First the Nay.
Once again poor Lily is sequestered on her own. They really are just plain cruel to her in my opinion. She just got reunited with her long-time mate and now they have separated her once again. I don't get it. AND being alone isn't enough, they have her in the baby giraffe corral, that is just that, a corral. This is not a habitat enclosure, its a caged in pen. Its all very heartbreaking and awful.
You can read about her being yanked about here:
This is not a home its a cage.
If they are so intelligent why are you being so cruel to her?
This is the new barrier at the first viewing landing at the Gorilla enclosure. I love this! The only thing I would have done different is make the bar-barrier two-tiered, so it would make it harder for those with long enough legs to kick the window, which will happen.
Less than two months ago I wrote a blog post that suggested this type of barrier.
<I'd like all the exhibits to be like the Big Cats, Glass with a distance between (on either side). There can't always be a moat like at Cats, but take for instance at the Snow Leopards, there can be some sort of barrier set more than an arms distance back from the glass. The same type of glass situation also is in the corner (Grotto A) Cat exhibit. The purpose of the glass is for the Visitor to view the Animals (as well as keep them in). What does the glass do for the Animals? It allows them to be taunted with people constantly knocking/banging/tapping/rapping/ect. The view would be no less from an arms distance. There should also (and I mean that by there should already be) sign decals on the glass at these areas saying not to do such things.>
Hopefully this is not a one-off and more of these types of barriers are planned for other areas. As much as I hate taking photos through glass, I love the Animals safety more. I hope they add a bar-barrier at the Snow Leopard window and extend the one at Cat Grotto A back. Also adding some window decals, much like the one below that is now at the new Koala window. With obvious general behavior notations.
Frankly I have to say, I'm not sure what took them so long to make this change at Gorillas. There has been issues there for years. Not only by Visitors acting the fool (a guy standing next to me one time, leaned over and spit into their home), but the male Silverback Jonesy is very sensitive and easily agitated.
When my friend Lee was a Docent in 2009, she was sent a Memo detailing recent behavior that he had been exhibiting, as well as noting that he had been having a real problem with Docents and certain Photographers that would sit there for extended periods of time watching him. Docents were instructed to take off their vests when in the area, or to not go there at all. Photographers were instructed to rotate viewing areas.
I know for a fact, Docents have again received the same type of Memo. There should not still be a problem with this.
At this time I still had an open email communication with Zoo Director Tanya Peterson. When Lee told me of this, I immediately had ideas that would work in that area, that would educate the Visitors before they entered that area, so that Jonesy would stay calm. Maybe its just me, but I'd want to do anything to keep an Animal from being upset. None of my suggestions were ever used.
Three years later, they are still having the same issues with poor Jonesy being upset, when there are simple ways to help alleviate the situation. There should be a large sign on the paths (from Giraffe Barn and from Savannah) That say not to vocalize or gesture to the Gorillas, and to use low voices when talking. They should post a Docent (without vest) before the entrance (out of Gorilla's sight line) who points to the sign and/or also provides Visitors with this information. Its very simple.
The Zoo claims in their Mission Statement that Education is part of their Mission. Informing and instructing people how to behave is part of Education. Sadly from what I've seen, the Zoo seems to be afraid to tell Visitors anything in regards to behavior.
If they do not plan to put glass at all the viewing landings they need to at least put in the bar-barriers. There also needs to be a "Shoosh" sign at each landing.
Hopefully the new barrier will make Jonesy feel less exposed to threats. Maybe the Zoo will adopt some other ways to help him.
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