Letter: Tiffany the gorilla maintained affection for ‘disappeared’ friend Max

Tiffany the gorilla is fondly remembered by the community for being paired with another gorilla, Max, during her youth. Tiffany’s affection for Max remained even after he was transferred to another zoo. (2011 file photograph/The Capital-Journal)

Along with many other Topekans, I was saddened to read in the Capital-Journal of the death of the “Topeka Zoo’s lone gorilla,” Tiffany. Zoo director Brendan Wiley was quoted as saying, “She was a big part of the persona of our zoo.” The article in the paper continued, “She is fondly remembered by the community for being paired with another gorilla, Max, during her youth. Tiffany’s affection for Max remained even after he was transferred to another zoo.”

Although no particular person was cited as the source of this second remark, I was initially pleased and surprised that some person, any person, was discerning and sensitive enough to have noticed and understood Tiffany’s continued affection for her “disappeared” friend, Max. I’m sure there are many reasons I don’t know for the transfer of Max to another zoo. Perhaps those unknown reasons balance the sadness of separating the two friends for life after having introduced them. What must Tiffany have thought and felt when Max disappeared from her life, never to return?

I have seen the confusion and depression of a domesticated dog or a cat who is suddenly abandoned and left bereft of known companionship. Ultimately, as I read the article in Monday’s paper, I was unutterably saddened that someone could, on the one hand, recognize the feelings of a sentient creature, “the persona” of the zoo, and on the other hand not have allowed those feelings to take priority in a major decision affecting her life.

SUSAN HOLM, Topeka

 

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