Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hand in Hand. Kivu the Gorilla and Dartington Crystal

Keeper at Paignton Zoo
A unique piece of gorilla art was recently auctioned by Paignton Zoo to raise money for international ape conservation. The Zoo, a registered charity, was selling a glass cast of the imprint of a gorilla hand. The impression was taken from the right hand of eight year old male lowland gorilla Kivu when the Zoo’s vet team performed a bone marrow biopsy on him recently. Modelling clay was used to take the impression while Kivu was under anaesthetic. A plaster cast was made from this by Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust reserves warden Dave Ellacott. The hand print was then created in glass by craftsmen at North Devon’s very own Dartington Crystal. This is an extra ordinarily beautiful object, wonderful and precious, like gorillas themselves. The auction presented a rare opportunity to own a piece of art that has a direct connection with one of the most amazing species on the planet. Gorillas are closely related to humans but are becoming increasingly rare. Every penny raised from the auction will help in the battle against extinction. Sue French from Dartington Crystal said: “We were delighted to help with this very special project. It was a real challenge for us at Dartington Crystal as it's not every day that you get to cast the hand of a gorilla and raise money for such a cause. Visitors were so interested when the casting took place that we decided to do a replica of Kivu's hand to put on display in our Visitor Centre". The piece, engraved with Kivu’s name and the year 2011, is nearly 30 centimetres long and about 20 centimetres wide. It weighs 2.54 kilos. The cast was made by Dartington Crystal master craftsman Paul Sullivan. Dartington Crystal can help you capture YOUR unique moment in time... A glass hand or foot cast makes the perfect keepsake or a special gift to parents and family. Click here for further details on Hand Cast Gifts & Gift Vouchers.See how it's done watch the movie demonstration below:

Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is supporting the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria Ape Campaign 2010, which aims to raise one million Euros for global ape conservation. The Zoo is hoping to donate £10,000. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to

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