The Vilcek Foundation Newsletter
The Vilcek Foundation Newsletter
Pigeons, Pandas and Pets
Introduction by Ben Huh
My wife and I are proud parents of a 16-year-old only child. We adopted him when he was 6, after he was abandoned by his parents. I'm a Korean immigrant, my wife is a first-generation Chinese-American, but he is of European ancestry — most likely of the French Bichon Frisé lineage. He’s a small, furry, white 12-pound dog named Nemo. For the first couple of years after his adoption, he suffered from separation anxiety due to being abandoned at the shelter. But he overcame his fears. Now, in the sunset years of his life, he takes pleasure in road trips, napping on the couch in the soft comforts of home, and knowing that we will always be there for him.
It seems irrational to devote so much of our busy and limited time and attention to an animal that doesn't really produce anything. Nemo won't have offspring (he was neutered as a condition of adoption from the shelter), he won't produce fur (unless you count the roaming dust balls he creates), and he won't produce milk (obviously).
We're part of a growing group of Americans, whether they be empty nesters, or decide to delay having children or not have kids at all, who have filled our lives with pets as replacements for children. We're the new generation of "crazy cat ladies" — by choice. Every year, the number of dogs and cats in the U.S. grow by about 1.5%, more than double the human population growth. I know too much about this phenomenon. I'm the Founder and CEO of the entertainment company Cheezburger. We're known as experts on this demographic phenomenon because in our company's early years, most of the site’s content consisted of funny captions on pictures of cats and dogs. From those humble beginnings, we've grown our business to more than 35 channels of diverse subject matter from FAIL Blog, to Memebase.
It's been a stressful several years growing a business that's supported by advertising. Cheezburger began as a one-man operation in late 2007, just as the global recession started. Being an immigrant, it was an odd line of business. Immigrants like me in the technology space usually gravitate toward software, engineering, or commerce, not culture or media. But we grew our business by being scrappy and nimble, capitalizing on the opportunities others could not see. And after a long, hard day, when my wife and I came home (to do more work), Nemo was there. His delight and joy is a happy reminder that no matter how terrible our day may have been, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the universe. (To be honest, if I went outside for two minutes to toss the trash, he'd have the same delight and joy on his face when I returned.)
What's Nemo's secret to life? Have low expectations? (Hey, you came back!) Love the ones you're with? (He doesn't have much of a choice.) Don't bite the hand that feeds you? (That's actually a good one.) He teaches me lots of things. For a shaggy dog, he's quite the philosopher, whether he knows it or not. (He doesn't.)
I'm not delusional in believing that he's more than a pet, although I am prone to being carried away by emotion when I cradle him in my arms and he nuzzles his wet, cold nose against my neck. I'm not alone. Every two out of three households in America have at least one pet — a staggering number even in the face of the Great Recession.
And being a pet parent can be expensive. Americans spent more than $53 billion on pet care in 2012. That's more than the GDPs of Iceland, Paraguay and Mongolia — combined (IMF 2012). As you can imagine, a dog that's old enough to get a driver's license is bound to have some health issues. About a year ago, Nemo lost his sight. He went to sleep one night with the ability to see his surroundings. The next morning, he was plunged into a world of total darkness with no possibility of dawn. But Nemo didn't skip a beat. No matter what happens, a dog will deal with the problems within the means they have. As one of my mentors like to say: “Have the intelligence to focus on what you can change, and have the courage to ignore what you can’t.”
Within two weeks of losing his sight, Nemo could jump off the bed, feel his way to the kitchen, eat, drink and return to bed. (And whine until we woke up and lifted him up.) We did give him an easier way to climb down from the bed, but for some reason, he preferred to hurl himself off the side. I'm not sure about you, but to me, that's the definition of courage (over intelligence).
I'm keenly aware of the evolutionary arguments of why we have pets: companionship, utility, etc. However, the only answer that actually feels right is that while we humans often obsess and go to extremes over our desire to be loved, we also have a need to love others, regardless of how different they are and how foreign they may be.
Americans as a group are leading this social change in how we perceive our animals. And when immigrants come to America, they are quick to adopt the animal-loving behavior of their new homes. In this newsletter, you’ll learn about the role immigrants are playing in our societal obsession with all animals, from pigeons to pandas. You’ll meet British-born veterinarian and animal behavior expert Nicholas Dodman, whose studies have shown that the minds of humans and their pets are much more alike than previously thought. You’ll get to know some dedicated pigeon flyers who are keeping the sport of pigeon racing alive in America. You’ll also meet Henry Lima, one of the many immigrant track and equestrian workers that keep Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, in tip-top shape. Finally, you’ll hear the immigration story of Lun Lun and Yang Yang, animal ambassadors from China and the first two giant pandas to arrive at Zoo Atlanta.
We’re drawn to animals not just for their functional benefits, but because of the emotional ones too. While the business of animals is huge and growing fast, the undeniable bond between man and animals may cause us to make seemingly irrational choices based not on practical economic considerations, but on love and devotion. Plus, they make for some great stories.
For Nicholas Dodman, a clinical veterinarian at Tufts University, it had come as a surprise to realize that there were people who doubted whether animals had feelings. Dodman had been raised in the United Kingdom by a mother who adored animals, “a local St. Francis of Assisi,” as he says. “There were always animals around: birds with broken wings, furry things, creeping things, crawling things. She was very empathetic with animals, and I always thought that everyone knew animals had feelings.”
It is likely that this early concern for animals led to Dodman’s current status as a premier expert on animal behavior. Dodman graduated as the youngest veterinarian faculty member in Britain at the age of 26. After completing an additional surgical internship, he began working in a friend’s veterinary clinic in San Francisco.
There, Dodman developed a taste for "warm sunshine and cold beer" and decided to base his career in the United States. When he was offered a position at the Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine a few years later in 1981, Dodman accepted, and he has been there ever since. In addition to treating animal patients, Dodman also teaches and writes extensively on animal behavior. He has written four best-selling trade books — most recently, If Only They Could Speak — based on his observations in the field.
Not content with just observational treatises, Dodman has also written two textbooks and contributed over 100 articles for scientific journals. Amongst his most well-known work is his research on animals with compulsive behavior disorders. He first started working with a fellow professor at Tufts by experimenting with morphine treatments on a horse with compulsive traits. From there, Dodman moved on to working with other animals, and gradually came to realize the similarities between compulsive disorders in humans and animals.
“Originally my interest was pharmacologic, but then, wow, I started to notice that these disorders were occurring in specific breeds, so then I thought it must be genetic.” Spurred by this novel approach to animal behavior, Dodman began meeting with geneticists and molecular biologists to learn more about their fields, which were just starting to take off at the time. Since then, he has produced a steady stream of findings, including a demonstration, via MRI scans, of the structural similarities in the parts of the brain where compulsive disorders manifest in both dogs and humans, and a patent on a new class of drug treatments based on NMDA blockers. Although he has yet to license the treatment to a pharmaceutical company, the drug has had successful clinical trials in mice, dogs, horses and humans.
Dodman does not spend much time thinking about his immigrant background; he feels that life is about moving forward, and he would rather look ahead than backwards. However, he is glad to be working amongst Americans — especially in his field. “Americans care more about their pets, and they know more. I didn’t think it would be so, but it is. They spend a staggering amount of money on their pets, despite the recession and economic woes.” This is partly due to the increased sophistication, in recent years, of veterinarian treatments now available to help a sick, beloved pet, such as surgeries and cancer treatments, Dodman says. However, a large part of the $53 billion pet industry can also be attributed to the parallel influx of pet products, such as food and clothes. “Fifty years ago, people fed dogs scraps. These days there are packaged dog foods that are specialized [for age or size], and there is all the paraphernalia, like toys and pet fashions.”
Many of those products, Dodman believes, are more for the benefit of human owners rather than their pets. He is, however, proud to have played a leading role, as chief scientist, in the formation of Dog TV, a channel just released on DirectTV that will be producing and airing programming for dogs. “Many dogs are left alone all day, and some of them develop separation anxiety,” says Dodman. “This channel includes programs and sounds designed to appeal to dogs during that time.”
The channel is the first of its kind, and is partly made possible by today’s prevalence of high-resolution flat-screen televisions. Older CRT screens displayed 60 frames per second (fps), which appear as a flicker to dogs, who are endowed with keener eyesight. Newer televisions have a higher fps rate, which enables dogs to see the screen clearly, and all colors, sounds and camera angles on Dog TV have been optimized for a dog’s sensory abilities and enjoyment.
The programming on Dog TV is separated into three sections: entertainment, relaxation and exposure. The entertainment section is upbeat and features footage of dogs playing with each other. “It’s been shown that dogs enjoy seeing pictures of other dogs on TV,” says Dodman. The relaxation segment features soothing footage paired with bioacoustic music — music that has been entrained into soothing biological rhythms. The final segment is exposure, which aims to help dogs adjust to things that may frighten them, such as vacuum cleaners and certain noises.
The channel, which has been tested with canine focus groups, is expected to start airing nationally this August, and anticipation is widespread, even in other parts of the world. And with Dodman as our own “local St. Francis of Assisi,” we are sure that the future holds more innovative ways to alleviate animal suffering and brighten up their days.
No matter where you live in the world, the chances are, rock pigeons are a familiar sight. This species is a common bird in most of the world, and its relationship with humans is a long and complicated one. To city dwellers, these birds are rats with wings; for others, a symbol of peace or a religious icon. The pigeon is the world’s oldest domesticated bird, and mentions of the species can be found in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. They have played vital roles in military history as messengers, with some birds retiring as decorated war heroes.
Pigeons are intelligent animals, capable of understanding abstract concepts, recognizing human faces and using a computer touch screen. They are able to find their way home from hundreds of miles away, even in unfamiliar territory. It was largely unknown, for thousands of years, how exactly pigeons were able to navigate through the skies, although recent studies in early 2013 seem to indicate that the birds have hearing abilities that allow them to navigate through ultra-low-frequency sounds.
No matter how the birds do it, this amazing feat has lent itself to the thrill of racing homing pigeons. While there is evidence of pigeon racing having existed in ancient times, modern pigeon racing was developed in mid-19th century Belgium. The birds are released from a single starting point (some as far as 600 miles away from home) and timed to see how long it takes for them to find their way back. The quickest bird, based on time spent and distance traveled, wins. In the following profiles, you will meet a few immigrants who are keeping the tradition of racing pigeons alive in the United States.
Name: Dusan Smetana
Loft: Montana Loft
Racing with: Bridger Mountain Racing Pigeon Club; Bozeman, MT
Country of birth: Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia)
Flock and family: Dusan Smetana first started racing pigeons in the former Czechoslovakia. Pigeon racing — along with camping, hunting and fishing — was a popular hobby in the country village where he grew up, and “boys venerated the best flyers,” Smetana says. “It’s a great learning tool for kids, to have chores and to have animals that depend on you. You learn how to train them, what the proper nutrition and care is, how to win and lose, and how to interact with people.”
Pigeons still play a huge role in his family life. When his children were born, Smetana and his wife, Lorca, dedicated the band number of each racing pigeon to one of several favorite names and released the birds from 350 miles away. “Then we sat back with some champagne,” he says, “and a lot of friends and family and waited for them to come back. The first bird arrived, we looked in that envelope and gave that name to our children. Their middle names are both Montana, though.” Today, Misa, 8, and Natalia, 6, happily join their parents in racing pigeons, and have their own small lofts and birds. Lorca, a bird enthusiast as well, breeds and raises ceremonial white homing pigeons that also serve as therapy animals.
Sport and nature: Smetana now has around 150 birds, although his favorites are descended from the birds that he imported from Slovakia: “The sport has been popular for much longer there, so there has been a much deeper and longer selection for good birds.”
In fact, selection was the first rule of the game back then. “Americans are less strict with birds; Czechs did not have much money back then, so if they were not the best birds, they would get eaten — they were a part of our diet. It sounds cruel, but it was much more connected to nature, like hunting,” says Smetana.
Love from afar: Smetana grew up reading about the American frontier, through authors such as James Fennimore Cooper. “One day I saw the name ‘Montana,’ and I thought, I want to live there one day,” he says. Although the decision was made instantaneously, getting there was another story. Czechoslovakia was a Communist state during that time, and getting out of the country was difficult. Smetana served two years in the military, believing it would help his chances of obtaining a visa to visit his mother, who was living in West Germany then. After almost seven years of writing letters and sending in applications, he was no closer to a visa — until suddenly, his request was granted. “In my village we didn’t have access to a lot of news, so I didn’t know, but the revolution was starting at the time, and they decided to just let us go to make themselves look good in the eyes of the West.”
By then, Smetana’s mother was living in Florida; a month after he arrived in the U.S., the Communist government fell. He decided he would make his way to Montana, just as he had always hoped to. “It’s amazing, how it all works out.”
Although Montana is Smetana’s new home, pigeon racing helps keep his ties with the Old World strong. He stays in touch with friends who race pigeons in Slovakia and around the U.S., trading information about techniques, bloodlines and nutrition. “Once you have friends with pigeons, it’s forever,” he says. “It’s a tight circle — there are not many of us in love with pigeons like this. There is camaraderie and friendship, like a family. A family that lives all over the world.”
Name: Toni Wiaderski
Loft: T&T Loft
Racing with: Wallingford Racing Pigeon Club; Wallingford, CT
Country of birth: Poland
Distinctions: Has won over 100 races, including the Windy City Classic, an annual 350-mile race in Chicago.
Beginner’s luck: Toni Wiaderski was a professional soccer player in his native Poland; he was lured away from the field, however, by an old friend. “She grew up across the street from me, and our families knew each other my whole life. [Her family] moved to the U.S. in 1963, and in 1970, she came back for a visit. We just talked and talked, and I started to think she liked me. She came back the next year, and the next, and then we got married.”
Wiaderski moved to Connecticut with his new wife in 1974, where he continued to play soccer for fun. The team manager asked if he would be interested in raising pigeons, and, despite having no previous experience, Wiaderski attended an auction and came home with 12 young birds. His first year of racing wasn’t spectacular, but in the year after that, the newcomer quickly rose to first place in a club with 60 members. He placed in all the races, from 150 to 600 miles, and won seven out of ten.
From that point on, Wiaderski was hooked. When he built a new home for his family in Wallingford, CT, a few years later, the loft was completed first — three times larger than his original 8’ x 8’ coop. “Every year I think I will take a break, but it never happens,” he says. “I have flown every year for 37 years straight.”
Racing in the post-Communist era: Wiaderski travels to Poland each year for the national pigeon show there, where he gets a firsthand view of what flyers are doing overseas. “Back in the 1970s, when Poland was under the Communist system, it was still very, very poor,” Wiaderski says. “People didn’t have a lot of money for their hobbies. The difference between the U.S. and Poland was like the difference between the sky and the ground.” Since the Communist regime fell in the ‘80s, however, Poland has developed one of the best racing organizations in the world, and their birds are overwhelmingly amongst the world champions. “Poland has a population of 44 million, and over 40,000 racers. In the U.S., there are only about 15,000 racers. Right now, in racing, Poland is better than the U.S. You can find anything you need, buy anything you want — you just need the money.”
The professional side of pigeons: Nevertheless, Wiaderski does his best to raise the profile of the sport in the U.S. He serves as the Northeast zone director for the American Union of Racing Pigeons, one of two national federations. As the zone director, Wiaderski hears and assists with any complaints and issues members have with zoning laws, neighbors and lost pigeons. He also educates the public by giving lectures and demonstrations to all age groups, from elementary schools to senior citizen centers.
It isn’t easy maintaining a career, family life, duties as a zone director and, on top of it all, a competitive flock of over 200 birds, so Wiaderski called in the help of Tony Surowiec, a retired Polish immigrant who now assists as his loft manager. “My loft is called the T&T Loft: Toni and Tony. I’m Big Toni, and he’s Little Tony.” Together, the two keep meticulous track of the birds: their bloodlines, race performances and various nutritional and medicinal needs, in the hopes of rearing birds that can hold their own against the rest of the world.
Name: Gunter Franzke
Loft: Gunter’s Loft
Racing with: Compton Racing Pigeon Club; Compton, CA
Country of birth: Germany
Distinctions: Placed third in the 2006 American Union of Racing Pigeon Convention, (an annual national 350-mile race with over 1,000 birds competing) and fourth and fifth in the 2012 convention.
Thoroughbreds of the sky: Gunter Franzke first became fascinated with pigeons as a child in his hometown of Bremen, Germany. His neighbor Hans Hocke was a champion pigeon racer in the post-war years, and he gave the young Franzke his first birds and tutorials on training them. “It was a bigger sport back then than it is now,” says Franzke. “We called it ‘the working man’s race horse.’”
Franzke was forced to leave his pigeons behind when his family left Germany in 1956, although today, he has few regrets about it. “We thought that it would be a better life in the U.S., so we immigrated. I still think the same,” he says. The family settled in Los Angeles, where he has stayed ever since.
It was not until almost 30 years later, however, that he would take up the sport again. He raced with the Bellflower Racing Club until it disbanded, and then joined the Compton Racing Pigeon Club, where he races his flock of 100 pigeons today. In addition to the pigeons, Franzke and his wife, Heike, have met a lot of fellow flyers in the U.S. and in Europe through attending races, auctions and conventions.
Born athletes: Racing pigeons are different from ordinary street pigeons. They have been specially bred for various types of races, from short to middle to long distances, and this breeding, Franzke believes, is a key part of championship racing. “As a rule I only breed birds that have been in the basket — the ones that can stay six to eight hours on the wing.” This kind of bird, Franzke says, “has everything I want. He’s healthy, all the organs are good, and he has intelligence. He has to earn a spot in the breeding loft.”
It was this spirit and intelligence that first hooked Franzke on pigeons. “I sit in the yard and wait for them to find their way home. It’s hard to believe they can come back after being released 400 miles away from home, through hot, rainy or snowy weather. If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to find home again.”
The new generation: The sport of pigeon racing is declining in the U.S. and Europe, although it is growing in other places, like China. It’s a time-consuming hobby that requires careful handling of the birds from birth, painstaking record-keeping of performances and bloodlines, and weekly trips to train the birds by releasing them from increasingly long distances. “Years ago, when you had nothing to do, everybody had pigeons. Young people these days, they have computers and video games and other things to keep them busy,” says Franzke. “They want something different than pigeons. Or they don’t have the money to raise pigeons, or their parents don’t have the time to help train and release them.” Nevertheless, Franzke does what he can to get the young people of his neighborhood interested; he invites them to his loft to observe and learn about his flocks in the hopes that, just as his neighbor Hans once did, he can inspire in them the same excitement for the animals that he feels.
Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, is best known for being the host track of the annual Kentucky Derby. For most, the Derby weekend is the only time that the racetrack crosses their mind. For a select few, the racetrack is where they work, live and learn. Guatemalan-born Henry Lima is one of those select few.
The backside of a racetrack is the area where the horse stables are typically kept; the backside of Churchill Downs, however, is also home to the Backside Learning Center. Established in 2004, the BLC is committed to improving the lives of the many immigrant workers who keep both the backside and the racetrack in top shape. The center provides its employees, many of whom are immigrants, with a strong foundation for life in the U.S. through teaching classes on English, computer skills, managing income taxes and the process of applying for citizenship. The BLC also aims to enrich the quality of life for employees who live at the track with art classes, guitar lessons, movie nights, game nights, exercise classes and field trips.
Four years ago, Lima left Guatemala and headed to the United States; life in Guatemala was not great, he says. “I worked on a farm, but I didn’t earn much money.” He was in search of a better future, not just for himself, but for his family as well, which includes two brothers and two sisters. He has found it, unexpectedly, at the Churchill Downs Racetrack — despite having never worked with horses before.
As a groom at Churchill Downs, Lima is responsible for some of the most important duties at the track. At 4:30 every morning, Lima heads down to the horses’ stalls. It is still dark out, but there is a lot to do before the trainers and owners of the horses arrive. The day starts with the cleaning of the stalls, a tedious but important task in ensuring the health of the prized animal athletes. After that, Lima preps the horses for their long day of training. This includes washing them, brushing them, bandaging their feet, saddling up and finally, readying the stall. Having worked with the horses every day, Lima has developed a close relationship with the animals, and indeed, grooms are often the closest observer of horses and their personalities and idiosyncrasies; they are able to quickly recognize if a horse is behaving oddly or suffering from an ailment.
After his duties at the stalls are complete, Lima heads over to the BLC to attend English classes or back to his room to study and hone his new language skills. This is, he says, his favorite part of being at Churchill Downs, and he is happy to notice improvements in his English every day. In the afternoon, Lima goes back down to the stables just as the horses are finishing up training. The stalls need to be cleaned and the horses tended to again, but for Lima, this is the other highlight of his day: “My favorite part is seeing how good they look after a shower,” he says.
This wraps up a long day for Lima, but it leaves him with enough time to play billiards or visit his brother, as he does most evenings. And although it’s been four years’ worth of long days since he arrived at Churchill Downs, Lima is still grateful for the opportunities the BLC provides for him, and he plans on working with horses for many more days to come.
Most immigrants can remember, in vivid detail, their moment of arrival in their new country. For Yang Yang and Lun Lun, their journey from Chengdu, China, to Atlanta, Georgia, via UPS’s “Panda Express,” was an especially memorable one.
The pandas started their travels from the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where they had been born and raised in captivity. Both Yang Yang and Lun Lun were a little over 2 years old at the time, an ideal age for moves such as this one: “They are subadults, not quite cubs or adults,” says Rebecca Snyder, Ph.D., curator of mammals at Zoo Atlanta. “Their behavior is flexible, and they are still sociable.”
From Chengdu, the bears were flown in crates aboard a special UPS carrier plane to Beijing. There, they transferred to another carrier plane that would take them across the Pacific Ocean (with a pit stop in Anchorage, Alaska) to Atlanta. The plane was kept at 65 degrees to simulate their natural environment, which is humid but cool. Accompanying the pandas were two teams of veterinarians — one team from the Chengdu Research Base and another from Zoo Atlanta — as well as mounds of fresh bamboo and other in-flight treats.
Once they arrived in the U.S., the pandas were greeted with full honors. A water salute over the plane marked their landing upon U.S. soil. A press conference was hosted at the airport for government officials, donors and members of the press — although the pandas let their handlers do the talking. After the ceremonies were over, the two were transported in specially outfitted UPS trucks to Zoo Atlanta, escorted by a police motorcade.
Fourteen years later, Yang Yang and Lun Lun are still a big attraction at the zoo. They are one of the most popular exhibitions (second only to the gorillas) and draw visitors from other states, and sometimes, even from other countries. “Pandas are still pretty rare to see outside of China,” says Snyder. “Only four zoos have them in the United States.”
This is due to the conservation regulations placed on the pandas. Currently facing extinction, there are less than 1,600 pandas in the wild and about 350 in captivity worldwide. In the wild, pandas are found only within China’s borders, and they have been a symbol of the country for centuries. In the 1950s, the Chinese government revived the ancient practice of “panda diplomacy,” where important relationships were honored with a gift of pandas, such as the pair that was sent to President Richard Nixon after his visit in 1972.
These days, while pandas are no longer employed as diplomats, the Chinese government does send them out into the world on loan to institutions conducting research on panda breeding and biology. Zoo Atlanta originally signed a 10-year loan in 1999, which was renewed for another five years in 2009. As a term of the loan, the zoo pays approximately $1.1 million each year for the pandas and an additional negotiated fee for each cub born to those pandas. The cubs, by agreement, must also return to the Chengdu Panda Base, usually at around 3 years of age.
“We thought that the pandas would be a great attraction for the public,” said Snyder, “and we wanted to make a commitment to help them. It’s also allowed us to focus and develop the research we had been conducting.” Amongst the topics being researched by Zoo Atlanta are behavior, cognitive abilities, thyroid functions, dental development, color perception and reproduction in captivity, to name just a few.
The loan payments are used toward conservation of giant pandas in China. Some of the money is used for captive pandas in China (e.g., maintaining the breeding center and conducting research), but the majority of the funds go to preserving the pandas’ natural environment. “The main reason they are endangered is habitat loss,” said Snyder. “The areas that the pandas live in are isolated from each other. Small isolated populations are more susceptible to disease, inbreeding, genetic drift and natural disasters.” To combat this, the Chinese government is re-foresting land that was being used by humans to create corridors that connect these secluded pockets of habitat.
Today, Yang Yang and Lun Lun have settled well in their adopted country. They have given birth to five cubs at the zoo, the most recent being a set of twins that were born on July 15, 2013. Although the twins were born in their adopted country, Lun Lun and Yang Yang will follow Chinese traditions and wait until they are 100 years old before naming them. Stay tuned with PandaCam or follow the Zoo Atlanta blog for more news!
Photo credits: UPS and Zoo Atlanta.