Don Young’s Wild Kingdom

(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
(Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)
Posted September 18, 2013 at 3:56pm

Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young on Wednesday invited curious congressional types to take on the wild side, carting a trio of would-be predators into Longworth for a well-attended photo op and some animal-assisted lobbying.

Staffers were offered the opportunity to cuddle up to a pair of cute but growly tiger cubs and a bright-eyed chimp, courtesy of the Rare Species Fund. RSF Director Dr. Bhagavan “Doc” Antle’s group was in town to advocate against any regulations that might hamper the ownership of exotic pets such as the ones he brought along to crawl all over Hill aides.

“Doc’s lifelong work demonstrates the complementary and beneficial relationship that responsible, privately operated, animal exhibit facilities can have toward critical, on-the-ground, international wildlife conservation activities,” Young told his co-workers in the “Dear Colleague” announcing the event.

Snap-happy staffers went crazy with their camera phones, jockeying for the chance to pose with Veda, a 2-month-old tiger cub:

Others preferred the quiet grace of diaper-wearing Vali:

“It means ‘king,’” Vali’s handlers told HOH of their simian charge’s name.

So, did Antle get his money’s worth?

The snaking line outside the Natural Resources Committee door sure seemed to suggest so.

“You know it’s a great reception when the cops are actually excited to be here,” one apparently overjoyed House aide said.