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Dallas Zoo Donates Books, Journals To Baghdad Zoo

By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News
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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Nearly eight years after a devastating war in Iraq, the zoo in the capital city of Baghdad is enjoying a resurgence despite losing animals and support material.

The Dallas Zoo is preparing to help with that loss, sending hundreds of books and reference journals to the Baghdad Zoo to help it have the necessary information to take care of its animals.

“The Baghdad Zoo has been hurt really badly during the whole war effort,” said Dr. Janis Raines, a spokeswoman for the Dallas Zoo. “They’ve lost just about everything as far as their veterinary library.”

Raines said half the challenge of keeping a zoo operating is keeping its animals healthy. The backbone of that lies in these books and journals. These are volumes so complete that Raines refers affectionately to one as the “Zoo Bible.”

“You can refer to it in an incident and know about drugs you can give (or) anatomy, surgical techniques,” Raines said.

Fellow veterinarians at other zoos helped donate, including doctors in Chicago, Toledo, Oklahoma City and Fort Worth. All told, the Dallas Zoo will ship 23 boxes of textbooks and reference journals to a North Texas Army officer in Baghdad, the husband of a former zoo employee, who plans to share the records.

U.S. personnel are currently advising the zoo in their off hours.

“We’re not exactly sure what their animal inventory is, but we’re under the impression they have one or two giraffes and some other African hoof stock,” Raines said.

Published reports show that, besides hoofed animals, the Baghdad Zoo now features ostriches, monkeys and predatory animals like lions and tigers.

And though they may be continents apart, the Dallas Zoo and the Baghdad Zoo have some of the same animals; therefore Raines said they share some of the same challenges.

“The basic health and husbandry that we have to deal with on a day-to-day basis is the same, regardless of where you’re at,” Raines said. “That’s why all the zookeepers here do this. You love the and that doesn’t go with a nationality, it’s kind of a universal thing.”

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