As subtitled, Scott takes readers ""Behind the Scenes at the Bronx Zoo""--on an all-day tour that begins at 4:50 a.m. at the animal commissary where George Fielding distributes the food for the zoo's more than 3,000 inmates (representing 711 species). Zoo work is not without hazard: during the day a tree pruner is attacked by an escaped condor, the vet is banged around by a mandrill, and a keeper is badly injured by a stallion. But for devotion, there is chief ornithologist Joseph Bell's personal mouth-to-mouth revival of 20 ailing humming birds; and for vision, general director William Conway's plan for a Wild Asia where animals roam free and ""caged"" visitors ride through on trains. Scott listens in on a vet's advice over the zoo's snake-bite hotline, watches a keeper put visitors on by telling jokes to the hyenas, and ends with the mammal curator blinking back tears upon the death of a favorite elephant. Except for some surrogate mothers and children's zoo workers, called here by their first names, it appears to be an all-male cast, but personable overall.