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Zoo owners are refusing to release 'world's saddest gorilla'
Featured Image Credit: dpa picture alliance / Alamy

Zoo owners are refusing to release 'world's saddest gorilla'

A campaign to release the 'world's saddest gorilla' from captivity in a shopping centre zoo has hit a wall.

Bua Noi, Thailand's last gorilla, has spent over 30 years held in captivity in a zoo located in a shopping centre - and won't be leaving any time soon.

Locked in a small enclosure inside the Pata department store, Bangkok, Bua Noi has been behind bars in the private zoo since she was one year old.

Bua Noi, which means 'Little Lotus' in Thai, is the last gorilla in Thailand and was purchased as private property to be held in the zoo before laws were brought in to clamp down on the trade on endangered animals.

Bua Noi has sometimes been referred to as 'the world's saddest gorilla' as she's kept in the shopping mall zoo in a small enclosure with concrete floors and has never been outside.

She's also not had other gorillas around for company, meaning for more than 30 years she's been alone behind bars in a 10 metres by 20 metres enclosure.

Efforts to free the gorilla and shut the shopping centre zoo down ramped up in 2015 when animal rights groups called for her release.

With concrete floors and an enclosure that's 10 metres by 20 metres, there are loud calls to free the poor gorilla.
dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Any and all attempts to free the lonely gorilla have been rebuffed, however, with the zoo owners saying they don't want to sell her.

According to the Bangkok Post, the zoo owners have refused to sell the gorilla despite Thailand's ministry of natural resources and environment attempting to negotiate a sale.

The ministry had said they'd been planning to buy the gorilla for 30 million baht (almost $790,000) and suggested a fundraising campaign could be launched, but the zoo insisted Bua Noi is not for sale.

They said the ageing gorilla 'could die at any time' and claimed she is too old to adapt to a new environment after spending a lifetime in their enclosure.

Kept in a small enclosure in a shopping mall, gorilla Bua Noi has never known freedom.
dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

While there had been plans to move her back to Germany where she was born and put her in a sanctuary with other gorillas, the shopping mall zoo said they wouldn't be parting with their 'cherished animal' and argued that Bua Noi was not 'being imprisoned'.

Gorillas usually live around 40 years, so having spent more than 30 years in a Thailand zoo there's not much time left for Bua Noi to enjoy any possible freedom she might gain.

One of the major backers who has been calling for the gorilla's release is singer Cher, who previously declared an interest in freeing Bua Noi from captivity.

Her efforts to get the gorilla freed and the zoo shut down back in 2020 were unsuccessful, and campaigner's hopes to get the old gorilla out of the zoo appear to have been met with failure once again.

Topics: World News, News, Animals