Professor Niels Bolwig

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The Independent Online

When niels Bolwig came to Nigeria in 1962 he arrived with crates of baboons, writes Brian Hopkins [further to the obituary by Arne F. Petersen, 17 November]. Their importation caused some problems at the airport.

When niels Bolwig came to Nigeria in 1962 he arrived with crates of baboons, writes Brian Hopkins [further to the obituary by Arne F. Petersen, 17 November]. Their importation caused some problems at the airport.

We met very soon, for he had a house near ours. He came on a field trip to see tree-felling in a forest reserve. A few days later, he was telling my wife of the most interesting day he had spent, when she responded: "Yes, I know; I sat next to you in the Land Rover."

Clearly, he could be absent-minded. He was also capable of getting hold of the wrong end of the stick. Although these eccentricities endeared "Bolly" to many, they caused occasional problems for his colleagues.

One of his achievements was the enlargement of and improvements to the university zoo, which was a considerable visitor attraction. His plans for one extension included some large pens carved out of the adjacent bush. There was considerable debate at the committee stage about the safety of the proposed fences. The discussion was at cross-purposes: most members were concerned about protecting the public from the animals, whereas Bolly was concerned with protecting the animals from the visitors.

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