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The Ransom of Jonas: 3 Zoo Animals Stolen and Recovered

By Tanya Roth, Esq. on June 30, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Great literature is great not because it is long, (Tolstoy) or filled to the brim with intricate plots and characters (Dickens), but because it tells a story we can recognize, again and again. So, kindly read along as we go on the newest version of the O. Henry story, The Ransom of Red Chief.

As in the original, it all begins when the bad guys blow into town and kidnap the unsuspecting victim(s). In the version that took place starting last week, the victims were a "delightful" Bengal Tiger named Jonas and two happy-go-lucky camels called Todd and Sean. Well true, we don't actually know if they were happy-go-lucky, but let's assume for purposes of poetic license.

The victims were inadvertently kidnapped by dim-witted thieves, according to Reuters, when the trailer truck they were riding in was stolen after their driver stopped for the night in Quebec, Canada. Like the O. Henry baddies, these guys clearly didn't have any idea what they had got. Bowmanville Zoo Director Michael Hackenberger told Reuters that the region where the trailer was stolen has had other similar vehicle thefts. "I don't think the thieves had any clue about what was inside," he said.

Imagine the look of consternation on the face of the thieves when they opened the trailer and found the two camels and sweet old Jonas, who weighs in at a cuddly 400 lbs. Hackenberger reiterated that Jonas was trained and friendly and was locked behind several doors in an internal cage in the trailer. "But he is still a tiger," he cautioned. Indeed.

A "sort of Amber alert" went out when it was discovered that Jonas and brother camels were missing. Hackenberger raced to Quebec with medical supplies for the animals who had not been "watered" since 11:00 the night before. Dehydration was a growing concern.

In the original story, the kidnappers end up paying their victim's father to take the kid back; he is just that much trouble. In our 2.0 version, the animals were all recovered, safe, sound and on the part of Sean and Todd, drooling with happiness. The zoo hasn't said exactly how the gang was recovered. Wonder if any mysterious payments were made to the (no doubt deserving) Zoo Fund...

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