Although I can't now recall my actual age, I couldn't have been much older than 10 when I visited London Zoo for the first time, and while I'm sure I must have seen plenty of other animals, there is only one I can still picture vividly in my mind: an absolute giant of a Gorilla.
If I'd simply seen him moving around or absorbed in some form of animal behaviour, perhaps he wouldn't have made such an enormous impact on me, but he was sitting up close to the partition of his enclosure looking squarely in my direction and, once our eyes locked, I was immediately overcome with a sense of profound sadness; his sorrowful gaze seemed to penetrate me to the core.
To this day I still feel that connection, and while the plight of so many animals deeply disturbs me, and for all the good and necessary reasons there are for protecting animals in captivity, there is something about seeing Gorillas in a cage that saddens all the more.
The subject you see here is a male Western Lowland Gorilla I shared some time with during a visit to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park (Kent, UK) together with my good friend Sue Demetriou last March.
Thanks for taking an interest.