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.
It was clear to the zoo lobby that there would be public outcry if the plans were made public, as evidenced by the documents published by the Guardian.
The document reads: “The main disadvantage of this option is that any discussion about killing gorillas can quickly become emotional because it is easy to empathize with.
Any discussion on culling can quickly become an emotional one because it is easy to empathise with gorillas. This carries a high risk that an emotional response by the public and/or zoo staff and keepers, catalysed by social media, inflicts damage to zoos and aquariums.”
Dr Ben Garrod, a primatologist and professor of evolutionary biology and science engagement at the University of East Anglia, said:
“I’d ask why any zoo is able to breed so many gorillas that a cull is even considered necessary.
Do we cull the babies or old animals or excess males? These are social, sentient and cultured animals.
We do not have the right to treat them as surplus stock in this way.
To breed animals like this without a sustainable and ethical outcome is reckless to say the least, and needs to be addressed.”
And I mean…Despite the overpopulation of male gorillas in European zoos, “breeding” continues unhindered
Because gorilla babies are guaranteed checkout magnets (“oh how cute”).
If they reach puberty, the males have to be sorted out, as gorillas live in harem families (1 m and several f), in which only one adult male (silverback) is tolerated.
What to do with the now “superfluous” male young animals?
According to the logic of the zoo operator, they have to be killed because there is no space for them or, better said, space is created for new babies so that the cash register keeps ringing.
That says everything about us rational human animals, who act so scientifically and of course in solidarity with our ancestors!
Have these scientists ever looked around within their species?
Humanity is exploding in astonomical numbers and claiming more and more space for itself on this planet.
Nobody seems to see this as an environmental crime.
Just the term “culling” … murder remains murder. Planned and from low motives. Out of greed.
Hopefully the Omikron variant will “cull” some of these “decision makers”.
My best regards to all, Venus