The demise of the Thatcher, once considered the most fearsome of all the big Tory beasts, has put renewed focus on the dwindling numbers of Tories who, in happier times, roamed freely through the jungles of Middle England.
David Hanley, Head of Right-Wing Mammalogy at Whipsnade Zoo, explained: ‘The loss of the Thatcher (Grocerus Polltaxus) just leaves a handful of the community still in the wild. Creatures such as the Clarke (Realus Aleus), with its distinctive florid facial markings and wildly oscillating call, and the Heseltine (Tarzanus Tarzanus), known for its dramatic plumage, are considered by many to be the last of a once proud species.’
The Thatcher had long been extinct in the wild, and with the last captive specimen dying last week, all attempts to repopulate the species have gone to waste. ‘The Thatcher had been on its last legs for a while, and despite our best efforts it hasn’t really produced much in the way of offspring,’ continued Hanley. ‘It did mate once, but the results were disappointing. We released one of the runts into the wild but it got hopelessly lost and had to be airlifted back to its mother after 5 days.’
Hopes had risen that a number of smaller, sub-species might assimilate themselves into the group at the top of the herd, however such hopes quickly foundered. ‘For a while it looked like the Gove (Useluss Abacus) and the Mitchell (Cyclus Plebus) might breathe new life into the pack, but they both seem to be rapidly fading. There were also high hopes for the Pickles (Lambus Pasandarus). We tried to capture one so that we could study it more closely, but unfortunately we couldn’t find a tranquiliser dart big enough.’
However, some good news has come in the form of the Johnson (Mayorus Philanderus), which is currently thriving. ‘The Johnson is quite literally the great white hope for the Tory flock, or ‘bolus’ to use the right collective noun,’ continued Hanley. ‘It looks like a quite ungainly, almost loveable creature, but beneath its lumbering exterior lurks a creature of fearless ambition. And its shaggy white fleece and unique mating call of ‘Whiff Whaff’ has proved remarkably successful with the females.’