An extremely rare Sumatran orangutan was looking fierce. But in actuality, this 4-foot tall, 100 lbs female was yawning while stretching a leg. The thing that was most striking about these great apes was that they knew why I was there, understanding they were being photographed and looking right into the camera lens as soon as I aimed it at them. The look in their eyes was painful as they seemed to be resigned to their lives in a preservation surrounding, being gawked at by ‘most-hairless apes entangled with colourful pieces of cloth’. They also looked like they would just as happily rip my head off as allow me to shoot them as captives.
The Sacramento (California) Zoo is world renowned as a safe haven for all sorts of animals but, like all other zoos, it is a place where the natural habitats are limited by space and the balance of privacy and the ability for the paying public to the animals.
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Lenny E. La Rue