Will we ever know who’s watching whom in a zoo? Ever since I saw the movie ‘Zoo‘ by Dutch film maker Bert Haanstra many years ago, I cannot escape the feeling that we’re just as entertaining for those animals as they are for us.
In the 1961 movie, Haanstra put hidden cameras in the animal cages of Amsterdam’s Artis zoo and filmed the interaction between animals and humans with the human visitors pulling faces and generally being silly on the other side of the bars. If there was ever any doubt that we stem from monkeys, the movie does away with it.
It is with this in mind that I visited the Bronx Zoo with my kids a while back. Since 1961, zoos have put more space between people and animals and I’m not even sure to what extent the animals behind the modern glass walls can observe us. Doesn’t matter. I still feel that gorilla is watching me as much as I am watching it.
But I got a camera and a long telelens. Ah!