Born Free responds to videos of gorillas at defunct Bristol Zoo Gardens

Videos circulating on social media highlight the sad reality for wild animals in captivity.

Close up of the face of a gorilla

Born Free is aware of videos circulating on social media which feature footage of the gorillas housed at the old site of Bristol Zoo Gardens, which closed to the public in 2022.

Although the zoo has confirmed that gorillas remain housed at the old site and under the care of keepers while their new enclosure continues to be constructed at their new ‘Bristol Zoo Project’ site, the videos and the public reaction to them serves to highlight the sad reality facing many wild animals in captivity.

Born Free’s Captivity Research & Policy Manager Chris Lewis said: “The enclosure they are housed in appears to be the same as that when Bristol Zoo was open to the public and is sadly typical of many great apes’ indoor enclosure within a zoo. This highlights the conditions these animals have to endure in captivity and how the needs of such intelligent, sentient beings cannot be met in a zoo environment, whether zoo visitors are present or not.”

Born Free is concerned that individuals are able to access the facility which poses significant risks to the health and safety of the individuals involved, zoo staff and also the remaining animals at the zoo.

We understand the incident has been reported to the police and hope the zoo and the relevant authorities ensure such incidents do not occur in the future, while also ensuring the welfare of the gorillas is paramount during this transition period.

Find out more about Born Free’s position on zoos