Gorillas to prowl Torbay's streets as Paignton Zoo celebrates 90th birthday

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By PGStrange | Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 15:05

PAIGNTON ZOO is celebrating its 90th birthday with an "ambitious" plan, placing life-size model gorillas around Torbay's streets, parks and open spaces. The Great Gorillas Project – which is being launched today and will be seen next summer – combines art, conservation and the community...

The model gorillas are being sponsored by businesses and community groups. Painted with original designs by local artists, they will be displayed in public for ten weeks in the summer of 2013, creating a "unique" art trail.

Pippa Craddock, Paignton Zoo's Director of Marketing and Development, said: "The Great Gorillas Project will be a world-class mass public art event. It is a celebration of 90 years of conservation at Paignton Zoo and a thank you to our local community for all the support over the years. It will also raise awareness and funds to help the Cross River gorillas of Nigeria, the world's most endangered species of gorilla."

For ten weeks in the summer of 2013, life-size gorilla sculptures will inhabit streets, parks and open spaces on the English Riviera and in Exeter. They'll showcase the wealth of artistic talent in the area, while highlighting the conservation threat facing wild gorillas and how the local  business community can make a difference.

The Great Gorillas Project will not only enable Paignton Zoo to continue its conservation and education work, it will also help the work to save the Cross River gorillas from extinction. The  Cross River gorillas closely resemble the lowland gorillas at Paignton Zoo.

Found along the southern section of the Nigeria-Cameroon  border, fewer than 300 Cross River gorillas remain in the wild. It is the most endangered African ape, ranking among the world's 25 most endangered primate species. Illegal hunting for bushmeat and habitat loss threaten the future of Cross River gorillas.

The Great Gorillas will be invading Torbay's streets between August and October 2013 before being auctioned for charity on Wednesday 6 November 2013.

For more information go to www.greatgorillas.org.uk

For more pictures, go to: Paignton Zoo's gorillas are go!

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