Where Have the Gorillas Gone?

From the 1920s to the 1980s, Benson Wild Animal Farm hosted a private zoo and amusement park in Southern, NH. It closed in 1987 and fell into disrepair. The town acquired it twelve years ago and opened it as a public park.

Volunteers did much of the restoration work. The park was part of many Eagle Scout projects.A few buildings, including the gorilla house remain. I walked around and read the plaques that described the history of the park.

I found the gorilla house both interesting and sad. It reminded me of a time when zoos were just a collection of cages with animals. Like wildlife jail. The history of the park said that this was home to Collosus, a 500 pound silverback gorilla, one of the largetst ever held in captivity. This was way too small for such a magnifacent animal.

I hope that when the private zoo closed, Collosus found a good home somewhere. This is much nicer as a public park than as a zoo.

Update: He had a much better home at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden in Cinncinati, OH. It has a naturalistic, rain forest habitat for gorillas.

17 thoughts on “Where Have the Gorillas Gone?

  1. Ashley

    Interesting Chris! Those cages are depressing and I’m happier if a “zoo” exists nowadays it is closer to the species natural habitat.

  2. photobyjohnbo

    Glad to hear they found a good home for Collosus. Small zoos like this should be closed everywhere, animals relocated to facilities that can support a reasonable home for them.

  3. Kirt D Tisdale

    Thanks for sharing the history and the great pics. I grew up with a similar zoo near us in the Midwest. I am hoping it has gone the way of this one. Looking back and with the openness of the zoos today (San Diego Zoo/Wildlife Preserve and the LA Zoo)….it makes me sad to look back at the small cages and especially what you are showing was for a large gorilla…ugh!!

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      I feel the same. It makes it a challenge to show tropical animals in climates that have a winter. But we must think of the welfare of these animals.

  4. Nancy

    Quite interesting! And I hope for zoos to be more adapted to the animals environment. Small zoos like this should be closed.
    Thanks for the informative post. Have a good week!

  5. Sarah

    Aww, thanks for the update, Chris. Good to know he found a better home. So important that when animal are being held in captivity, they’re at least well cared for. This includes space as well as mindful games and little challenges.

    1. milfordstreet Post author

      I agree. It’s bad enough to take these majestic animals from their homes. If we do this, we must give them a new hme that is more than just a cage.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s