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1960's

Working with Boris

By Dr. Derek Lyons

During my time at Chester Zoo (from 1967-1997) I worked with a variety of patients, including Motty - the only hybrid elephant ever to be born - and Jubilee, the first ever Asian elephant to be conceived, born and to survive in captivity.

But above all, my favourite patient of all had to be Boris. Boris is a male chimpanzee that was wild caught and hand reared by a lady in a New York flat. When he was 3 years old, in 1969, she sent him to Chester Zoo for the rest of his life. Over a 31 year period I have treated him for a variety of infections and in return he has thrown stones at me, as well as other unmentionable smelly objects!

Since retiring in 1997, I am still kept as busy as ever but will always find time out of my schedule to visit my second home and family members at the zoo.

Even 12 years after leaving, I'm still welcomed by Boris in his special way and it always brings tears to my eyes to see how he still remembers me, albeit me having aged somewhat. When we take our grandchildren to visit the zoo, they always indicate they wish to visit Boris.

See more: Mammals, Staff