Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo

Lawrence Anthony, Graham Spence

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0312382154

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, caught in the crossfire at the heart of the city. Once Anthony entered Iraq he discovered that hostilities and uncontrolled looting had devastated the zoo and its animals. Working with members of the zoo staff and a few compassionate U.S. soldiers, he defended the zoo, bartered for food on war-torn streets, and scoured bombed palaces for desperately needed supplies. Babylon's Ark chronicles Anthony's hair-raising efforts to save a pride of Saddam's lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, run ostriches through shoot-to-kill checkpoints, and rescue the dictator's personal herd of Thoroughbred Arabian horses.
A tale of the selfless courage and humanity of a few men and women living dangerously for all the right reasons, Babylon's Ark is an inspiring and uplifting true-life adventure of individuals on both sides working together for the sake of magni?cent wildlife caught in a war zone.

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was not much I could do about it. I couldn’t very well order them back onto the highway. So I might as well enjoy the ride into bandit territory and hope like hell the clouds of billowing desert dust would disguise the fact that I was a Westerner in no-man’s-land. The barren landscape we were speeding through radiated hostility, and I somewhat ruefully reflected that making a ten-hour journey through the back roads and alleys of a war zone might not have been the most intelligent thing I had

armed with a leaky pipe and a rusty bucket was all that stood between life and death for some of the planet’s most magnificent creatures. Gradually the fog of depression lifted. I now knew why I had come to Baghdad. I knew an iron example had to be set. As I had instinctively grasped while watching my elephants at Thula Thula barely two weeks ago, some of us had to band together, draw a line in the sand, and say, “This far and no further.” Baghdad was where that line could be drawn. I had to

Brendan’s arrival, I had built him up to be some sort of bush superman, a cross between Crocodile Dundee and Tarzan. The legend grew to such an extent that soldiers at the hotel now believed Brendan to be a modern-day caveman. They asked if he was like Steve Irwin, the Australian Crocodile Hunter, who was a major TV star back in the States. Well, I said, Brendan was way, way ahead of him. In fact, I told them Brendan complained that on TV Steve Irwin was given three or four camera takes to catch

off. However, despite Pat Kennedy’s assurances that the army would provide backup at the highest level, this did not happen, much to the disappointment of the rescue team. Kennedy was away at the time, which was extremely unfortunate, for I knew if he had been there things would have happened exactly as planned. Thus the initial two proposed raids were spectacular flops. The rescue team’s first escort, led by “some big Texan guys,” pulled out at the last minute, as they were “worried about

it come from? Without an answer, I decided not to dwell on that. The seeming hopelessness of the big picture could drive you crazy. So the struggle for survival continued, hour by hour, day by day. From keeping water flowing with spluttering pumps to lugging buckets of detergent and scrounging for food, the daily routine was relentless. However, fate plays quirky tricks and the major breakthrough for us didn’t come from some high-powered CNN report or tubthumping politician but from a story

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