Gorillas in the Bronx
John Quinn is the director for design for the Wildlife Conservation Society, the outfit that runs the zoo. To make the Bronx the Congo, local nurseries were tapped, other vegetation was grown: nature was reimagined.
That is, reach over and grab the corner deli fruits and veggies already precut for the primates to nosh.
As do some some pigs that look like denizens of a starship bar -- via the southern Sahara.
Jim Doherty, the general curator of the Bronx Zoo, is fond of all of "his" animals. But the Colebus monkeys and the Red River hogs are the prelude to the "big" attraction: the gorillas. Nineteen of them: among the largest group anywhere other than nature.
Yes, they thump their chests and scratch a lot and do all sorts of very human looking things. An inch and a half of plate glass separates you from them. It doesn't seem like much.
Jim Doherty wears a tie with wolves, bison, elk, and bears. But he's spent lots of time in Africa, in the Congo, and in the Bronx. Doherty's been at this zoo more than 30 years. He's known most of these gorillas since birth.
A couple of hefty apes lounge a few feet back from the glass, while three peer out at the visitors, taking the see, hear and speak no evil poses. The one on the left covers its eyes, that in the middle holds its hands to its ears, while the third clasps a hand -- or is it a paw? -- to its mouth. Life imitates kitsch imitates life.
The animals in this zoo are feisty. What do you expect in the Bronx? They keep munching the thousands of trees and shrubs that were so carefully planted. And selected for their supposed nasty taste. You can take the subway to see this buncha apes.
From the Bronx, I'm Karen Michel for The Savvy Traveler. You got a problem with that?
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