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Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo Paperback – July 8, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
SFC Herb Mowery
Arriving on the cusp of the war, Anthony discovers most of the animals have died of starvation or been stolen by looters. With only 36 animals left, guns firing in the distance, food and supplies stolen, and only a handful of people for a staff, Anthony questions whether he should shoot the animals to end their misery or do what he came to Iraq to do. Save the zoo!
As an outsider, Anthony paints an amazing picture of a war-torn country, surrounded by American troops, but his focus stays on the animals. The story he tells of the animals that have survived, either because they have sharp claws or teeth (or both) and could defend themselves, is just haunting. His struggles to provide food, water, and safety are a never ending battle. It was also good to read how many American soldiers helped provide aide. Some soldier's bought an entire flock of sheep with their own money for Anthony to use as food for the carnivores.
Lawrence was also responsible for setting up an Iraqi SPCA which closed down a black market zoo and rescued tons of animals that were in even worse conditions. They also went in search of Saddam's million-dollar Arabian horses after they came up missing from Saddam's palace, and they rescued a pack of lions from Uday Hussein's abandoned palace.Read more ›
This account shows the courage of Anthony and the brave staff of the Iraq zoo who, during a period of lawlessness, did everything they could to help the animals. They dodged bullets every day to get to the zoo where they hauled buckets water in scorching heat, found food in a city that had little, dealt with constant looting, and managed to save what was left of the zoo's inhabitants. Help arrived from sources both expected (animal aid foundations) and unexpected (South African mercenaries, wartime photographers, rank and file army soldiers who fed starving lions their MREs.) The story offers details on what life is like for soldiers and civilians in the red zone, a peek at the former palaces of Saddam and his family, the horrible Middle Eastern black market for exotic animals, and the spirit of the Iraqis who wanted to save their animals.
It's really an amazing book
To animals at all of these facilities Anthony and his helpers (including some fine young men of the U.S. military and their officers) were angels of mercy. From a blind bear to starving tigers and lions, they bring numerous wild animals back from the brink and gain support for the zoo to be properly maintained for the future. The story of the two dogs still living in a cage of starving lions at Luna Park also lends some credence to the idea that attachment to other species is not totally limited to humans.
Wars tend to dehumanize people and any humane action in the midst of violence can soften the horror to some degree. Anthony and the other workers at the Baghdad Zoo produced something more precious than just saving a few animals- they brought an island of sanity to the insanity of war!
All did not end well- one of the tigers so lovingly saved was shot by a drunken U. S.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent book. I have read the other books by Anthony Lawrence and Graham Spence. This did not have the romanticism of the African Bush, but was a very good read.Published 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
I has been wanting to read this book for sometime. Mr Anthony had a vision for wildlife and conservation that he was personally prepared to fight for. Read morePublished 10 days ago by Amazon Customer
The author was the best of humanity...I am so glad I got his writings.Published 29 days ago by Rita Swanson Duff
A wonderful and brave account of a heroic man determined to save as many animals as possible from terrifying conditions surrounding the remnants of the once famous Bagdagh zoo. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Maria E. Roberts
One of the best animal rescue books I've ever read. The account is of the devastation that took place in Bagdad at Saddam Hussein's famous zoo there, which housed some magnificent... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Island Kathy
Written with Lawrence Anthony wonderful story telling skill! He not only brings the animal stories to light, but also the seriousness of the Baghdad ware. Read morePublished 2 months ago by bsimple
This book was eye opening to what happened during the Saddam era, what the soldiers and Mr. Anthony's people went through is crazy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Malorie