VIDEO: Hard Times Hit Zoos

by flickr user g-na used under Creative Commons license

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 July has been a month of tough choices for everybody:  summer unemployment is soaring and several states are still struggling to balance their budgets. But even amid the chaos, at least one oft-overlooked element of society is suffering more than usual. As it turns out, July has been especially rough for the nation’s zoo animals. 

The Los Angeles Zoo (home of Gracie the great escaping ape and Ruby, the elephant whose retirement home is nicer than your Nana’s) paid out $3,281 to the USDA in wrongful death settlements involving Gita the elephant and Judeo the chimpanzee, who both died under mysterious circumstances while in the zoo’s care, it was reported Tuesday. The Zoo said both cases were freak accidents (Judeo died after being bitten by a rattlesnake) and paid the fine without admitting wrongdoing. 

 

Further north, the San Francisco Zoo’s most famous gay couple, penguins Harry and Pepper called it splitsville after more than six years together. Keepers blame social-climbing Harry, who abandoned his partner for Linda, a female penguin whose partner had recently died.

Perhaps most dispiriting, zoo animals are losing their jobs. Back in April, the venerable Bronx Zoo ‘evicted’ dozens of small nocturnal mammals Not to be outdone, Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo threatened to eliminate 200 of its animals this month after unexpected budget cuts. Zoo officials warned that they would euthanize almost a sixth of the park’s wild inhabitants if the state didn’t pony up more cash. (The state stood firm, but the animals got a reprieve).  

Yet, even in these dark times, there are bright spots. In perhaps the greatest zoo related irony, the Detroit Zoo enjoyed record attendance this month. Go figure.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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