Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Gorillas go home

1 December 2007

Categories: Homepage News, Primates Campaign News

The “Taiping Four” are four western lowland gorillas - victims of a brutal illegal wildlife trade.  However, Cameroon has finally welcomed them home, 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.

Originally captured from the wild as infants in Cameroon, the gorillas are believed to have been transported over the border into Nigeria, and then exported illegally from Nigeria (Ibadan Zoo) to Malaysia (Taiping Zoo) in 2002. Malaysia subsequently decided to send the gorillas to Pretoria Zoo in South Africa.  A seemingly bizarre decision, considering the availability of good sanctuary space in Cameroon at the Limbe Wildlife Centre.   

These four gorillas were not the only victims of this illegal trade - investigations revealed that a further 6 gorilla infants had also been brought to Ibadan zoo, but these had sadly died.

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.

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.

Thanks to tireless lobbying by Born Free and many other organisations including IPPL, LAGA, IFAW and PASA¹ -  these gorillas have been returned to Cameroon and sanctuary in Limbe.

The Limbe sanctuary has rescued four chimps this year alone.

Image caption: Back in Cameroon - one of the Taiping Four (Photo ©LAGA)


¹International Primate Protection League, Last Great Ape Organisation, International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Pan African Sanctuary Alliance.

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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