Saving the Baghdad Zoo

The Baghdad zoo was once home to more than six hundred magnificent animals. But after the war in Iraq began in 2003, the city faced widespread destruction. When U. S. Army Captain William Sumner was asked to check out the state of the zoo, he found that it, too, was devastated. Hundreds of animals were missing, and the few remaining were in desperate need of care. And so Captain Sumner accepted a new mission. Together with an international team of zoologists, veterinarians, conservationists, and dedicated animal lovers, Captain Sumner worked tirelessly to save the neglected—but tenacious—animals of Baghdad. Saving the Baghdad Zoo tells the poignant stories of these remarkable animals. Meet the abandoned lions who roamed an empty palace with no food or drink; the camel, Lumpy, who survived transport through sniper fire; the tigers, Riley and Hope, who traveled 7,000 miles from home; and many more. The Baghdad Zoo, open once again to the people of Iraq, has become an oasis of hope and safety in a city where both are precious gifts.

Click here to read the Worlds of Words review.

One thought on “Saving the Baghdad Zoo

  1. Marilyn Carpenter says:

    Kelly Milner Halls has spoken to my classes at Eastern Washington University. Her passion for the story of how the Baghdad Zoo was saved inspired my students. The students were particularly impressed with her research. The last pages in the book describe the various types of resources she used in discovering how U.S. soldiers and Iraq citizens saved the animals and rebuilt the zoo. One of her research tools was interviewing people who participated in saving the zoo. Captain Sumner who led that effort told her that, “Things were blowing up all around us … We were fighting a war. But in this one place, at the zoo, we could fix something. Right there in the middle of a war was this beautiful green park with grass and trees and lakes. It was an oasis in a shattered, concrete world.” That quote captures the essence of theme for WOW Books this month, Peaceful Acts in the Midst of Conflict. Milner Halls’ account demonstrates how, through hard work, collaboration and exercising our humanity, we can create a place of peace even when surrounded by conflict.

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