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Update on Ndume's Move

Update on Ndume's Move

June 12, 2019

We want to update everyone regarding our concerns about Ndume’s transfer this week. He had recent symptoms and a positive lab test result showing Balantidium coli (B coli), which is a serious parasitic infection that can be activated by stress. Due to this, we were concerned about proceeding with the transfer until the condition cleared. We have continued concern for his health, even though his first follow-up lab test results looked good, because an experienced physician had prescribed treatment and testing for a longer period of time before transfer.

The Gorilla Foundation and Cincinnati Zoo have made positive progress together over the past few months toward successfully transitioning Ndume to his new location in Cincinnati. Ndume will be accompanied throughout the entire trip by both his TGF and CZ caregivers to make sure the transfer goes well, and they will keep him as safe and comfortable as possible. Additionally, one of Ndume's favorite TGF caregivers will be staying with him at the Cincinnati Zoo for the next two months to help with the adaptation process.

Note that it has always been our opinion that transfering Ndume back to a zoo after life in a sanctuary for over 27 years — an unprecedented move that has never been done before — presents risks that may outweigh the perceived benefits.  Time will tell; however we will do everything possible to work with CZ to help minimize those risks for Ndume.

Whatever your thoughts and feelings about Ndume’s transfer, the TGF and CZ team ask that you please be respectful of Ndume and those who are assisting him and that you please stay away from the TGF site or any location along his transfer route. Any unusual presence may unintentionally interfere with his safety. Thank you for understanding, as we don’t want to cause Ndume any undue stress. While gorillas are the largest great ape species, they are also the most emotionally fragile.

We are deeply saddened that our beloved Ndume is leaving and wish the very best for his happiness, good health and peace of mind.

Finally, we are extremely grateful to our wonderful caregivers and volunteers who have loved, cared for, and communicated with gorillas Ndume, Koko and Michael over the years, and who have always had their best interests at heart.

This has been a most difficult time for all of us. We would appreciate your positive thoughts and support for Ndume to help him safely transition, and for his new caregivers to learn to love and understand him as much as we have.


More Info: For those of you who would like to read the details of our recent court appeal to postpone Ndume’s transfer for a few weeks to treat him until his positive B coli test results resolved (an appeal that was denied by the court), you can download the actual public document that we submitted to the court here.  

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The Gorilla Foundation / Koko.org
1733 Woodside Rd., Suite 330
Redwood City, CA, 94061
1-800-ME-GO-APE (634-6273)

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Our mission is to learn about gorillas by communicating with them, and apply our knowledge to advance great ape conservation, education, care and empathy.

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