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Statue to Tacoma’s ‘Ivan the Gorilla’ to be erected at zoo

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TACOMA -- Do you remember Ivan the gorilla?

The massive primate, who was born in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, was captured in the wild as a baby and raised in the home of his Tacoma owner until 1969 when he got too big and was moved to a small enclosure at the B&I shopping center on South Tacoma Way; he stayed there for 27 years.

After animal welfare groups campaigned on his behalf, Ivan was moved temporarily to Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo and then placed on permanent loan in Zoo Atlanta in Georgia. He died there in 2012 from complications following a surgical procedure.

The statue of Ivan will be 6 feet tall and erected at Tacoma's Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.  Ivan is shown in the memorial statue holding a pink magnolia flower in his hand.