A Brief Background
Most of the 400 or so enlargeable photgraphs on this website were taken in West Africa, principally in Nigeria and Cameroon, during the sixteen years from 1963 to 1979 when I was Curator, then Director, of the Zoological Garden at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. During this period I was able to develop the Zoological Garden into the most popular public visitor attraction of any kind in Nigeria. Before that, in 1956 – at just nineteen years of age – I was asked by Gerald Durrell to accompany him on an animal collecting trip to West Africa. This trip was subsequently written up by Durrell in his popular book ‘A Zoo in my Luggage’. The photographs on this website feature many animal species native to West Africa as well as people and locations – they tell the story of my work and life in West Africa. Click on the headings at the top of this page to explore this website further.
Please note:- the enlargeable images in the photo galleries on this website are designed to display on a desktop or laptop computer screen; they may not display in the same way on a tablet or mobile.
Short Stories. In 2016 I started writing what I plan to be a set of approximately ten true short stories based on my work and experiences in West Africa. I have just (April 2017) completed the fifth story. All five stories are available on this website and are illustrated with photographs and other graphics. Each story is somewhere between 14 and 19 pages long, including illustrations. They are:-
- ‘The Magnificent Bee-eaters’ (17 pages). I visit and describe some of the breeding sites of the northern carmine bee-eater in the banks of the River Niger in western Nigeria before and after the closing of the Kainji Dam in 1968.
- ‘The Absent Elephant’ (19 pages). I discuss the two African forest elephants (Loxodonta cyclotis) in the University of Ibadan Zoological Garden, Nigeria, the only forest elephants I have ever seen. I also describe how I met my wife Peaches – an American – in Nigeria, and how she became the High Sheriff of Bristol in 2010 and Lord Lieutenant of Bristol in 2017, the Queen’s personal representative in that County.
- ‘The Leigh Woods Python’ (12 pages). This is a story about a royal python from Nigeria that lived with me in Bristol, England, for more than 25 years.
- ‘The Christmas Gorillas’ (14 pages). I relate how, on Christmas morning 1970, two young gorillas reacted to my visiting them (on impulse) while still dressed in a Father Christmas costume and how they seemed not to recognise me until I spoke.
- ‘The Green Mamba’ (14 pages). This tells how a zoo keeper from the University Zoological Garden was bitten by a green mamba (not in the Zoo) and nearly died after being injected in hospital with the wrong antivenom!
To read any of the above short stories, or to download them to your computer, or print them for reading at a convenient time, simply click on the button ‘Short Stories’ at the top of this page then select the story you want.
Bob Golding, Bristol, England, 2017.