Yesterday I had a very humbling experience. Mrs K, little K and I went to visit Port Lympne wildlife park in Kent. Now, I am no lover of animals kept in captivity, be it a 'wildlife park', zoo, whatever. As far as I am concerned, the best place for wild animals is in the wild. Yes I know endangered species have a better chance of survival in captivity, but that is another story. If I could sow that seed for conservation of our animals in their natural habitat to an impressionable twelve year old, then it would be worth the trip.
Port Lympne, in its defence does a lot to introduce species back into the wild. Part of the Howletts parks, they are well renowned for their conservation ideals. So, I wasn't feeling too guilty.
It was when we came across the gorilla enclosure that I experienced something that I will never forget in my life. Mrs K and littl'un had moved further around the cage whilst I stopped to look at a large silverback sitting quietly on his own and it got me wondering what he was thinking about sat there behind bars without any supposed worries in the world. I mean, food wasn't a problem and nobody was going to shoot him for bush meat or just as a trophy. He had tyres and ropes and several levels of the enclosure to explore and stimulate him, but I couldn't help thinking, "but he isn't free, is he". And then our eyes locked. Those huge beautiful brown eyes looked straight at mine and I couldn't help but feel a great sadness for him and his like. It made me ashamed to be a member of the human race to see this fine beast subdued within a cage.
I felt moved to speak to this proud animal and actually apologised for his predicament.
He looked at me with his sad eyes, scratched his arse and farted.
Nuff said really.