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.

15 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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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!!

    Reply
    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.

      Reply
  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!

    Reply

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