For a number of years, the Prague ZOO has been pursuing the Wandering Bus environmental education project in Cameroon with the chief objective of contributing towards the protection of endangered animal species, in particular the western lowland gorillas whose population in the wild has been on a steady decline. Michal Rataj, a teacher from HAMU’s Composition Department, took part in one of the project objectives, specifically to make a sound recording of the forest for the new Gorilla Pavilion in the Prague ZOO intended to enhance the authenticity of the environment and convey the unique wild forest atmosphere for visitors. Michal Rataj made the field recordings directly in the forest. His task was to capture the atmosphere of the forest using various microphones, so that it can be faithfully reproduced in the new Gorilla Pavilion in Prague.
The sounds were recorded using a specialised 3D microphone (capturing sounds omnidirectionally – over 360°) and a parabolic microphone that can target a specific sound with a high degree of precision. The recordings include sounds made by the forest termites, insects, the rustling of birds’ wings, and the cracking and falling of trees.
Visitors will be able to listen to the sound recordings at the Prague ZOO from 28 September 2022 when the new Gorilla Pavilion will be opened.
The project is the result of cooperation between the Prague ZOO and the Music and Dance Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (AMU).
Concept, field recordings, and educational supervision: Michal Rataj
Sound design collaboration: students of the Composition Department at HAMU (Tomáš Borl, Michael Burt, Štěpán Hon, Tobiáš Horváth, Kryštof Ježek, Patrik Kako, Anna Kolářová, Ondřej Rozum).
Michal Rataj, Composition Department of HAMU, photo by Miroslav Bobek
Photo by Michal Rataj