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Tuning in for animals

Updated: 2024-03-02 10:19 ( China Daily )
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Su at the concert on Feb 22. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

"We are very impressed by the concept of the Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo; we are big fans. It's a great way to show our support," says Su Duo, co-founder and leading vocalist of GALA, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. "The original idea was to hold an outdoor concert at the zoo.

However, that was changed due to heavy snow in Nanjing. The zoo keepers also told us that exposure to loud sounds could be harmful to the animals. So we decided to hold the concert indoors to thank the zoo keepers and volunteers for taking care of the animals and contributing to the zoo's development."

Su says that the band made their first trip to the Nanjing zoo last December, when they adopted a Northeast China tiger called Coffee, and a golden monkey called Tu Tu.

"When we first came to the zoo, there was heavy snow just like the day we performed, it was very cold and beautiful," Su told China Daily on Feb 23, the day after the concert. "We prepared food for the two animals we've adopted with the help of the keepers and learned about their jobs as well as about wildlife conservation, which was interesting and meaningful."

One of the key tasks for the zoo keepers is organizing programs to stimulate the animals' instincts. This includes creating the conditions for animals to hunt and forage, and to stimulate them mentally and physically.

The band also tried their hand at these tasks with the zoo keepers' help.
Asked why they adopted a Northeast China tiger and a golden monkey, Su says that one of the band member's is called Hu (which means tiger in Chinese) and another is called Hou, which means monkey.

"When I saw Coffee hunting for the food we had prepared for him, I was touched because for the first time I felt really close to wildlife and nature," says Gan Hu, who plays the keyboard and is one of the adopters of the 6-year-old tiger with the heart-shaped pattern on his forehead.

Inspired by the collaboration, GALA wrote Zoo Adventure, which they played for the first time at the concert on Feb 22.

"We are still working on the song, making some changes to its lyrics and adding new arrangements. Hopefully, it will become the theme song for the Nanjing Hongshan Forest Zoo," says Su.

In addition to the benefit concert, the band and the zoo have launched a charity project, Let It Fly, to raise funds and awareness for the protection of birds of prey.

According to Shen, over 1,000 wild animals are saved by the zoo's animal rescue center every year and 45 percent have returned to the wild after receiving medical treatment. Of all those the center saves, birds make up 82 percent, among which birds of prey account for about 25 percent, among them the black kite (milvus migrans), common kestrels (falco tinnunculus) and owls.

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