Statue at Point Defiance Zoo Will Honor Ivan the Gorilla

A Tacoma monument to Ivan the Gorilla is one step closer to fruition, after the Metro Parks board approved a plan to build a statue at Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

Ask any Pierce County resident what they remember most about Ivan and you'll probably hear an interesting tale about Tacoma's most famous gorilla.

He tried to throw poop in my face from behind the glass confines of his cage at the B&I. Patch reader Jeanette Chernis said she has two “beautiful” paintings done by the gorilla that she still treasures today. Fellow reader David Smith worked at the B&I and remembers his laugh and how he would slide a rope feeder through the door to the handlers on the other side.

Read more in What Do You Remember Most About Ivan the Gorilla?

Ivan’s death at Zoo Atlanta this August, where he spent the rest of his days after 27 years in the Lakewood B&I cage, has led to an outpouring of support from the community and developed into plans to build a local statue in his honor.

It’s an idea supported by the Metro Parks board of directors, who unanimously agreed at the Nov. 26 meeting to hold space in the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for some sort of memorial.

The Remembering Ivan Foundation is now busy developing fundraising plans for the statue. The goal is $200,000, which would be put toward creating a life-sized bronze statue of Ivan that would sit just outside the main entrance to the Zoo.

There is some worry that a bronze statue might be too pricy, organizer Earl Borgart told The Tacoma News Tribune. The group is still looking for the perfect design, made for interaction with the kids.

The group now has 5 years to develop plans for a monument to Ivan the Gorilla.


Want to get involved or donate to the Remembering Ivan Foundation? ‘Like’ the group on Facebook and donate to the cause through The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation website.

What kind of memorial do you think would best honor Ivan the Gorilla? Tell us in the comments.

Harborite December 11, 2012 at 10:04 PM
It seems that if there were to be a statue..it should be at the B and I, as that is where we all observed him..locked in that awful cage...day after day. Personally I think zoos are awful . Just let those of us who remember him , remember him and once there is no one left who cared...it will be over.
Lauren Padgett (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 12:26 AM
I think you make a good point, but at the Zoo it can be enjoyed by more children and families than if it were outside the B&I. The point of the statue is a place for kids to come and play with his likeness, and the zoo is the perfect place for that, I think!


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