Monday, March 19, 2007

Last Wednesday I went to the Bamako Zoo – one of the saddest places on earth. The lion just sat forlornly on a concrete pedestal inside a small (and filthy) cage. There was barely enough room for him to walk in a large circle, and there was nothing in the cage to stimulate him – no toys, no ropes, nothing. The chimpanzee was even more pathetic. He was sprawled out on his pedestal with a glazed-over look in his eyes that bespoke mind-warping boredom. It’s how those supermax inmates who spend 23-and-a-half hours in solitary confinement every day must look. Outside the warthog’s cage was posted a handwritten sign: “Please do not give cigarettes to the animals.”

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