Friday, January 06, 2006

A Final Disaster

2005 will be remembered for the Asian tsunami, hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and the Pakistani earthquake. Each of these disasters caused significant loss of life and massive damage to infrastructure. After Ashley Simpson, Bob Geldof and Bono threatened to do a global charity concert for the victims of these horrible events, it seemed that the toll of suffering would never end. Unfortunately, one final disaster was destined to mark 2005. The carnage in Norfolk, Virginia in late December was not a pretty sight.

The Virginia Zoo is no stranger to tragedy. Since 2003 there have been the deaths of a giraffe, a lion and a baboon. Then there was the unfortunate demise of a baby gazelle and a rhinoceros shortly after the opening of the new Africa exhibit in 2004. Although hurricane, tidal wave, and earthquake activity did not play a role in any of these deaths, last month’s disaster does seem to have been weather related. It rained in Norfolk.

One of the most popular features at the zoo was the recently built prairie dog village. The little animals busily created a warren of tunnels and happily settled in to their new underground home. Unfortunately, due to moisture in the ground and an inappropriate soil mixture, the entire tunnel complex of the new $334,000 Prairie Dog exhibit collapsed. Zoo Director Lewis Green was not optimistic that any of the animals survived. ‘Because they live underground we are not sure how many prairie dogs we had, but we started with 10.’

H I is investigating reports that Luis Lopez of Latinos No Documentos has threatened a massive protest march in support of the prairie dogs. ‘If they were not forced underground, we would know how many there are!’ he claimed. Lopez demanded an amnesty for all prairie dogs. (There is some question as to whether Senor Lopez believes agitating for driver’s licences and in-state college tuition rates are appropriate in this situation.) He also announced the formation of a new organisation, Prairie Dogs Without Borders, and kicked off a campaign for the return of Virginia to Mexico.

Unnamed sources have told H I that the Reverend Jesse Jackson has called for an investigation into the lack of access to medical services for the zoo’s African animals. ‘America’s indifference to the death of one giraffe should not be overlooked in the tragic deaths of the residents of P-Dog Ward.’ Claiming this as an act of solidarity with the prairie dogs, Jackson remarked, ‘if you can share the cage, you can share the rage’. There is the possibility of a $9 million wrongful death suit on behalf of the rhinoceros.

Luckily the news is not all grim. John Hoogland of the University of Maryland noted that the prairie dogs might just be hibernating. Hoogland said, ‘They’re fantastic diggers. They dig so fast and so expertly that it’s almost impossible to bury them alive.’ After careful excavations of the disaster area, 7 ill-tempered survivors were rescued.

The Virginia Zoo has announced an aggressive reconstruction plan for the surviving prairie dogs. Before ordering new dirt and renting a backhoe, they are studying the rebuilding strategy for New Orleans. Louisiana’s Governor Blanco has estimated that the new Prairie Dog Village should not cost more than $400 million.

8 Comments:

Anonymous dv said...

Ticklesome as always.

By the way, these prairie dogs aren't some "other than white" color are they?

If they are I don't rate their chances of being rehoused. For some strange reason the money probably just won't reach them.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

Never been a big fan of zoos in general, especially now when we don't need to capture animals to learn about them.

That said, the deaths at this zoo only reveal the inane attitudes of people who think they can better care for animals in enclosures than animals can care for themselves int he wild.

A bit too much anthropomorphism if you ask me.

1:15 PM  
Blogger siren said...

What a great post! Really witty :-)

1:09 PM  
Anonymous Mia said...

Just saying a De-lurking hello backatcha! Great post! I love finding new blogs with stuff worth reading ;-)

9:05 PM  
Blogger Ananke said...

Only $400 million? What a bargain! ;-)

8:52 AM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

Did the rev get involved thinking they were a posse of rappers (dogg being such a common surname in that profession)?


(*)>

4:01 PM  
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