Thomas French, Journalist-Author

by | Sep 1, 2010

Thomas French–a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, formerly with The St. Petersburg Times, and the author, most recently, of “Zoo Story: Life In The Garden Of Captives”–discusses when and how, in the course of writing articles about Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo for the newspaper, he decided he had the makings of a book.



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He recounts his feelings and experiences with zoos during childhood and adulthood, prior to writing about the Lowry Park Zoo; describes in some detail the management style, vision and other attributes of Lex Salisbury, the Zoo CEO, and the colorful (human) protagonist of French’s saga, dubbed “El Diablo Blanco” by his staff; addresses Lowry Park’s move–in concert with the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park–to bring elephants from Swaziland, a Salisbury gambit to help elevate the status & profile of the zoo, one that’s likely to remain a controversial strategy, noting that exhibiting elephants in zoos has become a very grey issue, and more.

COMEDY CORNER: Jim Gaffigan’s “Camping” (snippet) (

MUSIC: Hot Club of Cowtown’s “Wildcat,” Neko Case’s “Magpie To The Morning,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: Simon & Garfunkel’s “At The Zoo”

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