Zoo

Orangutans swing from Kevlar-lined fire hoses. Giraffes feast on celebratory birthday cakes topped with carrots instead of candles. Hi-tech dinosaur robots growl among steel trees, while owls watch animated cartoons on old television sets. In American Zoo, sociologist David Grazian takes us on a safari through the contemporary zoo, alive with its many contradictions and strange wonders.

Trading in his tweed jacket for a zoo uniform and a pair of muddy work boots, Grazian introduces us to zookeepers and animal rights activists, parents and toddlers, and the other human primates that make up the zoo's social world. He shows that in a major shift away from their unfortunate pasts, American zoos today emphasize naturalistic exhibits teeming with lush and immersive landscapes, breeding programs for endangered animals, and enrichment activities for their captive creatures. In doing so, zoos blur the imaginary boundaries we regularly use to separate culture from nature, humans from animals, and civilization from the wild. At the same time, zoos manage a wilderness of competing priorities—animal care, education, scientific research, and recreation—all while attempting to serve as centers for conservation in the wake of the current environmental and climate-change crisis. The world of the zoo reflects how we project our own prejudices and desires onto the animal kingdom, and invest nature with meaning and sentiment.

A revealing portrayal of comic animals, delighted children, and feisty zookeepers, American Zoo is a remarkable close-up exploration of a classic cultural attraction.

Written by the president of the nation’s number-one zoo, Sailing with Noah is an intensely personal, behind-the-scenes look at modern zoos. Jeffrey P. Bonner, who was trained as an anthropologist and came to the zoo world quite by accident, shares some of the most compelling stories ever told about contemporary zoos. The stories jump between zoos in different cities and between countries on different continents. Some are fun and funny. Others are sad, even tragic. Pete Hoskins, the director of the Philadelphia Zoo, is in bed, sound asleep, when his phone rings. . . . “There’s been a fire in the World of Primates,” he is told. “You’ve got to get over here.” Whatever he has been dreaming, it is nothing like the nightmare he will find now that he is awake. . . . “They’re all gone. They’re all gone.” All of the animals in the building—the gorillas, the lemurs, the orangutans, and the gibbons—all twenty-three of them are dead. Written in a lively, accessible style, Sailing with Noah explores the role of zoos in today’s society and their future as institutions of education, conservation, and research. Along the way, Bonner relates a variety of true stories about animals and those who care for them (or abuse them), offering his perspective on heavily publicized incidents and describing less-well-known events with compassion and humor in turn. By bringing the stories of the animals’ lives before us, Bonner gives them a voice. He strongly believes that zoos must act for living things, and he argues that conservation is a shared responsibility of all mankind. This book helps us to understand why biodiversity is important and what it means to be a steward of life on earth. From the day-to-day aspects of caring for some of the world’s most exotic creatures to the role of zoos as field conservation organizations, saving wild things in wild places, this book takes the reader on an incredible journey—a journey that begins within the zoo and continues around the globe. Everyone—from zoo visitors to animal lovers to professional conservationists, the young and old alike—will be fascinated by this extraordinary book.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.