National Geographic : 1957 Jun
874 "Who's Directing This Scene, You or Me?" Coatimundi Asks the Photographer A relative of the raccoon, the coati is consumed by insatiable curiosity. Scientists call it Nasua, the nose. This ring-tailed kit perches atop the camera for a tete-a -tete. Another coati wraps Mr. Lagus's neck. her mustache dribbling slightly, our "mer maid" hardly looked alluring. "If any sailor ever mistook that for a mer maid," Lagus said, "he must have been at sea for a long time." Our expedition had come to an end. A few days afterward Charles and I flew back to London to begin editing our film, leaving Jack and Tim with the task of readying the animals for their long voyage home. Zoo Explorer's Last Expedition But Jack, though camouflaging it bravely, had been in increasing ill health. After we left, his condition became critical. Doctors recommended that he be flown home. Six months later, in London, Jack Lester died. Some weeks elapsed after the animals ar rived at the zoo before I could go see them. Our manatee wallowed contentedly in her crystal pool. The monkeys swung in their cages. Our spider had given birth to several hundred tiny young, now fast growing up. The little parrot I had been given on the Kukui, now fully fledged, still knew me, I decided. When I spoke, the bird jerked its head up and down, exactly as it had when I fed it chewed cassava from my mouth in a forest village across the sea. All our former charges seemed happy and thriving, a great satisfaction to me. It is also satisfying to know that we brought back the most comprehensive collection of South American wildlife to arrive in Great Britain for many years-a fitting tribute to the expedition's leader. For an account of this expedition in book form, see Zoo Quest to Guiana, by David Attenborough, pub lished by the Lutterworth Press, London, and the Thomas Y. Crowell Company, New York.