Hayden Panettiere Befriended A Gorilla In The Kiev Zoo & Made An Amazing Decision To Better His Life!

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She’s just the sweetest!

Hayden Panettiere is in the last days of her pregnancy, and she’s already in a caretaker mindframe.

The actress posted a sweet note about her recent trip to the Kiev Zoo, where she met Tony the Gorilla. She explained:

“I was being escorted around the backside of the monkey exhibits when there he was, a massive, furry, black creature that made even the Klitschko brothers look small!”

[ Related: Zoo Conditions Are Like ‘A Concentration Camp For Those With Fur And Feathers’ ]

She and Tony shared a moment, and that’s when Hayden realized she had to do something to help not only this majestic, intelligent primate, but also to benefit the paying zoo-goers in the city that she calls her ‘second home’ as well.

So, Hayden is paying for Tony to have a bigger, nicer enclosure with more toys to occupy his mind.

The actress posted a beautifully written note about the experience, which you can see in its entirety (below).

If only more people were as thoughtful as Miz Panettiere!

Over the past few years Kiev, Ukraine has become a second home to me. It’s a beautiful city filled with incredible people and culture! During one of my more recent trips I visited the Kiev Zoo for the first time. My love for ALL animals is vast, but on this trip there was one animal in particular with whom I formed a special bond.

I was being escorted around the backside of the monkey exhibits when there he was, a massive, furry, black creature that made even the Klitschko brothers look small! That’s when I met Tony the Gorilla. His fingers were as wide as soda cans; his biceps were each the size of my head, and when he stood up straight, I was certain he was King Kong. He was spectacular, but I must say, his obvious inhuman strength was terrifying! There I stood, facing this creature with the strength of 1000 men,separated by nothing but a thin wire fence. Suddenly the most amazing thing happened, he walked over, sat down in front of me and stared into my eyes. Looking back into his, I could see how wise, curious and deeply intelligent he was. He took one of his massive fingers, stuck it through the fence and gently, as if I were made of glass, touched my cheek, then my nose, and finally my lips. He pulled his finger back and smelled it! He did this repeatedly during my first visit with him while I fed him his favorite fruits; bananas and cherries.

The second time I went to visit Tony I brought as many of the largest bananas I could find! In exchange, he would dig through his cage and find sticks and bunches of straw that he had twisted together, and he proudly gifted me each individual one through a hole in the fence. “For me?”, I asked, and he would throw his head back with pride! The happier I seemed about the objects the more of them he would find to give me. That day I went home with a beautiful bouquet from my friend, Tony the Gorilla.

Each time I walked away from his cage I realized how ridiculously small his enclosure was for such a large animal. I could tell even his caretakers hated the conditions in which they were forced to confine him. There were very few toys to occupy his intelligent mind, and thick metal bars on almost all 4 sides; it looked like a prison cell. I also noticed how far away it kept him from the people. Men, women and children who paid money to come see this larger than life creature, usually got to see nothing but his back! So I set out upon a mission to change this and rebuilt Tony the Gorilla’s home. Not only did I do it for Tony, a deeply smart animal forced to only see the sky through bars for the past 16 years of his life, but for the people of Kiev who spend their hard earned money to take their families to the zoo for a great experience!

Animals have always brought me joy in my darkest hours. Whenever I have gone through difficult times in my life, I have always turned to animals to find comfort, peace and happiness. They can be a small ray of sunshine in the darkest room. My hope is that Tony and his new habitat can bring a moment of comfort and joy to the people who visit him. To see him put a smile on a child’s face, hear a family share a laugh, watch the wonder in people’s eyes as they learn something new about a creature we share our planet with, is my dream. And who knows, maybe it will spark something in a child’s heart that will change their lives forever!

[Image via WENN.]

Nov 23, 2014 12:01am PST

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