Takamanda is a life-size Cross River gorilla that formed part of a 30-piece art trail of fibreglass gorillas around Exeter and Torbay over the summer of 2013, called The Great Gorillas Project - a project initiated by Paignton Zoo.
The design on Takamanda was created by a student at the Univeristy, Meriel Royal, whose idea was chosen from over 70 student entries in a competition to create a design idea for the gorilla. The inspiration behind her design was the idea of the gorilla making stops around the world, collecting stamps of other endangered animals before arriving in Exeter.
The gorilla is named after Takamanda National Park, a protected area in Cameroon, and the natural home of the Cross River gorilla. The winning design was chosen by a panel of judges, before being painted in front of students, staff and visitors, by local artist vin Jelly (aka Kevin Jones).
The artwork was initially displayed in the University's Forum Street through the Spring and Summer of 2013 before being auctioned along with 29 other pieces, helping to raise money for a gorilla conservation charity, the Cross River Project. It was purchased by the University at the auction and was returned to the Streatham Campus.
Geoff Pringle, the then Director of Campus Services, said in 2013, "We wanted to bring Takamanda back to Exeter because the gorilla is unique to us - it was designed by one of our students and is bespoke to the University. Over the last few months, Takamanda has become a prominent feature, enhancing the Forum experience for students, staff, and visitors. We're also delighted to show our support for Paignton Zoo's Cross River Gorilla Project."