Gorilla makes a new friend on arrival at Bristol Zoo
HE doesn’t need a cage but a gorilla named Rafiki is the latest addition to Bristol Zoo.
The new arrival was unveiled by Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies and artist Nicole Antrobus who painted the sculpture.
Rafiki, which means friend, is the 62nd Wow! Gorilla sculpture created in celebration of the zoo’s 175th birthday.
Fans voted from a choice of ten names and Rafiki won nearly a third of the votes.
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The gorilla will now be on permanent display at the Zoo near Gorilla Island.
Bristol Zoo recently auctioned off its Wow! Gorillas sculptures, raising £427,300 for the Zoo’s gorilla projects and Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal which is raising funds for the cardiology unit at Bristol Children’s Hospital.
Ms Davies, who won a silver medal in the 1980 Olympics, went along to the auction and bought Distinctly Different for her new home in Bradford-upon-Avon.
Wendy Walton, head of commercial operation at the zoo, said: “We have been thrilled with the success of Wow! Gorillas this summer and it’s lovely to have a new Wow! Gorilla to go on permanent display at the Zoo.
“Rafiki will be a lasting legacy of Bristol Zoo’s 175th anniversary year and a permanent reminder of the project and the joy it brought to so many people.”
Ms Antrobus added: “It was an honour and a great challenge to be asked to decorate the 62nd gorilla sculpture. I’ve had such fun creating it and bringing it to life and it is unlike anything I have ever worked on before.
“I’ve drawn gorillas in Uganda and I took inspiration from that trip when I was designing and painting this sculpture. I hope many people will be able to enjoy it at Bristol Zoo.”