"Taiping 4" gorilla rescue update - 29 Nov 06

Update - 12.10.06: Due to unexpected circumstances, the Taiping-4 gorilla move is temporarily on hold. We have just received word here at HQ that there has been an unexpected hold-up in South Africa. I will provide an update as soon as I get more details.

IFAW is abuzz as the countdown to the return of the Taiping 4 gorillas – Izan, Tinu, Abbey and Oyin – has well and truly begun, and we are ticking off the “sleeps” until just after midnight on December 13th when the gorillas finally depart South Africa for Cameroon.

The logistics of getting the gorillas away are desperately complicated – from the tortuous process of getting essential permits issued by the Governments of Cameroon and South Africa, to sorting out veterinary requirements and organizing the safe transport of the gorillas.

Kenya Airways is generously helping IFAW to transport the Taiping 4 gorillas and their human caregivers to Cameroon. The airline will transport the T4 from OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa, via Nairobi, Kenya, and on to their destination Douala, Cameroon. Visit www.kenya-airways.com.

The gorillas meanwhile are getting used to a new keeper. To make sure they are subjected to as little stress as possible once they finally arrive at the Limbe Wildlife Centre, Johnathan Kum Kang, Limbe’s head keeper last week arrived for a three week “getting-to-know-you” trip to the National Zoo in Pretoria. He is working with the gorilla’s current keepers at the zoo so that the young gorillas will become used to him. When they leave in two weeks time, two of the National Zoo’s keepers will travel to Limbe as part of the gorilla’s settling in process.

Another interesting part of the process of preparing the four young gorillas has been the making of individual crates for each of them. Our crate builders are working round the clock to deliver the crates to the zoo this weekend. The crates will likely be moved to the gorillas sleeping quarters so the animals will have a little while to familiarize themselves with them.

The move is a whole event in itself. The gorillas will most likely be crated during the afternoon of Tuesday 12th December, before being loaded to a massive flat bed truck. The trip to OR Tambo Airport from the zoo will take about an hour, and the gorillas need to be at the freight holding area at 22h00. From there it’s into the hold of a Kenya Airways Boeing ready for a midnight flight to Nairobi, and onto Cameroon.

We’ll keep you posted in the days to come...

Post a comment