Newport, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- "Ape-raham" is a stuffed Lowland Gorilla which has stood at Perry's Nut House for at least 75 years. The virtually ignored piece of taxidermy is being restored by members of Mr. Whitten's class at Nokomis High School. Mr. Whitten believes that his is the only taxidermy high school class in the country.
"I love the hands on work," said Nokomis student Elijah Anderson.
The Western Lowland Gorilla was apparently shot when he was about ten years old. Howard Whitten thinks that happened well back in the nineteenth century. Everything is speculation, but it seems likely that he was shot by a hunter on safari. The speciman was cheaply mounted and brought to the United States. It ended up at Perry's Nut House in Belfast and has been viewed by millions of visitors over the last 75 years. He was named "Ape-raham" after Perry's held a contest.
The project and the class attract students who are interested in the sciences. Caitlin Parent who is interested in becoming a medical examiner said, "I thought this would be a good opportunity to learn the anatomy of the animal."
The students are working with apoxies, hair and paint to restore the look of "Ape-raham." Lowland gorillas live in troops of about thirty with a dominant male as the leader. There are non-threatening males in the group. "Ape-raham" was about ten, not quite an adult when he was shot.
Lowland gorillas are endangered making "Ape-raham" even more important. Students can learn from him and believe they can restore him into excellent condition so that others may learn as well.