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  1. ITV Report

Gorilla raised in West Country village

John Daniel and the children of Uley Photo: Margaret Groom, "Notes from the Uley Archives"

The story of a gorilla raised in a village alongside children has just been uncovered.

A lowland gorilla, named John Daniel, was raised in the village of Uley in Gloucestershire.

Recently discovered photos show the the animal's early life - including being carried around in a wheelbarrow by the village children.

John Daniel in his wheelbarrow Credit: Margaret Groom,

The primate was captured as a baby in Gabon after its parents were shot by French officers.

In 1918, he was found up for sale at Derry & Toms, a London based department store.

He was bought by Major Rupert Penny for £300, which today equates to £25,000.

Alyce Cunningham, the sister of Major Penny, took care of John Daniel - nicknamed "Sultan" - at her country home in Uley.

The village of Uley, Gloucestershire Credit: ITV News

The ape was raised as a normal boy and often went for walks with the children on the Junior School.

Uley Society archivist Margaret Groom discovered the amazing collection of John Daniel which has published in her book about the history of Uley.

"He grew up in the village with the school children. They were exceptionally fond of John Daniel. He had his own bedroom, he could use the light switch and toilet, he made his own bed and helped with the washing up."

– Margaret Groom, "Notes from the Uley Archives"

John Daniel was cared for by Miss Cunningham for 3 years. In this time he grew from a 32lb infant to a 210lb gorilla.

In 1921, she sold him to an American for 1000 guineas. She was led to believe he would be sent to a home in Florida.

She was deceived and John Daniel was sent to the Barnum and Baileys circus. He was displayed at the Ringling zoo of Madison Square Garden in New York.

John Daniel enjoying a drink before departing for America Credit: Margaret Groom,

The gorilla's health deteriorated and it was believed he deeply missed Miss Cunningham.

The zoo urgently called her, and even paid for her to come and see John Daniel. She set sail immediately, but he died of pneumonia before she arrived, aged 4 years old.

He can be found stuffed and and on display at the New York Museum, where he has been for the last 95 years.