The Duke of Edinburgh opens 'Gorilla Kingdom' at London Zoo, 29 March 2007
The Duke of Edinburgh has opened an important new project at London Zoo which will help with the conservation and study of gorillas.
'Gorilla Kingdom' will enable visitors, in particular school groups, to view the gorillas from platforms and from behind glass, getting closer than ever before.
The Duke met staff at London Zoo, including the keepers who have been helping the new arrivals to settle in. Effie, a 14-year-old female, was sent from Leipzig Zoo at the beginning of March and is still getting used to her new surroundings.
Daniel Simmonds, who helps look after the primates in the zoo, spoke about how he has been making her feel at home:
'I say things in German like 'Effie you're so cute' and 'Was ist das?'. It's small pep talk.
They're not cats and dogs, they're very intelligent animals. It may seem silly but it's very important.'
After His Royal Highness had toured the complex, Sir Patrick Bateson, President of the Zoological Society of London, which runs the zoo, thanked The Duke of Edinburgh for his involvement and said of 'Gorilla Kingdom':
'We think it will return London to one of the great zoos of the world'
The Duke, a former President of the society himself, then gave a brief speech praising the pioneering work of the zoo. Mayor Ken Livingstone echoed his words and spoke of the importance of conservation given the threats posed by global warming.
'Gorilla Kingdom' is open to the general public from 30 March 2007.