Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cameroon Gorillas Make it Home!

Yay! Four gorillas make it back home to Cameroon! Many thanks to the Cameroon government for its perserverance in this long saga.

Cameroon has welcomed home four endangered western lowland gorillas known as the "Taiping Four", following an international campaign that won their return from Malaysia, where they were illegally smuggled five years ago.

The four, a male and three females, were flown to Douala airport late on Friday from South Africa, where they had been kept at the National Zoological Garden in Pretoria after the Malaysian government sent them back to Africa in 2004.

Malaysia' Taiping Zoo had acquired the apes after they were trapped as infants in Cameroon's forests in 2002 and illegally smuggled out of the central African country.

DNA tests established they came from Cameroon, whose government launched an intense diplomatic lobbying campaign for their return, backed by international conservation groups that seek to protect endangered primates.

"This is a victory for our diplomacy. This is proof of our commitment to the principle of the protection of our wildlife," Cameroon's Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Elvis Ngolle Ngolle, told reporters at Douala airport as the gorillas were unloaded in big cages from the plane.

...After their arrival, the gorillas were taken to the Limbe Wildlife Centre sanctuary. They will initially be freed into a quarantine facility before joining 11 other gorillas at the sanctuary in a special enclosure.

Let's hope they live safely for many, many years, safe from poachers, bush-meaters, hunters and all other harm.

Photo by Tomskeeee.

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