From Publishers Weekly
Anthony, a South African conservationist and recipient of the U.N.'s Earth Day award, details how, through a series of complex maneuvers, he entered Iraq after the American invasion and led the fight to save what was left of the Baghdad Zoo. Most of the animals were killed by war and looting; the remainder were starved and in filthy cages, with no staff to care for them. Anthony describes how he, along with the zoo's former deputy director and several brave workers, risked daily danger to save the bears, lions, tigers, monkeys and birds. Anthony fended off looters with a gun obtained from a sympathetic U.S. soldier, spent his own funds for equipment and bartered the use of a satellite phone for food and other essentials. Anthony vividly recounts the rescue of other animals, including the inhabitants of the appalling Luna Park Zoo and Saddam's prize Arabian horses, saved from the hands of black marketeers. The author takes no position on the invasion. His goal is for his mission, so dramatically recounted with journalist Spence's help, to set an example of conservation and respect for animal life. 8 pages of color photos. (Mar. 12)
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*Starred Review* The story of the rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, once the finest in Arabia, begins with Anthony and two keepers from the Kuwait City Zoo as they find themselves driving the only vehicle attempting to cross the border into Iraq. The Americans had just completed their "shock and awe" campaign, and South African conservationist Anthony knew that the zoo, located in the heart of Baghdad, would need help. In all cases of human hostility, animals get caught in the middle, often suffering horribly, and Anthony felt he had to do something. What follows is a truly remarkable book, as Anthony pulled strings, made connections (legal and illegal), sweet-talked bureaucrats, and made miracles happen as he, with the help of the American military, brought the Baghdad Zoo back from the brink. Ferrying fetid water from canals in buckets "liberated" from a former five-star hotel; feeding the animals moldy vegetables and the soldiers' MREs; defending the zoo from looters; and rescuing the remains of Saddam Hussein's private menagerie, Anthony and his companions somehow made progress. Woven through the narrative is Anthony's obvious love of animals and his anger at what they suffer at the hands of humans, lending a poignancy and immediacy to the story. Nancy BentCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved