An early morning shot (with the silhouette of St. Florian's Cathedral in the background), taken by Berenika Mioduszewska as she makes her way to the Bird Asylum to help out.

Cartesius certe non vidit simios [Surely, Decartes never saw an ape], Carolus Linnaeus.

I have always harboured a great deal of ambivalence regarding the existing conditions of most zoos. No matter how spacious and airy and well-fed the animals, they are always in state of captivity. To see animals like this gorilla with such melancholic demeanour makes me think that zoos are perhaps counter-productive. It's a complex matter, to be sure, but one that needs constant attention. Warsaw Zoo has tried over the years to offer animals more open spaces, paddocks for roaming about in, for the panthers, leopards, oryx and the like. But when I see those wonderful birds, the owls and the hawks, the eagles and the kestrels, the great ravens and macaws, who can barely manage a wingbeat due to the size of their cages, I find myself in a quandry once more, and asking myself, what is the purpose of zoos other than to deny these wonderful creatures their very nature? Do they really work? I mean, we still succeed in wiping out species by the dozen every day. Are they simply there to entertain us? Invariably, and yet I keep going back, I come away from the zoo a sadder, more melancholic, more pensive creature myself.

A pair of Golden Macaws.

The southern end of Praski Park near Warsaw Zoo. The bear enclosure is not more than a few paces from the busy Aleje Solidarnosci. Naturally, there is a small moat between bears and pavement, but sometimes I reckon that if these guys were not so domesticated they might clear that gap in a swift and desperate leap. Praga would then have a few extra bears running around its streets.

A couple of hooded crows preening a llama.

The Oryx enclosure.

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