I wish I had the answer to this question. I had the EXACT same problem last Friday at the zoo. I also couldn't figure out how to get the camera to focus on the animal and not the bars of the cage it was in. I wish I understood the manual settings a little better. I'm kind of a novice. Any advice?
Well I took my trip to the zoo and the pandas were behind glass just as I suspected. I got a good picture of the baby panda but the mommy panda looked just like a panda behin glass. The flash made a reflection, so maybe if I didn't use the flash I could have gotten a better picture of the mommy panda. Overall the photos came out great.