LIFEBOATS TO ARARAT by Sheldon Campbell


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Like the equally affable Gerald Durrell, Sheldon Campbell is firmly committed to captive breeding as regular zoo policy, and here the San Diego Zoo trustee tells why. Using vignettes from his own zoo and others, he demonstrates how zoos, with a long legacy of animal mistreatment, can revise their traditional role as entertainment centers and perform a larger service in educating the public and attempting the continuation of endangered species. Along the way he offers several amusing stories--the bear who tunneled into the tiger's grotto, a lemur who was kidnapped--and some seamier incidents as well: the Philadelphia Reptile Exchange's international smuggling caper, a zoo-world Watergate. He also confirms Hayes' observation (in The Last Place on Earth, 1977) on the extent of rivalries among zoo honchos, and grazes over several contemporary trends and discoveries: how exhibit design principles affect animal behavior; how vets, long unappreciated, have finally achieved a respectable ranking; how keepers are better trained; how female attendants are often successful as surrogate mothers (even though the young animals have re-entry problems); and how more scientific approaches have enabled zoos to improve the quality of everyday and emergency care. Welcome aboard.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1978
Publisher: Times Books