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Sunday, May 15, 2016

ZooBorns (Or, "Awww... Look at the BAY-BEE...")

Two or three times a month, I try to post a "From the News" update from the world of zoos and aquariums. It's a world that is constantly changing and developing, and there's always something of interest to share.  Sometimes I pluck a news item off of my Facebook feed.  Usually I just go to Google New.  I can always find something, but 95% of the search results are always birth and death announcements of various zoo animals.

I typically don't share too many birth stories, unless there's a compelling reason why that birth is special; it might be the first time that species has ever bred in captivity, for instance, or the birth might have been the result of some fancy reproductive technology.  If I reported every relatively "common" birth (not that there is ever a "common" birth among zoo animals, no matter how many baby giraffes I've seen), that would pretty much be all that this blog consists of.

Fortunately, someone has already made such a site.  It's called ZooBorns.

Photo Credit: Akron Zoo

ZooBorns celebrates the births of zoo animals around the world in accredited zoos (such as AZA as it's international counterparts - ARAZPA, EAZA, etc).  It's a huge hit with the public, easily followed on Facebook, and various hard-copy books of its photographs have been published.  Plus, the wonderful thing about documenting cute baby zoo animals is that there are always more in the works.

There was a time when I actually felt a little leery about ZooBorns.  I worried that focusing too much on cute babies detracted from serious conservation messages.  I worried that it made zoos look too much like they were only interested in entertaining the public.  Then, I started worrying that I was too much of a stick-in-the-mud whiner and decided to enjoy it.

All of the good work that a zoo does depends on the support of the public.  The support of the public has always been helped along with cute baby animals.  And besides, it's not like keepers themselves don't love a cute baby picture or two... or three... or hundred.

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