Zoo Story

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Thomas French gives an account of the secret life of a zoo and its inhabitants: both animal and human. Based on six years of research, his book Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives follows a handful of characters at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo: from an alpha chimp, to a ferocious tiger, to a brilliant but tyrannical CEO.


Thomas French

Comments [4]


Thank you Thomas French for writing your book it seems to be a very objective and compassionate observation. Thank you Leonard Lopate for having him on your show. As a society, we really need to look critically at the role of zoos.

According to Sheena Iyengar from Leonard Lopate show June 29, 2010:

Iyengar claimed that zoo animals tend to have lower life expectancies, lower reproductive rates, and lower immune systems than their wild counterparts and exhibit more signs of stress in general that take a toll on them.

LOPATE: Shouldn’t zoo animals live longer because they are fed and cared for?

IYENGAR: Well that’s what we think but if you take an animal, say take an elephant in the zoo, the average life expectancy is seventeen years, in the wild it can go up to fifty-six years. Where zoos can protect animals as compared to the wild is if it’s an animal that’s in threat, that’s in danger, that’s being hunted. Overall they are better off in the more natural setting.

Aug. 19 2010 04:51 PM
Jeff in NJ from NJ

Listening to interesting conversation with Mr. French but thinking of your previous piece as I notice that my status bar is pinging "" . Googled it and it is some monitoring and analytics service. Leonard, I promise I am up to date on my WNYC membership :)

Aug. 19 2010 12:53 PM
r.a. segal from New York City

could your guest please discuss the plight of the lone snow leopard on display at The Central Park Zoo in New York City. Thank you.

Aug. 19 2010 12:51 PM
The Truth from Becky

"didn't know who he was or what he was" The number one argument for why you should not dabble with nature.

Aug. 19 2010 12:50 PM

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