Life at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal Doctors by Phillip RobinsonLife at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal Doctors by Phillip Robinson

Life at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal Doctors

byPhillip Robinson

Paperback | May 22, 2007

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Please Do Not Annoy, torment, pester, plague, molest, worry, badger, harry, persecute, irk, bullyrag, vex, disquiet, grate, beset, bother, tease, nettle, tantalize or ruffle the Animals.-sign at zoo

Since the early days of traveling menageries and staged attractions that included animal acts, balloon ascents, and pyrotechnic displays, zoos have come a long way. The Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris, founded in 1793, didn't offer its great apes lessons in parenting or perform dental surgery on leopards. Certainly the introduction of veterinary care in the nineteenth century-and its gradual integration into the twentieth-has had much to do with this. Today, we expect more of zoos as animal welfare concerns have escalated along with steady advances in science, medicine, and technology. Life at the Zoo is an eminent zoo veterinarian's personal account of the challenges presented by the evolution of zoos and the expectations of their visitors. Based on fifteen years of work at the world-famous San Diego Zoo, this charming book reveals the hazards and rewards of running a modern zoo.

Zoos exist outside of the "natural" order in which the worlds of humans and myriad exotic animals would rarely, if ever, collide. But this unlikely encounter is precisely why today's zoos remain the sites of much humor, confusion, and, occasionally, danger. This book abounds with insights on wildlife (foulmouthed parrots, gum-chewing chimps, stinky flamingoes), human behavior (the fierce competition for zookeeper jobs, the well-worn shtick of tour guides), and the casualties-both animal and human-of ignorance and carelessness. Phillip Robinson shows how animal exhibits are developed and how illnesses are detected and describes the perils of working around dangerous creatures. From escaping the affections of a leopard that thought he was a lap cat to training a gorilla to hold her newborn baby gently (instead of scrubbing the floor with it) and from operating on an anesthetized elephant ("I had the insecure sensation of working under a large dump truck with a wobbly support jack") to figuring out why a zoo's polar bears were turning green in color, Life at the Zoo tells irresistible stories about zoo animals and zoo people.

Phillip T. Robinson directed the veterinary medical program at the San Diego Zoo for ten years. He then became director of veterinary services and animal resources at the University of California, San Diego. A founding member of the board specialty of zoological medicine of the American College of Zoological Medicine and a past presid...
Title:Life at the Zoo: Behind the Scenes with the Animal DoctorsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:320 pagesPublished:May 22, 2007Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231132492

ISBN - 13:9780231132497

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Intern at the Zoo: An Eclectic Orientation2. Too Early for the Autopsy: Fitting in at the Zoo3. Growing Pains: Educating the Menagerie Makers4. The Keepers: Nurturing the Health of Animals5. Zoo Babies: Promoting Motherhood6. Exhibit Making: Creating Zoo Ecosystems7. Creature Comfort: The Power of Microenvironments8. What's This Thing? Searching for the Normal9. Holding the Tiger: Zoos Say Yes to Drugs10. Finding the Sick in the Zoo: Seeking Out Disease and Discomfort11. Feeding the Ark: The Nutritional Wisdom of Animals12. Getting Closer to Animals: Judas Goats and Alpaca Coats13. So, You Work at the Zoo? Employees, Visitors, and Fence Jumpers14. Animal Cases and Chases: And Some Things Better Kept to Myself15. Zoo Regulars: Coworkers Without Titles16. Ethical Captivity: Animal Well-Being in Zoos17. What a Zoo Should Be: And Ought Not BeAnnotated Bibliography of Selected Works on ZoosIndexPhoto Credits and Attributions

Editorial Reviews

Robinson's wildly entertaining tales of illuminate the hazards and rewards of a world in which the "natural" and "unnatural" can collide, insightfully tracing the evolution of zoos from banal menageries to important conservation institutions.