If you're thinking a department store zoo doesn't sound like a great place for a gorilla, Cher agrees. The singer, fresh off of her Pakistan trip to rescue the "world's loneliest elephant," is now making a plea to Thailand to free the country's last gorilla. PETA Asia has said Bua Noi was captured as a baby in the '80s and taken to Pata Zoo, located on the top floors of the Pata department store in Bangkok, reports the Washington Post. She had a mate, but that companion died years ago. Mark Cowne, who co-founded the Free the Wild charity with Cher, says he's heard reports of the zoo being "decrepit" and "overrun with rats and cockroaches," per Sky News. "None of these animals appear to be being properly cared for," he notes. Cher's mission: to relocate Bua Noi to a Congo sanctuary, where she could interact with other primates.
"Good people of Bangkok I know you will understand & help me stop the torturing of innocent animals," Cher tweeted over the weekend. "It is a sin." She's also written a note to the country's environmental minister and blasted the zoo's owner, Kanit Sermsirimongkol, on social media. Actress Gillian Anderson has also lobbied against the zoo, calling it "one of the saddest places in the world," per Sky News, while the Post notes multiple reviews on Tripadvisor call it "animal hell." Sermsirimongkol has refuted these claims, saying the animal enclosures are roomy and clean, and that Bua Noi has a TV to keep her entertained; he adds it would be a "difficult task" to rehome the gorilla. It doesn't sound like Cher is giving up, even if and after she manages to free Bua Noi. "I would like your help locating mistreated animals," she tweeted to the public earlier this week. "We must keep going." (Read more Cher stories.)