image007Inspired by the affection the Tacoma community felt for Ivan – the gorilla at the former B&I store in Tacoma Washington – Friends of Ivan sought to honor his life and legacy. The “Beloved Ivan” project will create, install, and fund a life-size bronze sculpture of Ivan at the entrance to Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma, Washington.

The sculpture, proudly standing at over 6 feet tall, will be placed at the ticket entrance to the zoo where over 600,000 people will annually visit it. Display materials will tell Ivan’s story and will provide information about Western lowland gorillas, such as their habitat and threatened existence.

Fund-raising will include foundation and corporate grants, gifts from individuals, and crowd funding online. Donations made to the “Beloved Fund” at Greater Tacoma Community Foundation are tax deductible – The Foundation reserves the right to redirect funds according to donor intent.

Ivan’s pose comes from a photograph published in The News Tribune. The sculpture will accurately represent the details of Ivan’s face, his size and body.

Ivan’s legacy teaches us about the personal connection which can occur between humans and gorillas. The hope is to increase awareness and inspire action to preserve the habitat for Western lowland gorillas in the Congo, Africa.

If you have a story you’d like to share about your experience with Ivan, we encourage you to share your “Ivan story” at BelovedIvan.org.