Friday, May 30, 2008

Floquet de Neu Albino Gorilla

Floquet de Neu Albino Gorilla pictures images pics photos galleryFloquet de Neu (c. 1964 – November 24, 2003) was an extremely rare albino gorilla, the most popular resident of the Parc Zoològic de Barcelona in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.
He was originally named Nfumu Ngi (Fang, "white gorilla"), then later on nicknamed Snowflake by National Geographic magazine, and then translated as Copito de Nieve (Spanish) and Floquet de Neu (Catalan). The asteroid 95962 Copito is named in his honour.
Snowflake was a Western Lowland Gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). The only albino gorilla known, he was captured outside Nko, Rio Muni (now Equatorial Guinea) on October 1, 1966 by Benito Mañé. Benito kept him at his own home for four days and then transported him to Bata where he was purchased by Catalan primatologist Jordi Sabater Pi. His mother was shot by Benito Mañé, protecting his livelihood, whilst she tore a banana stem apart in his banana plantation. Clinging to the gorilla was a small creature, whose head was buried deep in her black fur.
He lived at the Barcelona Zoo in the Parc de la Ciutadella. He was known worldwide, mentioned in tourist guides and put on postcards, becoming a mascot for the city. Some of his pictures make it look like he is grimacing; this is in fact him merely squinting due to his pigmentless eyes and bright lights.
He became a main character in the novel Memòries d'en Floquet de Neu (Snowflake's Memories), by the Catalan writer Toni Sala. Sabater Pi also dedicated a book to the gorilla, under the title Floquet per sempre (Snowflake Forever). He also makes a brief appearance in Italo Calvino's novel Mr. Palomar.
Snowflake's fame also helped to promote awareness of the endangered gorilla. "If we do nothing there will be no more gorillas in 30 years," Sabater Pi said, at the presentation of his book.
During his life at the zoo, he fathered 22 offspring (6 survived to adulthood) with three females, and lived to see his grandchildren. None of his offspring was albino. His last son, Urko, died in August 2003.
He was thought to be between 38 and 40 years old; the average lifespan of a wild gorilla is 25. He had suffered since 2001 from an unusual form of skin cancer, possibly relating to his albinism, and it was announced in September 2003 that he was dying. Thousands visited the zoo to say goodbye before he was euthanized in November 2003.
A memorial fund for bursaries into primatology was started in Floquet de Neu's name.
Floquet de Neu was also featured on the cover of a Basement Jaxx album called Rooty.
The "Tre allegri ragazzi morti" album "Il sogno del gorilla bianco" ("White gorilla's dream") is referred to Snowflake. After publishing the album, the singer of the band, Davide Toffolo, wrote a book titled "Il re bianco" ("The white king"), also referred to the white gorilla.

The star of Peter Jackson's epic "King Kong" was influenced by Snowflake's anthropomorphisms.