Bonner, Jeffrey P.

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Bonner, Jeffrey P.

PERSONAL:

Education: University of Missouri—Columbia, B.A., 1975; Columbia University, M.A., 1977, M.Phil., 1979, Ph.D., 1982.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Saint Louis Zoo, 1 Government Dr., St. Louis, MO 63110.

CAREER:

Zookeeper and writer. President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, St. Louis, MO; formerly president of the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, Indianapolis, IN. Also serves on numerous national and international boards, including the Conservation Breeding Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN (the World Conservation Union) and ISIS (the International Species Information System); chairs the Madagascar Fauna Group, an international consortium of thirty-nine zoos and related institutions; council member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Burgess fellow; Traveling fellow; Fulbright scholar; President's fellow; National Research Service Award.

WRITINGS:

Land Consolidation and Economic Development in India: A Study of Two Haryana Villages, Riverdale (Riverdale, MD), 1987.

Sailing with Noah: Stories from the World of Zoos, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, SC), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals.

SIDELIGHTS:

President and CEO of the Saint Louis Zoo, Jeffrey P. Bonner is also author of Sailing with Noah: Stories from the World of Zoos. In his book, the author offers a personal and behind-the-scenes look at the operations, philosophy, and role of modern-day zoos. In the process, he provides true-life stories of the animals and people that care for them.

"The stories in this book are not arranged in any particular order," the author writes in the book's introduction. "They jump between zoos in different cities and between countries on different continents. They jump between illness and health and between death and life. They range from fun and lighthearted to deeply tragic. If I picked them for any reason, it was because they are the stories that taught me about modern zoos and what they can (or cannot) accomplish. I became the president of a zoo largely ignorant of what zoos are about. These are the stories that taught me the most."

In his book, the author also presents a discussion of the future of zoos as institutions of education, entertainment, and conservation. The book includes color photographs and black-and-white illustrations. In his introduction to the book, Bonner explains why he decided to write Sailing with Noah. The author notes that zoos represent not only an opportunity for people to see the animals but also to allow the animals to serve as ambassadors for their own kind. "But animals cannot speak to us; they have voices we will never hear. We must speak for them, and we must speak in a voice much louder than we have used in the past," Bonner writes in his introduction. He adds: "We know what they would say if they could speak to us—they would tell us that time is running out…. And they would tell us the story of their lives—their triumphs and failures, their hopes and fears, and their joys and disappointments. That's why I decided to write this book."

Sailing with Noah has received several favorable reviews. "This is simply the best book about zoos written in recent memory," wrote Nancy Bent in Booklist. Noting that the author "has entertaining stories to tell," a Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that Bonner's "impassioned book should help people understand zoos in a new and enlightened way."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Bonner, Jeffrey P., Sailing with Noah: Stories from the World of Zoos, University of Missouri Press (Columbia, SC), 2005.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2006, Nancy Bent, review of Sailing with Noah: Stories from the World of Zoos, p. 13.

Publishers Weekly, February 20, 2006, review of Sailing with Noah, p. 150.

ONLINE

St. Louis Zoo Web site,http://www.stlzoo.org/ (June 23, 2008), profile of author.

University of Missouri Press Web site,http://press.umsystem.edu/ (June 23, 2008), brief profile of author.