When the Iraq war began, conservationist Lawrence Anthony could think of only one thing: the fate of the Baghdad Zoo, located in the city center and caught in the war's crossfire. Once Anthony entered Baghdad he discovered that full-scale combat and uncontrolled looting had killed nearly all the animals of the zoo.
But not all of them. U.S. soldiers had taken the time to help care for the remaining animals, and the zoo's staff had returned to work in spite of the constant firefights. Together the Americans and Iraqis had managed to keep alive the animals that had survived the invasion.
Babylon's Ark chronicles the zoo's transformation from bombed-out rubble to peaceful park. Along the way, Anthony recounts hair-raising efforts to save a pride of the dictator's lions, close a deplorable black-market zoo, and rescue Saddam's Arabian horses. His unique ground-level experience makes Babylon's Ark an uplifting story of both sides working together for the sake of innocent animals caught in the war's crossfire.
Anthony, a South African conservationist and recipient of the U.N.'s\t\t Earth Day award, details how, through a series of complex maneuvers, he entered\t\t Iraq after the American invasion and led the fight to save what was left of the\t\t Baghdad Zoo. Most of the animals were killed by war and looting; the remainder\t\t were starved and in filthy cages, with no staff to care for them. Anthony\t\t describes how he, along with the zoo's former deputy director and several brave\t\t workers, risked daily danger to save the bears, lions, tigers, monkeys and\t\t birds. Anthony fended off looters with a gun obtained from a sympathetic U.S.\t\t soldier, spent his own funds for equipment and bartered the use of a satellite\t\t phone for food and other essentials. Anthony vividly recounts the rescue of\t\t other animals, including the inhabitants of the appalling Luna Park Zoo and\t\t Saddam's prize Arabian horses, saved from the hands of black marketeers. The\t\t author takes no position on the invasion. His goal is for his mission, so\t\t dramatically recounted with journalist Spence's help, to set an example of\t\t conservation and respect for animal life. 8 pages of color photos.\t\t