Image via BBC screengrab
The BBC has just opened doors to the world's largest zoo...online. Zoos have their charm and wonder - and of course their importance for research and species conservation - but they aren't always accessible, practical, or healthy for visitors or residents. So the BBC has gotten techy with their natural history photography and film archives, and put together the Wildlife Finder, with over 370 exhibits (and growing) of animals doing their thing minus being penned up in some try-to-call-it-natural-but-it-isn't-setting. The Guardian notes
BBC staff are combing through hundreds of wildlife programmes, from spectaculars such as Planet Earth to regional TV news items, to create an unprecedented collection. Early stars in terms of hits online include Darwin's frog, a tiny resident of forests in Chile, which gives birth through the mouth of the male. The process is repeated in slow motion - another feature of the archive's ability to spy on Earth's wild creatures to an unprecedented extent.
Combing through the site is a lot of fun - you can pick from your favorite animals, habitats, or ecosystems, or simply see what everyone else is watching. The photography and videos are of incredible quality. It's a great way to have the beauty of the natural world right in front of you.
"It has always been my hope that, through film-making, I can bring the wonder of the natural world into people's sitting rooms," [Sir David Attenborough] said. "Now the web has totally changed how we can link information, connect people and reach new audiences in a world which likes to have things on demand."
It without a doubt doesn't replace the effect of seeing an animal in person - finally realizing size, color, smell, movement, and so on. But nonetheless, it's a cool collection...and will be even more cool once they get the kinks worked out. In meandering through, I ran into a lot of "This content doesn't seem to be working. Try again later" messages. Well...it is new, we'll give them some time.