Speaking after the recent escape of a Gorilla from London zoo, David Attenborough spoke to ITV news recently to suggest some changes that these zoos could make in order to preserve the privacy, and ultimately the well-being of gorillas that are held in enclosures.
There is no doubt that zoos are in general, not such a great thing, with many animals being held in captivity for their whole lives, it’s easy to see the news story of a recent gorilla breakout as a positive thing, however as Attenborough detailed to ITV, keeping these gorillas in captivity is actually beneficial to them.
“It’s a pity they’re always in danger,” he said. “If we could get rid of that then perhaps there would be no need for zoos.”
However, with his words being the case, it looks as though some changes could be made to at least improve the general well-being of the gorillas that must remain in these zoos.
“They are wonderful animals, gorillas. They are animals which guard their privacy,” he said speaking to ITV television.
“In the forests of west Africa, they don’t live out in the open. They aren’t stared at by people.
“Maybe the solution is that people should not be allowed to be behind big sheets of glass but look behind peepholes so that the gorillas don’t realise [they are being watched] – but that’s very difficult to do in a zoo where there are tens of thousands of people wanting to see these animals.”
He went on to speak of the impact that well-meaning zoo-goers can have on the resident gorillas.
“Sometimes visitors to zoos are not respectful and they start shrieking or waving their arms in order to get the poor gorilla to do something.”
Sounds like a very good idea to me personally, but whether or not changes like this could ever take effect it’s hard to tell, but it’s good to know that such wildlife experts as David himself are looking at forward thinking solutions to help out these animals.
“They are not just animals. They are related to us. They value their privacy. Just imagine what it’s like to be there.”
“It is important for people to be able to see what these wonderful creatures are like and to understand the responsibility that the human race has towards gorillas.”
Definately something worth thinking about!
And if you are in the mood for more things Gorilla, below you can find a fascinating full-length documentary all about them and their social antics: