Victory! Ndume, a gorilla who was being held in solitary confinement inside a trailer at an unaccredited California pseudo-sanctuary called The Gorilla Foundation, has been returned to the Cincinnati Zoo—where he was born and where he can have the opportunity to live and interact with other members of his species. PETA and more than 68,000 compassionate people took action in support of moving him, and now he’s finally going to receive expert care in the best possible captive conditions, with a multigenerational social group.
Since the passing of Koko—the gorilla who famously knew American Sign Language—a year ago at The Gorilla Foundation, Ndume had been without any companions of his own species. The Gorilla Foundation had contractually agreed to allow him to return to the Cincinnati Zoo once Koko passed away, but it then refused to do so. The Cincinnati Zoo fought for Ndume, as it was able to offer a more appropriate environment with opportunities for socialization and to provide him with expert care, and PETA filed an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief to support the transfer. After multiple court orders mandating that he be transferred as soon as possible, he was finally returned to Cincinnati.
PETA monitors hundreds of captive-wildlife facilities and considers The Gorilla Foundation to be the worst facility for gorillas in the country. It has repeatedly failed to meet even the bare-minimum requirements of the federal Animal Welfare Act and was slapped with an official warning after the U.S. Department of Agriculture found violations relating to its failure to clean the facility adequately during six different inspections. Given that there are no gorilla sanctuaries in North America and that Ndume endured deplorable conditions at The Gorilla Foundation, we look forward to seeing him finally get the expert care that he needs and the chance to socialize with other gorillas in Cincinnati.