REMEMBERING KUMBUKA

Virginia McKenna OBE, Born Free's Co-Founder & Trustee, reflects on the recent death of Kumbuka

Some months ago I saw the magnificent gorilla, Kumbuka, at London Zoo. He was inside the gorilla house with his family and companions. Sitting, looking, existing. As always, I wondered what his thoughts were.

Born in captivity, at Belfast Zoo, in 1997, he had lived in five other zoos – finally coming to London in 2013. He had never known the rainforest, rarely made any choices – except to try and escape from London Zoo in 2016.

Of course, those who looked after him will miss him. How could anyone not feel loss at the passing of a vulnerable and extraordinary animal?

But I hope this will be a moment for serious reflection on the keeping of wild creatures in captivity – never able to express their true nature. It is not a human right to see wild animals. But it is an animal’s right to live as nature intended, for however long or short a time.

This could be Kumbuka’s legacy.

WILD ANIMALS IN ZOOS

UPDATE DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX

Sign up to get the latest Born Free news about our work and how you can help, delivered straight to your inbox.