Why you might have spotted a gorilla walking around Bristol today

  • Watch 'Peter the Gorilla' make his way through Bristol

People walking around Bristol today might have been surprised to see a rather unusual figure at some of its most popular sites.

'Peter the Gorilla' was led on a tour around the city by zookeepers on Friday (1 July) to raise awareness of Bristol Zoo’s move to the Wild Place Project site.

The primate is played by professional animal actor Peter Elliott who entertained dozens of children en route.

Peter said: "It's great really getting into the skin of another animal - breathing like it, feeling like it, moving with the weight of it.

Peter spent time entertaining children on his tour through Bristol Credit: ITV News

"And also it is good fun having frightened all those kids and just causing chaos wherever you go.

"We do want to get the public really involved with this new location. It's going to be a fantastic new location for the gorillas.

"It's Peter the Gorilla's big day out in Bristol!"

Peter switched between behaving like a gorilla to then morphing into having more human characteristics to interact with the public in a humorous way.

Nearby children said: "As soon as it got out the van I was like 'oh wow, it's an actual gorilla'."

Another said: "It's such a good costume. I mean, I loved it. I remember hearing a teacher saying they smell fear and all the kids going crazy."

A third said: "Oh my God I don't know what to do? Should I call the police? Should we call the zoo."

'Peter the Gorilla' played by professional animal actor, Peter Elliott Credit: ITV News

Peter's work has taken him around the world working on blockbuster films such as Congo and Gorillas in the Mist.

Bristol Zoological Society’s 'Big Summer Send-Off' will begin on July 21 and marks the final opening weeks of the zoo.

Bristol Zoo Gardens’ final public open day will be on September 3, preceded by a series of events to celebrate the site's closure.