My interactive foreign zoo experiences continued when I spent a week in Berlin. With that much time to sight-see, a zoo stop had to be on the itinerary.
The Berlin zoo was larger than the Paris zoo, and a little more modern. The animals had more space, and there was an attempt to give them a more natural habitat.
My visit there was during the Second Gulf War, and Americans were very unpopular. I did my best not to speak English while I was out and about. My German was non-existent, other than my butchered sentence saying I was a vegetarian so I didn’t end up with pork in the land of sausage. Part of what I enjoy doing at zoos is talking to the animals, so I used French.
The zoo was relatively empty the day I went. At one point I ended up at the elephant exhibit. There was one fully mature elephant standing there.
I talked to him, asking him what he was thinking about, if he’d had a good breakfast, and anything else I could think of.
He was obviously watching me and moving his trunk around. I took that as a good sign. Suddenly he flicked his trunk, and I was covered in a dirty, mucus-y substance. I was shocked, and then started to laugh. What else could I do? I’d been slimed!
When I got back to England, I relayed the story. One of my friends laughed and said, “What do you expect? You were speaking French to a German elephant!”
Have you ever had a zoo animal interact with you from within their cage? Or Do you think national rivalries apply to their animals?