Let´s not eat the planet

Director´s view

Miroslav Bobek  |  04. 05. 2015

I don´t know if ever any zoological garden participated at the World´s Fair, but for Prague Zoo, the just opened Expo 2015 in Milan means a historic premiere.

Visitors can find the e-Bolid on the roof of Czech Pavilion. Photo: Jakub Nepraš Visitors can find the e-Bolid on the roof of Czech Pavilion. Photo: Jakub Nepraš

Of course we want to present Prague Zoo to the world - indeed, what else could we do at the World´s Fair - but at the same time our goal is to demonstrate the significance of modern zoological gardens. It corresponds with the theme of this year´s Expo, Feeding the planet, energy for life, much more than it might seem on first sight. Feeding the planet in fact means to feed it and not to destroy it at the same time. Or, if you like, not to eat it, and that is not putting it too strongly.

Example: If in South-East Asia and also increasingly in tropical Africa palm oil plantations expand to the detriment of original tropical forests, it means that together with the palm oil - an ingredient in for instance our traditional Hořické trubičky - we also "consume" orangutans and hundreds of other animal species, which lose their habitat due to establishing the plantations.

And it is possible to find hundreds of similar examples, although not so directly connected with "consuming" animals. This is why Prague Zoo presents itself at Expo 2015 in Milan with e-Bolide, which in my eyes is a portrayal of a dead, "eaten" planet. There are seven holes in this piece of formless stone with a diameter of about three meters, to which you can bow or climb, and where you can see the life that we are trying to preserve in many of our projects. Przewalski´s Horses in Mongolia, Lowland Gorillas and Forest Elephants in central Africa, Gharials in India and also Dice Snakes in Prague Troja.

It is very impressive to see such different and at the same time fascinating animals inside of a "dead planet" - and even more because in several cases a spatial illusion is used, wherein a computer moves different layers of video according to the direction of the observer´s gaze. Although this is not a transcript of reality, but its stylization, when I watched it, I had feelings very similar to those that I experienced when I watched gorillas and elephants in the forest clearings in Congo basin or recorded Gharials in Chambal.

So come and see the e-Bolide in Milano, Expo 2015 last till the end of October. But even if you miss it, you don´t have to regret. After the World´s Fair is over, the e-Bolide will be placed in our zoo near the newly built Rákos´ Pavilion. Indeed, it is relevant that with every visit to Prague Zoo you support also our projects on protection of endangered species!

Videocollage from e-Bolid. Photo: Jakub Nepraš

Miroslav Bobek,
Director, Prague Zoo