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Gorillas invade Torbay

Eight life-sized gorillas sailed into Torquay harbour this morning Photo: ITV Westcountry

The models arrived as part of the Great Gorillas Project. But they won't stay white for long. They will now be sponsored by local businesses and painted by artists from the area. They will then go on show at venues across Torbay and Exeter.

This is Herbert, the only gorilla to have been painted so far, by local artist Sue Misselbrook Credit: ITV Westcountry

It is hoped the statues will raise awareness of the zoo and raise money for gorilla conservation.

I really think that this project has the potential to generate a huge amount of interest, similar projects elsewhere in the country in Bristol and Liverpool and so on have been fantastically successful. People really do buy into this and I think that this is the right project at the right time for this region.

– SIMON TONGE, Executive director, Paignton Zoo
Our cameraman Roger filmed the journey of the gorilla models as they left for their new life in colour Credit: ITV Westcountry

The Great Gorillas Project follows the huge success of a scheme in Bristol. Thousands of visitors joined in the hunt for the gorillas across the city and, when the sculptures were eventually auctioned off, it raised more than £400,000 for conservation projects.

Bristol's gorillas were hugely popular with members of the public Credit: ITV West

It's estimated that of the Cross River species of gorilla found in west Africa, there are only around 300 left in the wild. Funds raised by the Great Gorillas Project will hopefully help change that.

To find out more click here.

Here's Claire Manning's report on the project.

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