For the first time in many months gorillas may be seen at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria. Not a sound came from the gorilla enclosure yesterday as spectators anxiously waited for the primates to make their appearance.
The Home for Gentle Giants was officially reopened after its previous tenants had to be returned to their country of origin, Cameroon, because of complications with their permits about three years ago.
The gorillas, Bonsi, Binga, Louie and Asali, are part of an international breeding plan.
According to Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, of the National Research Foundation in Pretoria, the breeding programme is closely co-ordinated with zoos in Europe and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites).
A detailed stud book is kept on all the available males to ensure the genetic health of the gorilla population and to prevent in-breeding.