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World’s loneliest gorilla lives in a mall


Bangkok – Animal activists are calling for the world’s loneliest gorilla to be released from a department store in Thailand. 

The gorilla named Bua Noi is housed in Pata Zoo at the top of the Pata Pinklao store in the capital of Bangkok. Efforts to secure her release have been ongoing for years.

There are fears that her mental and physical health are in decline after 35 years in captivity.

Bua Noi has been alone in her enclosure for more than a decade, following her mate’s death. In the wild, gorillas are social animals who enjoy living in large family groups both for survival and stimulation.  

Owners of Pata Zoo deny she and other animals are being treated badly, despite being charged with breaking animal welfare laws in 2015.

They say Bua Noi is unsuitable for release because she would be unlikely to adapt to a new environment in her senior years. She is more than 30 years old.

The animal conservation charity Aspinall Foundation says the gorilla could be cared for beautifully in a sanctuary.

With only a tire swing for enrichment, Bua Noi is frequently seen sitting at the back of her enclosure. From there, the senior gorilla refuses to engage with onlookers.  

The gorilla’s fate has not gone unnoticed. But despite increasing pressure from animal rights campaigners such as actors Cher and Gillian Anderson have called for Bua Noi’s release.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment says it intends to buy and relocate Bua Noi. However, this was quashed when Pata Zoo said no money had been offered.

Zoos have long been considered exploitative by animal welfare campaigners, but it appears that the rest of the world may be cottoning on to their ethical costs.

Animal advocacy organisation Free the Wild aims to secure the release of captive animals into sanctuaries. It has launched a petition to free the world’s loneliest gorilla and people can pledge their support here.