Gorillas in the wild are critically endangered. Too many of them live in European zoos. Now some are supposed to die. The outcry is great.
They actually live in the African rainforest, are intelligent, sensitive and threatened with extinction in the wild: Western lowland gorillas, the smallest of the four gorilla species, are between 1.20 and 1.80 meters tall and in tests achieve an intelligence quotient between 70 and 90
People don’t do much better on average, most people score somewhere between 85 and 115…
In the wild they are critically endangered. The exact number of western lowland gorillas is not known because they inhabit some of the most dense and remote rainforests in Africa.
Because of poaching and disease, the gorilla’s numbers have declined by more than 60% over the last 20 to 25 years.
In contrast, so many of these gorillas live in European zoos and animal parks that it is getting crowded. From a certain age, male animals are often kept separate from younger and female conspecifics.
Zoo operators are therefore considering killing male lowland gorillas, reports the Guardian.
This emerges from previously secret documents from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).
Castration and culling – that is, targeted killing – are options for reducing overpopulation in zoos, according to the association’s papers. Currently, 463 such gorillas live in the almost 70 EAZA zoos, 212 of them are male.
The gorilla action plan, released to stakeholders in zoos, admits that culling would be “the most appropriate tool if strictly talking from the biological point of view,” but that the decision could be unpopular with the public.
“From a biological point of view, killing is the best means.
“It is wrong in many ways to castrate or kill a healthy gorilla for human convenience.”
Ian Redmond, BBC presenter
Animal rights activists are appalled by the plans.
The lowland gorillas are threatened with extinction and are protected by international law.
The conservationist Damian Aspinall, whose foundation has already released gorillas, wants to save the animals.
“It’s so sad that zoos are considering killing gorillas when they can be released into the wild,” Aspinall said.
The world community has only just committed to protecting biodiversity.
However, the release into the wild is difficult, especially with great apes, says primate expert Garrod.
Gorillas from Europe, for example, could introduce diseases into the African wilderness, which would have devastating effects.
In addition, an area would have to be found that is far away from other gorillas – and from villages, in order to avoid conflicts between animals and humans.
Poachers and disease have decimated the population by more than half in the past few decades.
An EAZA spokeswoman confirmed the killing plans to the Guardian as “part of the management plan” (!!!)
The zoos would, however, support reintroduction if the conditions are suitable.
But she also emphasized that there had been no culls so far and that the association would not currently recommend this explicitly. Castration, on the other hand, is common practice to control the number of animals.