So… amidst the COVID-19 crisis and all of the uncertainty happening in the world, you might find yourself asking, “mmm…isn’t this a strange time to launch a zoo related blog?” The short answer to that question is “Yes.” It’s super strange. It’s strange for me too. It’s strange to go to the grocery store. But here we are – locked in our homes wondering what’s next, ordering takeout, and absorbing whatever content Netflix and Hulu order up for us. It’s time for some new content!
Who are you?
I… am Kyle Etheridge… and I am a zoo keeper (duh, duh, duh)! Super anticlimactic… Anyways, I work at a mid-sized, AZA-accredited zoo (that’s the Association of Zoos and Aquariums – it’s like the difference between Frosted Flakes and Frosty Flaked Corn… there’s a difference). That’s not to say that there aren’t some really great, non-accredited facilities out there, (or that you ate generic Frosted Flakes in college), but we’ll dive into that later. I work with giraffes, currently, but have gathered experience with several other species. And no matter which animal groups I care for, there is still a very large part of society that has no idea how many cool things are really happening at zoos and aquariums, either right in front of their eyes on exhibit, or behind-the-scenes. And more importantly, why those super-cool things are important to helping animals in the wild. BUT! That’s where I come in!
What is this?
Once again, there are so many questions to be answered! (and I’d be happy to answer those individually on my Twitter: @zookeeperkyle1…) but I digress. There are only several thousand animal people that think their content is important and want to be the next Steve Irwin (THERE IS ONLY ONE STEVE IRWIN!). That being said, their content is important to them, just like mine is important to me. I just hope that you can find it informative, enlightening, and entertaining. “Answer the question Kyle, what is this!?” – Right. To answer that, let me first say what this is not. This isn’t “guess the animal” Fridays, or #TongueOutTuesdays, though I do appreciate animals sticking their tongues out at cameras. There is plenty of that and I’m not here to compete. What this is – is to take you digitally behind-the-scenes to different zoos and aquariums, roughly once a month, and present really awesome stuff that will blow your mind! And more importantly, and my main objective, connect your every day life and with wildlife around the globe. Is this kid friendly? I think that depends more on your parenting style than my content. I would rate this somewhere between the maturity level of Pirates of the Caribbean and Shrek, so if your kids have seen those, sign um up! I don’t have the editing budget of Disney or Universal, however, so if something more adult slips through the cracks… sorry. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl!
In the spirit of absolute honesty, I was really excited to launch this blog! I’ve had April 22nd, my birthday and Earth Day, circled on my calendar as a launch date for months now. This has been website design, writing, stressing, contacting facilities, etc… But then all of our worlds came to a halt, and we began to use words like “social distancing” and “essential.” This blog is not where I want it to be. I have coordinated plans to take you behind-the-scenes with a rhino calf, meet some bison and okapi, and an up-close on reef life for World Ocean’s Day in June. Those things are still happening! But when? Your guess is as good as mine, but when it’s responsible and safe to be interacting with people (and with animals), is the brief answer. What’s made this launch less stressful, and helped me cope with life every day is that we are all in this together! So in the meantime, bare with me. The content I’m delivering at the moment will touch on hot topics happening in the animal world, that people have access to in their own homes, currently.
Where can I find content?
Right here! Congratulations! You’ve arrived! But seriously – Thank you for making it to this blog someway somehow. The beauty of blogging in 2020 is that I don’t just hope that people find my content, but that I can deliver it to you based on search engine optimization, targeted marketing ads, lots of marketing jargon, but for your sake, you can follow this blog by clicking Follow ZooKeeper Kyle, to get email updates of my latest posts. If you like finding out what’s happening at zoos and in the natural world, find me on Facebook, if you just want to look at stories and pics? Great! Instagram. Want to hear my random thoughts (surely not many of you) and connect one on one in 140 characters or less? Twitter it is! Or my YouTube will be active hopefully this summer when zoo trips are a plenty.
Here we go!
Thank you for reading (skimming) this whole thing. Good stuff is here! Great stuff is coming! On the home page, there are two other postings you can check out: 1) a more focused write-up regarding my experiences with big cats and how that relates to Netflix’s crazy, “WTF am I watching” Tiger King documentary and 2) a short piece on the 50th anniversary of EARTH DAY! If either of those fit your fancy, check um out. If you like what you’ve read PLEASE follow this page and share the content on social media. And if you really REALLY want to support this page, check out the merch. It’s advertising for my site, helps give me the ability to gather content, and a portion of the proceeds will always benefit an animal-driven non-for-profit. Through May, that will be Black Pine Animal Sanctuary in Albion, IN. They’re a big cat and animal rescue center that deserve our support because Tiger King has drawn so much attention (positive and negative) to the dark underbelly of breeding, buying, selling, and petting of big cats. AND because Black Pine could use the funds to help them thru the COVID crisis. Well, here we are at the end. I’m stoked that this is officially off the ground! Thank you for your attention and your support! And if you read this whole thing, kudos to you, it truly means a lot! I’m ZooKeeper Kyle! Welcome to my blog.