Jersey gorilla turns photographer at Durrell park

Ya Kwanza, the 27-year old silverback gorilla films himself with an HD camera

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Ya Kwanza, the 27-year old silverback gorilla from Durrell, has been taking photos of himself and surroundings.

The gorilla was given a high-definition camera inside an indestructible box covered with honey and oats.

The footage shows the silverback investigating the device before taking a number of close-up shots and returning the camera to its owner.

He is to be moved from Jersey's Durrell Wildlife Park to a new home in Romagne, France, on 18 July.

Primate perspective

The idea was thought up by a Jersey mammal keeper, Jon Stark, who has been taking care of the critically-endangered western lowland gorillas for four years.

Ya Kwanza inspecting the camera Ya Kwanza will be leaving the island after not breeding for eight years

Mr Stark said he wondered what it would be like to take a look at life from the primate's perspective.

"The animals here at the wildlife park regularly receive enrichment treats which encourage them to forage for food much as they would in the wild and help to keep them mentally stimulated.

"In an attempt to really get up close and personal we decided to install an HD Camera in Ya Kwanza's daily enrichment device," he said.

The trust has been famous for its gorillas since 1986 when Jambo stood guard over a young boy who had fallen into his enclosure.

Ya Kwanza has been housed at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust since 1993.

The Gorilla European Endangered Species Programme suggested Ya Kwanza be moved as he had not bred for eight years.

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