Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready for a brand new year of BTG! We’re kicking 2014 off with a focus on new, baby animals… ZooBorns! I’m sure many of you have seen and/or heard of them. And if you haven’t, now is your chance!
Thank you very much to Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland for taking the time to do this article! It was a pleasure working with both of you and hopefully we can do it again soon! All photos and videos are courtesy of ZooBorns and the Dallas Zoo. (Credit: Juan Pulido, taken at Dallas Zoo)
Now please enjoy!
Q: What exactly is “ZooBorns” and what do you do?
A: ZooBorns showcases baby animals born at accredited zoos and aquariums as ambassadors for conservation. It started as a website and now also encompasses books and apps for both children and adults.
Q: What inspired its creation? When was it started?
A: The inspiration for ZooBorns came from an earlier site run by co-founder Andrew Bleiman called Zooillogix, which covered bizarre zoology research. The idea with ZooBorns was to reach a much larger audience and appeal to both conservationists and animal lovers who might not yet be passionate about conservation. ZooBorns.com went live in October 2008 and three months later we were hosting half a million visitors per month.
Q: How many articles do you have to date? How much time does it take to prepare an article?
A: We’ve published somewhere around 2,700 stories to date comprising births from over 200 accredited institutions. The amount of time involved in crafting an article varies dramatically from fifteen minutes to a few hours. It really depends on how much research is involved and how rich the back story is.
Q: How do you become aware of newborns?
A: For the most part zoos and aquariums share their photos with us directly. For smaller institutions, we’re a great way to reach an international audience. We also monitor social media feeds for birth announcements that might not have warranted a full on press release but still include wonderful photos. Finally, we also receive a fair number of submissions from amateur photographers who spend their weekends at the zoo.
Q: ZooBorns is a great documentation of new life at institutions. How many different species have you be able to document through ZooBorns?
A: Last time we checked it was over 300… Showcasing obscure species is one of our personal joys.
Q: What types of media does ZooBorns use to share with the public new births?
A: All of them! ZooBorns.com of course but then we broadcast the new articles and replicate them in part on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Instagram. The whole process takes a while but we believe people should enjoy ZooBorns content wherever they like. We have no advertising so it’s not important to us whether they visit the site or check us out on Facebook for example.
Q: What types of responses do you get from viewers of ZooBorns?
A: Lot’s of “awwws” of course but also a lot of support for the conservation work the institutions are performing in relation to these babies. We also get a lot of people telling us ZooBorns serves as a refuge when they’re having a tough day.
Q: What are some of the frequently asked question?
A: Many of the babies showcased on ZooBorns are being hand-raised. Typically this is because the mother wasn’t able to care for her young. When zoos and aquariums don’t explicitly call out why the baby had to be raised in the nursery, many of our readers get concerned. We usually ping the institutions for the backstory and share it on the site but addressing it initially is the way to go.
Other popular questions include “how do I work for ZooBorns?!
Q: Does ZooBorns do any work in the conservation area in terms of fundraising or any other initiatives?
A: 10% of all ZooBorns’ topline revenue goes directly to the AZA’s Conservation Endowment Fund. We also periodically rally readers to donate to worthy causes. That being said, we believe our primary contributions to conservation efforts lie in building awareness, empathy and support.
Q: What is your personal favorite aspect about ZooBorns and working with this organization?
A: Our job entails looking at baby animals all day. I mean… what could be better?