Just Too Beastly for Words

Zoos are becoming an endangered species, beset by financial crises and targeted by animal-rights activists

History's first zoo keeper must have been one very busy conservationist, but at least he was spared the burdensome barbs of animal-rights activists, possibly because they were engaged in self-preservation. All Noah had to do was tend his passengers for 40 days and then turn them loose.

Today Noah would be plowing heavier seas. Not only are zoo managers concerned with the care of their charges, they are also concerned that the zoo, as an institution for research, education and preservation, is becoming as endangered as some of the animals it houses. Financial support has dropped, and costs keep climbing. Rising...

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