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London goes ape for 2016 Great Gorilla Run

The fur flew in London on Saturday morning as hundreds of great ape fans took part in the Great Gorilla Run 2016

The fur flew in London on Saturday morning as hundreds of great ape fans took part in the Great Gorilla Run 2016.

Now in its 13th year, the event has gained iconic status in the capital, winning the support of former mayor and current Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, and raising awareness of the plight of gorillas in the wild.

The 2016 run was the biggest for five years as 480 entrants from as countries including India, Switzerland, Sweden, Germany, Austria and the USA tackled an 8km course of urban terrain that took them past London landmarks such as the Tate Modern, City Hall and the Globe and over Tower Bridge, to the delight of the watching tourists.

The money raised through sponsorship and registration money will go towards funding the Gorilla Organization’s conservation projects in Uganda, Rwanda and DR Congo. For its pioneering work in Central Africa, the charity was awarded the BBC’s Award for Outstanding Work in the Conservation of a Species.

Celebrating the success of the 2016 Great Gorilla Run, Gorilla Organization Executive Director Jillian Miller said: “As always, it’s a real joy to see so many people coming together for gorillas, putting their suits on, dressing up and having a great time running, walking and jumping through the streets of London.

“But we have to remember that there is a serious message beneath the fun. Just this month, the eastern lowland gorilla joined the mountain on the list of critically-endangered species, meaning they are just one step closer to extinction. Events like the Great Gorilla Run help provide valuable support for frontline ranger patrols within the gorilla habitat, while also funding projects aimed at addressing the long-term threats such as habitat loss and poaching.”

Following the French winner over the finish line were gorillas dressed as everything from vikings to ballerinas, though special mention was given to ‘gorilla in the shower’ and a gorilla running on the shoulders of his monkey buddy – winners of the prizes for best male gorilla costume (presented by the Speaker of Tower Hamlets) and best female gorilla (presented by London-based contemporary designer Emma Shipley). Meanwhile, special awards were also given out to the furthest-travelled gorillas (who came from Chenai in India) and the biggest team.

The money raised through the 2016 run stood at £40,000 as the event got underway, though more is expected to come in over the coming days and weeks. To date, the Great Gorilla Run has raised £2.4 million for gorilla conservation projects.