A gorilla has enrolled
at the University of Exeter.
primate arrived wrapped in pretend brown paper, tied with mock string and
covered in air mail stickers, stamps and franks from South Africa, Canada,
Indonesia, Australia and Cuba.
piece of public art is named Takamanda, after a national park in the Cameroon
set up in 2008 to help protect the endangered Cross River gorilla.
She is part of
the Great Gorillas Project, which is celebrating the 90th birthday
of Paignton Zoo. Life-size model gorillas have been sponsored by businesses and
community groups, painted in original designs by specially-commissioned artists
and displayed in public, creating a unique art trail around Exeter and the
Takamanda, who can be found in the Forum building, is the
result of a student competition. Third year undergraduate Meriel Fry's winning design is a
globetrotting gorilla that has made stops around the world and collected stamps
featuring other endangered animals before finally arriving in Devon. Local
artist Jelly brought the design to life.
attended graduation, one of the most important and exciting weeks in the
University calendar. Deputy Chief Operating Officer and Director of Campus Services Geoff Pringle said: "We ensured she had her very own
cap and gown - she took centre stage in the Forum, where she was admired by
everyone and became a popular graduate to have photos taken with!"
Why did the
University want to get involved in the Great Gorillas Project? "We have a keen
interest in conservation and sustainability. We were therefore eager to support
the Great Gorillas Project and Paignton Zoo with their 90th anniversary
celebrations. The Project has been fantastic because it impacts so positively
on so many different people.
"We are always
keen to work on projects which support local organisations and where we can
help to raise awareness, which in this instance, is the significant
conservation threat facing wild gorillas."
is looking forward to welcoming everyone following the trail who will be coming
to see Takamanda over the summer months.
Gorillas Project will help the work to save the Cross River gorillas from
extinction. Found along the southern section of the Nigeria-Cameroon border, fewer
than 300 Cross Rivera gorillas remain in the wild. It is the most endangered
African ape, ranking among the world's 25 most endangered primate species.
Illegal hunting for bushmeat and habitat loss are among the threats. For
further information go to: www.greatgorillas.org.uk.