— by Domani Spero
You’ve seen this photo of the “sad kid at the zoo,” right? The Atlantic Wire calls it the defining image of the government shutdown. Okay. Australia’s Herald Sun screams, No zoo for you, kid. The US government shutdown hates children. Who writes things like that? Also Matt Berman of the National Journal went looking for animals, or tried to (We Try to Find Animals at the Shut-Down National Zoo). He came away with the apparent message from the National Zoo which is this: “During a shutdown, we’ll feed the animals. But not the reporters.” He did not see any animals at the zoo except for a couple of male mammals guarding the gate and he found some fish and turtles at the nearby Petco.
As for us, we’re stuck as sad blogger online. The State Department is open for business but its social media arms have reportedly been directed to go limp until the shutdown is over. The embassies Twitter feeds are repeating variations of the same message “Due to the government shutdown, this Twitter feed will not be updated regularly.” Frankly, some social media ninjas are having a hard time going dark – like
@USEmbassyKabul, and @usembassyjkt because Secretary Kerry was in town and @usembassymanila, because of security threats and also Secretary Kerry was not in town.
Meanwhile, U.S. embassy officials are also restricted from giving speeches or conducting public outreach even if the agency is still funded. Ambassadors are restricted from having welcome or farewell receptions, as well. The welcome party for U.S.Ambassador Matthew Barzun to London is reportedly sponsored by Tatler, a Conde Nast publication but was cancelled. Even if no USG funds are expended, some tasks,chores or fun stuff (including necessary work ones) are not getting done because they would look bad in the grim light of this government shutdown. But wait, on October 2 AmCham Belgium together with the American Club of Brussels did host a Gala Dinner to welcome the new US Ambassador to Belgium, Denise Bauer. What a difference a few days make!
Anyhow, since our national zoo is closed, we thought a collection of animals overseas might be a worthwhile blogpost during this extremely aggravating season. Note that these official engagements have all happened in the past. Our ambassadors and diplomatic personnel shown below are
not/not feeding any animals not doing engagements during the shutdown; apparently only excepted/limited/restricted/whatever activities. So no rapid response. You won’t like us for pointing this out — but … but…the Talibs are ‘um mocking us. Just think about it, okay? Meanwhile, enjoy the cuties below.
U.S. Embassy Kenya
Ambassador Robert Godec marked this year’s World Environment Day by adopting a one year old orphaned elephant named Tundani at the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, Nairobi National Park. June 2013 | Via US Embassy Kenya/FB
U.S. Embassy Australia
Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich in a face-to-face croc encounter from the “Cage of Death” at Crocosaurus Cove, Darwin, Australia (photo via Amb Bleich/FB) | The encounter with the croc kind occurred in Darwin, in the Northern Territory of Australia during a trip to welcome the arrival of Lima Company 3rd Regiment, 3rd Marine battalion from Hawaii for training in country.
If this shutdown last another week without a resolution, we should petition Congress to go on a CODEL to Darwin!
U.S. Embassy Canada
Ambassador David Jacobson carefully examines Batisse, the official mascot of the Royal 22e Regiment in Quebec. As part of a national farewell tour, the Ambassador of the United States took this opportunity to thank and address the troops of the 5th Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group for their contribution in Afghanistan. | Photo by: Cpl Nicolas Tremblay, Valcartier Imaging Section. Via US Embassy/Flickr
U.S. Embassy Laos
Ambassador Karen Stewart with an elephant. We think this was taken at the conservation center in Laos but our reference, the ambassador’s blog has been updated with a new blog by her successor, Ambassador Clune and the archive had been wiped mighty clean.
U.S. Embassy France
Ambassadeur Charles Rivkin avec “Celebre” au Salon de l’Agriculture 2012.
U.S. Embassy United Arab Emirates
U.S. Ambassador Richard Olson during a visit to the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH), the largest such facility in the world. (Photo from US Embassy Abu Dhabi) This was taken prior to his appointment as ambassador to Pakistan, can you tell?
U.S. Consulate General Toronto, Canada
Consul General Jim Dickmeyer greets Honest Ed (back) and Tecumseh along with their riders, Sgt. Jim Patterson and Staff Insp. Bill Wardle, respectively. The horses and the police officers – all members of the Toronto Police Service’s Mounted Unit took part in President Obama’s inauguration in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 21st.
U.S. Embassy New Zealand
Ambassador David Huebner during an official visit to Palmerston North and Massey University’s Institute of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences. A special highlightfor the Ambassador was his introduction to “Chelsea” a mature New Zealand Kiwi who was recovering in the Institute’s specialist care centre. August 2010 | Via US Embassy/Flickr
The Emperor penguin colony representatives in Antarctica during their first diplomatic encounter with Ambassador David Huebner.| Photo by USAF/MarkDoll | December 1,2011 via US Embassy New Zealand
U.S. Embassy Norway
Ambassador White visits Hedmark – Breeding Bulls and Battle Tanks (May 20, 2011)
Ambassador Barry White met with representatives from local breeding cooperatives Norsvin and Geno over a traditional Norwegian breakfast at Staur Gjestegård. The companies conduct cutting edge research in sustainable breeding and artificial insemination and export pig and bull semen to over 20 countries, including the U.S. It’s estimated that over one million pigs and 100,000 cows in the U.S. now carry Norwegian genetic material. Below, Ambassador White stopped for a photo-op with Bosnes, a “quietly confident” 1000kg breeding bull.
U.S. Embassy Thailand
Ambassador Kristie Kenney riding an elephant during Thai Elephant Week in early 2013
Photo via KK/Instagram
That’s kind of blurry, so we’ll give you another snapshot of Ambassador Kenney with a real cutie:
U.S. Embassy Egypt
Photo of U.S. Marine Security Guards and their camels at the pyramids, from MSG Detachment Cairo
via Diplomatic Security
Thanks to A Female Marine (second from left). This photo was taken in 2008 at the Great Pyramid of Giza on the morning of the Marine Ball . “So the Marine in charge of MWR funds rented a herd of camels for us to sit on while the photographer snapped our pictures. Luckily the herd arrived with a handler for each camel otherwise we never would have been able to get lined up for the photo. The camels were not happy about this at all, they did not appreciate being forced to stand so close to each other and they were constantly squabbling like siblings in the backseat of a car.” Read more about it plus photos here.
Perhaps, the most disappointment thing in this collection is the lack of pandas! We could not locate a snapshot of Ambassador Huntsman or Ambassador Locke with the pandas. What’s with that? But we are sorta persistent, and finally we found an ambassador and a panda from 2004, Ambassador Huntsman’s predeceesor, Clark T. Randt, Jr.:
- National Zoo panda cam goes dark following government shutdown (kdvr.com)
- I Know The Sad Kid At The Zoo (huffingtonpost.com)
- Panda Cam goes dark as government shutdown cripples cute (watchdog.org)
- A trip to the zoo: Shutdown! (tv.msnbc.com)