The last Palestinian zoo stands on a dusty, dead-end street in the once prosperous farming town of Qalqilya, on the very edge of the West Bank.
The zoo’s bars are rusting; peacocks wander quiet avenues shaded by broad plane trees; a teenage baboon broods in solitary confinement; walls bear the pockmarks of gunfire. And yet the zoo is an extraordinary place, with a bizarre, troubling and inspiring story to tell. At the center of this story is Dr. Sami Khader, the only zoo veterinarian in the Palestinian territories. Family man, amateur inventor, and dedicated taxidermist, he is fiercely independent, apolitical, and resourceful in times of crisis. Dr. Sami dreams of transforming the zoo into one of an international caliber.
In The Zoo on the Road to Nablus, Amelia Thomas brings the reader into a world rarely glimpsed from the outside, weaving the stories of the zoo’s animals, its staff, and its visitors into a rich, colorful chronicle of the indomitability of the human — and animal — spirit.