Wednesday, December 31, 2014
The true story of Lowry Park Zoo of Tampa, Florida.
After some serious problems, with shabby exhibits and poor maintenance, Lowry Park Zoo reinvented itself, with new and better exhibits, key of which was the new elephant area, featuring five elephants, four of which are young elephants, straight from a reserve in Africa. These four elephants were removed from the local herd, which had grown to numerous for the limited resources of the reserve. The reserve managers didn't want to kill them and figured they would be better off in a zoo. And so they were shipped by plane from Africa to Florida to their new home at Lowry Park Zoo.
At the time of the elephants' arrival, Lowery Park Zoo was run by Lex Salisbury, a dynamic and tyrannical leader with a grand vision for the future of the zoo. His story ends rather sadly, when his ambitions extend too far and end up biting him in the ass, accused of dubious dealings and fired from his job and threatened with criminal charges.
But for the caretakers, it is all about the animals. Underpaid and overworked, these people love animals and put up with the minuses just because they want to be with the animals. It is really hard, demanding and draining work, especially when things don't go the way one would want. Things go bad, animals get sick and die and in one sad case, a tiger escaped and had to be killed.
This was quite an interesting and enlightening book, an intriguing look at what goes on behind the scenes at a zoo.
For another review, see http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/Book-Reviews/2010/0721/Zoo-Story-Life-in-the-Garden-of-Captives.