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Count Dohna and His SeaGull ©

Appam's Leopard
Bertha - Pompey - Appam

Collector of the Customs Norman Hamilton and Hans Berg.
Collector of the Customs Norman Hamilton and German Prize Officer Lieutenant Hans Berg in a picture taken on February 4, 1916 on the captured English liner Appam.

SMS SeaGull captured Appam, an English passenger liner, on January 15, 1916. John (Jack) Griffin, a passenger on the liner was traveling from Seccondee in the Gold Coast to England. In the cargo hold was a female leopard named Pompey, Griffin was taking her to England. When the ship was captured by SeaGull and subsequently sailed to Hampton Roads, Virginia, the passengers were released but the cargo in the hold was not moved from the ship.
Jack Griffin, unable to arrange for Pompey to be later shipped to England, turned her over to Collector of the Customs Norman Hamilton. He quickly arranged to donate the cat to the Norfolk Zoo. The German prize crew on the Appam renamed the big cat Bertha, and on February 5, 1916 helped unload the leopard to a launch hired by Collector Hamilton. She was taken to a hastily prepared cage, last occupied by an alligator, in the Norfolk Zoo. On the way her name changed again, to Appam.
Appam, only a year old according to her former masters, was a nearly-grown leopard measuring from head to the tip of her tail about six feet. She was a notable addition to the animal collection at the city zoo.
Gold Coast in Africa is now known as Ghana.

Appam Prize crew
Universal Postal Union


Virginia Zoo That's what it is called today.

DAILY PRESS, Newspaper, Newport News, Virginia.
NEW YORK TIMES, Newspaper, New York, New York.
VIRGINIAN-PILOT, Newspaper, Newport News, Virginia.
Last Revision: March 4, 2007.
© Copyright, 2007.
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