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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Picture Perfect Problems

If we still lived in a world where people had physical photo albums, I would have pages and pages of animal photos.  Photos of me with alligators, and elephants, and giraffes, and cheetahs.  One of me surrounding my penguins, another of me hand-feeding a rhino, and another with a squirrel monkey perched on my shoulder.  There would have to be a separate section of me with my bottle-babies - binturongs, wallabies, cavies, gazelles, camels.

So maybe one or two of these photos, carefully selected, has found it's way onto Facebook.  In my younger, single days, one served as my profile picture for my online dating profile.  Other than that, I keep them tucked away, fully aware that context and explanation are everything.

Some keepers are more careful than I am, their zoos and aquariums having stricter behind-the-scenes photo policies than mine do.  Many are less so, and post everything.  The question is, is that a problem?

The editorial I stumbled upon below seems to think it is, and, since I found it to be an interested read, here it is.  I'm not sure how much I agree, but it does offer some food for thought, and will probably make me more careful in deciding what to share on social media.  Enjoy!

The Zoo Keepers Part in the Illegal Animal Trade Updated on May 9, 2016

My Family

Stored away in a chest in another country is another life. Photographs of family. Great grandparents, grandparents, parents, holidays, children, friends and pets. Happy memories of people and animals I have loved.

As someone who has spent almost my entire working life in zoos these photographs inevitably include large carnivores, primates and other species I have through necessity hand reared. These were not just animals...these were family! They were sleepless nights of baby bottles, bottom washes and nappy changes. These were labours of love for creatures which will forever be in my memories and my heart. These truly were family. Happy times.

Read the rest of the article here.

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