We all tend to have our own favourite animals but apparently, this one animal seems to be everyone’s favourite over at Czech Republic’s Prague Zoo. Richard the Gorilla is known for his ‘smouldering poses’ and sultry glances. Richard has been described as photogenic, and he has become famous for his modelling skills. Some even say that his expressions seem almost human when he poses for the camera.
According to the Prague Zoo archives, Richard was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany on November 9, 1991. He will turn 27 years old this year. When he first arrived in Prague in November 2003, he quickly became the new leading male. Only a year later, Richard and a female gorilla named Kijivu had the first-ever baby gorilla born in the history of Czech zoos, a female gorilla named Moja.
Richard is a father of eight and is probably favoured because of his penchant to bask in the human attention and to strike human poses for the camera. His photographer, Lucie Stepnickova, has been following him and his family for over 10 years. Lucie said: ‘Richard is very human-like in his appearance. His unusual look has made him very popular on social media: people seem to think he is quite handsome. He is definitely my favourite subject to photograph.’
Lucie is a 31-year-old photographer and, according to Caters News Agency, the former waitress was inspired to pursue photography after seeing the gorillas more than 11 years ago. In an interview with Caters News, she said: ‘I’ve been going to the Zoo to see the gorillas for 11 years. The baby gorilla Ajabu is male and he was born [on the] 23rd of April 2016. Since Ajabu was born, I’ve been going once or twice [a] week. It seems that he is already well acquainted with me. Almost every visit [he] goes to greet me. Sometimes just a little bit, sometimes I’ll stay with him and [we] play together. And sometimes we just sit opposite [of each other] and look in [each other’s eyes]. It’s an incredible experience!’
On the Prague Zoo website, Richard is described as weighing nearly 440 pounds and he stands out from the other Prague gorillas. The zoo describes him as huge but slim and athletic, muscular, with silver back and thighs, markedly high on top of his head, and as having ‘pervasive eyes commanding respect at the first glance.’ Despite his giant size and severe manner, Richard readily restores order in his family when quarrels occur and he has been noted to play pranks on his zookeepers. The zoo states that Richard likes to joke with the keepers: ‘For instance, he hides behind the door when being allowed into the outer enclosure and as soon as one of the approaches to close the door, Richard surprises them.’
But for those looking to visit the Prague Zoo anytime soon, it is the interactions between Richard and his youngest child, Nuru (which means ‘Light’ in Swahili) that have been visitors ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing.’ Nuru is Richard’s youngest and he was born on December 22, 2012. He is the fourth baby between Richard and Kijivu and he is regularly regarded by zookeepers as the ‘most playful’ of his offspring and also the ‘naughtiest.’
The Prague Zoo archives describe Nuru as restless and energetic. They say the little one runs all the time and can do headstands, somersaults and funny faces. Nure plays with the zookeepers in any situation: whether he is behind bars or behind glass. The zoo adds: ‘The keepers build mutual trust in this way and make foundations for the future training of his ability to be examined or vaccinated without the need of administration of an anesthetic.’
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