I wish I could say I was ambushed by a tiger in my meeting at London Zoo on Tuesday, but it was just by animal director David Field.
There were two other (unannounced) people at the meeting. I would have taken someone else along had I known.
However, his technique quickly showed his tactics - attack and discredit me. And I kept bringing the discussion back to the important thing, the thing I was there to discuss, the animals.
I can see why the treatment of the gorilla baby and the lion cub went horribly wrong. It wasn't anyone's responsibility. Certainly not his. He's answerable to all sorts of organisations. They are all there for the benefit of the animals.
And yet the animals died.
The decision was made to give the tigress and cub access to the pool enclosure because there were high structures in the "dry" enclosure that Melati could have taken the cub up into, and if it had fallen, they thought that would be more dangerous than the water.
Er, sorry? Aren't young mammals a bit like rubber? When they fall, especially on to soft grassy surfaces, do they not often bounce? OK, still a danger, but not necessarily a fatal one. Drowning? ALWAYS fatal, certainly in circumstances like these, with no possiblility of rescue. A greater risk. Obvious, in my opinion.
The relationship between Melati and JaeJae has become calmer, which I saw for myself. Apparently, when separated, they call for each other. So they will consider letting dad in with Melati and any future cubs.
Other zoos do this with other species of tiger. Not convinced it will work for these two. So be prepared for the next lot of cubs to be murdered by dad.
I hope I'm wrong. Certainly, despite them trying to play the blame game with me over my outspokenness, I'm pretty sure they will be more circumspect next time.
Meanwhile, the reaction to Zoo Check (part of the Born Free organisation founded by the stars of the eponymous film, and now run by their son) was that Mr Field would never speak to them, they are animal rights extremists. He seems to think this is a bad thing. Of course, I let them know of his views when I got home...
I also asked Mr Field how he thinks I came up with his name for my campaign against the incompetent treatment of animals. He seemed to think I'd seen him on the telly! I had to tell him that it was months of building up information by chatting with staff and volunteers, till finally someone named him. I had never seen his face till the day of the meeting. Sorry if I wounded your vanity, sir.
Unfortunately, a programme on the history of zoos and zoo visits aired the next evening, and there was his mug. Spoiled the whole programme.
Welcome to the world of the Vincent D'Onofrio obsessed - and a bit of real life thrown in.
- ► 2017 (8)
- ► 2016 (58)
- ► 2015 (66)
- ► 2014 (87)
- ▼ 2013 (251)
- ► 2012 (548)
- ► 2011 (478)
- ► 2010 (592)
- ► 2009 (561)
- ► 2008 (571)
- ► 2007 (673)
- ► 2006 (518)