Zoo Tribe

The Zoo Tribe came together around two simple concepts-- food equals power, and antelopes and aligators make good eating.

Tribal members eat deceased zoo animals and use the bones and hides as marks of group affiliation. To the degree that it's possible, they keep the animals alive, but most require special diets, making this often an exercise in futility. Elephant steak cook-offs and seafood feasts (after the aquarium lost power) were early tribal events.

When there is too much meat to consume themselves, they trade with other tribes for weapons, gasoline, batteries, and other useful items. Rum is a favorite trade item and the drunken sea lion barbeque is fondly remembered by the original tribal members, who occasionally sport seal hats and armbands as marks of status.

It would be easy to classify Zoo members as self-serving animal-haters (the Regents refer to them derisively as "monkey-eaters") but top Zoo leaders are knowledgeable about animal care and never put down a creature that can survive under existing circumstances. Active steps have been taken to nurture such animals as antelopes, with the expectation that a larger herd would provide a steady source of meat. The tribe's efforts with the petting zoo animals have been particularly successful, enabling them to barter duck eggs and goat milk for antibiotics from the Pharms and rum from independent foragers.

Zoo Tribe prides itself on its primitvism, painting or tattooing their faces with whiskers, dressing in animal hides, and sleeping in the savannah and jungle habitats when the weather doesn't force them into the tight quarters of the gift shop or small mammal building. Zoo Tribe has its own music and is rapidly developing its own set of unique and wild customs. Although staged safaris, rowdy bonfire dancing and games played with animal bones are mostly to impress visitors, the tribe is showing signs of one day reverting to a condition little better than that of the wild beasts that sustain them.

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