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  1. #1
    Member Steph's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    London, UK

    Default Gorilla encounter

    Couldn't resist posting this video :

    YouTube - Gorilla Reunion: Damian Aspinall's Extraordinary Gorilla Encounter on Gorilla School

    I love animals and I’ve always thought they’re much more intelligent and aware than we give them credit for, so I’m rarely surprised by reports of these sorts of encounters. Without wishing to anthropomorphise this particular encounter though, this video really made me think.

    Years ago London Zoo had a very famous gorilla called Guy, a magnificent lowland silverback. He was hugely popular and had a reputation for being a real gentle giant, although he was lonely because if I remember correctly, for most of his life he was the only gorilla the zoo had. One day I visited the zoo for the first time in years but when I saw him, this beautiful animal was sitting in a small bare cement enclosure behind a glass wall (the only thing relieving the bareness was a single log) while a group of schoolboys were throwing pebbles at the glass trying to get him to react, without success. Guy just sat there impassively, staring intently at a twig he was twirling round and round in his massive fingers until eventually they got bored and moved off. Mr Steph and I were the only two people left by his enclosure at that point when Guy suddenly looked up and straight at me from under his brows and the sheer misery - boredom, bewilderment - that I saw in that creature’s eyes has never left me, there was absolutely no mistaking it. We both left the zoo immediately and neither of us has ever been back to a zoo since. I cried for days at the thought of that beautiful, intelligent animal imprisoned alone in that bare environment for people to gawp at and goad instead of living out his life in freedom in a lush jungle as head of his own group.

    Now I know that many zoos have changed over the years and that Howletts in particular does some terrific work in captive breeding and releasing animals back into the wild but in this encounter the gorilla was clearly deeply affected. This meeting was obviously an unforgettable, life-changing experience for the humans involved but remembering the intelligence and expressiveness in Guy’s face all those years ago, I wonder - was this meeting ultimately good for the gorilla?

    Just my (late night) musing for the day
    Today is the dawn of another error ...

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  2. #2
    Member Spyware Fighter DonnaB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Illiana, Ill. USA


    Touching. (sniffle, sniffle as she wipes a tear from her eye) Very touching.

    I, too, believe that animals are smarter than we think. People think they have no memory that goes beyond what they ate for breakfast. But they do. They remember everything that has effected them in their lives.

    A few years ago I took a cat (female Tortie) named Pepper off the streets and had her spayed. I wanted to find her a forever home. After months of gaining her trust through behavior modification she finally allowed me to love her with open arms. But... only me would she allow to touch her lovingly. She did belong to a little girl that had Spina Bifida. When the girls mother passed away with cancer the Boyfriend kicked Pepper out into the great outdoors and wouldn't allow her back in. (he hated cats) That's when I took her in. She wouldn't allow any of my other cats to come near me which wasn't good for them and I had to find her a home. A lady who lived 8 blocks from where Pepper had lived took her in. She got out one day and made her way back home. So, since she was familiar with the area we just left her as was. She is being fed and I see her everyday. Still to this day she runs up to me and begs me to take her home. The look in her eyes just rips me apart as I walk away to continue my duties. Boy! If I could bring her home knowing that she would gradually fit in I would. But, I can't jeopardize my other cats safety.

    Sometimes it is best to leave things the way they are and not disturb nature. I hate zoos too! Nothing worse than watching a Tiger pace back and forth in front of a glassed in arena with nothing more than a little stream running through the enclosure for water. How sad.
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    Very proud parent of a U.S. Navy "CB"

    "People may forget what you say,
    People may forget what you did,
    but People will never forget how you made them feel!"