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2009 the Year of the Gorilla

2009 has been declared internationally as the Year of the Gorilla. On March 28, the Taipei Zoo held a series titled “Conservation and Education of Gorillas 2009”, where children suffering from cancer were invited to attend as special guests along with their parents. The aim was to convey the importance of environmental conservation through the telling of stories about the gorilla, and to raise public awareness about the plight these animals face through educational activities.

Taipei Zoo has two male gorillas -- one is the 44-year old “Hei-Pi and the other the 24-year old “Bao-Bao”. The Zoo is actively in contact with other national zoos that have female gorillas in captivity as well as conservation organizations, hoping to find a mate for Bao-Bao, who is at the prime of his life, and help to continue the bloodline of this endangered family of gorillas.

The conservation actions in the Year of Gorilla in addition to conserving the gorillas are efforts to conserve their habitats amid the tropical rainforest too. You see, gorillas are the “gardeners of forests”. Tropical rainforests depend on gorillas to carry out the valuable role of disbursing and spreading seeds out, a role of critical and vital importance to the dynamics in the succession of vegetations in the forest ecosystem.