Statue of rescue gorilla Jambo fetches £18,000

Life-size bronze cast of Jambo the gorilla. Pic: Dominic Winter Auctioneers/PA
Image caption Jambo guarded a young boy who had fallen into the gorilla enclosure

A Jersey hotel group has paid £18,080 at auction to win a life-sized sculpture of a gorilla.

Jambo is credited with guarding a five-year-old boy after he fell into the gorilla area at Jersey's Durrell Park in 1986.

The Seymour Group bought the bronze sculpture at an auction in Gloucestershire.

Silverback Jambo will be taking pride of place in one of the company's hotels in Jersey.

Levan Merritt was knocked unconscious after he fell into the enclosure on 31 July 1986.

His mother watched as Jambo - Swahili for "hello" - walked towards Levan, sat down beside him and, as if guarding him from the other gorillas, stayed with him and stroked his back until Levan was rescued by the emergency services.

Sculptor David Cemmick visited the zoo in 1987 and made sketches which the statue is based on. He created the bronze cast with mould-maker Sebastian Wylder.

Jambo lived at the zoo until 1992, when he died of a chest haemorrhage.

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