In honor of Bobo's birthday (an estimated date) July 25, 26 or 27, here's a seldom seen pic of our favorite gorilla in a miniature 1950's gas station uniform. Bobo spent part of the day assisting the Anacortes Mobil gas dealer, Larry Brewster.

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Put on your party hat, break out the noisemakers and wish a Happy Birthday to Bobo!


Bobo's birthday is coming up. "Official" sources list it variously as July 25, 26, or 27, so let's celebrate Bobo all week! Here we're honoring Bobo's birthday by posting a never-published photo from the Lowman family archives. That's Ray Lowman with Bobo, examining Bobo's foot for a splinter.

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This week we mark the anniversary of Bobo's death at Woodland Park Zoo. Bobo was found on the morning of February 22, 1968, in his cage in the Great Ape House of the zoo by his keeper, Pat Pichette. He had died so quietly during the night that Pichette, who had been staying in the ape house overnight, tending to a pair of newborn twin orangutans which were in an incubator in the ape house's kitchen, didn't hear a sound. He didn't know anything was wrong until he went in that morning to clean Bobo's cage and found him. (Source: The Bobo the Gorilla Tapes, interview with Pat Pichette.) To this day Bobo is still loved and missed by his family and his fans.

Bobo trivia - Eliot Elisofon was the Life photographer who photographed most of the hunt in Africa where Bobo was taken. If you click the link to this story and go through the photos you'll see one taken of Elisofon in 1951 which was probably taken during that trip. Elisofon never actually photographed Bobo on that trip, though, even though there is a photo in the Life story identified as Bobo, it is a misidentification. Elisofon became ill and left the hunt before Bobo was captured. A photographer from Paris Match magazine also photographed the hunt, however, and a photo of the real Bobo (our Bobo) ran in that publication.

Before World War II, many Americans got exaggerated ideas about Africa from movies like Tarzan the Ape Man — movies that were filmed on Hollywood sound

Do you believe Bobo is important to local history here in the Northwest? If you do, please share with us how and why you believe Bobo is an important part of our local heritage! Here at Bobo's page we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Got a call from the MOHAI museum this morning. Restoration of Bobo is taking longer than anticipated, so it's going to be awhile longer before he rejoins the public collection. Some of the problems with his current condition apparently have to do with the old style chemicals used when he was taxidermied.
When we know more about his return date, we'll share with his friends here.

A special for Bobo's facebook friends for Bobo's anniversary. Clips from The Bobo the Gorilla Tapes of interviews with Jean and Bill Lowman about Bobo's going to Woodland Park Zoo.

Contains audio excerpts from The Bobo the Gorilla Tapes, interviews with Bill and Jean Lowman, who raised a baby gorilla in their home in Anacortes, Washingt...

Checking through our Bobo archives we've discovered that December 13 is the 60th anniversary of the day Bobo the Gorilla moved from the Lowman's home in Anacortes to Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo. Happy Anniversary, Bobo!

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The Bobo the Gorilla Tapes crowdfunding appeal didn't raise enough to finish the project, but there's a new blog where you can still follow the progress of the tapes and donate if you'd like to help.

Thank you to our most recent contributor (Anonymous) to the Bobo the Gorilla tapes audiobook fundraising campaign! It runs through Oct. 31, that's Halloween! Help publish the Bobo tapes by "treating" our campaign! (Time is running out!) Here's the link:…/the-bobo-the-gorilla-t…/x/2691214

I am asking your help to turn tapes of never-before-heard interviews with the people who cared for Bobo, Seattle's beloved, iconic gorilla, into an audiobook.

Like the smell of freshly ground coffee? Bobo really did! Back then coffee came in cans with reclosable lids (not unlike some coffee still today). Bobo liked the smell of coffee so much that when Jean Lowman wasn't looking he'd get the lid off the coffee can and spill it out on the floor. He didn't eat it, said Jean, he just loved the smell.

Startling, previously undisclosed clues to the untimely death of Bobo, Seattle’s iconic gorilla, are contained in recently rediscovered audio-taped interviews with people who knew Bobo best, according to Lowman family member, Heidi Henken, who is currently conducting a fund-raising appeal on to turn the tapes into an audiobook.

The tapes include personal conversations with Bill Lowman, the Anacortes, Washingto...n, fisherman who bought Bobo as an infant in 1951 from an Ohio-based game hunter, with Jean Lowman, Bill Lowman’s mother, who became Bobo’s surrogate mother for his early life, and with Pat Pichette, the adult Bobo’s final keeper at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle.

The zoo purchased the young gorilla from the Lowmans in December, 1953, when Bobo became too strong for them to keep in their home. Bobo died in 1968, at an age considered young for a lowland gorilla, and questions have continued to surround his death.

“The interviews were originally recorded in the late 1980s and early 1990s as background material for a possible future book about Bobo,” says Henken. “Recently I cleared out my storage, rediscovered the tapes, listened to them and realized they were something special. The people I interviewed have since passed on, and this is the last opportunity to hear them tell this fascinating story in their own voices.”

The interview with Pichette is particularly surprising, according to Henken. “He was the one who found Bobo’s body,” she says, “and he was the one who had been caring for Bobo during the weeks immediately preceding his death. But no one had ever interviewed him before. What he tells me on the tape about Bobo’s behavior in the days leading up to his death is absolutely astonishing.”

Henken is attempting to raise $7,900 by October 31 in her fundraising appeal.

“I have an agreement with local audiobook company, Open Book, to publish the tapes,” she says, “but they were originally recorded on a small cassette player and they need a lot of work to bring them up to current publication standards. Digitization, audio clean-up, editing, and formatting, is surprisingly time-consuming and expensive.

“I know there are a lot of people out there still interested in Bobo, and I’m asking Bobo’s friends and fans to please donate to support completion of this project.”

Bobo’s remains are now in the permanent collection of the Museum of History and Industry in Seattle (MOHAI). “I also have an agreement, as part of this project, to supply clips from the tapes to MOHAI, to be included in the Bobo exhibit,” Henken adds, “so your support of this project will also benefit the museum.”

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I am asking your help to turn tapes of never-before-heard interviews with the people who cared for Bobo, Seattle's beloved, iconic gorilla, into an audiobook.

A rare new photo of Jean Lowman being interviewed in the late 1980s about raising Bobo has just been added to the gallery of the Bobo the Gorilla tapes crowdfunding appeal. If you click the link below and click on the gallery tab you can view the photo. It is the first time this photo has ever been shared anywhere. We also hope you'll contribute to help this project!

I am asking your help to turn tapes of never-before-heard interviews with the people who cared for Bobo, Seattle's beloved, iconic gorilla, into an audiobook.

Bobo the gorilla gives a heartfelt thank-you to Susan Pedersen for her generous contribution to the Bobo the Gorilla Tapes audiobook project! Every contribution moves us closer to telling Bobo's story through interviews with Bill and Jean Lowman and Bobo's last zookeeper, Pat Pichette. Thanks again Susan Pedersen!

I am asking your help to turn tapes of never-before-heard interviews with the people who cared for Bobo, Seattle's beloved, iconic gorilla, into an audiobook.

Reposting this as there may have been a glitch with the last link! It's a funding campaign to turn taped interviews with Bill and Jean Lowman and Bobo's last keeper into an audiobook. Please check it out and share! Thanks!

I am asking your help to turn tapes of never-before-heard interviews with the people who cared for Bobo, Seattle's beloved, iconic gorilla, into an audiobook.

Bobo's birthday cake 1954, served up by Jean and Ray Lowman. In the Seattle Museum of History & Industry collection.