Taiping 4 Gorilla "Oyin" Dies

Monday, June 9, 2008
Cape Town, South Africa
Oyin, one of the “Taiping Four” gorillas died of unknown causes in Cameroon yesterday the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW – www.ifaw.org) announced this evening.
“We are extremely upset by the news that Oyin, one of the gorillas relocated to Cameroon from South Africa in December 2007, has passed away. She had apparently been sickly for about 10 days. At this stage it is unclear what caused her illness and, following an autopsy, blood and tissue samples have been sent to appropriate laboratories to ascertain the cause of death,” said Christina Pretorius, Campaign Manager of IFAW Southern Africa.
 
“We are extremely grateful to the Limbe Wildlife Centre (LWC) which has been caring for Oyin and Tinu, Izan and Abbey – all Western Lowland Gorillas – since we were able to return them to Cameroon last year.
 
“We also extend our deep sympathy to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa and their staff who provided great care and affection for the gorillas for so many years,” said Pretorius.
 
Pretorius said IFAW would announce the results of the cause of death as soon as they became available.
 
The return of the so-called “Taiping Four” to Cameroon marked the end of a saga in which the gorillas became ensnared in the politics of several nations and international law and became a high profile example of the rampant illegal trade in endangered species.
 
The gorillas, a male and three females, first made international headlines in 2002 after being smuggled to Malaysia using forged documents. DNA tests later confirmed that the animals were captured from the wild in Cameroon prior to being exported to Malaysia. In 2004, after being confiscated by Malaysian authorities, they were sent for safekeeping to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa in Pretoria.
 
Over the last five years IFAW represented the NGO community including the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA), the International Primate Protection League (IPPL), the Last Great Ape Organisation (LAGA) and the Pandrillus Foundation, all of whom lobbied exhaustively to ensure that the various governments involved upheld the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to have the gorillas returned to their home country.

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