Fire
  • Newalls Murder
  • Prosperity Boat Disaster
  • Great Storm of ‘87
  • Beast of Jersey

Many thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for the video.

October 14th 2005

Levan visits Jersey

Levan Merritt (now aged 20) made a return visit to the Jersey Zoo to be filmed for ITV's 'This Morning' programme, broadcast 20th August 2005.

He was reunited with former ambulanceman Brian Fox. Brian had brought him to safety after he had fallen into the gorilla enclosure.

Unfortunatly it was not possible for Levan to call in on his old friend who had treated him so considerately when he fell in front of him on that day in 1986 as Jambo sadley died in 1992.

However Levan returned to the gorilla enclosure to admire Ya Kwanza, the silverback gorilla who has replaced Jambo as head of the group.

August 2005

copyright Brian Le lion 2012