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Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives txt Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, text ebook Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, adobe reader Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, chapter 2 Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives, Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives 4857a1 Welcome To The Savage And Surprising World Of Zoo Story, An Unprecedented Account Of The Secret Life Of A Zoo And Its Inhabitants, Both Animal And Human Based On Six Years Of Research, The Book Follows A Handful Of Unforgettable Characters At Tampa S Lowry Park Zoo An Alpha Chimp With A Weakness For Blondes, A Ferocious Tiger Who Revels In Obsession Perfume, And A Brilliant But Tyrannical CEO Known As El Diablo Blanco Zoo Story Crackles With Issues Of Global Urgency The Shadow Of Extinction, Humanity S Role In The Destruction Or Survival Of Other Species More Than Anything Else, Though, It S A Dramatic And Moving True Story Of Seduction And Betrayal, Exile And Loss, And The Limits Of Freedom On An Overcrowded Planet All Framed Inside One Zoo Reinventing Itself For The Twenty First Century Thomas French, A Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporter, Chronicles The Action With Vivid Power Wild Elephants Soaring Above The Atlantic On Their Way To Captivity Predators Circling Each Other In A Lethal Mating Dance Primates Plotting The Overthrow Of Their King The Sweeping Narrative Takes The Reader From The African Savannah To The Forests Of Panama And Deep Into The Inner Workings Of A Place Some Describe As A Sanctuary And Others Condemn As A Prison All Of It Comes To Life In The Book S Four Legged Characters Even Animal Lovers Will Be Startled By The Emotional Charge Of These Creatures Histories, Which Read As Though They Were Co Written By Dickens And Darwin Zoo Story Shows Us How These Remarkable Individuals Live, How Some Die, And What Their Experiences Reveal About The Human Desire To Both Exalt And Control Nature


About the Author: Thomas French

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the Goodreads database with this name.Thomas French, a Pulitzer prize winning reporter, has spent the past quarter century redefining the possibilities of journalistic storytelling, both in his writing and in his teaching around the world.French grew up in Indiana and attended journalism school at Indiana University s Bloomington campus, where he was a Poynter scholar and editor in chief at the Indiana Daily Student, and where he won a Hearst award for a profile of a giant hog at the Indiana State Fair An editor at the St Petersburg Times read the hog story and hired French, just as he was graduating from IU, as a night cops reporter.French spent the next 27 years at the Times, covering hurricanes and criminal trials and the secret lives of high school students He experimented with narrative techniques both on deadline and nondeadline work and specialized in serial narratives, book length stories published one chapter at a time.In 1998, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for feature writing and a Sigma Delta Chi award for Angels Demons, a series that chronicled the murder of an Ohio woman and her two teenage daughters as they vacationed in Tampa Two of his other serials, A Cry in the Night and South of Heaven, were later published as books His most recent project, Zoo Story, explored the inner world of Tampa s Lowry Park Zoo and is scheduled to be published in book form by Hyperion in July 2010.French is a Writing Fellow at the Poynter Institute and has taught there forthan 20 years He also teaches in a nonfiction masters program at Goucher College, outside Balti, and has led narrative workshops across the U.S and around the world, from the Nieman conference at Harvard to newsrooms in Dubai, Singapore and Johannesburg He is married to Kelley Benham, a national award winning reporter and editor at the St Petersburg Times, and has two sons.He is proud to have returned to his alma mater and is currently teaching narrative journalism and story mechanics.



10 thoughts on “Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives

  1. says:

    I ve always felt conflicted about zoos On the one hand, I enjoy seeing the animals up close and personal On the other hand, I always feel guilty No matter how big or friendly their habitat, I still feel a bit melancholy when I see magnificent wild animals living their lives in such an unnatural way Then I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that they might be better off in a zoo safe from poachers and other dangers found in the wild In short, like many others, I have a love h I ve always felt conflicted about zoos On the one hand, I enjoy seeing the animals up close and personal On the other hand, I always feel guilty No matter how big or friendly their habitat, I still feel a bit melancholy when I see magnificent wild animals living their lives in such an unnatural way Then I try to make myself feel better by telling myself that they might be better off in a zoo safe from poachers and other dangers found in the wild In short, like many others, I have a love hate relationship with zoos So when I saw journalist Thomas French s book, Zoo Story Life in the Garden of Captives, that purported to give an inside look at Tampas Lowry Park Zoo, I snapped it up immediately.In addition to my curiosity about the inner workings of a zoo, I was also drawn to this book because we visited Lowry Park Zoo several times, and I always enjoy reading about places I ve been to in real life I was able to picture many of the places he described and remember watching the baby elephant whose conception and birth is described in the book.This book tells many stories including the rise and fall of the zoo s controversial CEO Lex Salisbury to the reign and tragic ends of the zoo s king and queen Herman the Orangutan and Enshalla the Tiger The book opens with the transport of a group of elephants from Swaziland, Africa to Florida Using the acquisition and journey of the elephants to highlight some of the issues and controversies surrounding zoos, French highlights the reasons why so many of us are conflicted about zoos He tells how the elephants are losing their native habitat through their own voracious appetites and why this perilous journey might be their best hope of survival, yet he contrasts this with the way the zoo markets the elephants and may not really have their best interests at heart In addition, French s account of the death of a young Lowry Park zookeeper at the hands of a captive elephant gives the reader pause about whether keeping wild animals in a zoo is really the best decision for all involved.The story that French is trying to tell is complex, and I think that both helps and hurts the book On one hand, the reader gets to view the zoo from many different perspectives We meet various keepers, the animals, and the zoo s management We get a glimpse of how a modern zoo must balance financial health, conservation efforts, and the well being of the animals In the case of Lowry Park Zoo, we also get an insider s look at the controversy surrounding Lex Salisbury, who was both loved and reviled within the zoo On the other hand, juggling so many different stories means that none of them get enough attention I often found myself getting caught up in a particular story line and then being disappointed when I didn t getdepth or follow up French has a wealth of material, and I wished he had written a longer book Too often, I felt like the individual stories were given short shrift.Despite that, I found the book to be interesting and eye opening Although it did little to help me settle my own misgivings about zoos in general, the book provided me with lots of food for thought If you re interested in learningabout zoos, I think this book does a good job highlighting their pros and cons And it would be a great Z book if you are doing the A to Z Title Challenge A word of caution though If you are reading this book mostly because you are interested in animals, you might be disappointed Although French takes the time to discuss various animals, he spends considerablytime on the various political machinations that affected the zoo during Salisbury s stewardship


  2. says:

    I found stacks and stacks of this book in a neglected corner during a Borders going out of business sale It was odd for me, because I hadn t heard of it at all So I picked it up and took it home How could I not It had elephants on the cover and promised to be a behind the scenes look at a zoo It was over and above anything I was expecting It is, in fact, the first in depth look at the personal life of zoos that I ve been able to find French, a journalist with no zoo ties, does an admira I found stacks and stacks of this book in a neglected corner during a Borders going out of business sale It was odd for me, because I hadn t heard of it at all So I picked it up and took it home How could I not It had elephants on the cover and promised to be a behind the scenes look at a zoo It was over and above anything I was expecting It is, in fact, the first in depth look at the personal life of zoos that I ve been able to find French, a journalist with no zoo ties, does an admirable job profiling, both the animals and humans who populate a zoo He also aptly captures the contradictions inherent in a zoo, and the people who work there There are no good zoo employees who do not feel at least a little skeptical about whether they re doing the right thing for the animals at times French is able to capture the personalities and motivations that make zoos tick or not He tells fascinating stories about the individual animal personalities of the Tampa Lowry Park Zoo, and the controversies it endured around the turn of the 21st century, but he also touches on two of the most controversial and conspicuous issues zoos face today Animal escapes called Code Ones at Tampa and free vs protected contact for elephants He chronicles Tatiana s Christmas day escape in 2006, and San Deigo Zoo s move from free to protected contact He does an admirable job telling Tatiana s story, but he over simplified the free vs protected contact argument, and made the transition sound a lot simpler that it has been, though perhaps not simpler than it should have been The telling of Tatiana s story sets up the climax of the book, which was compelling and difficult to read I don t know one zoo employee who has not had this nightmare I have it repeatedly French deftly used the incident as a microscope to look at the power dynamics of the Tampa Zoo The rest of the book deals with the political fall of Lex Salisbury, the now former Tampa Lowry Park Zoo director I can t recommend this book highly enough It should be required reading for anyone who works in a zoo, and it d be good for anyone who plans to visit or have an opinion about zoos French s perceptive eye and acute mind were a perfect narrator for such a story


  3. says:

    I caught myself constantly wanting to shout Yes You sooo get it throughout this book It manages to capture all of the ethical quandaries and essentially doublethink games keepers face every day when taking care of exotic animals in a zoo It s a highly conflicted field and French does a wonderful job of summarizing it I can even forgive his occasional digressions into utterly ludicrous flowery prose On a personal note, Enshalla the tiger s story is one out of my nightmares Literally I I caught myself constantly wanting to shout Yes You sooo get it throughout this book It manages to capture all of the ethical quandaries and essentially doublethink games keepers face every day when taking care of exotic animals in a zoo It s a highly conflicted field and French does a wonderful job of summarizing it I can even forgive his occasional digressions into utterly ludicrous flowery prose On a personal note, Enshalla the tiger s story is one out of my nightmares Literally It was extremely hard to read.The overall story is one of how a zoo can be rebuilt from a disastrous state into a marvelous success And how bad management can totally take a zoo back down from that marvelous success The second half of the book is essentially how to totally f up as a zoo CEO I remember hearing about the scandals at Lowry Park a few years back, and I was excited to finally get a full account I am truly impressed by French s handling of the whole book.I do love the stories of Herman and Enshalla and the African elephants I wish he could have givendetails when it came to the falling out with Brian French and on the protected vs free contact issue as a whole , but I assume he had good reason My only objection to his calling out these stories specifically is that he falls into the exact same trap that is so often criticized in zoos he focused in on the big name species You really can t getcharismatic than a chimp, a tiger, and an elephant And while he made nods to the herps and other departments, they were, for the most part, a token gesture I suppose even a critical writer can t escape the lure of charismatic megafauna to sell a book


  4. says:

    Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants, both animal and human Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa s Lowry Park Zoo an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco Zoo Story crackles with issues of global urgency the shadow of extinction, Welcome to the savage and surprising world of Zoo Story, an unprecedented account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants, both animal and human Based on six years of research, the book follows a handful of unforgettable characters at Tampa s Lowry Park Zoo an alpha chimp with a weakness for blondes, a ferocious tiger who revels in Obsession perfume, and a brilliant but tyrannical CEO known as El Diablo Blanco Zoo Story crackles with issues of global urgency the shadow of extinction, humanity s role in the destruction or survival of other species More than anything else, though, it s a dramatic and moving true story of seduction and betrayal, exile and loss, and the limits of freedom on an overcrowded planet all framed inside one zoo reinventing itself for the twenty first century Thomas French, a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter, chronicles the action with vivid power Wild elephants soaring above the Atlantic on their way to captivity Predators circling each other in a lethal mating dance Primates plotting the overthrow of their king The sweeping narrative takes the reader from the African savannah to the forests of Panama and deep into the inner workings of a place some describe as a sanctuary and others condemn as a prison All of it comes to life in the book s four legged characters Even animal lovers will be startled by the emotional charge of these creatures histories, which read as though they were co written by Dickens and Darwin Zoo Story shows us how these remarkable individuals live, how some die, and what their experiences reveal about the human desire to both exalt and control nature


  5. says:

    I think most people are either for zoos or against them I don t really like the idea of any animal being kept in captivity, but this book presented a rational argument for the need for zoos one which didn t sugarcoat their dark histories and sad anecdotes I was initially drawn to the book because it was written based on testimonies and experiences occurring at or revolving around Lowry Park Zoo in St Petersburg, Florida I d been visiting that zoo ever since I was a little girl French begi I think most people are either for zoos or against them I don t really like the idea of any animal being kept in captivity, but this book presented a rational argument for the need for zoos one which didn t sugarcoat their dark histories and sad anecdotes I was initially drawn to the book because it was written based on testimonies and experiences occurring at or revolving around Lowry Park Zoo in St Petersburg, Florida I d been visiting that zoo ever since I was a little girl French begins his exploration into the zoo world with Lowry Park s groundbreaking acquisition of a group of elephants from Kenya He presents the problems and resolutions from both an environmental standpoint effects of overpopulation, conservational efforts and an emotional bias the wonder animals instill in humans, and the connections established He introduces the reader to several famous residents at the zoo an elephant, a bengal tiger, and an orangutan Some of these animals lives were saved, and some of them lived less than fulfilling lives behind bars It s a true story with a real villain, as the financial underworld of the zoo industry is revealed in depth To be honest, you don t really walk away from this book feeling one way or the other you kind of just accept the sad reality that zoos are necessary evils But despite that, it really is an enjoyable read, and one all animal lovers and wildlife advocates should read It shines a new light on a very misunderstood industry


  6. says:

    There are so many superlatives I can use to review this book It s riveting, fascinating, heartbreaking, funny and a real page turner It s the story of the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Florida It tells the story of the rise, fall and rise again of America s Number One Family Zoo and all the characters in it both human and animal Everyone from the obsessive dictatorial CEO Lex Salisbury to Herman the King of the Chimpanzees to Enshala the Sumatran tiger whose keeper sprays Obsession around her grot There are so many superlatives I can use to review this book It s riveting, fascinating, heartbreaking, funny and a real page turner It s the story of the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Florida It tells the story of the rise, fall and rise again of America s Number One Family Zoo and all the characters in it both human and animal Everyone from the obsessive dictatorial CEO Lex Salisbury to Herman the King of the Chimpanzees to Enshala the Sumatran tiger whose keeper sprays Obsession around her grotto Enshala is beautiful and dangerous and rejects every suitor that the zoo brings in to hopefully mate with her Herman is the alpha male chimpanzee who starts out with a family until he and his sister get too big and strong to live with this family and they are given to Lowry Herman is one of the most long lived of the zoos animals He has survived through some awful times when the zoo was a very horrible place to the present time where the animals are cared for with kindness and intelligence Herman loves blondes and likes to see a bit of skin if he can Makes for some interesting interactions with his female keepers The beginning is about 4 elephants that are brought from Swaziland to Lowry The elephants are destroying the trees and vegetation which is impacting other animals who need those plants to survive There are too many elephants and they are facing a cull Rather than kill them, the rangers decide to send 11 to the US Four go to Lowry and 7 got to the San Diego Zoo This sets off a huge battle with PETA and other animal rights groups, but Lex won t take no for an answer so eventually these 4 arrive which sets off a huge multimillion dollar expansion which eventually leads to a battle involving the city of Tampa and the state of Florida


  7. says:

    I am glad I listened to this challenging and thought provoking audiobook ZOO STORY is not simply about cute and clever exotic animals Instead, it s an examination of the complex ethics, motivations, and responsibilities involved in animal captivity, through the trials and tribulations behind the scenes at one nationally known Florida zoo.I m an animal advocate, but I do not blindly follow what this or that group says Instead, I strive to research the issues and form my own opinions I do not I am glad I listened to this challenging and thought provoking audiobook ZOO STORY is not simply about cute and clever exotic animals Instead, it s an examination of the complex ethics, motivations, and responsibilities involved in animal captivity, through the trials and tribulations behind the scenes at one nationally known Florida zoo.I m an animal advocate, but I do not blindly follow what this or that group says Instead, I strive to research the issues and form my own opinions I do not believe zoos are 100% bad and I m talking AZA zoos here, not roadside menageries Nor do I believe zoos are 100% good Indeed, even most zookeepers don t believe zoos are 100% good, as the book makes clear All good zookeepers are plagued with crises of conscience is this good, right, best for the animals and zoo visitors should be, too Can zoos be good for animals They can Many zoos rehabilitate wild animals who have been orphaned or injured or serve as a permanent home for those animals too damaged to be released The Lowry Park Zoo the focus of this book provides this service for manatees With their large budgets, zoos can help animals that privately funded small wildlife rehabs cannot Zoos are also one of the very few popular institutions that depict animals at least the ones being displayed in a positive light and encourage people to love and make connections with them, and care about what is happening to them in the wild In a time in which a minority of Americans will ever enter an animal shelter, and even fewer will visit an animal sanctuary that espouses an animal rights viewpoint, zoos are one of the very few forms of animal based institutions that actually ask attendees to care about the animals And of course, zoos can also help preserve those species who are being driven to extinction ZOO STORY tells a fascinating and sad story about the rapid disappearance of the Panamanian golden frog, and the zoo s amphibian specialists determination to propagate and restore this little creature However, this brings up someethical questions I was rather distressed to hear about the artificial insemination of Ellie, an elephant at Lowry Park Zoo, because the males in her herd weren t old enough to mate What if she didn t want a calf Is it right to force motherhood on an animal just because she s an endangered species something she knows nothing about At the same time, zoos also have a lot of problems A major storyline is the rapid rise and fall of Lowry Park s charismatic and dictator like director, who is so obsessed with growing his animal collection that corners get cut, valuable staff members are lost, and animals end up suffering or even dying as a result It s easy for big zoos to take on a theme park like mentality, in which the search for the next big thrill can overtake the notion that these are sentient beings we re talking about While standards of care in zoos have improved with great speed indeed, farquickly than any other animal based enterprise there s still much work to be done I ve seen exhibits in which the animals appeared to be genuinely happy, mentally engaged, and at ease and those in which the animals boredom was manifesting itself in distressing ways in the same zoo The staff should beopen about what is being done to help animals in the latter segment And of course, there are animals who are still kept in captivity who should not be Whales and dolphins, the consensus seems to be, are not capable of living long or healthy lives in aquariums Other animals are far too shy and simply not suited for life in the zoo environment I m sorry to say that a large segment of zoo visitors behave in an abysmal manner Parents play on their phones while kids run around, scream, and pound on the glass Are these kids learning about animals and conservation Are the parents ZOO STORY doesn t depict animal rights activists at least those who opposed a transfer of a doomed African elephant herd into American zoos in a very positive way The narrator uses an unsympathetic whiny voice for activists words, and the book attributes animal organizations with farpower than they actually have a look at the commercial farming industry should put to rest that notion I hoped the zoo guest who suggested a vegetarian diet to make an aggressive tigerpeaceful was just a Lowry Park urban legend, but I m doubtful Even animal lovers can be very dumb about animals at times However, even if the individual activists don t come off well, many of their concerns are validated in this book It was activist pressure that drove zoos away from the old concrete steel bars and circus acts model of zoos to begin with And many of the concerns about zoos are explained and amplified So even if activists aren t always right, neither are the zoos Zoos have changed a great deal over the past couple of generations How will they change in the future Ideally, they will expand their sanctuary role and focus most or all of their resources on helping individual animals who are injured or in danger Maybe they will start takingfirm stances on issues of environment and conservation, and stop partnering with corporations that just want to greenwash their name brands and serving hamburgers in their snack shops In this issue, there s a lot of gray where only some see black and white


  8. says:

    I picked up this book at the library as I do many of my books randomly cruising the animal conservation related shelves in the non fiction section As I was just about to start reading, my friend told me the author had appeared on The Colbert Report So of course, I had to check that out I was surprised to see that Colbert actually let him talk during the interview, which is unusual, but I think it may have been because the subject was not political per se.I absolutely enjoyed this book, as I picked up this book at the library as I do many of my books randomly cruising the animal conservation related shelves in the non fiction section As I was just about to start reading, my friend told me the author had appeared on The Colbert Report So of course, I had to check that out I was surprised to see that Colbert actually let him talk during the interview, which is unusual, but I think it may have been because the subject was not political per se.I absolutely enjoyed this book, as the 5 star rating implies I felt that it was very well written highly nuanced and absolutely engrossing I myself have a mixed view of zoos, I feel they are necessary but I m slightly uncomfortable with the concept I ve visited several and even have ambitions to possibly work at one one day, but all of that is very pie in the sky.It was very informative to read the story of the Lowry Park Zoo, in Tampa, FL It was an inside view that I ve never gotten to see read before I really liked how French tried to portray many sides of the story, not just in relation to this particular zoo, but to zoos in general It showed that the issue of zoos is nowhere near black and white There are so many issues to consider, so many things to take into account Zoos are not going to go away anytime soon, so the best we can do is try to improve them and give the greatest importance to the lives of animals, as well as the greater issue of conservation.I m walking away from this book with a lot of things to think about, with a sense of despair, but also of hope, as well as a big list ofbooks to read He includes a Notes section as well as a Bibliography with a ton of books and papers related to the topics in the book


  9. says:

    Interesting subject matter presented in a convoluted manner Story lines would end abruptly and then pick up later in the middle of another tangent Rather than build suspense or deepen our appreciation of a particular point, this jumbled writing style left the reader frustrated and trying to remember the finer details of previous chapters The lack of flow hurt the story.Second, I think the book also suffered from too many themes was this mostly about the displaced elephant pod an inventory Interesting subject matter presented in a convoluted manner Story lines would end abruptly and then pick up later in the middle of another tangent Rather than build suspense or deepen our appreciation of a particular point, this jumbled writing style left the reader frustrated and trying to remember the finer details of previous chapters The lack of flow hurt the story.Second, I think the book also suffered from too many themes was this mostly about the displaced elephant pod an inventory and analysis of animals and animal care at Lowry Zoo an analysis of the rise and fall of a megalomaniac zoo director It was difficult to focus or sympathize with any one story line.Third, the regular comparison of the chimp society in the zoo and the human alpha staff members and political gatherings was overdone and not particularly profound And the rhetorical questioning of what the animals may be thinking or what a particular action says about humanity was not very convincing.Perhaps we anthropomorphise too much, perhaps too little This book offered no real fodder for analysis in either direction I did like the too brief tale of Herman and his first human caretaker It was one of theemotional moments in a story that could have beeneffectively and engagingly told


  10. says:

    Many people hold ambivalent feelings about zoos Without them, most would never have the opportunity to see many of the beautiful and fascinating animals with whom we share the planet Zoos also offer the best hope for the continued survival of threatened species whose habitats we ve obliterated through our profligacy Yet there is an unease that comes with holding wild animals in captivity In Zoo Story , Thomas French examines these complex and often contradictory issues at the Lowry Park Zoo Many people hold ambivalent feelings about zoos Without them, most would never have the opportunity to see many of the beautiful and fascinating animals with whom we share the planet Zoos also offer the best hope for the continued survival of threatened species whose habitats we ve obliterated through our profligacy Yet there is an unease that comes with holding wild animals in captivity In Zoo Story , Thomas French examines these complex and often contradictory issues at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa Florida and their importation in 2003 of 4 African elephants 3 wild and 1 raised in captivity There are ethical problems that arise when intelligent animals are taken from the wild and placed in an artificial environment Every aspect of the animals lives from their feeding and care, to their social interactions and contact with other species particularly with humans is affected and changes the animals in ways that are poorly understood French considers these ethical dilemmas in a manner that is both sensitive and thorough while at the same time spinning a compelling narrative that encompasses individual animals and the zookeepers that tend to them I also found his descriptions of human behaviors in terms often used to describe animal interactions amusing


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