Meet Bolingo the gorilla, who might be the only animal to do a handstand better than humans.
Animal care specialist Rachel at the Busch Gardens theme park in Tampa Bay, Florida has been working closely with gorillas at the park in order to establish trusting relationships. After several training sessions, Rachel started a number of exercises in the hope that Bolingo would imitate her from across the glass partition.
It took some time, but Bolingo finally got it. As the text describing the video above says, this type of training enables caretakers to build better relationships in order to provide animals with mentally and physically stimulating environments.
But, at the same time, as an article by The Independent points out, the fact that the park is providing such artificial stimulation exposes its awareness that a manmade enclosure is no place for a wild animal. There is plenty of scientific evidence that suggests that animals kept in captivity show signs of mental and physical distress.
So, while doing handstands itself isn’t harmful to Bolingo – and it may very well keep him entertained and happy – animal activists question why he, and thousands of others, must be kept in captivity in the first place.
[Correction and clarification: This article has been updated to reflect animal activists’ point of view.]