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Goma the Gorilla
updated: Nov 27, 2012, 8:45 PM

By Dean Mars

I visited our Santa Barbara Zoo and snapped a few photos of Goma a lowland gorilla.

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 347519 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 08:55 PM

If I could take him back to the Lowlands and set him free, I would.


 COMMENT 347524P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 08:59 PM

As always Dean Mars catches that human/animal side! I loved his short on a hawk release for Ojai Raptor Center,



 COMMENT 347530P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 09:14 PM

Thank you for your photos. I've seen that gorilla at the zoo; most depressing experience ever. He is listless, spacey, and looks miserable. Who knows what drugs they have him on, since it is a poorly kept secret that's how they manage psychotic tendencies in confined large animals.


 COMMENT 347534P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 09:37 PM

530P, I would love to hear the Zoo's vet speak on that topic.


 COMMENT 347536 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 09:56 PM

I had a similar experience to 530's. I felt so bad for that Gorilla. I couldn't tell he was on drugs but could definitely tell how depressed he was. He came up, looked at everyone looking at him, it looked like he sighed and then he returned to below where we couldn't see him. I know they rescue these animals from bad situations and/or human territory expansion. Pretty hard to explain that to the animals though, isn't it.

Thanks for sharing such nice photos.


 COMMENT 347539P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 10:07 PM

Agree with how depressed he looks; that's part of the reason i have given up on the zoo: these large mammals should not be in these small prisons. Interesting how the woman's face reflection looks so much, except for the skin color, like a gorilla's.


 COMMENT 347549P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-27 11:08 PM

I didn't know we had a gorilla.


 COMMENT 347576 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 07:20 AM

I take my grandson there often and have seen the gorillas playing and whooping it up. In fact, when they let loose and move fast, I was most grateful for the glass enclosure for protection. It was a great draw for the kids, the "kids" in us adults, too.


 MACPUZL agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 07:45 AM

Trying to assess the mental state of another species by facial expressions is fraught with potential misinterpretation.


 COMMENT 347591 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 07:54 AM

And what a coincidence that Goma is also the site of fighting between government troops and rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which maybe is where Santa Barbara's Goma is from? Or neighboring Rwanda? Hemingway thought zoo animals were the lucky ones. Might have been right.


 COMMENT 347599 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 08:01 AM

Beautiful animal, tragic living condition.


 COMMENT 347602 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 08:06 AM

Macpuzl is spot on.

I hate animals in captivity as much as the next person, but without keeping some safe, we'd likely have no tigers left in the world shortly.

There is a huge problem with humans overstepping animals' borders in the wild. Until that ends, preserving as many as we can is about all we can do. If anyone has a solution, I'm all ears.


 COMMENT 347629 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 08:55 AM

If he has a buddy then he is fortunate.


 COMMENT 347658P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 09:23 AM

602, as someone who is sickened by conditions of the large animals at SB Zoo, I thought your post was very thoughtful and balanced. Thank you for succinctly stating the worries and trade-offs many of us wrestle with.


 COMMENT 347666P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 09:34 AM

Looks happy as the proverbial clam to me, but am sure that someone will chime in about how unhappy clams are when they're steamed.
The never-ending tendency to anthropomorphize animals can also be also rather depressing for some of us.
Personally, I like the zoo.


 ANIMALLISTNER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 10:59 AM

returning these gracious animals to the wild, is a mere death sentance, due to poaching!


 COMMENT 347770 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 12:05 PM

It is very difficult to return a wild animal to its natural environment after it has been in captivity for many years or perhaps was born into it. Does anyone see any hope of the population of India decreasing enough to let the tigers there survive in the wild? I don't. Rather than keeping these splendid animals in captivity for our entertainment maybe we should just let them slip into extinction and keep their pictures around to show our grandkids what we used to have.
If you were an elephant, would you rather spend 50 years in a zoo or 5 years in your natural habitat before you were killed by a poacher?
Unless the human race somehow decreases its numbers there is no hope for apex predators and large mammals on this planet.


 COMMENT 347789 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 12:22 PM

Why do they have to poach? Ask yourself that question. Population isn't the problem, behavior is.


 COMMENT 347850 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 02:14 PM

i'd like to respectfully disagree, macpuzl. it's been proven through research that anger, sadness, fear, disgust and joy are universally recognized by facial expressions alone across every human culture. i don't think it's a stretch by any means to project some of those same expressions of emotion to our closely related and very social primate relatives.


 COMMENT 347866 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 02:53 PM

Animallistener that is a crock. By your reasoning we should round up all of the wild animals and cage them to protect them from poaching?

When I was employed by the zoo many years ago the gorilla habitat was new and they had many issues with the silverback including self mutilation and agressive behavior. Those animals are not happy and their keepers know it. The food they get is stuff you would never consider eating.

People attack posters for feeding wild animals then defend keeping them in cages on artificial diets and call it conservation efforts. Unbelieveable.


 COMMENT 347876 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 03:21 PM

Agree with ZEUSTHEGOOSE wholeheartedly! We humans are only beginning to understand that animals have emotions, feelings, fears, compassion and many other traits thought only attributable to humans.

I spent more years than I care to remember, taking our son to our Zoo. Those years did serve a purpose though, and I feel his compassion and kinship with the earths creatures comes from those early impressions. That said, I always felt a sense of sadness for the animals. Now, I abhor zoos.

Goma is definitely not happy, really, how could he be?


 COMMENT 348023P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-11-28 10:35 PM

666, there's a reason your number showed up as 666.


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