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Paignton Zoo is looking for a new gorilla – because our old one has been worn out by too much cuddling!

The large plush toy gorilla in the entrance hall has become the Zoo’s unofficial mascot, greeting visitors with her laid back attitude and laconic smile. Over the years, thousands of children and grown-ups have had their photo taken with her and her orang utan friend.

Zoo spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “She’s worn out from too much love. All those children have knocked the stuffing out of her! Members and regular visitors are asking after her, but she is beyond repair this time.

“The real gorillas are not allowed to come down to the main entrance to meet and greet visitors, so we are looking for another soft toy to replace her – if anyone has a really large cuddly gorilla they don’t have room for, we would be happy to take it off their hands!”

She was originally donated by Paignton Zoo Front of House team member Julie Gibson, who explained: “Her name is Koko and she is a life-size reproduction of Koko the gorilla, a famous gorilla in the US. I think the toy might originally have come from Harrods.

“I won her in a raffle in Scotland – we had to drive all the way back to Devon with her and all the family in a small car – it was a bit of a squeeze! Our children were young then and were frightened of Koko, so she spent quite a few years in the loft. I donated her to the Zoo in 2010.

“Adults love her as much as children – there was never a day when she didn’t get her photo taken!” Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity. For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

Quotes Loads to see and do, for a full day out. Quotes