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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Jurassic World - Strike Your Pose

I loved Jurassic World.  Most people I know who saw it did as well.  A dinosaur movie is hard to go wrong with in my mind, and a dinosaur ZOO movie?  Completely awesome.  Besides the fun of the movie itself, it was kind of fun getting a glimpse of something that doctors, lawyers, cops, and soldiers must get all the time - seeing a very dramatic, vaguely-realistic depiction of your job on a movie screen (admittedly, you have to substitute big cats for raptors and rhinos for Triceratops).

Zookeepers who've seen the movie have made a lot of inside keeper jokes about it.  How Chris Pratt isn't using the clicker correctly in his training demos.  On free-contact vs. protected contact for the various exhibits.  On permissible levels of guest-interaction with animals.  Even on how the Blackfish crowd would respond to the Mosasaur scenes (answer: probably the same way they do to orcas).  

And then there's the pose.  The dramatic pose Chris Pratt strikes while trying to stand up against the trained raptor pack as he rescues a hapless park employee.  
In a lot of the photos, the animals have facial reactions similar to that of the walrus on the far right - "Dude, what are you even doing?  Just give me the food already..."

I'm not sure if one keeper thought of it and the idea spread, or if the idea had several independent origins, but keepers all over the world are posting their own "Stand Down" pics with animals as varied as walruses and whistling ducks.

And people love it!  What started off as a joke on a few zookeeper Facebook groups has spread.  The pictures were shared on the tumblr Feminerds, and have since spread around the web to lots of general amusement.

Eventually, the craze (by now known as "Prattkeeping" spread enough that someone took notice...

A major reason that I started this blog was to get people talking about zoos and aquariums.  Zoos are very important institutions for the survival of many species, but a lot of people don't particularly understand them, not even many of the people who enjoy them.  Some view them as theme parks, others as museums, others as prisons - and I suppose they are a little bit of everything.  To understand them, though, means we have to actually talk about them, and the easiest way to do that is through pop culture.

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