Thursday, September 11, 2008

Baghdad Zoo

The Baghdad Zoo is just outside of the International Zone, and I mean across the boulevard just outside. However, since it's located outside of the IZ we are unable to visit it (put it this way: it's a major production, and it's hard to get approval). The venture is so prohibited, access so unlikey, I may as well be in Washington, D.C. So I learn about the zoo the same way you do, remotely.
The zoo recently made news with the adoption of two tigers; that's the first piece, below. Last year, when I soaked up everything I could find on Iraq, I read Babylon's Ark: The incredible wartime rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, the second piece, below. The book was difficult to read in parts, so you tender-hearted folks go gently into the book. Lawrence Anthony, the author, was steadfast and determined in his mission despite the desperate conditions of those first months after the invasion of April, 2003.
Bengal Tigers, Hope and Riley, Make Baghdad Zoo Their New Home; U.S. Animal Sanctuary Donates Cubs to People of Iraq

The Conservators Center located in Pittsboro, North Carolina, which specializes in large cat rescue and breeding, donated the tigers. Veterinarians from the Center accompanied the tigers by air to Baghdad, which was paid for by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Read the story: http://iraq.usembassy.gov/prt_080808.html


Babylon 's Ark : The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, Lawrence Anthony with Graham Spence Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s PressMarch 2007, 240 pages. The excerpt below "About the Book" is from the following site: http://www.paraview.com/anthony/
"When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the city center and caught in the war's crossfire. Once Anthony entered Baghdad he discovered that full-scale combat and uncontrolled looting had killed nearly all the animals of the zoo.But not all of them. U.S. soldiers had taken the time to help care for the remaining animals, and the zoo's staff had returned to work in spite of the constant firefights. Together the Americans and Iraqis had managed to keep alive the animals that had survived the invasion.Babylon's Ark chronicles the zoo's transformation from bombed-out rubble to peaceful park. Along the way, Anthony recounts hair-raising efforts to save a pride of the dictator's lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, and rescue Saddam's Arabian horses. His unique ground-level experience makes Babylon's Ark an uplifting story of both sides working together for the sake of innocent animals caught in the war's crossfire.

"Lawrence is a well known conservationist, environmentalist and humanitarian. He is the longstanding head of conservation at Thula Thula game reserve, the oldest private wildlife reserve in the Province of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. His personal wildlife focus is the African Elephant. Lawrence 's unique relationship with wild Elephant on Thula Thula has attracted much interest. His initiatives have resulted in the successful rehabilitation of problem herds and traumatized individuals. He formed the first SPCA in Iraq."
~ Carol











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1 Comments:

At November 29, 2008 at 12:38 AM , Blogger cryingsky said...

I remember reading and hearing about the devastation of the zoo occurring in the early days of the "war." Such a pointless tragedy. It makes Mr. Anthony's effort that much more meaningful.

 

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