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Gorilla's great escape was 1950s student prank: reports

It took more than half a century but the mystery of what happened to a stuffed gorilla when he disappeared for a few days from a Bristol museum has finally been solved, reports said Friday.

The 7 foot-tall gorilla Alfred was taken by three university students in 1956, who thought the theft would make a funny rag week Noun 1. rag week - a week at British universities during which side-shows and processions of floats are organized to raise money for charities

Britain, Great Britain, U.K.
 joke, the Times said.

After swiping Alfred from the city museum, the three friends bundled him into their car and took him back to their student flat. There, they dressed the gorilla up with hats and wigs and took pictures.

The stuffed animal
For preserved dead animals, see taxidermy.

A stuffed animal is toy animal stuffed with straw, beans, cotton or other similar materials. Some stuffed animals are very old – home made cloth dolls stuffed with straw go back to at least the
 was then returned to the waiting room of a university health centre, where police found him. All together, Alfred was missing for 60 hours.

The trio kept the secret for more than 50 years and the truth only came to light because one of them, Ron Morgan, recently passed away.

His partner in crime Fred Hooper, 79, was quoted as saying in the Times: "It was initially my idea. I was about 23 at the time and I thought it would be a great rag week jape."

He added: "There were all sorts of stories going around. People thought that Cardiff students had kidnapped him and there was a rumour that he was in a cave somewhere but we never told anyone we had him."

Tim Corum, Deputy Director of Bristol's, Museums, Galleries and Archives, said no action would be taken following the revelations. "Although we would never condone any such illegal activity as reportedly happened, the Council will not be taking any action against the reputed perpetrators either."

Alfred died at Bristol Zoo Bristol Zoo is a tourist attraction in the city of Bristol in South West England. The Zoo's stated mission is "Bristol Zoo Gardens maintains and defends biodiversity through breeding endangered species, conserving threatened species and habitats and promoting a wider  in 1948. After he was stuffed, he became a popular attraction at Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery, where he is still on display today and, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Corum, "none the worse for his escapade in the 1950s."
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Publication:AFP European Edition
Date:Mar 5, 2010
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