Thomas French and his Zoo Story

by Chad Campbell, senior producer

Some people love zoos, other people hate them - and for various reasons. Humans started keeping exotic animals in zoos thousands of years ago and the basic controversy around the practice may be just as old. What gives our species the right to do that to other animals? Are they happy? Do they realize that they’re no longer free? Do the benefits to humans outweigh the drawbacks? Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Thomas French spent almost six years at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, Florida to answer those questions and many more. His latest book Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives introduces us to the cast of characters both inside and outside the animals artificial habitats. French talks with Bob about the dedication the zoo’s keepers, animals like Herman the chimp, Enshalla the Sumatran Tiger, the moral dilemma of Tampa having a wild elephant herd, the zoo’s former alpha male, CEO Lex Salisbury and his downfall brought on by a troop of Patas monkeys.

Click here to see French’s interview with Stephen Colbert