Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Goodall and de Waal books are surprisingly (dare I say it?) bad

You probably haven’t noticed that Jane Goodall is being accused of plagiarism, sloppy writing, and anti-science in her latest book, Seeds of Hope. You won’t read about it on Huffington Post, I’ll bet, or see it in your favorite sanctuary's Facebook newsfeed, because too many people seem willing to give her a pass... because she's a chimp advocate, or she's old, or her early work was so important that rules don’t apply to current work, or whatever. I won’t repeat all the allegations here, but I seriously recommend that you read them for yourself in the Daily Beast article Jane Goodall’s Troubling, Error-Filled New Book.

Goodall promotes herself as a scientist, and plagiarism is a serious problem if we are to take a scientist’s work seriously. Lifting paragraphs from new age websites undermines her scientific case. Even worse, as Daily Beast reporter Michael Moynihan points out, Goodall undermines her arguments against genetically modified food by misrepresenting the research. (Like Jane, I have serious concerns about GMOs, but I believe we need to balance decisions by using science and consumer preferences. Misrepresentation never ever ever has a legitimate role in food policy.)

Seeds of Hope is a nasty stain on Goodall’s long-earned and well-deserved reputation. And yet, even though she is listed as author and the book is written in the first person, as if Jane is speaking, Goodall supporters seem to blame her co-author, Gail Hudson. Goodall herself passively tried to step around the issue. According to a Washington Post article, Jane Goodall’s book, Seeds of Hope, contains passages without attribution, Goodall says she was “distressed to discover that some of the excellent and valuable sources were not properly cited,” as if she had no responsibility. No, Jane, the correct way to phrase that would have been “I did not properly cite…” She said she would correct future editions. (Of course, by that time, thousands of people would have read the plagiarized work.) Fortunately, her publisher had a different idea. Even though Goodall has an extensive book tour planned, the publisher decided to delay publication. (See Goodall book postponed because of lifted passages.) 
Jane's book tour for her pulled book is listed on the JGI website.
Unfortunately, Frans de Waal doesn’t have a chance at a re-write for his new book, Bonobos and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates. I love bonobos and I’m an atheist, so I expected to submerge myself into a great read, but I’m struggling with this one. Reading his book is uncomfortable. I feel like I’ve walked into a private argument between people who evidently have spent years sniping at each other from afar -- but now de Waal has decided to take it to his opponents, personally.

I wanted de Waal’s insights to help explain why people think they need religion to be moral, but I have no idea what the hell he’s talking about. He’ll write a bit about apes, and then take off into an argument with “theoreticians” or (gasp!) “scientists” who evidently have tried to make points with which he disagrees. Who are these people he is criticizing? And what did they say that has pissed him off so much?

I get it that he doesn’t agree with the strident “new” atheists. I understand that a segment of the atheist community finds Richards Dawkins a bit, well… a bit too much. And Christopher Hitchens is an acquired taste, especially when he’s at his angry best. (Disclosure: I enjoy reading Hitchens, and I value the time I saw him speak – a couple of days before he was told he had stage four cancer.) Are you with me, reader? If you don’t know what I’m talking about, de Waal’s book will make absolutely no sense to you. Even though I know some of the arguments of the popularized atheists Frans opposes, I still got lost when he started into people I don’t know.

De Waal has so much insight to add to the discussion of evolution, science, morals, and religion. It’s too bad he had to waste his book (and his readers’ time) engaging in personal attacks against fellow atheists.

Goodall and de Waal used their books to indulge their personal arguments, and it seems like they did it without paying due respect to their readers. If they fully respected their readers, they would have demanded the honest services of some good editors. At least, a good editor might have detected Goodall’s plagiarism and errors. A second set of eyes might have warned de Waal that he was taking too much liberty in indulging in esoteric arguments without preparing the reader.

I write this with a heavy heart, because Jane and Frans’ work with apes was groundbreaking, and we owe them tons of respect and appreciation. But I’m going to have to move on, to writers who demonstrate a bit more respect for average, every day readers.

Today Amazon delivered my copy of Monte Reel’s Between Man and Beast, a book about the first confrontations between Victorian adventurers and gorillas. It’s getting great reviews. Delivery came just in time… I need a good book.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Meet Ndume: The feces-flinging gorilla with a heart

The plight of Ndume, “talking” gorilla Koko’s rejected paramour, becomes more pressing when you learn a little about him and the challenges he has faced during his 31 years. You don’t have to delve very deep to discover why this particular gorilla was chosen to be part of the infamous Koko publicity machine. I started learning more about this terrific silverback after writing about the concerns that several former caregivers had for his health and welfare.

Ndume was selected for deportation to the Gorilla Foundation, it appears, because he wasn’t playing by the rules at the two zoos that tried to put him on exhibit. In fact, he mightily offended zoo patrons and officials at both Cincinnati Zoo and Brookfield Zoo. The zoos wanted to get rid of Ndume because he threw feces and regurgitated food, say several ape experts and former caregivers.

Ndume in 1989
As I explained in the blog post Cincinnati Zoo abandons old gorilla, Ndume was born at Cincinnati Zoo in 1981. He was raised by humans and, after a 3-year unsuccessful stint at Brookfield Zoo from 1988 to August 1991, Ndume was finally transferred to The Gorilla Foundation on December 10, 1991.

“It was an unfortunate set up from the beginning and, of course, Ndume is the one to have suffered all these years,” one expert (alias: Jones) tells me. Ndume was so disliked by the zoo keepers, Jones says, that instead of calling him by his real name, pronounced en-doo-may, “his keepers at both zoos called him ‘En-Dummy’ and other insulting names.”

I can understand why there was some antagonism.

“One time a group of zoo docents-in-training [at Brookfield Zoo] came to see the shit-throwing En-Dummy… Their loud and disrespectful behavior got Ndume pissed and he started throwing vomit and shit, with remarkable accuracy,” Jones recalls. He flung the feces until the docents were out of range.

His defiance remained intact when he moved to California. One correspondent tells me of the time when someone at the Gorilla Foundation yelled at Ndume to bring in his chair from his outside enclosure. He was treating Ndume “like he was a small kid to be ordered about, instead of a magnificent silverback. Ndume ignore him, and the guy yelled about how obnoxious and stupid Ndume was, furious he wasn't obeying him. At this point, Ndume went back and picked up the chair, looked at the guy, and then threw the chair directly in his direction. He never brought the chair back in, bless his heart!”

Despite his intransigence, or maybe because of it, many of his keepers clearly love this gorilla for his intelligence and refusal to be broken. “Thank you for keeping Ndume's plight in the forefront,” one correspondent wrote. “That boy deserved better. Of all the gorillas I know, Ndume is among the most special / intelligent / gentle / wonderful.”

Penny Patterson has some strange rules at the Gorilla Foundation

At one point, Gorilla Foundation founder Penny Patterson only permitted one caregiver at a time to be with Ndume. (With only two caregivers there now, this isn’t a big deal, but the former caregivers were bothered by the policies when there were more employees.) Because they were only allowed to be with Ndume one caregiver at a time -- no researchers allowed, by the way – the keepers all had very different relationships with him.

One former caregiver (alias: Young) told me about Ndume’s current life. It appears the gorilla is either mellowing in his old age, or has pretty much decided to accept the weird and lonely life he’s been given.

“Throwing regurge or feces has greatly reduced over the years, but still happens occasionally if he gets stressed or nervous,” Young says.

Another former caregiver (aka Jackson) recalls that Ndume "maybe only threw feces at me once (I think it was due to some game playing, to get a rise out of me) and he threw regurge at me once because I closed him out of his sleeping area to clean up more regurge."

Yet another former caregiver (let’s call this one Smith) points out that, while Ndume doesn’t fling his feces frequently, “he continues to throw poop and vomit with incredible accuracy. In my experience with him, he only did this from inside his trailer when he was frustrated at being closed in.”

In his trailer? Evidently Ndume lives in a trailer that is approximately 12’ x 20’. Since Ndume and Koko are never allowed in the same enclosure together (and they’re going to make a baby how?), he is closed inside for meals while Koko is given access to the outdoor enclosure. (See Ndume's 31st birthday on Youtube.) “He doesn't like this,” Smith tells me, explaining that it “makes for stressful times while he's SUPPOSED to be eating his meals. Food is used as a tool to motivate him to come in. If he doesn't come in, he is punished and doesn't get to eat.”

Smith goes on: “Also, Penny will not give him access to the outdoors if the temperature is below 55 degrees or raining. [FYI, National Zoo temperature limit for gorilla outdoor access is 42 degrees.] During the winter months, he'll go days without being given access to the outdoors. He gets frustrated and bored. His only outlet is to throw poop and vomit as a way to get even with staff. Then, of course, he is punished for this too -- but like a kid, even negative attention is better than no attention at all.”

Ndume loved to do training, Jackson says. "I was training him so we could do an echocardiogram on him without putting him under, but Penny put a stop to that. She said he does not like the color black (and my mock ultrasound unit was black)."

I asked if Ndume is on any kind of medications. “Penny has him on about 18 to 20 supplements a day,” Smith says. “Nothing like Koko, though, who is forced to take between 70 and 100 pills a day, as recommended by their telephone-psychic-homeopath.”

According to Jackson, “Ndume was given a men's multivitamin, an herbal supplement for eyes, cod liver oil, Bach Rescue Remedy (which we sadly used a lot of, to keep him calm, when all it took was patience and understanding -- not drugs) and liquid serotonin which I refused to give to him. There was also another supplement called 5HTTP, which was supposed to alter the chemicals of the brain (which I refused to give to him as well). All of these were prescribed by [self-described naturopath and intuitive] Gabie Reiter."

Young points out that Ndume also gets additional supplements “if the psychic feels something is wrong.”

How did Ndume get to be such an avid feces flinger?

“Little gorillas raised in a fish bowl tend to grow up without the proper social skills, [not knowing] the gorilla culture, etc.,” Anonymous commented on my last blog post. “Throwing feces is very common, regurgitating food is also very common. Throwing it at the visitors is a classic byproduct of an ape having been reared in a nursery setting behind glass with antiquated hand rearing techniques… Cinci has produced many of these males and all are farmed out to other institutions. Out of sight, out of mind.”

“I recall Ndume being hand reared in the fish bowl nursery at Cincinnati Zoo,” another expert (alias: Hall) wrote. “One of the stereotypical behaviors, after a few years of being stared at, is to either thump the glass, throw shit at the glass, puke at the glass, etc. Often times this is done at a frothy frenzy state of anxiety. The animal is so high he can't be reached mentally by gorillas or humans.”

According to Hall, “socially he is ruined for life, much like Kanzi.” Hall tells me that, in all likelihood, “the pathology is deep and Ndume would need lots of anti-anxiety medication to help him. He would need behavioral therapy and it's possible he will never fit in anywhere,” if he was transferred back into a zoo population. (However, Halls emphasizes, "he can't continue to sit in a trailer.") “These males seem to have a tremendous amount of anxiety from poor coping skills, poor foundations, poor everything. It manifests itself in outbursts.”

“When apes are poorly nursery reared, they have been known to be terrified of other apes and have zero social skills and lack basic gorilla culture,” Hall explained. They are poorly stimulated, happy to be alone, and do not recognize social cues for love and affection. They are, Hall says, “much like Romanian orphans who lack the early neurological stimulation needed at exact times in the brain development.”

“The damage is huge, beyond repair, and these children/apes suffer all their lives from a million issues. Failure to thrive, language processing disorders, you name it. Those first 18 months make or break you,” Hall explains.

On the other hand, former caregiver Jackson believes Ndume "just needs a little more TLC than maybe your average gorilla, but I think it would be possible for him to re-enter a troop and maybe even be on display... He has been ‘babied’ for the past 20 years at the Gorilla Foundation with everyone tiptoeing around him and Penny only giving him attention by giving him unhealthy treats.”

I'm not an ape expert, but it seems to me that some gorilla experts need to check in on Ndume. Can you imagine how anxious he must be if he can't mentally process life, can't understand the social cues, can't cope, is prescribed mind-altering drugs by a psychic, and is stuck in a trailer? I'd throw my shit too, or barf with anxiety. 

What do zoos usually do when they have this kind of problem with one of their apes? 

Keepers tell me they use a variety of behavioral curbing tactics when they are faced with these problems. They don’t put the troubled ape on exhibit when big crowds are expected, or they give him a short time on exhibit with access to his “bedroom” at all times. They try to give the ape other things to focus on, such as enrichment toys or feeder devices. They may use drug therapy (Xanax), as prescribed by a veterinarian for anxious behavior. (There are many effective drugs and Xanax is one example of a short acting anti-anxiety medication that can help an ape in a stress-inducing situation, Hall says.) In extreme cases, they may use hotwires to keep him from pounding the glass. While hotwire itself is also a stress inducer, it can be a very useful tool when the gorilla could potentially hurt himself with the body slamming on a window.

There is no cure, of course, just management.

Most importantly, Hall believes Ndume will need a dedicated keeper staff to support him psychologically for the rest of his life.

“These anxious males are fragile in many ways and some show physical problems like diarrhea and stomach issues. Behavioral training, using positive reinforcement along with years of careful drug therapy, may solve some of his issues,” according to Hall.

Of course, if a zoo owns a problem ape and doesn't want to commit to his well-being, the other option is to dump him. A zoo can frame this as a “loan” or a “donation.”

Once these experts knew they could talk to me confidentially, they went to town with their anger. One expert alleges, “Cincinnati abandoned Ndume and would have euthanized him if they thought they'd get away with it.” Another says, “I suspect that Cincinnati had no use for a puker, shitter, or frantic male gorilla. Off he goes to Brookfield who did not get what they bargained for. Then he goes back - not sure why - my guess is he was tossing shit and barf to the public nonstop. Then he goes to Penny's place to hang with Koko. Whew… got rid of him!”

The experts explain that some of the nursery-raising techniques for apes may be predictive of problems. Intentionally nursery rearing for the sake of public viewing is just a crime, these experts say. “Doing it when a mother is dead, a baby has pneumonia, etc., is a medical necessity. Even then, though, you have to get that baby in with a nurturing and accepting adult male or female as soon as possible.”

It is important to recognize that the experts who talked to me did not condemn all zoos that raise apes in a nursery.

“If you want top-notch nursery rearing protocols, ask Columbus Zoo for a copy of their policy. It is stellar and works,” Hall says.

“Gladys [Cincinnati’s latest human-raised orphan] should have gone to Columbus, where they have a long-established and successful surrogacy program,” Smith suggests. “But Cincinnati wants babies to bring in gate revenues, so at least they went through the time and expense of setting up a program like Columbus'. Gladys will be okay, hopefully.”

“There are some great people in the zoo world," Smith points out, "but they're up against a ‘culture of an organization’ with a bunker mentality (you're either for us or agin' us).”

I’m holding out hope that some of those great zoo people will step in to ensure that Ndume is getting proper care and attention. As a friend pointed out to me yesterday, “if the AZA Gorilla Species Survival Plan can’t do anything about a travesty like this, what are they here for?”

You can help.
(Updated, 6/25/2014) In 2013-2014, the AZA Gorilla SSP wrote a gorilla management plan that advises zoos on how to manage their gorilla populations. That management plan recommended that Cincinnati Zoo take Ndume out of The Gorilla Foundation, and bring him back to the zoo. At first, ape experts from other zoos told me they were "hopeful" that Cinci would follow the recommendation. Lately, those hopes have faded. While the zoo continues to market Gladys and other baby animals, Ndume sits in his isolated California trailer. These kind of actions by a zoo are exactly the reasons why the public is growing increasing skeptical of zoo claims to care about the animals they breed.  Sign our petition, asking Cincinnati Zoo to bring Ndume home.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Cincinnati Zoo abandons old gorilla while it promotes new baby gorilla?

There’s nothing cuter than a baby great ape. They aren’t bad for a zoo’s gate receipts, either. Granted, they don’t attract the kiddie mobs like baby pandas do, but the TV cameras show up quick enough, don’t they? Now that Cincinnati Zoo has accepted darling baby gorilla Gladys to be raised by human surrogates, those TV news reports, like this one from ABC, can be counted on to spur zoo visits by paying customers.

Cincinnati zoo keepers are acting as surrogates for gorilla baby Gladys
While the Cincinnati primate team is acting like gorilla moms, Ndume is living by himself at the Gorilla Foundation, without TV news crews, visitors, gorilla companionship or, it appears, any attention by his owner. The Cincinnati Zoo. Ndume, stud #0776, was born at Cincinnati Zoo on October 10, 1981. He was hand-reared and, after a 3-year unsuccessful stint at Brookfield Zoo from 1988 to August 1991, Ndume was finally transferred to The Gorilla Foundation on December 10, 1991. Over 20 years ago.

The Gorilla Foundation's entry in the gorilla studbook 

Former caregivers allege that Ndume is not receiving adequate dental or medical care by Penny Patterson, owner of Koko, the “talking” gorilla, but Cincinnati Zoo can’t be bothered by responding to requests for help.

Last week I got this note from a former Gorilla Foundation caregiver:
“I am hoping that [federal government inspectors] take a closer look at things since they were out to look at Ndume's teeth, but this is the same government agency that has done a poor job inspecting this facility in the past. It would be great if they actually took the time to do a thorough inspection… cleaning/disinfection protocol (or lack of protocol), pest prevention ( or lack of), expired medical goods, food prep area, including the hoarded and filthy house of Ron Cohn [on Gorilla Foundation premises]. If these items are found during an inspection, the board may be forced to act. It is so unfortunate that the USDA continues to let these items slip by... If these issues come up at the USDA inspection, I am confident that the current staff will not hide them.”
Why are hopes resting on USDA inspectors? (See earlier post, USDA finds Gorilla Foundation non-compliance on veterinary care of Ndume.) Why can’t we rely on Ndume's owners to guarantee adequate care?

A former caregiver had been secretly corresponding with Cincinnati Zoo. 
“They asked for any documentation,” the caregiver told me. “I said there isn't any except for the sign in sheet [that] the dog & cat vet signs when he comes into the office, without even seeing Ndume but [views him] from the driveway if Ndume happens to be outside. The zoo said they will investigate but nothing happened... Breaks my heart.”
Last summer, the caregiver sent a letter to Ron Evans, the zoo's primate team leader and one of Gladys' human surrogates.
Hi Ron,
I hope this note finds you in a good place.
Since I first reported to you, the caregiver staff has gone from 7 plus a manager to the current 3 (no manager). All of us resigned because of the unethical and immoral expectations and inadequate and inappropriate gorilla care directives and expectations.
Ndume is in grave danger as the Foundation further deteriorates. Ndume is used as a tool and continues to be neglected.
In this latest video Penny uses her smoke and mirror double talk trying to convince donors that a baby is still on the horizon for Koko. (http://www.koko.org/landing/video_blog/index1.poster.html) The truth is, Koko is signing she's hungry "loves" food (or a nut from Penny's vest pocket), Koko is too old for a baby, the facilities are completely ill-equipped for ANY arrival, and Koko and Ndume have not been together in the same living space since 2008.
Ndume has not yet received ANY medical or dental attention since his arrival at the Foundation more than 20 years ago.
This is wrong on so many levels.
 What, if anything are you planning as an investigation of the well being and safety of Ndume?
I look forward to your reply.
No reply.

I don’t know how Ndume is doing. I asked for help from folks with the American Zoological Association’s Gorilla Species Survival Plan. On Feb 22, I even sent a message to their Facebook account:
“I need some advice. I write a blog -- Chimp Trainer's Daughter -- and I keep getting awful reports about the condition of Ndume, at Gorilla Foundation. I've passed the reports to APHIS, but we know they don't necessarily go beyond the basics. I understand that Cincinnati Zoo owns Ndume, and I realize there's a real problem placing male gorillas in U.S. zoos, but isn't there anything that can be done? Can the SSP ask for an examination by an independent qualified vet and dentist? Or should I just tell Ndume's former keepers that nothing can be done? Advice, please! – Dawn”

I will be so disappointed if Cincinnati Zoo or the AZA Gorilla SSP doesn’t act. The conditions described by yet another former caregiver sound a lot like the ongoing disaster at the Great Ape Trust / Bonobo Hope / Iowa Primate [Faux] Learning Sanctuary.
“We've never had a set number of caregivers at the foundation... We were well staffed at 15 for two gorillas and that number has now dwindled to four. No one is really a long time employee at the foundation. Most people leave after 1-2 years. As of recently though, most people left due to the way that the gorillas are cared for and feel powerless that they can't make a difference for the gorillas. They also leave because yes, they thought they would be contributing to science and realized that science is somewhat non-existent at the foundation. Two research associates left due to the lack of scientific information and restrictions on being able to write and publish what they would like. There has also been a board member who was on the scientific board for over 30 years who up and left as well. The rest of the employees who left were all caregivers fed up with the way Penny runs things.”
I have no words to describe my sadness that the Cincinnati Zoo lets this situation continue.

There are no words for Ndume. Just oohs and aaahs for cute little Gladys.

*** UPDATE: Minutes after I posted this article, I received a message from a someone in the North American zoo community: "You probably know more about the situation than I do, but I have heard from an in-the-know, reputable source that Cincinnati sent someone out to to GF in the past month to take a look at things. I don't know what that means exactly and of course I can't confirm that, but know that even if people aren't responding to you directly, they are hearing you and the rest of the whistle-blowers. Hopefully something will come of it." I echo that hope.

For more information, Meet Ndume.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Zoos: Ya gotta love (hate) them

I keep reminding myself that zoos have changed over the last 50 years and that there are many good people working in zoos. I admire several wonderful and caring ape people in zoos across the country, and I rely on their frank and unstinting insights into captive chimp/bonobo/orangutan/gorilla issues. And yet…

I have written previously about my schizophrenic feelings about zoos (including in my short review of Thomas French’s excellent book, Zoo Story). I think a lot of people share those conflicting feelings. We love to connect with zoo apes, but we can’t help the feelings of sorrow knowing that these magnificent beings are subjected to lives behind bars and on display.

Of course, with dad’s job at the Detroit Zoo being so central to my childhood, I would love to shout out praises for modern zoos. After sending over 70 chimpanzees into research or god knows where during the chimp show era (~1935 – 1982), Detroit Zoo now maintains one of the best chimpanzee exhibits in the country. And yet, they continue to ignore or deny my requests for information about that bygone era, and so I am left with no choice but to bemoan their insularity.

My “home zoo” now is Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington DC, and I am in love with the orangutans and gorillas there. (Alas, no chimpanzees, but nearby Maryland Zoo provides my chimp fix when I need one.) Several years ago, the National Zoo issued its latest master plan, which showed the Great Ape House replaced by a new Visitor’s Center – and no great ape exhibit. A new director subsequently assumed command, so there was some hope that the plans would change, but he has pretty much dashed those hopes with his recent observation to CBS News, in an interview about possible budget cuts due to the now-operative federal sequestration:
Zoo Director Dennis Kelly said, "If the sequester remains permanent, we're going to have to reduce our mission. We'll have to reduce our research, we'll have to reduce the number of animals we put on exhibit."
Kelly says the zoo would have to look at shutting down major exhibits. Kelly explained, "Major exhibits here include lions and tigers, it includes our reptile house where we do a lot of great research. It would include our great ape exhibit."
Sharing gazes is a wonderful experience for zoo
visitors (and me), as well as for orangutan Lucy.
I’m not sure what “reducing… animals we put on exhibit” means, but it can’t be good news for orangutan Lucy, who spends much of her day gazing into the eyes of visitors.

Topping off my list of current gripes about zoos is the Cincinnati Zoo, which I have never visited. The zoo owns Ndume, gorilla Koko’s imagined paramour, who Penny Patterson keeps under pitiful conditions at her California-based Gorilla Foundation. The zoo loaned Ndume to Patterson as a companion to Koko, who disdains him. As I wrote recently, animal welfare inspectors with the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited Patterson’s organization for non-compliance of minimum standards. I’ve sent several messages to the Cincinnati Zoo and the AZA Gorilla SSP asking what can be done to make sure that Ndume lives free from the pain that is alleged by former caregivers. Silence.

I really want to respect zoos and their self-proclaimed leadership in animal welfare and conservation. Following through on that desire, I ordered a copy of the new book, Zooland: The Institution of Captivity, by Irus Braverman. I was hoping for an objective exploration of the captivity and care issues, but it is near impossible to get past the book’s introduction. While Braverman asserts that she is neither pro-zoo nor anti-zoo, the introduction is nothing if not an ode in honor of zoos. It especially bothers me that she extols the nation’s zoos’ medical records system for gorillas, as if this is the answer to questions of health. And I question the extent of data collection. I would love to see the “copious amount of data” that Cincinnati Zoo collects from Patterson… especially detailing the alleged substitution of qualified medical care for Ndume with copious amounts of herbal supplements “prescribed” by a psychic.

Without questioning it, Braverman repeats the zoo community assertion that keeping a gorilla “and his wildness in captivity contributes to the conservation of gorillas and their habitats in nature.” What, they’re planning to release these domesticated captives into the forests of Africa when native populations crash? Oh, please. Gorillas are in zoos and in Penny Patterson’s trailers because they have a world of admirers who will pay cash to watch them. Unless, of course, we’re talking about the National Zoo, where the apes appear to be a dispensable drag on the zoo director’s budget plans.

Oh, zoos. Why do you make it so hard to love you?