Decision Maker Response

Neil Bemment’s response

Neil Bemment
Gorilla EEP vice-coordinator

Feb 13, 2014 — Dear Petitioners

Some points of clarification:

a) Firstly, some of the information given in support of this petition is not factually correct and the photo comparison of the un-named silverback and the sterilised male Kukuma is misleading
b) Kukuma was hand reared and did not grow up in his original family group whereas those that have been recently castrated will be in with their natural mother and siblings; this may prove to be a significant factor.
c) The Gorilla EEP already uses a variety of husbandry techniques to manage the population including the formation of bachelor groups/retired pairs, use of contraceptives etc. and will continue to do so
d) The Gorilla EEP needs to keep breeding in order to ensure that the European zoo population is indeed self-sustaining for the future
e) The Gorilla EEP currently assists 6 other gorilla keeping countries outside of Europe which are nowhere near being self-sustaining on their own
f) The Gorilla birth ratio is approximately 50:50 so it is inevitable that not all males will be required for breeding
g) No more gorillas have been nominated for castration at this time
h) The development of the individuals that have been castrated to date will be monitored closely and it is not intended that any more gorillas will be castrated until the Gorilla EEP is satisfied that it does indeed work as we hypothesise. i.e. males that are never going to be needed for breeding can live compatibly within their family group and without undue psychological / social consequences if sterilised at a young age.

Neil Bemment
Vice-coordinator for the Gorilla EEP