Tippy Jackson's Reviews > Saving the Baghdad Zoo: A True Story of Hope and Heroes

Saving the Baghdad Zoo by Kelly Milner Halls
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's review
Jan 09, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, animalia, war, photos
Read from January 07 to 09, 2011

I thought this was a good snapshot of the restoration of Baghdad Zoo. I'm sure there's a lot more to this story than what is written about-it reads sort of like a highlight reel. This book is filled with stories of generosity and teamwork and people from all sides of the war divide coming together to work on this important project. They rescued not only the animals from Baghdad Zoo, but from other smaller zoos and private collections where animals were being kept in hideous conditions. Every page has some interesting side bars with animal facts or an interesting problem they faced and how they got around to solving it.

One of the topics in the introduction that the author brings up I think is really interesting:

"During my time in Iraq, I was asked repeatedly why we were helping the animals and not the people of Baghdad, but I believe we were doing both. We were not only saving the animals; we were also helping the people who worked with them. We gave them jobs, fed their families, provided medical care, and forged friendships that last to this day. In some cases-for example, the recovery of sixteen Arabian horses-we preserved unique national symbols of Arabic culture. We opened the surrounding park, which provided a green space in the heart of Baghdad that became a refuge from the day-to-day violence occurring in the city while at the same time improving living conditions for the animals at the zoo."

Seeing some of the pictures of the neglected animals, I can really see how working on this project would bring people together, working for a common cause, plus bring back a small amount of normalcy in the middle of the insanity. I wouldn't underestimate the importance of people having a sense that they are putting something back together again, beginning to rebuild and be working towards something-an achievable goal.

BTW, for some shameless self-promotion, if you like reading about animals, check out my blog on wildlife at http://backyardzoologist.wordpress.com
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