From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2012:
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones.” –-William Shakespeare
Lawrence Anthony, 61, died on March 2, 2012 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Following his father into the insurance industry, Anthony later turned to real estate development. In the mid-1990s Anthony bought the 5,000-acre Thula Thula private wildlife reserve in Zululand, founded in 1911. Anthony “added luxury accommodations and fine dining to attract tourists eager to see wildlife close up,” recalled Douglas Martin of The New York Times. Anthony also added vegetarian cooking classes to the Thula Thula program of entertainment and education, and made Thula Thula the headquarters for his own conservation charity, Earth Organization. In 1999 Anthony took in nine elephants who were slated for culling. This episode informed The Elephant Whisperer: My Life With the Herd in the African Wild (2009), co-authored with his brother-in-law Graham Spence. Anthony in 2005 and 2008 helped lead opposition to elephant culling in Kruger National Park. But Anthony was best known for making his way to Baghdad after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in May 2003, to help the starving animals of the Baghdad Zoo. Helped by sympathetic soldiers, Anthony improvised a watering system for the animals to replace a system damaged by fighting and dismantled by looters. He drove looters out of the zoo, expanded the depleted menagerie by taking in the remnants of the private animal collection of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein’s son Udai, and added more animals by closing a notoriously substandard private zoo on the far side of Baghdad. Anthony also helped volunteer zoo veterinarian Farah Murrani to found the Iraq Animal Welfare Society, which for nearly two years operated from the zoo premises– although Murrani herself was forced to flee death threats in late 2004. In addition, Anthony led efforts to recover Saddam Hussein’s private horse collection. In mid-2005 the horses were returned to the government of Iraq as a national treasure. Anthony and Spence recounted those adventures in their first collaboration, Babylon’s Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo (2007). Meanwhile, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Lord’s Resistance Army invaded Garamba National Park. “The LRA is notorious for use of child soldiers and has been accused of rapes, mutilations and mass murder of civilians,” reported London Guardian environment correspondent David Adam. “Cons-ervation seemed far from its priorities, particularly after members shot dead 12 game rangers and eight Guatemalan UN soldiers sent to the region to keep order.” However, Anthony told Adam, “The political wing of the LRA and the Ugandan government were having peace talks in Sudan. During a break in the talks, I simply walked up to Martin Ojul, the LRA chair for the talks, introduced myself, and explained the reason for my visit. His initial response was distrust, covert hostility and no interest,” but the next day Anthony was invited to talk to the rebels about the rhinos in their own encampment. “When I explained there were only four rhinos left in the wild they were genuinely shocked,” Anthony recalled. Concluded Adam, “When the LRA officials signed a ceasefire with the DRC, it included pledges to protect the rhinos and to allow the park rangers to resume their work unmolested.” Anthony and Spence completed a memoir of that adventure, The Last Rhinos, shortly before Anthony’s death.
Cole Warminsky, 28, of Palmyra, Pennsylvania, died of cycstic fibrosis on March 18, 2012 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. “He met his wife Jillian when they were both members of the Kutztown University equestrian team. She is expecting their first child next month,” reported PhillyCom blogger Amy Worden. Former Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement deputy secretary Jessie Smith hired Warminsky in 2007 as one of a five-member dog breeding kennel inspection team. Warminsky remained on the job as long as possible despite his illness.
Grace Tam, 11, killed on July 31, 2010 by falling ice at the Big Four Ice Caves near Granite Falls, Washington, was on March 1, 2012 memorialized by publication of her journal of visits to Hawaii, Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as other writings, for sale to benefit animal shelters. Her parents, John Tam and Tamami Okauchi, told Everett Herald writer Eric Stevick that Grace Tam had hoped to found an animal shelter.
Joe Ramonetha, 63, employed by the Johannesburg Zoo for nearly 40 years, was on February 13, 2012 killed by an 11-year-old lioness named Nyanga at the zoo’s Rietkuil conservation farm in Parys, Free State, South Africa. The attack was reportedly the first fatality at a Johannesburg Zoo facility in 50 years. Opened in 1904, the Johannesburg Zoo was one of the few South African public institutions that was never segregated during the apartheid era, 1948-1994.
Andrew Wordes, 53, of Roswell, Georgia, on March 26, 2012 “told a local reporter to warn the marshals who were trying to evict him to back off,” reported Greg Blue-stein of Associated Press. He then apparently poured gasoline inside his house and ignited it. “Wordes started raising poultry in 2005,” Bluestein recalled. “At first he had only a few chickens. Most neighbors didn’t seem to mind. But complaints poured in after he got dozens more chickens, roosters who crowed day and night, and then pigs, goats and dogs,” plus attracting coyotes who preyed on the other animals. Wordes “alienated neighbors,” Blue-stein continued, “but earned the support of the city’s mayor and others who read about him online. He even convinced former Georgia governor Roy Barnes to represent him in court. The chickens were long gone, but he was still fighting eviction,” after failing to make mortgage payments while jailed for violating probation on an illegal grading conviction.