On August 20, Ivan the gorilla died peacefully at Zoo Atlanta. He was 50 years old.
Longtime ARFF supporters will remember the campaign that was launched in 1997 to persuade Miami’s Monkey Jungle to send a gorilla named King to Zoo Atlanta, where he could be with other gorillas. During ARFF’s campaign we pointed to the story of Ivan as an example of a previously solitary gorilla who had successfully been introduced into a gorilla family. From the time he was a young gorilla, Ivan was kept in a concrete-and-bars enclosure at a circus-themed shopping center in Tacoma, Washington. Following a campaign by animal advocates, in 1994 Ivan was flown to Zoo Atlanta where he saw another gorilla for the first time in three decades!
Sadly, despite Zoo Atlanta’s invitation and pleas from Jane Goodall, Bob Barker, and thousands of Florida residents, Monkey Jungle stubbornly refused to allow King to join Ivan.
For the past 23 years, King has lived alone at Monkey Jungle, and because Monkey Jungle lost its American Zoo and Aquarium Association-accreditation years ago, it does not qualify to receive another gorilla. King will turn 43 this year.
Gorillas and other apes are intelligent animals with complex social and emotional lives. Gorillas are best-off when they are in social situations.
We are very happy that Ivan was allowed to spend the final 17 years of his life with the companionship of other gorillas. We are saddened that King may never have that chance.
Please ask Monkey Jungle to transfer King to a respected zoo where he could live out the remainder of his life with companionship and dignity.
Sharon Dumond & Frank Dumond, Jr., Owners
14805 Southwest 216th Street
Miami, FL 33170