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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 6, 2010 11:00am-12:00pm EDT

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my coat off, so i was dripping in sweat from the lights and the heat and the heat of the crowd. and finally somebody in the audience -- and this often happens at talks like this -- somebody in the audience raised her hand x it was one of those -- and it was one of those saving questions, she said, what is your next book going to be about? and i don't know where it came from, but i said this has all been really difficult. important work, i think, but difficult. so my next book is going to be about butterflies and flowers. and there was a little ripple of fitterring through the crowd, and i said thank you very much, and i exited stage left, and it was a nice opportunity to say good night. and i left it at that and didn't think about it. now, when booktv broadcasts these kinds of speeches in the lower third on the screen is
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often not just the name, but the e-mail address of the author. and mine was there. and over the next several days and weeks as it was repeated on c-span, i was on the receiving end of an avalanche of e-mails. and about half of them said that i was a traitor for writing this book, and about half of them said that this was a very important book to write. and in the middle of all of that came one e-mail from a woman in nicaragua, an american ex-pat living in nicaragua with her husband, and she said, you made a joke in that speech about butterflies and, in fact, i want to invite you to nicaragua where my husband and i have a butterfly reserve, and you'll see that, in fact, there is a book about butterflies that ought to be written. well, this is the kind of serendipity, of course, that is a great form for the muse to take, and i thought, well,
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that's nice, and put it aside. a couple of days later i looked at the e-mail again and was intrigued, how could i not be? and i wrote back to her and said, is this a joke, are you serious? and she wrote an impassioned note back saying that she was serious, and she wanted me to come down there. i talked about it with my wife, my wife said you have to go, and so shortly thereafter or because of being here in village books, i was on an airplane to nicaragua. and, in fact, out of that came my book, "the dangerous world of butterflies." it deals with that which so many of us have never thought about regarding butterflies, that there is smuggling or endangered species amounting to extraordinary amounts of money in, in butterflies being traded like guns and drugs. and also all sorts of amazing, positive things i learned about, about the extraordinary reality
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of metamorphosis and a conflict that exists in the butterfly world between those who think butterflies should just be looked at out in the wild flying freely and those who trade in butterflies because butterflies can be bred to have pins stuck in this their pristine selfs. so there was a lot there -- this is a very long introduction before i tibet to this book -- get to this book, but i think it's worth it. gets to the fact that because of being here at village books and being on c-span's become tv with that book, the butterfly book, i was invited to come on to the daily show with jon stewart which is a great fun experience for those of you familiar with the daily show. it was, it was not just fun intrinsically, but it's amazing the penetration of that show, how many people from different aspects of my life saw that and said, that was fun.
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and one of the things that happened on the kalely show was -- daily show was that jon stewart asked me, who have these people? -- who are these people? who are the people that are buying butterflies that are illegal and that they could go to prison for for owning and that they have to engage in this nefarious activity to have? and i thought of that as i was coming up with what was going to be my next book. here i was in a new genre because of being here, this natural history world, and i thought of smuggling beyond butterflies. and this book, "forbidden creatures," came out of that. the world of smuggling animals, endangered species and animals that are, that are illegal to traffic in is very similar to the world of gun smuggling and truck smuggling not -- drug
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smuggling not just because the same kinds of international activities take place, but also in terms of the money. after guns and drugs, interpol estimates that illegal trade in animals is number three in dollars to the tune of some estimated $20 billion a year which is an incredible amount of money. and so that was intriguing to me. but as i continued to investigate this world of forbidden creatures and smuggling, i found myself much more interested in the question that jon stewart asked which was, who are these people? who is it that wants to have an animal that's illegal to have, and who is it that wants to have an animal that's even legal to have? this because there are places in this country where it's completely legal to have a tiger or a lion or a chimpanzee or a monkey or a 24-foot-long,
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200-pound python. not boa constrictor, python. and so who is it that wants this stuff? why do they want it? what are they doing with it? this and that became what it was that i looked into in this book. now, the idea of exotic pets or exotic animals being held by individuals goes back way, way back. marco polo writes of the cubely can having a tiger or a lion by his side. and william randolph hearst in california had a zoo that he finally got rid of as the depression hit and even he had to watch his funds. and his zoo became the san francisco zoo.
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it became what is now the san francisco zoo. this idea of keeping an animal that is either rare or dangerous or both and then with the added value for some of being illegal is is something that seems to connect with people who want to exhibit their power. and see the animals as an extension of their egos. it's often somebody who has an engagement in illegal activity. a lot of drug smugglers seem to have their own private zoos. politicians or people who have political power, businessmen and women who have vast amounts of money and are looking for what to do with it. but those aren't the only type. and right here in washington i started my research with a woman, a woman i found north of
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spokane, just south of the canadian border who had been convicted along with her daughter of smuggling a monkey into the united states from thailand. it's, it was an extraordinary story, and she opened up her home and told me about it even while her case was on appeal. it's intriguing, the reality of human nature. and for journalists seeking the interview, it's always, it's always amazing how most people do want to talk. and i often give the advice, don't talk to me. don't talk to a journalist. they're probably not going to get the story right unless they're really good, and even if they get it right, you're not going to like the way it's written or broadcast. and yet most of us if we're asked to talk about ourselves will talk. and this woman talked, and i'm glad she did because it helps round out the story. let me the tell you that story.
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she and her daughter went to thailand because her daughter wanted a pet monkey. and this is not necessarily something that would have been illegal at the time for her to have, and there is, for example, i cited here in the book, "forbidden creatures," there is an outfit in louisiana that will sell you a monkey if you come up with five or $10,000 and depending on your state, it might well be legal for you to have a monkey. and yet they decided, apparently although they still deny the charges -- they are now guilty in federal court, so they are felons, on appeal -- they decided to go to thailand and pick up a monkey, and they were able to get the monkey for about $20. how did they get the monkey back into this country? because that certainly is illegal. and how did they get the monkey back into this country in the post-9/11 era of such
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extraordinary security? the how did they get the monkey back into this country coming out of bangkok and transferring in seoul and in hong kong and coming into lax, los angeles international airport, and then going from los angeles and getting up here to washington, getting to spokane with the monkey, which they did. they accomplished all of that. and the way they did that was by the daughter feigning, feigning pregnancy. and they drugged this monkey and put it under her clothing as if she were pregnant and managed to make that trip and get home to spokane where the monkey and the daughter lived, apparently, happily ever after in an apartment on the north side of spokane. until, until she was wandering around the local shopping center with the monkey and bragging about how they had got it into
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this country. despite the fact that what they did would have been illegal. and consequently, somebody picked up the telephone, called the fish and wildlife service, and they were arrested, tried and found guilty. now, three vents have occurred in the last little while that have raised our alerts to the potential problems that can exist for the animals and just the question of what should we be doing, what should we be doing with animals. what's appropriate to do with animals? this these three events that you probably are aware of or at least aware of a couple of them, siegfried and roy, the will have act with the tight -- las vegas act with the tigers, one of those guys and i always forget which, i think it's roy, was
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maimed and almost lost his life by one of his tigers that he had reared from, from a baby. bottle-fed this cat, and it knew him well, and it was used to being in acts in las vegas. it -- they claim that it was spooked by the microphone or a chain or something that made it try to release what was bothering it, and he ended up in the way. but nonetheless, he almost lost his life, and it was very high profile. and then there was travis the chimpanzee, and most of you, i'm sure, are aware of that story, and that's the chimpanzee in the stanford, connecticut, that was living almost all of its life with a woman in the suburbs, essentially, and was famous -- the two of them were famous for sleeping together, drinking wine from stemmed glassware together.
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the chimpanzee, travis, appeared in several commercials and was known in the community -- and he was having some kind of a problem. she was having some kind of a problem with him. she called a friend of hers to help her, and when that friend arrived, the chimpanzee attacked the friend and literally tore the face off the friend and otherwise mutilated her. miraculously, she survived. interestingly enough, in the intervening time the chimpanzee -- well, the chimpanzee i'll tell you how he died if you don't know, but the owner of the chimpanzee died, and that's not an issue any longer except in the lawsuits that continue with her heirs because the woman who was maimed is is trying to get some kind of monetary return to, i suppose, help pay for the extraordinary bills that she has because, certainly, no amount of money
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could compensate for what happened to her. the chimpanzee, after he tore at this woman, ran amok. the police were there by that time. he knew his way around human stuff. his drawings were pinned up on the refrigerator while he was dexterous, and he was working on opening up a squad car door, and the terrified policeman inside shot him. he ran out into the woods and then circled back into the house and into the cage because he did have a cage where he lived in his room, excuse me, in his room in the house. i just did this and realized i forgot to show you, here's the butterfly pin that i have worn since just after that night here at village books when the dangerous world of butterflies came out. and the chimpanzee then died in the cage, a bloody mess. so there's siegfried and roy, travis the chimpanzee, and then a girl in florida was, was
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smothered by the burmese python that her mother's boyfriend had in their trailer just outside of orlando. so those three things really raised the consciousness in the public of this question, what are these exotic pets in our midst, and should they be with us? be well, some of them are legal, as i said, some are illegal. and often the fact that they are illegal happens after an incident. laws were changed here in washington after the smuggled monkey case even though nothing e -- egregious happened other than the two of them being found -- egregious for them, they were found guilty of felonies. but it's not all illegal. there are plenty of places where this stuff is completely legal. and texas is a really good cocktail party example for just a quick fix of figures. all indications are from
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organizations like traffic which is a nongovernmental organization that works against international illegal trade in animals and other similar organizations, all indications are that there are more tigers in texas than there are tigers in india. more captive-bred tigers in the texas, legal captive-bred tigers in texas, than there are wild tigers in the india. which brings up another aspect of this story that is delicate that i deal with in the book and that i think we all need to deal with which is this question of what's wild, what's tamed, what is feral and what's domesticated. and then is there another category like travis? travis the chimpanzee is, was captive-bred in missouri,
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another state like texas that still is is pretty much wide open for this sort of thing. and so what is travis or what was travis before he was shot by the policeman and died? he's certainly not a wild animal. he never was in africa. what would happen to him if he were shipped over there and injected into a community of chimpanzees? he'd probably, i would think, wouldn't last. but what is he here? he's not a domesticated animal, he's not a tamed animal as he proved. and he, and would he goferral? how would he have survived if that shot had been glancing and he ran off into the woods and nobody knew where he went? these are issues that are worth contemplating, i think, and i do in the book. in fact, looking at it from the standpoint of our own animals that are our pets. what are these pets and how far are they from being wild? what about our domesticated animals, the sheep, the cows?
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how far are they from being wild, and what about us ourselves? this so there are these places where these animals are legal, again, texas such a fantastic example to think about people breeding -- and not just in texas. ohio and indiana are two really good example states. what, what is this all about with people free to breed these animals and do with them what they wish up to sometimes minimal constraints, just simple disturbance of the peace or not being cruel to them as one can't be cruel to animals anywhere? there are laws in place but not messily laws that effect -- necessarily laws that effect having an animal living adjacent to you that if it were to get loose, you might not like it. i went to missouri and managed to collect an interview, conduct an interview with the woman who
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operates a place called chimp party. just south of st. louis. and chimp party does a few things. chimpanzees can be hired, maybe your kid is is having a birthday and it's been a little mundane the last few birthdays and the neighbor kids are having more entertaining birthday parties, so you could hire a chimpanzee to come to the birthday party. and that brings to mind another issue that i deal with in the book. maybe some of you remember j. fred mugs. he was on the today show back at the very beginning when it really lagged in the ratings and it wasn't clear whether or not it was going to be a successful television show. and the host was languishing until j. fred mugs, the chimpanzee, became, essentially, the co-host. and who did we do by -- what did we do by accepting him into that role to the point where he's dressed in business suits
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sometimes, having birthday parties on the set of the today show, and that allows us to think about these animals in a way that maybe isn't appropriate for us and for the animal it leads to things like chimp party where you can hire a chimpanzee to go to your kid's birthday party. but that's not all that goes on there or has gone on there. it, also s a place where chimpanzees have been bred and perhaps are still being bred. and travis was bred there and sold to the woman in connecticut. and so i had an opportunity to go there and speak with the woman, connie casey, who owns the place and tour chimp party where there were a relative enormous number of chimpanzees. she made almost -- i think this was the only ground rule which i
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respect for the interview, she said, don't tell anybody how many chimpanzees i have here. she's got a lot of chimpanzees there. and i have two images -- well, first, let me set the scene for you. it's south of st. louis, and it's in a place that's suburban rural. there's a lot of room between the houses, but it's not wide open spaces. and her house from the outside looks like a typical kind of a ranch house except for the fact that in the yard there are these silo-like huge cages with different primates in them. she welcomed me up onto the porch, we talked for a while, and then we went into the house. and the living room, again, looks like an all-american living room except for the shrine that she has on the hearth of it must have -- more than hundreds, had to be thousands of little monkey dolls and monkey images and chimpanzee images, little statues and
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figurines covering this whole wall of the house along with a couple of urns that had, one had the ashes of her first chimpanzee, and the other had the ashes of a chimpanzee that had escaped from her place and had been shot by a neighbor which is another fascinating story that i tell in the book. the neighbor was on his own property, jason coates. jason coates was on his own property when this chimpanzee had escaped, and he says he felt threatened. he was 17 years old at the time, and he went into his house, and he got his gun, and he shot the chimpanzee dead. he went to jail. the charges are, i think, quite astounding. the charges that he, that ended, that put him in jail were destruction of private property which is fascinating since this
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private property was, one, on his property and, two, was alive, and he says he felt threatened by it. this was a dozen years ago or so. but what brings it very much to today is once travis ran amok and devastated the woman he attacked, jason coates appeal today the governor -- appealed to the governor to have his conviction thrown out, and as of the writing of the book, that's still pending because he says that that proves that he acted appropriately and that, in fact, there was an issue involved and his life was threatened. so i was in the house there of connie casey, the breeder of chimpanzees in missouri south of st. louis, and as we left the living room -- and imagine this now, if you will. you're in a typical american suburban house living room and except for the ashes of the chip
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pack sues and the thousand or so images of chimpanzees that are on the hearth, it just looks like a regular house. and around the bend where it would be maybe the corridor that would go down to the bedrooms what i was faced with was a glass wall and a drop into what must have been the basement at one time, so it was two stories. and in that enclosure were a couple of her chimpanzees including kimmy. and i want to tell you the story of kimmy. she keeps these chimpanzees, some of them together so that they can hang out together and some of them separated because they don't get along too well. and kimmy came up to the glass, and she, she started to engage in frantic sign language.
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but sign language of her own making. so that it was unknown what she was doing. but looking into those eyes, those eyes that -- and, again, of course, now i'm an to more sizing this chimpanzee, but they are allly close to us and we all have engaged at some time of interspecies interaction, petting the dog and we feel we know this animal on some level. and i'm looking into the eyes of this animal that's making these frantic gestures like this, and she looked so forlorn. let me, let me just read to you how i that -- how that affected me and what that was like. connie casey knocks on the glass, and kimmy -- a tired looking 42-year-old chimpanzee chimpanzee -- stares up. she's gray and her fur is spare
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with skin showing through it. a thin gray beard outline her chin. she shares the accommodations with two other chimpanzees. hey, kimmy, says connie casey through the glass. kimmy comes right up to the glass and begins making frantic-looking hand signals, a sign language that she created. what do you want, asks casey, banana? she looks forlorn and continue to sign, imploring us to understand her message. kimmy tells us again. it's impossible for me not to think she's asking to get out. those big eyes stare at me, and i cannot help but feel that she knows she's stuck in there, as big an enclosure as it is, as well e equipped as it is, and i'm not. i look away from her eyes and hands and notice she's toothless. she's a retired zip by chimp and arrived with no teeth, not
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uncommon for show business chimps of her era. a toothless chimp is not able to cause night l injuries. -- bite l injuries. there were zip by dolls and comic books, a troupe of different chimpanzees played zippy, and kimmy was one of them who talks at the glass again. huh? this apple? what do you want? this kimmy keeps up an intricate series of fast-changing hand signs. casey keeps asking her what she wallets. i find the -- wants. i find the act extremely difficult to watch. kimmy looks remarkably like connie and me, similar hands, similar head and similar sad eyes. i love you, sweetie pie, says casey, and kimmy taps on the glass. what, what? i'll get you something, says casey. she adopts a singsong voice. you already had breakfast.
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do you want an apple? what? more? that's her sign for more, casey tells me. kimmy makes another gesture. that's her sign for please. it was an extraordinarily difficult interaction to watch, and she's behind this multi-paned, laminated glass that keeps her on her side because once these animals pass adolescence, even somebody who knows them intimately like connie casey who's bred them, cannot necessarily be safe with them. the chimpanzees have -- that are our body weight and our height have four to seven times the muscle power according to most calculations. so when they get frantic and attack, which happens, then they can do a lot of damage. those teeth that were pulled, they have enormous, powerful, sharp canine teeth. and they go after soft tissue right away when they attack
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someone, and that's why it's often the hands, places on the face, the genitals. they mutilate people badly. now, it's important to point out if you look at statistics within the exotic hand mall communities communities -- animal communities, these big cats, long snakes, great apes, you look at statistics that the federal government keeps on reported attacks, they're really minuscule. does that mean that it's okay to have them around? this that's something for us to decide. if you compare them with dog bites and with death from dog bites, they're minuscule. but they get the headlines because what are we doing with these animals, and it's weird. it's strange, at least i find it so, and fascinating. ..
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healthy post adolescent, strong guy and he is in a room that has three walls and then the glass in front. he is walking around the room, pacing around the room like this and he comes around to the fourth wall and he smashes it with his hand. you can see his power as he does this with his hand and forearm and he does this as we are looking. one time, another time, again
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and again, and then he gets up on his trapezes which is in the middle of the room and start swinging on his trapezes. he is swimming -- swinging like this and he jumps off and lands like this, fay's board with this incredible thud. right up against the glass. let me read what i wrote at that point because it was really nice that the glass held. in a room across from the spinning chimp and eight is throwing batting and that the next is another massive animal marching in circles around the room, i am introduced to 14 year-old conner. that is when the testosterone kicks in, says connie about his age. conner paces circumnavigating his room and has a comes around to face us looking at him from the other side of the glass he
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waxed his forearm against the rule wall with a force that makes an ominous loud bang. over and over again he makes his rounds. he stops and stairs, climbs on a rope swing and starts to pomp facing us, swinging back and forth and then jumps off, smashing the brunt first drive against the glass facing us, all 200 pounds of him trapped chimpanzee moscow, the three panes of a temper glass much to his frustration he looks as if he would like to come out and and what? i am not sure but i am glad the glass did not break. he sits and sucks his thumb and looks of a confused and sad is how i interpret his intense stare. it was a remarkable experience there at to chair the party. i was in washington with the
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monkey smugglers there at the chimp party and traveled around the country and outside the country meeting these people and getting a sense of what's may be getting a sense of what kind of people want these animals. again and again i go back to this desire both to interact with and care unit with another species combined it with something that seems like a desire to dominate and control, and then the icing on the cake is having something no one else has. that seems to be what drove the burmese python and traded in florida. his burmese pythons came in as a battery generation ago and these animals thrive in southeast asia where they come from but not much is known about them there and there are quite gorgeous. even if you don't like snakes
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much. this is the guy on the cover of "forbidden creatures", one of the burmese pythons. they eat and eat, and they can get from this relatively manageable size where a guy might want to walk down south beach with one around his neck in uses for a so-called chick magnet to the point where they are 24 feet and 200 pounds. that is a lot of snake to keeping activity. just in terms of the amount of food they need and the kind of mess that that food makes after it goes through the system of the animal. consequently a lot of people bought the snakes, have them around their neck or what ever else, then they got bigger, maybe got a girlfriend and didn't need this make any more tired of listening because it got too big and too unwieldy. then all indications are that a
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lot of them were taken into the everglades and dumped. maybe not maliciously, maybe the owners thought this is good for the snake. this is an inviting have attached and it is an inviting habitat, very similar to where they came from with lots of neat stuff to eat and fact protected habitat in the everglades national park. so they have multiplied and multiplied and easily more supply. here's an example of why and how they easily multiplied. and eggs laid in female can be holding 5260 eggs that are liable and are not much known about these animals. they haven't been as studied well in their own range in southeast asia and omen beginning to be studied well here, but there are indications that this female only needs to meet one time with a male and then the next series of eggs and the next series are going to be fertilized internally.
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so she can continue to populate the everglades with these viable apex creditors that may have a little difficult time when they are just hatched but shortly thereafter grow so fast they are eating everything except maybe the flaws crocodile that might try to mess with them. then it tends to be a draw. what to do about these? what is a problem perhaps one reason is because they eat so much and there are a protected species in the everglades. do we want to have this non native eating animals that we are trying to keep alive a? a lot of work is being done and i spent time with government biologists and other biologists down in the everglades. one guy in particular, who is working on trying to -- he is in
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key largo -- they have a deranged south of the key largo and he and his crew are working at trying to keep them from going farther south. just when i spoke with him he told the story of want to share with you that gives a sense of what it's like to be of wrangling one of these animals because they do rangel them. a round them up whenever they can and kill them. it just to give you a sense of the numbers, nobody knows for certain how many are out there, but reliable estimates that even those who are saying it's not as much of a problem as you think are acknowledging that there are tens of thousands. some of the scientists involved figure there are easily 100,000 of these animals roaming around south florida. here is ron who knows from firsthand experience how big and nasty mother pythons grow. he tells the story of
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encountering wondering a lonely night time survey deep in the everglades on park road close to flamenco. he spotted the monster coming across the road. she was caught in the truck's headlights, his partner jumped out and started the strike in the snake acting as picador to his work as matador. he grabbed the back end of this 16-foot long 100-pound serpent big enough to cause trouble but only about two-thirds of what she could potentially grow to become. he embraced her. i started traveling he explains to pick up the animal, you don't grab it, you just pick it up and supported and it starts crawling. he shows me with pantomime how he moves his hand under the snake so that the snakes attempt at four and motion, in fact, accomplishes nothing. he stays in place just behind the snakes slithering midsection like walking backward on an escalator making no progress. one thing we have going in our favor he says is that a tighter
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out quickly. the snake gets tired, takes a minute or so and then you grab that. where do you gravid, i asked him, behind the head. then what do you do? we back it. once it is that hired them on the fight is limited. in captivity choice well fed and they tend toward passive and lethargic activity but he says after adapting to a wild lifestyle they change. they remind me of hogs. go to a barn and walk around with them that once they get out and are gone for a mother to the apparel -- ferrell. that is a lot of these are. sometimes you go and approach them and they started plunging added. mr. to tread the transition from a perceived attainment state to a while the state as soon as out in the wild. doesn't take generations. the same individual that was, at home is wild in the everglades. it never was tame, it was adapting to a confined life
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being fed the dead rodents and was no need to lunch in fi. he stays focused on in the field and wrangling the berms as they're called in south florida despite his love affair with snakes. he tells me a 16-foot snake a ceramic capable of taking a human life. once it is in the bag and you tie it up you can say, wow, that was a beautiful animal but at the time it's as if you are driving a race car and making sure you don't screw up. so the big cats, the great apes, the long snakes. there are in our midst. it makes me feel wary of what we're doing both in terms of neighborhood watch and in terms of what is appropriate for these animals. but i encountered a couple on my quest here to try to learn about this and get a handle on it, incorrect nevada.
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if there is anyone engaged in maintaining exotic pets in a manner that's appropriate and certainly they are entertaining couple, the two of them, steve suzanna and scott, they interact famously with their animals. they are out up on the slope of mount west side of town in the middle of nowhere, and out of. they have katz including bam bam, the airline in. the estimate he weighs 7 pounds but don't have a skill for him. i cannot to las vegas and a mustang which i did not think about until i had rented it, here i am driving a mustang in is an interesting how we have this other relationship with these animals. it's not just the animals themselves but it's what they
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represent and it shows up in cars which in america are such a personification of we are so often with jaguars and mustangs and cougars as automobiles. there i was in this golden mustang speeding down the nevada highway from las vegas and about halfway there i realized i was driving a mustang. i called suzanna, an emigrant from slovakia, she has a great accent or she drops the articles and it adds to her character. she has posters of herself in her black skin tight, this is redundant, a bikini, in front of her harbor and her harbor has a personalized license plate that says tiger or cat. this is part of her image. scott per partner is a retired army and still so he could into his army uniform.
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i called her on my mobile phone to ask for specific directions to their place and she said i hope it's not going to gross you out when you get here, she said the we just shot a course that we are going to feed it to the caps and scott is hanging him out and leading him. of course, i am hard correspondent, is this going to bother me? of course, not. it is disgusting but i had a story to cover and i drove up and, indeed, there was got with the wood and a framing my plan into and out of a truck and instead there is a dead horse. this is a perverse sort of animal cruelty, this horse was going to be for whatever reason it blows going to be euthanize and killed. instead of being thrown in the dog, the neighbor was giving it to them so they could feed it to the cap. he was busy having to scan it and cutting it up.
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excuse me, but i'll get to this quickly it grosses you out, but the legs were cut off, the head was cut off and he was kidding and cutting in half because these animals, the seemingly potentially a ferocious hundreds of pounds cats are spoiled because of these two were captive bred and they were used to being led the packaged food. he told me if they gave them hogs of this course with the skin on it and the hair on it they would not use it. which adds it's comical and some level but also adds to the question, what are these animals that are captive bred? what category do they into? so i was introduced to it bam bam, the lion. they have a lot of acreage and is well-financed and far from the neighbors, nothing has ever gone out. all the animals are in cages,
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but to she sits and let him roam. it's an example, he will mark brown the property when he lets them out and then come to the back porch were later on we sat and had drinks and watched the sunset. there is a place for him to be tethered but he will come there and sit there because he's happy to be there. it looks as if they are not causing any trouble and in the way they have rescued these animals. bam bam they tell me was what is known as a photo line in. as a cub, i get confused which is which, the puppies and the cubs, as a cub this lion was one of these shopping center items that may you seen around and have your kid's picture taken with this case lion. the laws regarding that, there are a lot of overlays and a patchwork of different laws. when they get to a certain age because of the potential danger
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to your kids, they no longer can be in a shopping center. so she took bam bam on and he is personnel. it seems like that's the situation, he has got all this land to run around, he is well loved, taken care of, fed. it has something wrong with him the veterinarian is called. where would he go otherwise? if their problem, then probably the proceeds in the involvement of suzanna and scott is a problem why was it allowed for this animal to be privately bread in a shopping center for photographs. maybe that is ok also but it doesn't feel quite right to me. there was bam bam and i had some other cats and then i met picasso. i want to read what happened with picasso because it gives a
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real sense i think of what was going on out there and again if anybody is a model for this being okay and is probably these guys. i am prejudiced in some level because we had a good time. i had an affinity for them and liked them. we had a great conversation. shoemaker is finishing with, of course, cutting off the head and legs. i've got to take the guts out, that is the worst part and it's the law this because i don't want to puncture anything. if you punch of the stomach or the gods there is a foul smell. he introduced me to picasso, an adult tigers suffering from a nasty hotspot. he is wearing a white color to prevent him from licking and aggravating the wound with a sandpaper like town. he enters the cage and maneuvers around him to stay away from his rear end. i'd better get out, he's praise, she yelled out after penning and patting the 12 year-old retired magic show cats.
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he is such a good tiger, she says, he makes a moment sounds like a cow and then he shouts. as we walk past the gate picasso turns and shoots a loaded a separate on august marking his territory. in zoos you cannot get that close, i'm went with his stink from shoulders to knees. hardly what i consider lucky. shoemaker's interpretation of events differs. you are his pitch now he tells me it was a great moment and you can see i think. i felt like part of the family after that i am still not convinced about whether what is there up to, but if there is a model of this sort of thing being okay then i would think that they are the model.
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one of the things that i find it fascinating about this world that i stumbled into of exotic pets and small animals is that when i first did researching it i thought that this was something that was relatively unheard of. it is not that the shoemakers for rarity and it was all these elite types like william randolph hearst or the coupon, not to put the two of those together a much more river any reason other than that they both had the lion's. but what has fascinated me was to find out that most everybody either has had an animal like this or know somebody who has had an animal like this. i found that two of my high-school friends were involved with these animals.
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a kinkajou was owned by my friend, chris lottery, his father, and eventually the kinkajou became a problem in their home in suburban san francisco. so the father gave him to some kind of a rescue outfit that traded him for some team raccoons. why he would want raccoons i can't imagine, but the father -- and there were these light moments in this book so i want to share this with you. you can imagine this was a wealthy suburb of san francisco end of the father likes to sometimes leap out at nine in the backyard. the weather is nice. he was awakened in his sleeping bag and he is awakened by the sound that he knows is some kind of rattling like this. is the raccoons.
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he is sure. so he wants to get back to sleep and he lives up a sleeping bag and says, come here sweeney, and there is still more of this the thrashing around and it sounds like there in the trash can, he says, come on here sweetie. the raccoons don't, and then he looks up and he sees right adjacent to him are the garbage men taking out the garbage and putting it into the garbage truck. i just know that they're still talking about that back at the garage and a garbage company in contra costa county. it took these moments, they were fun to stumble on a because there were these difficult stories that i was covering. this compensated for them, the stories like the woman and getting her face ripped off. another friend of mine in high school had a monkey. and she lived in berkeley.
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this monkey she found was going to be euthanize it. it was a research money that was used at the university of california berkeley and she pleaded with her parents to rescue it and have it as part of the family. when she told me this story so many years later about how she got that monte for a dozen years it was in the household and the mess it would make often and how she loved the monkey. she took it with her away to school and hid in her dormitory because obviously it wasn't allowed in the dormitory. then i asked her because so many of these people -- before i finish that story, let me set it up with a woman that i talked with and again in missouri and in missouri remember that was one of the states that is wide open where they're pretty much can beat trafficking in anything
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that's illegal -- legal to have in this country it's not endangered species, can come into misery legally and traded. i went to the loli brothers exotic animal auction in the middle of missouri, i can't remember the name of the town. when i was there i met with a woman who had just bought a monkey. let me read to you this exchange that we have. as bought a woman, this was an amazing auction, camels, all kinds of different caps and monte. it was in an auction yard just like any kind of livestock yards and people were bidding for these animals to do what with, who knows period as by a woman i overheard the day before wandering in her motel room if it was too cold for the monte
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parish is cradling the diapered for ball and ask what she bought. it is a little spider monkey teresa shaver says and smiles, she is wearing a cap over her blonde hair with a blue sweater. the monkey is up against your chest looking over her shoulder, looking out at the loli brothers parking lot with wide open big brown eyes. they glisten like mirrors. later when i study the photographs that i took i can see myself reflected in those dyes. eyes that look almost human in contrast to its doglike black nose. so cute, i say about her monkey. yes, she is a baby, 12 months old. she doesn't think she is a spider monkey. schafer and her husband didn't just by the monte, they had her for two months. they breed, raise and sell africana servos, savannas, i am not sure that is pronounced correctly, near kansas city and call their business exotic cats
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are us. the little spider monkey is not for sale, it is for them. what does the monte thinks she is, i asked. a person. what makes you think that? because when she goes with his monkey to poinsettia holding another spider monkey she does not like it. what will you do with her? we will keeper as a pat. she is going to be our baby. she cuddles said and says matter-of-factly she will probably get me in some day, depends on the monte, but we are prepared for her to get mean. then what happens? she will stay in our house, we probably won't handle her as much. that means she will be relegated to much more caged time. so here she is, she thinks she knows what this monkey is thinking and now to take you back to my high school friend. we are sitting in a cafe in berkeley telling the story of that monkeys long ago. i asked the same kind of
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question and said what do you think the monkey was thinking. she said to me, and it was nice to get an honest answer because i find it easy answers which i heard over and over again i know what the animal was thinking, i know it will always love me, and i found refreshing with my high school friend that said i had known since high school and don't know what you are thinking. however, supposed to know when a monkey is thinking. so i think that plays a lot to this whole issue if we have these paths, and even our own cats and dogs, really what is that relationship extend that to something that is what we would tend to call wild and certainly potentially dangerous. if we think we know that animal is thinking, we think we know that it loves us, we think that we know that is happy with us to live as she said it might have
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to stay inside. one of the owners that i profiled is a couple and they have to chimpanzees to that are always caged in their house and never again get out. they too are trapped because they have to take care of these animals. what exactly is going on? these are the issues i deal with in "forbidden creatures". inside the world of animal smuggling and exotic pets. as i said at the outset, the experiences here at village books and with c-span booktv it really change my career so since that book on the iraq war i have written the dangerous world of butterflies with butterflies and then this book talking about forbidden creatures dealing with so-called exotic pets and now i'm working on a third what has become a trilogy. it is tentatively titled no animals were harmed during the writing of this book.
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it looks for where that point is where an animal use becomes animal abuse. where is that transition point? it is probably different for different people, different circumstances, different animals, but that is what i'm looking at. the undercurrent, the quest that i go on is linked by experiences with cockfighting. that has been fascinating for me. let me close by offering my look at this wild domesticated, i have wild and obtained -- i try to come to terms with and all these books really. in "forbidden creatures" this one i use my cat as a foil.
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it has a continuing cameo in the book and i end it this way: it is well past midnight. i am on the couch in my bodega bay living room listening to the roar of the surf at the salmon creek beach thinking about exotic pets. sometimes the surf sounds like freeway traffic. however, i am forced to live next to a freeway i hope the traffic sounds like the salmon creek surf. my cat is perot up on the ottoman sleeping is sweet looking head resting on his furry paws. he is cute and passive, snoring, and the picture of domesticity. i was napping on the couch earlier and he was asleep next to me on this couch that he has ruined sharpening his claws on its corners. i like him but i am wary of him. he often swats at my bare feet with those sharpened clause. he has lickedy


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