ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

ZooNews Digest

Updated on June 19, 2011

Zoo News Digest

I think I must have been blogging since before the word blog was invented. I don't actually recollect the word 'blog' being used when I started writing about zoos. What I was doing was producing a regular news journal.

Some years ago in the early days of the internet I stumbled across one of the early chat sites. It was called Zoo Chat (no relation to the present group which shares the same name) and I got to know zoo staff from around the world from there. There were not many, they were all English speaking and nearly all based in the US, Canada. UK and Australia. There cannot have been much more than a couple of dozen chat group members all in all. We got to know each pretty well and most conversations were just idle chatter about nothing in particular. The common interest was zoos, but funnily enough they did not figure too highly in conversation.

There were not too many newspapers online back then but I checked them daily for news of zoos. It was all personal interest really. Sometimes I would discuss stories I had read with staff at work. Zoo staff are always interested in what is going on in other zoos.

At the time I was using an email programme called Pegasus. It had several very clever features which at the time, its competitors did not. One of these was the ability to produce mailing lists.

One week I collected together the links to all the zoo related stories I had read on the internet and put them together in an email. To this I added a little of information on what had been going on in my life and commented on some of the zoo news stories. This was my e-zine or 'Blog'. I sent this out to around 15 of my zoo friends who I had met on the internet. I seem to have hit on a need because they forwarded it to their friends who did likewise and within a couple of weeks the subscriber list had reached 150. Membership growth was slow. I never advertised or promoted and comparatively few zoo staff had access to computers let alone the internet.

Fennec Foxes

Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridapfe/
Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridapfe/

I continued religiously with what I was doing and managed to get at least one edition of 'ZooNews Digest' out every week. Of course it was not called that back then but the name came in time. What I distinctly tried not to do was to compete with the terrestrial zoo magazines or other services online. I didn't because at the time what I was doing was unique.

I foresaw a need for something to help zoo staff to access information quickly and set up a related group which I called 'Zoo Biology' which is my main interest. Zoo Biology really encompasses everything of what zoos are about. The Zoo Biology group membership was restricted to professional zoo staff from the beginning and with very few exceptions remains so. Zoo Biology has been instrumental in getting needed information quickly from someone who knows. There are a lot of animals in zoos who owe their survival to Zoo Biology. The Zoo Biology archives are rich in information.

I was both flattered and honoured to have had ZooNews Digest and Zoo Biology given a special award for Zoo Education by the UK/Eire Zoo Federation (which is now BIAZA). No similar award had ever been given to anyone on the 'outside' before.

Membership of both ZooNews Digest and Zoo Biology grew slowly, almost on a daily basis. It recieved mentions in various terrestrial journals which caused spurts. Just after each Christmas or holiday period when people bought computers then membership grew. As computers dropped in price there was growth too. It was slow though.

The Zoo industry is an odd one, especially within the UK and to a degree elsewhere. Mainly keeping staff are young. They come to work doing something they love to do for what is, comparatively speaking, quite low wages. They stick it out for a few years but unless they have been promoted, upgraded or have recieved some special benefit like housing then they will leave. They don't leave because they don't like the work but because they fall in love. They realise that if they are going to realistically contribute to the family purse then they need to get a job that pays. Some are lucky of course, their partner works in another field and recieves a good income and is prepared to be the main earner.

 

Golden Monkey

Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridapfe/
Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/floridapfe/

Some of those who leave will remain as ZooNews Digest subscribers, keeping in touch, just in case. Others want to forget. They loved the work and don't want to be reminded of what they are missing and so they unsubscribe.

There are other imitators of ZooNews Digest out there now who have attempted to carve their own niche and are succeeding slowly.

Zoo Biology now has many competitors where there were none before. These are all specialist groups and I really believe they are a useful thing. What is special about Zoo Biology however is that it ranges over broad expertise. The majority of Zoo Biology subscribers have been working in zoos for more than ten years and many of them for ten, twenty, thirty and forty years. During their employment they will have worked with a variety of species and so have multi expertise and knowledge. Sometimes this can be as diverse as reptiles, primates and sealions. Zoo Biology gathers together thousands of years of knowledge in one place. Questions are usually answered within a couple of hours. Some answer privately which I always think is rather a pity because then the answers are not archived. The important thing is though that the answers are given.

Today ZooNews Digest and Zoo Biology continue to be the biggest groups of their type and reach more people in more zoos, in more countries more often than any other similar publications.

The ZooNews Digest moved into a blog format as Zoo News Digest though the weekly mail out still continues. The notes, opinions and critiques are still there but with less information on my personal life. This really has had to be so as the Digest increased in length it split into two halves with one being called the Travel Journal. The Travel Journal in its turn has evolved into 'The Itinerant ZooKeeper'.

The past Travel Journals are still available on the internet in the ZooNews Digest archives,

Handsome

Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucumari/450900152/
Photo By: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ucumari/450900152/

You can read more about Zoos by reading my Zoo Hubs where you will find other information and zoo reports listed. Please also check out my blog Zoo News Digest.

WHY NOT WRITE YOUR OWN HUB PAGE? It is free to join and sign up. Write about what you know and start earning money. Free money, for you, forever. Learn how by visiting THE QUICK GUIDE TO HUB CONSTRUCTION

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    7 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Pamela, both for your comments and insights. Yes, wild animals should be in the wild. Most good zoo staff would agree with that. Sadly the bad, commercially exploitative zoos tend to spoil things and the work which good zoos do. In most cases there is nothing legally we can do about it....yet!

  • Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

    Pamela Kinnaird W 

    7 years ago from Maui and Arizona

    Good for you -- starting a newsletter that became so useful and long-living.

    I love the fennec foxes. I saw them on Kids Songs, a series of DVD's for children and I played that part over and over. They are so cute.

    I am sad, though, for animals that are stuck in zoos. I'm glad to be introduced to you here on Hubpages and be able to read of someone who is caring and knowledgeable with animals in a zoo. But still, there are so many sad situations out there in zoos -- and the animals belong in their wild places. But yes, I can understand a zoo's importance if some habitat is destroyed and the animals need to be put somewhere safe because they no longer have a home.

    I guess you've heard all this before.

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Susanne Ubink - Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I have visited the Burgers Zoo a couple of times. You are right it is definitely worth a visit. Wonderful.

  • profile image

    Susanne Ubink 

    8 years ago

    I'm very impressed with your zoo blog! It's the kind of news I'm actually interested in. Zoos themselves tend to fluff up their stories to make them more attractive to the general public.

    I've only ever seen Fennecs once, at Burgers Zoo in Arnhem, The Netherlands, but I'm not sure they were still there when I last visited. If you haven't been there yet, it's well worth a visit :)

  • Peter Dickinson profile imageAUTHOR

    Peter Dickinson 

    8 years ago from South East Asia

    Thanks Dohn. Both Fennecs and Golden Monkeys do look out of this world. I have worked with Fennecs in Arabia and seen the Monkeys in China.

    The Digest has been keeping me busy and out of trouble (well most of the time) for years now.

  • dohn121 profile image

    dohn121 

    8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

    I don't recall ever seeing fennec foxes or golden monkeys! They really don't look like they're from this planet! After reading this, I realized that you really do have a huge fan base and quite a following. Zoo News Digest IS you! Thanks for sharing this and yes, you truly are one of the first Blogger of any sort!

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)