Gorillas have been getting a rather good press of late in London. The Gorilla Kingdom at London Zoo, which opened in March, has seen huge numbers of visitors trudging up Regent's Park way to gawp at resident lowland gorillas Bobby, Zaire and Effie swing about their new home.
Meanwhile, a television ad featuring a sullen simian being sparked into life by the crashing drum break of Phil Collins 'In The Air Tonight' has become one of the most-watched video clips of the year.
Yet outside of man-made enclosures and television studios, the fate of the gorilla is much less secure. Last week the Red List of Threatened Species claimed that gorillas are sliding towards extinction, owing to habitat loss, hunting, and climate change. A sad report in July about the discovery of a family of mountain gorillas killed by hunters in the Democratic Republic of Congo was a reminder of how endangered these animals are.
Well, this weekend comes your chance to do something about it. The Great Gorilla Run takes place on Saturday, and the narrow alleyways of the City will be teeming with people in ape suits bounding through the 7k route to raise money for conservation efforts in Africa. The run starts at 10.30am sharp at the London Underwriting Centre off Mincing Lane, and takes in a scenic tour through some of the capital's more picturesque sites. Londonist recommends taking up a vantage point near Tower Bridge to watch the hordes of simian-suited runners sweat their way through the famous arches.
If you want to run yourself, there's still time to register – you need to pony up a £100 non-refundable registration fee, and raise a minimum £400 in sponsorship, which will require Bob Geldof-like levels of persuasion at this late stage. It should be noted that you do get to keep the gorilla suit afterwards, which is perfect for Hallowe'en parties or job interviews at Chessington World of Adventures.
More details can be found on the Gorilla Foundation website.
Image from Puddlepuff's Flickr stream.
By Dean Nicholas