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Dr. Fisher's Life on the Ark: Green Alligators, Bushman, and Other "Hare-Raising" Tales from America's Most Popular Zoo and Around the World Hardcover – June, 2004


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fisher was the director of Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo for 30 years. The job entailed 40 expeditions to such places as India, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Iceland; some trips brought him great joy, others great danger. Fisher tells how he helped deliver six calves and had to perform a caesarean section on the last one; how he extracted a jaguar's broken tooth; and how he treated a Bengal tiger with an infected ingrown toenail. Fisher reminisces about such famous zoo animals as Mike, a polar bear, and Bushman, the legendary lowland gorilla. He fondly remembers the late Marlin Perkins, the zoo director prior to Fisher, who hosted a national TV show, and the time that Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, gave him a check for $1 million during lunch in 1976 to help build a commissary-hospital and great ape house. Above all, the author's love of animals comes through on every page of this delightful book. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Racom Communications (June 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0970451563
  • ISBN-13: 978-0970451569
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne S. Ridenour on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
You're invited to sit back, hold on and enjoy a marvelous "ride!" Dr. Fisher shares over fifty years of his experiences loving, living for, caring for and conserving animals. His passion for and commitment to all living creatures is surpassed by none.
Dr. Fisher's Life on the Ark has all of the James Herriott and Dr. Doolittle "feel good" qualities and more. This book is for everyone who enjoys stories about wildlife, travel, conservation, WWII and celebrity encounters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Banfield on May 24, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Every kid who grew up in Chicago in the 70s remembers Dr. Lester Fisher from his "Ark in the Park" segments on the Ray Rayner Show. Now, Dr. Fisher has written an interesting and anecdotal book about his years as head veterinarian and director at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Here are his tales of gorillas getting out of their cages and being coaxed back in with snakes, of which they are afraid; of the polar bear whose fur turned green, and the polar bear who ate too many marshmallows; of the leopard who ate his own mate; of Prince Phillip visiting the zoo and getting ape waste thrown at him (and taking it very kindly); of the flamingo who flew away; of the chimpanzees who had "tea parties" - two of whom, Keo and June, are still living at the zoo. Fisher also talks about his appearances on TV, including the Halloween show in which he tried to pass his black cat off as a "Scottish wild cat." He ends the book with a long description of his African travels.

The book is well-written and easy to read, and would be enjoyable for anyone interested in the inner workings of a major zoo. The photos are excellent - notice the spectacled bear and the gorillas. Chicagoans, of course, will enjoy this book even more. I wish he had included maps of the old and new zoo configurations, so I could see how things changed over the years, but that's a minor quibble from a long-time visitor.

To sum up: You'll read about green alligators and long-necked geese, some humpty backed camels and some chimpanzees, some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you're born, you'll enjoy this book even with no unicorns!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Animal Man on July 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a child, and still as an adult, I have always enjoyed seeing how things worked behind the scenes. Especially famous things, like theaters, bike factories, commercial bakeries. So it was really great to read this book and find out how it was to run a veterinary clinic, to be a zoo vet, and to get behind-the-scenes stories about life at the world famous Lincoln Park Zoo, especially from its 30-year director, Dr. Lester E. Fisher. Zoos are amazing places, and incredible things happen at them that the casual, or even the frequent, visitor will never see or hear about. Animal escapes, animal births and deaths, the movement of wild animals. This book is full of interesting, funny, and scary episodes of life in the zoo world. To top it off, we get to go on African wild animal photo safaris with Dr. Fisher in the latter portions of the book, and these trips give rise to a whole different kind of crazy and interesting happenings. This book will provide pleasure to all those who love zoos and animals, and also to those who simply enjoy engaging stories about the world and its inhabitants, human and otherwise.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Fisher's Life On The Ark is the autobiographical story of Lester E. Fisher and his adventures (and misadventures) arising from his responsibilities of being the director of the famous Lincoln Park Zoo. From the ups and downs of training at veterinary school, to safari adventures at Africa and around the world, to establishing a successful track record and legacy in gorilla breeding and much more, Dr. Fisher's Life On The Ark is a story of one man's real-life animal escapades, and his work to preserve and promote awareness while transforming one of the oldest, most-visted, and last free zoos in America. Highly recommended reading -- especially for animal lovers!
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Format: Hardcover
I love this book.

None of the stories contained in this book are more than a few pages long, but each one is as fascinating and memorable as the last. Dr. Fisher's penchant for brevity may leave some readers wanting more details, but the the good doctor gives us just enough to get his stories across. His simplistic approach to storytelling gives the book an almost intimate feeling.

The writing style may not be for everyone, but I felt like the pacing fit perfectly with the anecdotal nature of the stories. The whole book feels like you're sitting down with Dr. Fisher and he's just rattling off story after story about things that happened to him once. In some ways, it's the casual way that he talks about remarkable things (from taking care of Patton's dog to delivering a baby cow in the middle of a ferocious storm to tracking down escaped gorillas) that makes this book so interestings.

Many of the stories are funny. Some of them are sad. All of them are fascinating.
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Format: Hardcover
For anyone who loves animals, remembers "Zoo Parade" broadcasts from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, or supports preserving endangered species, Dr. Lester Fisher's new book is a delightful read.
I first watched "Zoo Parade" growing up in Cleveland and when I moved to Chicago, made a beeline for the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the country's remaining free urban zoos. Dr. Les Fisher brought the zoo up to contemporary standards of animal care and pioneered the breeding of gorillas. His book not only talks about his years as a part-time vet working with the famed Marlin Perkins, but also about his own 30 years as Zoo Director. Of particular interest are his stories about the photographic safaris he led with his wife Wendy for wildlife lovers and zoo supporters throughout Africa.
It's a refreshing and charming memoir that celebrates man's best efforts to preserve and honor the world's wild creatures.
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Dr. Fisher's Life on the Ark: Green Alligators, Bushman, and Other "Hare-Raising" Tales from America's Most Popular Zoo and Around the World
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