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Gorilla rescued from Bangkok zoo on shopping centre's seventh floor after 28 years in captivity

Female gorilla Bua Noi, which means Little Lotus, is reportedly being rehomed after Thai authorities ordered the zoo shut

Rose Troup Buchanan
Saturday 14 March 2015 10:59 GMT
Bua Noi in her cage at Pata department store in Bangkok
Bua Noi in her cage at Pata department store in Bangkok (Getty Images)

A gorilla held on the seventh floor of a concrete department store in Thailand for 28 years is finally being released.

The primate Bua Noi, which means Little Lotus, has been in Bangkok’s Pata department store since 1987 alongside tigers, leopards, monkeys and apes – who are made to perform to visitors.

An online petition, started last year, calling for all the animals to be released has been signed by almost 50,000 people.

Thai authorities have decided that the zoo break several laws and has ordered the removal of Bua Noi and the other animals, the Daily Mirror reported.

Unfortunately, the female gorilla has lived in captivity – and alone – for so long that campaigners fear she will never be able to be released to the wild.

It remains unclear what will happen to the other animals, including an orangutan and her baby, a chimpanzee, a black panther, two leopards and four black bears, but it is thought they will also be rehomed.

Despite Bua Noi’s long stretch in captivity information on her breed remains scare.

If she is a mountain gorilla she is one of the most endangered species on the planet, one of approximately only 700 left on earth - most of which live in the Virunga mountains in central Africa.

Conservationists are unsure of the exact numbers of Lowland Gorillas. They inhabit inaccessible areas of rainforests in western Africa but are classified as an endangered species.

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