Every year we – the zoo community – meet 700 million visitors coming to our parks all around the world. Each and every one of them with a desire to experience animals. We have to take that opportunity and turn their visit in to something they won’t forget.
The importance is not that they know how tall a giraffe is or that chimpanzees live in groups. The importance is that they leave a little bit more dedicated to animals, nature, the people around them and the world it itself.
For our zoo, this is not just something we’re working towards. This is what keeps our zoo going. From the zookeepers and the fast food staff to our CEO – we are driven by the passion to each and every day inspire new kids to become dedicated to animals and the situation earth is facing. But how can we do it? We usually see our selfs as a big theatre. The zoo is the big stage and every day people pay to buy a ticket – expecting something spectacular. They sit there for a few hours and we can get the chance to influence them. But if the play is bad or boring they will leave or at least stop to listen. Thats why we really have to make the best of the day for our visitors. If the guest are satisfied and pleased, they will more likely be receptive to our messages.
We have chosen to have displays and feedings with our animals. This gives us a great opportunity to share our story, our message, in a inspiring environment with the animals present. We have chosen not to focus on (for the public, useless) facts and instead highlight conservation, animal welfare and how fantastic the animals are. This means we also have themes for each and every display. For example we have a dolphin show. The show is focused on the sea and how humans effect the environment for all animals living out in the sea.
Seeing the dolphins and at the same time get the message that there might not be any dolphins left if we continue to live as we do, will have an impact on the visitors. It will have more impact than reading a sign or hearing presentation in a class room. We also have other displays focusing more on the work we do with our animals, building trust with our guests.
A great example is the bear display. We lock the bears inside and then the zookeepers prepare enrichment all around the exhibit with the guests watching. This is a perfect way to easily explain enviromental enrichment, animal welfare and let the guests see how we do it. When the zookeepers are done we let the bears out again to use the enrichment.
Remember – together we have the opportunity to influence 700 million people every year. Use the opportunity wisely – what do we want our visitors to remember in the end of the day?
See you soon again,