Baghdad zoo welcomes pair of US-donated tiger cubs
The Baghdad Zoo on Friday welcomed a pair of rare Bengal tiger cubs that were donated by a North Carolina animal sanctuary despite protests by animal rights activists.
The tigers — a male and a female named Riley and Hope — frolicked with red and blue balls in a wading pool and playfully wrestled with each other in their cage, while U.S. soldiers and journalists snapped pictures and delighted Iraqis strolled by.
The animals, which were donated by the North Carolina-based Conservators’ Center, arrived Monday after being flown to Baghdad from the United States in a $66,000 trip funded by the U.S. Embassy and transported to the zoo by the U.S. military.
I have such mixed feelings about this. As I’ve mentioned a billion times, I used to live in Moscow, and I saw the zoo there. Countries that haven’t worked out good solutions for things like electricity and food, don’t necessarily need critically endangered (and dangerous) animals in their zoos.
On the other hand, my father has worked for CCI for almost ten years. It means so much to him that he moved out there, and that place is in serious BFE, y’all. I donate to them regularly, and their wolves like me (the tigers could honestly not care less about me, but they like my father a lot).
I know Doug and Mindy, and I trust their judgment. The Iraqi vets have been trained, and the vet center at NCSU has a live video link with them, to help out when necessary.
They’re probably being spoiled rotten, but it still makes me uneasy. I understand that our government needs to make olive branch gestures to Iraq, but I’m not sure this was the appropriate branch. I sure hope they have an exit strategy/addendum for these babies, should the proverbial shit hit the fan.
On the other hand, I guess this means the surge is definitely working, right? *sigh*