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Replacing cages with streaming feeds of animals -- an air zoo.

Zoos arose when access to animals either did not happen at all, or required grueling travel. Theoretically, zoos brought the exotic creatures of the world home in fascination (less charitably, in domination). Mostly, they were sad places for animals and people alike. Cramped, concrete jungles, too often in urban environments.

Perhaps, zoos improved on taxidermy. The denizens of “natural history” museums teaching children, teaching us, that Big Life is glass eyed and moth eaten – as far from the true ethos of wildlife as it could be. If zoos improved on the shotgun schools of zoology, however, it was marginal. Nothing is itself in a cage. As the Toronto City council to its credit recently concluded before sending Thika, Toka and Iringa to a California sanctuary, elephants do not belong in Toronto.

Today we have every possible means of observing animals in their natural element or large open sanctuaries. The NPS's live webcam of brown bears salmon fishing at Katmai is a perfect and excellent example! As science museums have evolved to present what is new in new ways, so we should encourage zoos to do the same, by moving animals to legitimate open space sanctuaries and bringing the images at home.

Imagine streaming feeds of formerly caged animals in sanctuaries. Imagine an “air zoo" that would truly allow our children, would allow us, to appreciate what it is to be a tiger, a lion or an elephant. And would do it in ways zoos do not and simply cannot achieve – close up, resting and foraging, interacting with their companions, being themselves. It also would conform to our evolving sense of proper treatment and care of animals, as the Toronto City Council has proved with its pioneering decision. Finally, it would keep zoos out of the exotic animal trade, an increasingly problematic relationship that troubles more and more of us past distraction.

Zoos can evolve better and faster, and should.

  • Oct 28 2013: Unfortunately zoos are often the last and only barrier to extinction of some species. I remember seeing on the internet Benjamin the last maursupial wolf who is long dead. Several in the zoos if taken good care of by the keepers could have allowed preservation. Very old Tasmanians told of pet wolfs. Would this make a bad pet? More than that while the world has many sheep today. There are no Tasmanian Tigers.
    • Oct 28 2013: how about adapting Elise's idea and have only 'sanctuary zoos' for saving near extinct animals. All others can be watched online.
      • Oct 29 2013: That would be a good idea if zoos were really that bad. I like zoos as long as the animals chosen can be humanely zooed.
        • Oct 29 2013: George, I will look hard, but I suspect that most zoos are urban or close, with space limitations that translate to confinement of animals who deserve better. Is there a good zoo? Perhaps, the San Diego Wild Animal Park a least deserves praise for its open space, integrated herbivores and suitable climate for some of the animals there. But, if 1 in a 100 is ok, shouldn't we break the mold?
      • Oct 29 2013: Awesome thought, particularly if the "sanctuary" part was real!
      • Nov 5 2013: Da Way, I looked back and realized that I hadn't properly responded. Thank you, again, as your thought seems just right to me. I'm even comfortable with more sanctuary zoos -- if we can get our Big Life to have reasonably large spaces, guided by a sanctuary mentality, e.g., no bull hooks or electric shocks, I'm there.

        Here's my short list of bad dynamics:

        (1) The zoo enclosure is a barred a cage of the sort circuses routinely use, a concrete hole in the ground, or glass cage in a casino.

        (2) A social animal is alone.

        (3) Any animal is chained.

        (4) Any animal is performing, hauled out for people to handle, or paraded around as an infant, whether its mom bellows in the next cage of not.

        There are others, but altering the above would be a major leap forward.

        Cheers.
    • Oct 29 2013: George, first, thank you for weighing in. I finally decided to post what I have been thinking about because I value this community's keen insight, yours included. That said, I wish that you were correct, and that zoos were designed as or functioned as genuine barriers to extinction. In fact, while the examples are too few to provide meaningful statistical analysis, I think the anecdotal history is that zoos have contributed to extinction in two ways: (1) poor husbandry and sharing; and (2) distortion of animal needs. Regarding #1, take your thylacine. Apex predator -- not so may of them by the 1930s, except in Tasmania. Yet, several (many?) were taken to zoos, and the last died there -- with no apparent real thought or effort to stopping its precipitous decline. Everybody was happy to have "gotten theirs." The same MO of "getting one" without regard to their needs or the future occurs with elephants today, where zoos persist in maintaining a single elephant for decades -- a terrible, lonely life for this herd herbivore. Compare the sanctuaries, whether PAWS or Tennessee, where space, herd life, comparatively reasonable temperatures and companionship are provided. Regarding #2, even if it were true that zoos are strongholds against extinction, we must ask: At what cost to what we're "saving?" If zoos are to have a mission of being the last stronghold against extinction, let's design them as animal-centric places designed to foster breeding and re-release into the wild. Let's give them what they deserve, as we try to save them, and lets give ourselves the ability to watch them -- by streaming feed -- on something that amounts to their actual habitat or a reasonable facsimile of that habitat.
      Let's decide, as a culture, what zoos are for and let's help them to get there. As a person committed to innovation (technology) and animals, my view is that zoos are a 18th century technology and have failed to deliver in any credible manner. Cheers.
      • Oct 30 2013: I am not sure the thylacines would have been treated now likeBenjamin was in 1930. Okay i like the Fort Worth zoo. The alligators and some birds seem as happy as anyplace. I still believe mold your zoos and chose your animals. Probablly a Brazilian river dolphin and certain others don't belong in zoos. Nothing about the treatment of certain great apes by men anyplace seem right.
        • Nov 1 2013: George, thank you. I agree about great apes, and I also tend to agree about alligators and birds, though I often think that is my failing -- that I have presumed too little of them. I have not been to Fort Worth's zoo, and when I survey zoos in my mind, I can muster some support for the San Diego WIld Animal Park, with its fairly large spaces for herbivores -- giraffe, rhino and elephants, particularly. So, in the end, I think we could easily meet in the middle: Lucy, a elephant alone and confined for decades in Edmonton, should go to a sanctuary where she has the benefit of companionship, space and a temperature climate. Edmonton should expect that they have a large streaming feed of her day-and-night at the zoo and also at home. In the end, I'm expecting that most of us will find that dynamic preferable in every single way. Cheers, and again thank you.
  • Nov 18 2013: Thank You, Elise, for starting this conversation! My first trip to a zoo as a child thoroughly depressed/distressed me. The thought of those small confines/jails still gives my stomach a churn.

    I love your idea of virtual zoo, it is an idea that has been cracklin in my mind for awhile now as well!!! I've been watching the Katmai bear cams for two years, it is simply amazing what I have learned about the bears, salmon, the AK peninsula ecosystem, the threats to same, even recognizing individual bears! Now add cams on bird nests, African watering holes, on and on. Now add live chats with Rangers and scientists w/q &a .. No tv for me--as someone else posted, real life out in the wild is WAY more interesting, and does, indeed, promote the desire to preserve what you are seeing. (but I never include cams at zoos or aquariums... just that same old depressive feeling)

    I just viewed the Ted talk (Lian Pin Koh) on using drones to help wild areas/species in many ways (anti-poaching/mapping/enviro conditions .. would make wonderful live streaming for guided "live treck" into vast, remote places. My live cam/live chat viewing/learning experience has been fantastic .. with Katmai Rangers Roy Wood/Mike Fitz giving chats, from Polar Bear International producing live video chats from the Tundra with scientists showcasing polar bears and sea ice formation, bird experts doing same. And btw, ALL of these events are huge hits in classrooms--kids really don't require as much tech as you think to get excited--the best toy in the world is still considered to be a cardboard box and/or a stick, and OMG, that glorious pile of dirt!

    Imagery has grand power. Couple that with factual information on what you are seeing, as well as the perceived threats to such, what each of can do, etc... very powerful, I think!

    Nat'l Parks/Preserves are a wonderful safe way to interact directly and fill all your senses... hire a guide to really get far out, get the most out of it.
    • Nov 19 2013: Mary, thanks so much -- I truly love your suggestion on the use of drones, and think it is imminently doable. I will watch Lian Pin Koh, as also reach out the folks to have aggregated satellite time, as that too could be used to protect and watch, particularly for large-scale migrations. My fondest hope is that Mr. Attenborough or a comparable person with a demonstrated love for animals will help us communicate the joy and wonder they represent, and the importance of safeguarding them.

      I also agree that streaming feeds must be from the wild or genuine sanctuaries where the animal's behavior is reflecting of the wild or accounts for the limitations they may have experienced, e.g., raptors who've lost wings and still have space to move around, but can manage hopping, not flying.

      I didn't grow up with TV, and don't watch. But, I do find myself gripped by webcams, and you are evidence (as are the many folks who are dedicated August and September Katmai watchers) that we are not alone. So, with Anthony's help, I think we have a plan and a future that can change a long cultural tradition of tolerating and even fostering abuse in the name of education and entertainment.
  • Nov 18 2013: I think the only justification for a zoo these days is that the better ones do try to ensure the survival of endangered species, probably the word zoo should be dropped and substituted for species survival centers. While we are at it we could drop the name animal and refer to them as other beings.
    • Nov 18 2013: Agreed, Anthony, on all counts, particularly the use of the word "beings." It is not only correct, but right.
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    Nov 14 2013: Elise, I agree with you.
    Not only do I agree that it is unnecessary to cage animals in order to show them to people, but it doesn't provide the right image of the animal anyway because being caged, it never will show the authentic behavior it would have in freedom.
    Today, access to information is so easy that it is actually easier to find information about some exotic critter on the internet than in a zoo.
    • Nov 16 2013: Thanks so much for speaking up, Harold -- you've got my point exactly: If we want to experience animals, we have to find a better way than cages. They deserve it, and so do we.
  • Nov 6 2013: Maybe we need to do away with the term "zoo" and create a new form, like "Interspecies Park." For animals that have proven to be well-socialized to humans, the real deal could be there for all, kids & grownups, to enjoy. If space permits, wild creatures could range (thinking of San Diego's WildAnimal Park.) Interactive exhibits & lots of great green space to walk about. Living in San Francisco, I spent many hours at the SF Zoo when my kid was a toddler, and the joy was the walk through the African Safari; the sadness the big cat enclosures, even before the tragic events that unfurled there. I'm also conflicted about the state of the rescued big birds on display. These raptors were injured and would not survive in the wild--but is being tethered to a stand on display any better end? Let it be noted that kids love playing in the park at the zoo--climbing on the camel statue, etc. The park aspect is huge--kids love zoos because they get to run around, see animals, ride the train, hang out with their loved ones, etc. It's an asset to any city, especially one with minimal green space. I love the diversity of the visitors that use the SF zoo. Inappropriately housed animals are not required.

    I believe the SF zoo, and others, are open to change, but they are strapped for funds. How can we support the zoos, the animals in them, and get them to move into a more humane direction?
    • Nov 6 2013: I appreciate and respect your views, Margaret, and they've got me thinking. I wonder if we took away the kids' play sets and game areas, whether our children might not take a breath, look around, and -- as my child did -- pronounce the panther "sad," as she paced her enclosure to distraction. I wonder if we removed the Disney-model distraction and stopped treating among the most remarkable life on earth as nothing more than moving wallpaper behind the snow cone dispenser, most of our children would intuit and point out that most zoos are weird or sad. You've pinpointed it with the birds of prey! These animals have been injured, and must be confined, but they deserve better than a tether -- just as you say. And I think they can have it. Around the world, in sanctuaries, thoughtful people with little money make a positive difference for animals. They don't design, as you rightly point out, a "safari" for folks walking through without regard to the beings locked in there ... so, I'm not inclined to give them money, although I am inclined to take any necessary steps to help them think more creatively about a new paradigm. And, of course, I'm inclined to replace as quickly as possible the head of the AZA with someone who actually cares about animals, not entertainment. The absence of leadership resonates. Cheers, and thanks so much.
  • Nov 5 2013: I like the actual presence of animals. If I am going to take the effort to go to a zoo, I want there to be real animals. I can look up videos of animals whenever I like from home. It's just not the same.
    • Nov 6 2013: Ok, I get that you want proximity. But, I assume that you don't like to be in the presence of animals that are being mistreated or unreasonably confined to deliver on your proximity, so that your reference to heritage breeds means that you're willing to give up proximity where the cost is too high for the animal?

      This point about the cost to the animal is non-trivial -- whether a confined animal is itself is the essential question. Here, because of her experience raising hundreds or orphaned African elephants, I must come back to Dame Sheldrick: What you are seeing in a zoo is not an elephant, what you are seeing is a tragedy. The image, https://www.facebook.com/ElephantActivism/posts/508781739210935, communicates everything that is immediately recognizable to any sentient being: Despair. Note, the image is not a "bar cage," but it is not enough for her either.

      Now, trade that image for sanctuaries, whether PAWS, http://www.pawsweb.org/, or Tennessee, or any other credible, committed sanctuary, where you know the animals are contented, healthy, well cared for and maintain some facsimile of ELEPHANT.

      And, I must ask again, what do you choose: You demand for preference or their solace? Seen in that light, video is not second best, it is OPTIMAL, because it is ELEPHANT.

      Cheers, and thanks again.
      • Nov 6 2013: When the cost is too high to the animal, I can do without seeing that animal. However, I would rather have no exhibit at all than a video. Instead, I'd make a special trip to a proper sanctuary, once in a great while. Video is too inadequate.
  • Nov 4 2013: Remote digital sensors aren't quite the same as physical proximity, even with the best efforts of current technology.

    Honestly, zoo animals don't have to be miserable. Most of them enjoy a much easier life than their wild counterparts--regular meals they don't have to work for, veterinary care, nothing trying to eat them...

    Traditional zoos also do a great deal to protect the environment in the indirect sense that they help make people (especially the young) care more for animals and nature in general. It makes for much better PR than having the animals brutally kill each other in front of a camera, which is pretty much what they do in their natural state (minus the camera).
    • Nov 5 2013: Nadav, I appreciate your thoughts. You make three points, each of which I will address each.

      First, you argue that zoo animals don't have to be miserable. I don't disagree that they need not be, but only that too often they are. Take the example of Lucy, an elephant alone and confined in Edmonton for decades. She is a herd animal who requires companionship and movement and outdoor access for her health and wellbeing. She has none of it. Thus, her existence is no "easier" than yours would be, if we put you in an 8x8 room alone, but fed and managed your health care for three decades. That, in fact, would be called prison, and solitary confinement, and you would fail emotionally and physically. For these reasons, your argument resonates poorly, and my suggestion of a video instead of Lucy's intolerable conditions -- which are all too common -- remains my choice.

      Second, you argue that children learn to "care more for animals and nature in general." I would like to see the research, but most children do not learn the right thing from the wrong example. Seeing animals who are wretched perpetuates the notion that it is acceptable to keep them in a wretched condition, in the same way that seeing slavery taught most children in the south in 1820 that that horrible institution was acceptable, when it clearly is not.

      Third, you argue that the young should not see animals "brutally" kill. Perhaps, extreme animal TV has altered your sense of animals. Herbivores are just that, and rarely do anything that a child could not see, and almost never "kill each other." Big cats have far richer lives than you give them credit for, and it is a life children typically like to see.

      Finally, you suggest remote digital sensors aren't the same as physical proximity. Again, I agree. But physical proximity at the animal's expense is inhumane. And, compared to inhumane treatment, most of us will choose video.

      May I ask your age?
      • Nov 5 2013: My age is 21, if you must know. I'm not entirely sure why its relevant, but there you go.

        I'll address the points by number:
        1. This is more of a problem of specifics than fundamentals. The answer to miserable zoo animals is minimal sufficient conditions they should be kept under by law, not eradicating the process completely.

        2. Without zoos, they'd simply have much less exposure to animals. Lack of exposure leads to apathy, and apathy leads to a lowering it down the priority ladder. You could say other exposures may be more productive, I suppose, but that's a complicated question to answer.

        3. Actually, I have no trouble with children seeing animal violence--I never was one for overly sheltering them. I'm just saying zoos make for better PR is all. Also remember that what you see in national geographic is heavily edited for a reason; the violence is usually very toned down. Nature is much more brutal than we often like to think.

        4. Pretty much already answered for in 1.
        • Nov 5 2013: Thanks. My interest in your age relates to what I have observed about circuses. Setting aside questions of education, generations older than I am -- 48 -- seem to consider them a legitimate and enticing form of entertainment, whereas younger generations are far more circumspect about circuses, in part because of the perception that performing animals is wrong. We don't have street organ players and monkeys anymore either ...

          1. Conceptually, I don't necessarily disagree. But, practically, it hasn't occurred, and won't. Dame Sheldrick, who has raised more poaching-orphaned elephants than all US zoos combined, shows and says it best: https://scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn2/1175075_510118445733920_213924860_n.jpg?dl=1 So, this may be where I'm practical.

          2. As importantly, I think we agree that seeing an animal confined its not "exposure" in a positive sense. You're willing to retain the less positive dynamic. I'm not, but instead pressing for change -- hence, this conversation. I'll allow that this may be where you're more practical, but I'm darn certain that children who get to wake up seeing tigers wake up, check in on tigers as they eat while they're eating, and watch tigers play as they do, will feel an affinity that transends the purported limitations of video and species differences.

          Thanks, again, for taking the time.
  • Nov 1 2013: Which animals do you want to let out first? The gazelle so it can be torn apart by a lion and then scavenged by hyenas and vultures? Or the lion, who can get a minor injury in a fight and die of an infection or get a slight flu and die of dehydration? Nature is not a forest grove populated by elves and fairies where anthropomorphic rabbits and wolves work together undermining the plans of villainous corporate loggers.

    Nature is filled with diseases and danger and even murder and mayhem. A sprained ankle to a human or animal in civilization is a minor injury and inconvenience. In nature it is a death sentence to be carried out by starvation or being torn apart by a predator. The same killer whale that entertains at Sea World in wild would in nature be drowning baby whales and ripping flesh of them while they are still alive. Guess what, they are called killer whales for a reason. Dolphins rape, weasels kill for shits and giggles, squirrels cannibalize other squirrels and seagulls are gay. People are animals, and the things we do, animals do.

    And that goes both way. Humans live in houses that are tiny compared to their “natural habitat” and eat all sorts of “unnatural foods”, for instance most of us don’t eat tube grubs or raw chimpanzee meat and instead eat bizarre things like rice and corn and wheat. We also starve to death less, live longer and actually use less land per capita than our “natural” ancestors. Guess what is also true for animals in the zoo?

    Zoos can be cruel, so can human cities. Zoos can be great, so can human cities. But please spare me a vision of an idealized natural world. It is not inherently better to live in nature than it is to live in a zoo (or a city for humans).
    • Nov 1 2013: Well, I'm not too surprised that someone who calls himself "The Right Honorable Sasquatch" should set up a false argument, then pretend to knock it down, and call it a victory. I have not suggested free release, nor do I believe that is possible. What I do believe, as you apparently concede, is that zoos can be cruel. When the balance tips, and most zoos are cruel to most animals, particularly Big Life (eg, lions, tigers, rhinos and hippos) confined in small cages and herd animals isolated (eg, elephants). then moving them to better sanctuaries where space is not a premium (out of cities and to PAWS or Tennessee in the case of elephants) is what's right for them and, with appropriate video equipment, what is right for us as well.

      So, kindly lose the silly handle, disclose your identity and, like a genuine thinking person, engage in the real debate in a forthright manner. Otherwise, you do TED and me a disservice.
  • Nov 24 2013: Have you ever been split in your own opinions? Please know as i express the following thoughts, part of me is opposed to the thought... But i am curious to the response.
    I dislike zoos. Even the spacious ones. The animals just aren't themselves there. I think they should all be banned. What about the work they do to keep some animals from extinction you may ask? Well, perhaps we just need to let them go! They are on the verge of extinction for a reason... HUMANS. That reason is not going away, far from it. Is the loss of tigers for example what we need to REALLY wake up to ourselves? Are we just going to keep raping this planet whilst knowing someone out there is keeping a handful of each species alive? So simplify, would letting a few iconic creatures go extinct be a lesser evil?
    • Nov 24 2013: Darren, I have real thoughts here. In June 1947 (Fortune), Bernard De Voto said: “It is imperative to maintain portions of the wilderness untouched so that a tree will rot where it falls, a waterfall will pour its curve without generating electricity, a trumpeter swan may float on uncontaminated water - and moderns may at least see what their ancestors knew in their nerves and blood.” Portions? Untouched? Ancestors?

      Even today, conservation seems to be about turning back the clock – setting aside designated wilderness areas, and leaving the animals to fend for themselves there. Better looking zoos. Preserving a few pristine areas devalues the rest of the planet – that is, where most of us and most wildlife actually live. And lets us off the hook. By relegating big life to a few out-of-the-way spots, rather than committing to better manage our relationships with animals in the rest of the whole messy world, we don’t figure out how to accommodate wildlife in our daily lives, e.g., we drive over them, because they get in the way.

      We must better accommodate wildlife – in every sense of the word. To stop driving over them, to stop driving them from our backyards, to stop objecting when they share our gardens or trash, because we’re overfed, and much of what we don’t eat is pretty good bear, coyote, etc., food. To ignore the old rules on not feeding or touching the animals. So, hands together for everyone who ignores the Audubon’s prohibition on bird feeders, leaves open a trash can and shares a garage with a swallow or bat. You’re this generation’s De Voto.

      The next step is to make sure that we radio tag and drop food for polar bears, track tagged lions and tiger by satellite, aand with drones, to make sure that they aren’t killed by poachers, and give everybody who wants one a good recipe for fox slop. It may be the only way we don’t end up surveying Philip K. Dick’s electric sheep on the back lawn.
      • Nov 24 2013: Humans will never be able to live with predators in our backyards. The moment someone's child gets hurt, it's game over for wildlife. There is only one solution i can see... Its simple, its not over thought & it can be done. We need to stop populating this planet. That is was what my comment preluded too. We cannot share the same space. We either decide to be happy with six billion humans and let the rest of the planet be... Or we just keep populating until there's nothing left. Simple.
        • Nov 24 2013: Nonsense. Many of us live with predators in our back yards, and most of our children never get hurt. You sound like a white flight guy in 1962, spreading and championing fear. Try a white hood too.
  • Nov 22 2013: Back to the name thing ..

    choosing a TLD is changing currently ..search engines are using different methods to carry out their processes. It is no longer so important to have .com or net..

    some popular creative choices have emerged..

    such as .tv another one is .me

    and couldn't resist

    unzoo.me as a suggestion

    I know you are not keen on tv but a few people still use it ..

    so unzoo.tv is also possible .tv is the nation of tuvalu as I am sure you know and it helps their economy.

    .me is Montenegro they are of course a bit more expensive than other domains.



    although you would probably want .org also..and .info and it is a simple matter to redirect to them either way or all redirecting to one or 2 places..

    depending on budget many buy up as many different variations as possible for brand protection ..and could be useful if planning to have a variety of different media leading towards the webcams.
    • Nov 24 2013: So sorry for the delayed response, a very busy end of the week at work and home. So, first, I think UNZoo.me has to be right, although I think we keep UNZoo.tv as a back-up plan. I would like .org and .info as well, but I believe that may be more difficult -- I'm running that down now. I'll ask my marvelous team at work to take this on, and report back directly. As Mary is right, and we lose the TED forum on Monday, I'll come up with a different forum plan. My email is elisengbzoli@gmail.com.
      • Nov 24 2013: LOVE!!!-- UNZoo.me --that is just perfect!!! And all the others, but this one is just too cool, and could not be more direct to the point.

        Elise/others, please put mine in your address book, or gmail/yahoo/etc will spam me out, because it is domain based, i guess.... mew@marywilber.com
        • Nov 24 2013: Awesome, thank you so much! Of course, KUDOS go to Anthony for his help here.
  • Nov 20 2013: The more I think about it the more I think the bots would be very suitable, the site can be designed to be only usable via the pathways leading to webcams ..avoiding other types of less meaningful interaction.

    If not in 3D how else do people envisage this project? ..a website.?.standard or social network style ?..or an app ?

    or perhaps using a combination of media..under one logo ..so that the 3D would be just one avenue..to the same selected wilderness areas .
    • Nov 20 2013: I like the mix of possibilities, but with the main drive always leading to LIVE...

      Again, not a techie, so the format choices are mysterious to me, but it seems a website with some interactive (but personally prefer to do without the open, unmoderated chat thing) capabilities for live learning sessions, q & a type stuff... lots of available and embedded information... maybe even some moderated discussions such as this style on aspects of what is being seen... live sessions developed specifically for various age ranges in their classrooms...

      also, the phone app thing... how to accommodate, live streaming is a lot of bandwidth... also trending, most new internet users coming online are on phones and pads rather than computers...

      Lots of ways to go, for sure ;-) Elise, you have a full plate of possibilities!!! In my experience, defining the Mission Statement can make so much of this clear, and is one of the most interesting and challenging processes I have ever been a part of!
    • Nov 21 2013: My thought is an integrated portal, where we develop links to all of the good stuff out there, donate webcams to advance our link diversity/opportunities, and engage all credible organizations to do the same. Organization is key, and we will daily post the best few minutes of footage, really drawing folks to us. People can provide commentary at certain times, but 24 hour real time is too much to ask for human beings; bots can provide some reasonably valuable insights on a 24-hour basis.
      • Nov 22 2013: ok, now i get it clearer! I think i lost track amongst all the ideas, lol!
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    Nov 20 2013: Hi Elise,
    I found this site with lots of live streams. Most are from zoos, but nevertheless I think it gives an idea what can be done.
    http://www.ustream.tv/explore/pets-animals/all
    I also was surprised to find lots of animal live cams on the internet.
    Maybe you can create something like a central platform for all these solitary streams. I could imagine that this could be interesting for the person who provides the stream because he can expect a larger audience and for you because you can use a stream that already exists.
    What I see however, is often a poor image quality. For your purpose I think it should be high quality.
    Another issue that comes to mind is that in a zoo, the animal is always present and mostly visible. But in nature, that's not necessarily the case, so a particular live stream might just look like a still photo if nothing is moving around.
    People in general look for instant gratification and don't want to wait perhaps hours until something pops up in the stream.
    So I think, whatever you are going to do, videos and taped live comes should also be part of the overall experience.
    • Nov 20 2013: So, this is incredibly important:

      (1) Image quality must be A+. I've liked the image quality of the National Park Service feeds, particularly as Mary has mentioned of the Katmai bears (in late summer and early autumn, pre-hibernation). There's an imbedded cost there, as there are also obligations to get authorizations for placing webcams, that must be addressed. My working theory is a grant for webcams at our NPs and donated to preserves/sanctuaries worldwide.

      (2) Purists may want the hours waiting, but I think we'll also have to provide condensed versions of live feeds, i.e., videos, so that folks who want a bit more consistent access get it. The NPS folks also do this very well, but it will mean that we need editing techs to upload condensed versions daily.

      (3) Animal life is seasonal. Moms and bears den up. So, there will be a seasonality to what we do. I like that because it's communicates reality. But, we must not oversell.

      (4) Under no circumstances do we do the zoo videos/webcams, e.g., pandacam at the national zoo. No tight confines, fake space or attributes.

      Cheers.
      • Nov 20 2013: lol! would not let me thumb up your post, "I've reached the maximum weekly votes for this poster", so THUMBS UP all around anyway, Elise!
        • Nov 20 2013: hysterical, and thank you for the virtual thumbs up. I have to say that I have so appreciated your and Harald and Anthony's insights. The first couple of comments, while very helpful in underscoring the challenge we face, seemed to express a level of resignation that i found perplexing. First, it isn't my nature. Second, if we cannot have a can do mentality at TED, well ... so having y'all swoop in is really something, thank you!
      • Nov 20 2013: I would also consider your goals for supporting preserves/sanctuaries in conjunction with NPS only in that it is a Federal Govt entity, and as such is highly political, which may limit some types of information from being shared under or next to their NPS banner, such as the animal abuse issues? Pretty sure you could find some federal grant monies behind the major zoos and aquariums? I cannot say that for sure, of course, but nps employees are under a pretty strict policy about what they say, how they look and act while on duty, for instance.

        But I also know that NPS is trying to establish these very connections with wider audiences through the live cam network... Ranger Roy Wood just won the Tilden Award for his region for his vision and his work with, ultimately explore.org, to get those Katmai cameras up, and get the Rangers involved in live online chats with special attention to getting into classrooms. It was all a whopping success this last year.

        But you won't hear about zoo or animal cruelty, you won't hear about environmental threats except in the most generalized ways, in other words, no activism per say. Whether or not they would oppose being included in a 3rd party site that also had other cams and that offered these other informations? that would be interesting to know?
    • Nov 20 2013: agree completely. Locations often make the quality difficult, as in steady and sufficient power supply combined with steady and sufficient internet band connection... it's quite a big tech deal, and then there is protecting the cams themselves--weather, animals-- and how do you keep the coverings clean, etc. I have no knowledge of the actual choices in quality for both sound and video equipment you can use in such remote settings, I do notice differences in many of the cams that I watch, and they can be different quality at different times... nevertheless, well worth it. Also, for instance, certain places seem to be quite active most of the time, like Pete's Pond in Africa (can find it on ustream), they are24/7 with lights at night. No experts interactions on most cams i've seen however, only through explore.org--where I watch the Katmai cams, polar bears, many birds, beaches of Hawaii... the chat program they use, disqus, is horrendous--steer clear!

      Elise, TOTALLY agree that staff is needed to capture, edit and post clips, chats, the amazing moments missed while you were doing the job thing... and since animal lives are seasonal, cams all over the globe mean some kind of action day or night, wherever you may be, during slow season, you can catch up with the archived videos/chats... live and library.

      Excellent succinct list, Elise!
    • Nov 20 2013: Harald, forgot to respond to the lack of motion point you were making... some cams are indeed static, or are on an auto-pan/pause program, but many are actively operated by cam-ops/zoomies at different times. From what I have been able to gather, they are volunteers who are assigned a shift and certain cameras, which they operate remotely thru logging into some site on their computer. I'm sure there are other models in use as well. My point is that while they are active, the camera is looking for creatures, vistas, action, sunsets/sunrises, anything interesting in the environment, panning, pausing and zooming in close, drawing back out for a wide view.... you may have started with an interest in a particular animal, but it becomes the entire environment and the huge number of critters, plants, colors, you had no idea existed! For example, after the bears have withdrawn this last month, we are seeing eagles, foxes, ermines more and more. Good cam-ops are essential!
      • Nov 20 2013: Mary, thanks so much for this, and agreed on cam-ops. There is a term of art, charismatic megafauna, which suggests its only the Big Life that matters. I think we should have as part of out mission statement that all life is BIG LIFE.
        • Nov 20 2013: that is totally perfect and awesome!!! and True.

          Do you watch thru explore? if so, did you see the video chats with Chris Morgan? His beginning premise, "Why bears?", with the mission to connect their importance, which of course must include their environment, to your daily life?
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        Nov 20 2013: I agree Mary, most people walk through the world like sleep walkers. It's amazing how much interesting stuff you can find in even a small space.
        I have the fortune to have a fairly large garden (15.000 sqft) in a tropical place, so all the time something is going on. Whether that are birds taking a bath and playing, hummingbirds sipping nectar, a spider catching its prey or a snake digesting its lunch.
        The question how to you access all this activity. I don't know if there are "intelligent" cams that just scan for some kind of action and then automatically focus on that. If that exists that obviously would be a great tool.
        Otherwise you probably need real people that scan the environment and focus the cam on whatever action is going on. Anyway, I'm sure there are solutions.
        • Nov 20 2013: i will digress off topic and say how WONDERFUL for you! I am currently urban--not my nature, SO miss having a garden, the live cams have been saving my psyche in this regard... your friend's website you give above looks awesome, looking forward to perusing that.... I've also imagined an online "farm school" to help anybody, but especially growing urban populations, learn about local organic sustainable food production (aquaponics, controlled environment organic gardening, backyard, vertical, etc)... could have a physical center or be 3rd party host to so many programs... a companion program to the wildlife version?
    • Nov 20 2013: Great..I think there needs to be 3 levels of expertise involved.

      One guiding the use of the 3D environment
      another guiding the availability of live web material

      and another for the desired suitability of content.
      • Nov 20 2013: and maybe the fourth... someone expert at creatively guiding the dynamic integration of those into a whole? Oh, and let's remember the funding expert!
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    Nov 18 2013: I usually get the impression that they give the animals drugs to make them get up and walk around. I'm sure that's ludicrous, but I don't think we'd be incredibly surprised if that was the truth.

    So maybe we get this feeling when we visit the zoo that the animals are there for our amusement, and at their expense. I saw an ape once sitting alone in what looked more like a penitentiary than a cage. The walls were a yellowish color, though it was open to the sky with a single branch, from one concrete wall to the other. He had his head on his fist and appeared deep in thought. Or maybe I should call him an "it", and make believe along with the rest of society. It's an interesting world that we live in, when one stops to think about it.

    I'd agree with your reference to slavery that you made in a post below. During the Constitutional Convention there was a debate on the importation of slaves, and Charles Pinckney argued that "if slavery be wrong, it is justified by the example of all the world." and "in all ages one half of mankind have been slaves.". There we have that element of the collective conscious, a society's irrational behaviors justified by the simple fact that they exist on a grandiose scale.

    Though if the human race is going to collectively reconsider the way it treats other species, it seems kind of silly to start with zoos. Maybe not, as it's probably the first example of this irrational behavior that most children experience. But a zoo is clearly a sanctuary when compared to industrial farming.
    • Nov 18 2013: Fred, I will certainly agree with you about the gross inhumanity of industrial farming, and the general inhumanity to domestic animals. I don't eat animals, and when I find myself cooking them I go to great lengths for humane treatment indicators (e.g., at least 4 at Whole Foods), which is damn little consolation, if you've ever seen an slaughterhouse. Thank you, as well, for the fine reference to the history of slavery.

      Where I will disagree is that stopping any inhumanity is "silly." I'm quite certain that failing to take on everything at once makes the inroads we can achieve "silly," anymore than those who focused on voting rights of anti-miscegenation laws. The practical reality is that TED is a place to talk about how to improve our collective future, and I think there is too little talk of animals here -- to little acknowledgement. Also, perhaps I am wrong, but I sense that there is sufficient ambient discomfort with performing animals (circuses) and zoos that we have a genuine opportunity to engage people. What's more, for Lucy, who has spent 37 years alone, confined, on concrete and in the cold, we have a chance, and we must -- are obliged to -- take it to get her to sanctuary.

      And, sir, I trust you will champion my post on vegan-ism when it occurs. ;-)
      • Nov 18 2013: hi elise.I am a new come of this site, and I don't have enough information about this site. coud you plese explain about the site. i'm the student of mba.
        thank you so much
        my email : meysamy1988@gmail.com
        • Nov 19 2013: Great question, Hamed. We do not have a site yet, but our goal is to create a portal or access point where webcams of animals in nature of sanctuaries are available for viewing, explained by knowledgable individuals, and championed as the next wave in a kinder, smarter zoo that allows us to understand these magnificent beings for themselves -- without the cruelty of cages, crippling loneliness and boredom, and too often abuse - in a way that helps us to learn more, better and faster. Anthony has kindly offered to help with a 3D vehicle that could be used as the entrance and in lieu of human beings for the explanations. You should contact him directly, if its only the technology, not the animals that are of interest, though I hope the animals matter to you as well. Cheers, Elise
  • Nov 17 2013: If anyone is interested in experiencing the 3D virtual environment I am describing it is accessible 24/7 from my website http://thevirtualuniversegrid.com (full instructions provided.)


    And http://hihowru.com for more information

    There I have a recreation of a real world place in the U.K. known as Sealand. If one dives below the water there is an undersea marine observatory that is designed as a classroom for educators ..Moon, Mars environments are also available as are a large number of historical educational and training projects. Widely used also for health and science purposes, the U.S. Military has its own private grid known as M.O.S.E.S. where it carries out simulations and exercises.



    All necessary software is available completely opensource free, limited only by time and creative ability it can be hosted from home, it can be used on or offline, it can be turned on or off when required, there is even a portable version on a stick drive which is popular with educators.

    It can be set up by anyone who has the willingness to learn.

    It is the same as, and has all the features of secondlife but has the additional capacity of being an open 3D internet if desired whereas secondlife is a closed environment due to its commercial nature.
  • Nov 17 2013: Great minds think alike, but am more in favor of its opens source counterpart opensimulator.org
  • Nov 16 2013: Hi Elise,

    I admire your enthusiasm and remember well the museums and zoo culture you speak of as well as the open sale of exotic animals in street markets in England. Sadly it all still takes place in many countries and although I could go on about it at length. I am sure you know as well as I do..not so long ago I watched in horror as an Elephant was on display riding a bicycle.

    The idea I am suggesting is to have a 3D virtual zoo environment which I can set up and could be modeled on any place of your choosing. Over time the links to the feeds and webcams can be added and the zoo can grow in size. Limited only by the imagination.

    This 3D environment is ideally suited to that..as an example I would like you to watch this youtube video which is the closest to match your idea that I can show you quickly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vPKF3KmReeU


    Then if you study the information on my website http://hihowru.com you can decide if this will serve your purpose.

    As somebody already commented there is a wealth of information available on the web ..but that does not provide the immersive experience and site it all in one place in a fun and interactive way for kids.


    It is the age of gamification in both in schools and the workplace educators are very much in favor of virtual learning environments this one in particular which is akin to a 3D internet. ( This is not secondlife which is not suitable for children but is similar and private )

    The cost as I said can be free as all the technology is opensource and can be hosted from a home computer.

    My email for contact is bowerbirdcuriositiesunlimited@hotmail.com
    • Nov 16 2013: Thank you very much for such a prompt, thorough and insightful response. I do think that an "entrance" that is 3d makes real sense, and 3d guides can help to draw folks into to effective portals to live streaming feeds and explain what they're seeing. I'm too old not to want to be careful to avoid Philip K. Dick (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), and too young not to want to meld the best of technology and reality at once.

      Will email you separately, cheers and thanks so much.
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      Nov 16 2013: You could create an interface such as Second life and integrate the live feeds and any other features.
      This way you can combine education with gaming.
  • Nov 16 2013: Good idea ! A virtual zoo ! but you don't need to just think or talk about it I can help you do it very cheaply or free if you really want it .
    • Nov 16 2013: Anthony, thank you so much, -- how spectacularly awesome, and of course I would like to hear more. I don't expect you to work for free, and I'll gladly make a donation and configure the legal structure, so we have a functional not-for-profit that allows us to be the first and best worldwide virtual zoo.

      I think we should focus on children's needs, and assume that all of us are childlike when it comes to Big Life.

      So, I'm easy to track down on linkedin or google, as my name's the hallmark of a grandmother who loved Beethoven, and a slew of Italians -- no one else has it. Reach out, and let's talk. Cheers, and just plain wow!
  • Nov 14 2013: Elise,

    There was no need to apologize. No matter how much you would have studied my web site you would not have seen the opportunity. I only saw the possibilities when you challenged my comment. For me it opened a concept that I had not considered, that I could address both the interest in zoos and how to improve social consciousness of them at the same time. So I tried it to see how much interest it would add and then discovered all these wonderful live cams that you pointed out. So thank you for opening my eyes to making the map address a wider audience.
  • Nov 9 2013: You can view 27 of the World's Best Zoos in the Google Map, linked below, and it's associated Google Earth KML file located within the map. With them you can zoom in on the zoo's features. Several of them, those indicated in Red, enable you to digitally walk the zoo in Google Street. By turning on the photo option, you get to see photos of the animals taken by visitors. Each location has a link to both a Wikipedia or other resource and a link to the zoo's web site. By downloading the Google Earth KML file, and turning on the buildings layer you can see several of the zoos in 3D. The San Diego zoo even rendered in the trees.

    http://myreadingmapped.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-worlds-best-zoos-in-google-map.html
    • Nov 9 2013: George, on the digital side, this is step one in a process and a real step forward. So, thank you.

      On all other grounds, it represents net zero in improving the lives of animals and largely a distraction. Showing people the current state of marginal or worse enclosures is not the goal. By way of example, "rendering in" is particularly disappointing: the point is not to "render in" trees for human beings to be duped, but to actually given trees -- real trees -- to the animals who need and deserve them, so the process of the seeing animals isn't turned into something awful. We can give people access to animals at no cost to the animals, and at a vast improvement to us as watchers.

      Not by the way, the statement that your board represents the "world's best zoos," borders on disingenuous. Disney's is not a "world's best zoo" by any measure of animal care or husbandry, any more than Tom & Jerry is a measure of our current view of race relations. Perhaps, it has a historical place, but we can and must have a much better present, not to mention future.
      • Nov 12 2013: I understood your article, and I can agree with your point of view. However, the zoos exist and they are not likely to go away any time soon. The rating system used to rate the zoos in the map was not based on how well they treat the animals, but on how good of a learning institution they are. To my surprise the zoo map is very popular and has been linked all over the internet by visitors

        On the other hand, you missed an opportunity. To your point, you should use the map to prove your point, use it to further social change. You should have asked to include your point in my map.

        So, I will go one step further by including a quote from your article in the map (the 3rd paragraph) along with a link to this article and 2 Live Cam links. Then you can make your point with a wide range of audiences online so that they can compare the caged animal with the wild animal right from their home.
        • Nov 14 2013: Wow, George, I am so very sorry to have missed the opportunity you identified, and so appreciative that you have taken the time to point out what I missed Please also allow me to apologize: I should have better explored the website, and figured out how to do what you have done. This is a good lesson for me, and I will be much more careful next time, the credit for which belongs to you. My very best,
    • Comment deleted

      • Nov 17 2013: Thanks, Carolyn and George. Take a look at Anthony's and Harald's suggestions -- I think we're truly getting somewhere. Cheers, and thanks for following.
  • Nov 7 2013: Great idea but I am afraid that people will miss the original sounds, the atmosphere, the smell, the interaction with the animals. Especially children want to touch the animals. Want to experience with all sorts of senses. But I do agree that zoos are sad places. Perhaps a mix of live and streaming feeds.
  • Nov 7 2013: Great idea but I am afraid that people will miss the original sounds, the atmosphere, the smell, the interaction with the animals. Especially children want to touch the animals. Want to experience with all sorts of senses. But I do agree that zoos are sad places. Perhaps a mix of live and streaming feeds.
  • Nov 7 2013: Great idea but I am afraid that people will miss the original sounds, the atmosphere, the smell, the interaction with the animals. Especially children want to touch the animals. Want to experience with all sorts of senses. But I do agree that zoos are sad places. Perhaps a mix of live and streaming feeds.
  • Nov 6 2013: Kirsten, super thoughts. I think we can create appropriate sanctuaries for animals -- see PAWS or Tennesse.

    I also hear you that perhaps we need to improve streaming feeds. However, I must say that every day my family checks for videos of Thika,Toka and Iringa at PAWS, for the Katmai bears in August and September, etc. We don't watch TV in our house, but we do find that we are enthralled -- truly gripped -- by streaming feeds of animals in the wild or in sanctuaries. We're able to get a sense of the animals' patterns and also see personalities of specific animals, both over time. They become OURS, and therefore our responsibility to make certain they're cared for. We donate routinely, we follow closely. It is not distance or apathy.

    One more thought. My children are in a Waldorf school (with nature as a premium), we have an organic farm with turkey, deer, coyote, fisher, bear, etc. as common visitors, and there is joy there. Yet, the streaming feeds of Annie (the elephant) swimming in the lake, diving and chattering in joy, feels magical for her and us at once. Try it, and then come back to me about how it's a magazine.
  • Nov 6 2013: If there is no way to create a sanctuary for animals that is safe and healthy and even prosperous for them and still allow humans to see them in person and interact with them, then just get rid of zoos altogether. Until those of us who actually want to live in the here and now and experience life directly instead of watching it on a screen die off, then a "streaming zoo" might as well be no zoo. A "streaming zoo" is just a jumped up version of a magazine with pictures of animals or a movie about animals that previous generations had access to.

    We are growing ever farther from nature and from real, live, growing things on the planet, including other people. Perhaps we will get to the point where our relationships are all virtual, no one travels except in their living room, animals are something you see on your iPad, etc. I'm not ready to go there yet.
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      Nov 16 2013: Kirsten, I think the idea of a virtual zoo is not to get people even farther away from nature. I believe the best option of all would be to watch animals in their natural habitats. However, since that is not always possible, people came up with the idea of zoos. That was long before there was any technology allowing us to gather information about exotic animals otherwise.
      We have to recognize that zoos, although the let you see an animal live, it is by no means a realistic representation of the animal's habitat, which means the animal hardly will exhibit natural behaviors.
      Personally, if I can't see the animal in it's natural habitat I prefer to watch a documentary or a live stream.
      I think even the old David Attenborough nature documentaries beat a visit to the zoo.
      • Nov 16 2013: Harald, I'm right there with you, and appreciate your weighing in here. I also would say that documentaries, with their editing, are different from webcams, where over time you get to understand (without impacting) an animal's personality and behavior. There's an opportunity to learn what it means to be a specific animal and type of animal that zoos cannot offer. My proposal is a way to get to humanity and improve education, by which I mean understanding, and with anthony's help I think we get there and have something so "unzoo" that we begin to think differently about animals. And ourselves. Cheers.
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          Nov 16 2013: I think there a lots of things that can be done as an alternative to a zoo.
          I'm a scuba diver and I know that not even the best aquarium in the world replaces a real coral reef.
          Installing cams on a reef with a 25/7 live feed would be the second best thing to actually diving there.
          Experts could even comment live on the stream so people can actually learn immediately about what's going on.
          Something like that couldn't even be done in a zoo setting.
      • Nov 16 2013: Harald, I agree -- Anthony (above) has suggested a 3-d framework, and I think we could have the "entrance" to a global zoo, where 3d experts talk about animals featured on a worldwide basis through webcams. Animals in the wild and in qualifying sanctuaries all are able to participate by providing streaming feeds. In this way, someone like you or me could begin to understand behavior. In some case, video may be ok too.

        If worldwide, folks fall in love with movie stars, I think they'll experience real devotion to the animals they come to know. THAT would be something.
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          Nov 17 2013: Elise, if you want to pull that off you need to write down a business plan. Even if Anthony can do the website for free, there will still be lots of other costs accumulate such as hosting fees, costs to obtain the live feeds, marketing, expert fees, etc, etc.
          At the end, you want to compete against zoos which means your project must be highly professional from the beginning on.
          Another idea, to get started you might want to focus on animals that can't be easily seen in zoos. This way you can attract people without having to enter into a competition with zoos. Eventually you can expand the coverage
        • Nov 19 2013: cannot comment on the tech supply chain end, except to REALLY plan it out for HIGH res for HIGH traffic!!! Cannot imagine the internet bills! And the interactive tech with the educational experts component--archives, keep these moments accessible, embedding basic overview facts, etc.

          Cannot comment on the financial foundational and supportive requirements would be, except to assume they would be huge. Perhaps grants. Consider crowd funding. Very high energy creative environment. Brings lots of "everyday" folks into the fold! How about site memberships?

          I do not feel that competition with zoos needs to be part of the equation. Vastly different models. Looking at a polar bear in a fake pool, or watching it on the tundra with it's cubs, or with its sparring mates, waiting for the ice to freeze... seeing a raptor tethered to a post, or watching a wild lifelong mating pair breed, lay eggs, raise and fledge their young..not in the same league. I would encourage distancing, in fact, from any 'zoo' reference in this biz, but rather cherish, grow and extend the different model you, Elise, clearly have, including the languaging. Words are also power. Like any business, ID the mission, set out the steps to getting there and grow, content, tech and financial... and go about walking them, adjusting as necessary along the way. I definitely agree that educating people as to the horrors of animal/environmental abuse is necessary, even more essential are the life-affirming options.

          “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
          ― Buckminster Fuller
      • Nov 19 2013: The good news, Harald and Mary, is that by day I'm an attorney who's area of practice is cleantech and clean energy, with a focus on advancing early stage innovation. For better or worse, this is what I do.

        In terms of making it professional (and Mary your points are dead on!), I was going to mosey over to the super-smart folks at the MIT media lab (as I sometimes teach at MIT's Sloan School), and talk to them about this project. I suspect, with their help, we could change the world in the most professional, and engaging manner imaginable.

        And, while I don't think we have to compete with zoos, if we play our cards right, we'll be able to exchange their participation in a much better worldwide system (ours) for transfer of animals that should not be there now to sanctuaries. THAT would be the measure of success. It won't be immediate, but if we are smart and creative, it can be ... Mary, the BF quote is my lodestar.

        Thanks for sticking with me here -- your thought leadership means a ton!
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          Nov 20 2013: Hey Elise, seems you are passionate about this. That's already a great start. Yes, at MIT there are a lot of smart folks. I'm sure you can find some good ideas there.
          Btw, do you plan everything for profit or non profit ? I think that's also an important point to decide from the start on.
    • Nov 18 2013: There are plenty! They are called National Parks and Preserves! And I can tell you that live stream cameras are NOTHING like either documentaries or magazines. It is like being a fly on the wall. They are infinitely superior if you are actually interested in witnessing the real deal in real time instead of just being entertained.
      • Nov 18 2013: I love parks and preserves. That is more like it! You can feel the breeze, smell the air, taken in the world with all five senses and if you observe wildlife it is real and you are there as a (considerate) fellow animal. It is real and alive and you can feel yourself part of the ecosystem. Unlike streaming video...
        • Nov 18 2013: I think having both is what will give the most people the most views and "interactions" and learning opportunities. I would never promote one over the other, but traditional zoo design is archaic and abusive, and what I would consider to be an inappropriate means of interaction.
      • Nov 19 2013: Thanks so much, Mary, you have it just right!

        Kristen, I get it, you want to be in the same space animals occupy. We aren't stopping that, provided that your opportunity comes without a profound or even inappropriate cost to the animal, e.g., riding on elephants.

        But, what I am saying -- loudly and clearly -- is that learning about snow leopards by taking three years to walk the Himalayas, however marvelous, is not realistic or desirable for even a fraction of the 7 billion people that inhabit this earth, mostly in poverty. So, let's give everyone access to animals as best as we can, and let's engage them, all of us together, in learning to love a lion languor, and a particular lion's gait, etc., to protect the beings, the life, that if we don't protect it will disappear. I'm 48, and it will happen in my lifetime, for elephants, rhinos, leopards, jaguars, tigers and lions. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't goddamn necessary, and I wont give up until we've done it.

        I should add a call out to Daniel Pauley, here on TED, who helped me to understand that, as animals become extinct, they pass from being numerous (in some instances common, as in the case of carrier pigeons) to rare. As a consequence, the loss is almost invariably perceived as losing what is already rare and therefore acceptable. For this reason, we don't seem to mind extinction as we should, with the heavy weight of responsibility.
        • Nov 19 2013: "But, what I am saying -- loudly and clearly -- is that learning about snow leopards by taking three years to walk the Himalayas, however marvelous, is not realistic or desirable for even a fraction of the 7 billion people that inhabit this earth, mostly in poverty."

          This is it actually. Why does anyone learn to care about the synergy of life beyond their immediate physical/experiential boundaries? How does anyone learn to care? Theme parks may put you up close to some animals, but at what cost to them? At what cost to your perception of wildness and its value? I would suggest that cultures remaining intact in their relationship to the planet and its natural rhythm and complexity, are not the least unaware of the slow decline of species, ecosystems.

          While being able to afford a vacation or two or more to go to these awesome places is extraordinary, I think it safe to say it is also privileged. For everybody else, again, these live cams combined with expert interaction is in some ways, even MORE than a week's vacation limited to certain areas, certain times, could ever be. I have never been to Alaska, much less Brooks River Camp, but I have been afforded an opportunity to develop an intimate relationship with that wild place, that no 3 day excursion could replace. Definitely icing on cake, but the daily viewing over time has afforded an intimacy that is priceless, and if/when you do finally make it out there into the actual environment, you can get so much more out of it. Also the population move to urban centers worldwide.. they NEED to remain connected to the global ecosystems that support it all.

          I've been blessed by much rural living, encounters with wild places, but poor and urbanized cultures may have little or no physical access, either voluntarily or endless other reasons, no real ideas at all about wildness beyond their immediate environment.. what is it's Beauty and why does it matter to me? these connections need to be made.
  • Comment deleted

    • Nov 6 2013: Super-smart observation!! We do seem to like celluloid (or its more modern variations) more than reality, don't we?!? We love ourselves in lights, but also far for movie stars (over the real human being down the street) -- genuine, deeply emotional crushes with perfect strangers (actors) with made up behaviors (characters). So, if it's true that we can, will and do embrace celluloid plus, why is it we have folks who prefer animals in bad situations rather than their celluloid plus happiness? It's too disheartening to think it's about the domination. So, let's give humanity the benefit of the doubt and assume that most people miss the obvious despair of lonely, confined, mistreated animals. If that's true, then it's simply a question of education, and that we can do. In spades. And there is hope. Thanks so much, again!
  • Nov 5 2013: Won't work for me. But I'm also fine with a "zoo" that was nothing but an exhibit of traditional "heritage" livestock breeds.
    • Nov 5 2013: Bryan, what won't work for you? I want to make sure that I understand. Thanks so much, and sorry if I'm being obtuse.
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    • Oct 29 2013: You too -- awesome thought on 3d! Thank you.
  • Oct 29 2013: I love this idea, but I fear that it will take a long time to come to fruition. If you look at the difficulties that political leaders have in agreeing on issues like climate change, deforestation, hunger, tax avoidance, and war, which affect the well-being /humans/, I fear for the willingness to make resources available for the good of 'mere' animals.
    • Oct 29 2013: Timo, thank you -- I hear you and it breaks my heart. But, take a look at what's happening with performing animals. Circuses and animal performances banned in UK, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Bolivia, Peru, etc. We're changing the lives of our world's Big Life -- elephants, tigers, lions and bears -- as we speak. Also, just last week, the Toronto Zoo finally sent its three elephants (the oldest, in her 40's) from the frozen north to California. Alaska did so for Annie, and a lot of folks are working very hard to get Lucy out of Edmonton. This is our -- and animals' -- moment, and each of us can make a difference. I posted this after all, and we're now talking about to make a change. We've got six folks on TED. That's something. Now, let's get 60,000.
  • Oct 28 2013: Whenever there's a demand, there will be markets and suppliers. And there will always be a demand for seeing animals live and up close. In the same way a lot of kids are exposed to petting zoos from a young age.
  • Nov 28 2013: Wordpress will send an email to Elise to approve the comment ..but I think she is having a problem with her password at the moment ..when she approves it it should appear..
  • Nov 27 2013: Agreed Beth that many zoo's are just left with the legacy of the old concept of zoo and trying groundbreaking ways of trying to build on that rightly or wrongly ..which is why you should probably join us ....and why I don't think they will have too many issues with what we are doing here sure they are doing what they think is best ....Thanks all for contributions too and try to keep in touch everyone ,,look out for UNZoo.me !!!

    feel free to use all or any of my contributions any which way you please..
  • Nov 27 2013: I’m impressed that there are zoos that act more progressively and consider the ethics of what they are doing. Here in Oakland it’s very different story.

    The Oakland Zoo is planning to break ground this spring on a ‘conservation-themed’ development to highlight animals that were pushed out of the Bay Area by development. It’s supposed to teach kids that it’s important to conserve habitat. Ironically, the zoo plans to take over 56 acres of California wildland to build it.

    The development will push out our local wildlife (pumas) in order to bring in captive California animals for display (more pumas). The site is home to a federally-listed threatened species, so they’ve applied for a federal ‘take permit’. The site also has two rare California plant communities: maritime chaparral and Native CA grasslands that will be severely compromised by the development.

    Putting more than 50 buildings, roads, a gondola ride, a destination restaurant and a campground on rare, intact habitat is anti-conservation. Pushing out the local wildlife and depriving the public of their hiking trails, their open space and their wild legacy is not ‘conservation, education and inspiration’, it is extreme self-interest and greed.

    Zoos are in the business of entertaining their customers. Some collaborate or participate in conservation activities, but in the end, their existence is dependent on drawing people in and getting them to spend money on concessions, parking, toys and rides. When attendance drops, zoos have to come up with something new. Unfortunately, the Oakland Zoo is still following an outdated model.

    The Santa Barbara zoo has its own California Trails exhibit, but they did it without compromising the wildlife refuge next to their zoo – they bring people to the refuge to do conservation activities. It requires more effort and imagination, but I think people are more interested in engaging in actual conservation than being told about it.
  • Nov 27 2013: Fiverr.com is a website that is full of talented web design and graphics experts and amateurs offering their services for as little as $5

    The site is designed so that both client and vendor can negotiate quite safely and minimizes rip-off .

    A search of wordpress in the site should find someone who can turn a basic wordpress site into something quite presentable and advise on how to manage the 'backend' easily for a small fee.

    I have used them a few times for some graphics content for my site and very pleased ..all cases just $5-10
    • Nov 27 2013: Terrific information, Anthony.
    • Nov 27 2013: Anthony, do you mind as if I use your last comment as a wrap-up?

      As our TED time comes to a close, I wanted to take the time to thank everyone for her or his point of view. Whether I agree or not is irrelevant or important. What is important is that y'all took the time to comment on an idea, and in the process helped make the idea better ... lots better.

      Special thanks to Anthony and Mary, and to Harald, who not only took the time to comment, put to move a fairly spectral idea a bunch of steps closer to reality.

      Thanks to TED for being willing to foster this sort of thought leadership, and designing pretty nifty algorithm that featured us well and often enough to drive a few folks our way.

      Cheers, and happy Thanksgiving for the US crowd.
  • Nov 27 2013: "I would be very interested in your strategies for managing road mortality. We have a serious issue with road mortality here in the US, as well. I don't recall the precise numbers, but a substantial percentage of cougars in Florida, which are extremely endangered, die as a result of being struck by automobiles. They're wearing collars, and yet we still cannot protect them. It's incredibly frustrating, and my sense of it is that we need far better under/over high passes designed for animals."

    I was just reading something somewhere... gotta bookmark more... but a quick google brought this up...cool design.
    http://twistedsifter.com/2012/07/animal-bridges-around-the-world/
  • Nov 27 2013: "Btw, I think we need an expert, someone who can help us ensure that our use of drones doesn't cause aversion/avoidance of areas. Webcams and satellites, there, I'm not too worried, but drones apparently can be quote loud at low altitudes."

    Agreed. i was thinking the quadcopters are a bit noisy, but at 1-400 feet, how much of that would be noticeable at canopy and ground level? Important to know for sure.

    The other design, the model plane version used for the conservation drones... I posted the question on that video...I think they may be silent, as they are propelled by computer chip, gps pre-programmed-- so that means not flexible to stop and hang out and focus down on something happening... more of a flight tour, no stops kind of thing.

    "Queen of the Drones".--LOL!!!
    • Nov 27 2013: Great information, you're definitely living up to your new title!
    • Nov 28 2013: You do drone on a bit ! ( just kidding !)
  • Nov 27 2013: Sorry ..to saving the TED conversation..

    22hrs and 8 mins to go..I would like to re-read it at some stage but not too well at the moment..
  • Nov 27 2013: Hi

    Please excuse I ..currently hard to focus due to pain from recent dental work..

    There are many educators involved in the 3D opensim world and much can be gained by seeking their advice. .

    Tony L.
  • Nov 26 2013: Yes I was thinking similar if possible ..will be useful for reflection.
    • Nov 27 2013: Anthony, forgive me, but I'm having trouble understanding what this comment relates to, and would rather have you let me know than miss something important.
  • Nov 26 2013: You can, but I find is better to be registered with the same people you are hosting with ..otherwise tends to get messy,,they may offer cheaper registration but when you want to host your site they have lots of hidden add on costs.and their hosting may not be suitable for your website...some registrants don't want to lose the business when you want to transfer and try to make it too hard to do..make it complicated . I found that hostgator are excellent at transferring back to them at a later date if you decide to go that way..however what is done is done we can sort out details later ..the main thing is that you secured the domain names you wanted.
    .You wont need to worry about hosting until you want to put up your website.

    Hosting for 3D is different and you will not need to worry about that until your 3D world is built ..
    • Nov 26 2013: Great -- that's what seemed reasonable to me, and I'm glad that I didn't lose some important thread in the process.
  • Nov 26 2013: I wouldnt worry about .com and .net or others unless you wanted an .asia branch..is adequate.
  • Nov 25 2013: Like the buycott idea ..

    shaming ..exposing ..displaying ..probably would need to start with myself..nobody is perfect..

    TLD's top level domains..yes sorry about the paranoia but somebody might see the opportunity as we speak and grab it right now for that purpose...I would say .me .tv .info and .org latter 2 are usually quite cheap and hostgator's prices are reasonable.
    • Nov 25 2013: Thank you. I will pick up .tv, .me, .info and .org, via hostgator tonight. This actually worried me, so I'm really glad you've brought it up, as I'm behind in getting it done.
    • Nov 25 2013: agreed on the nobody's perfect. we'll all keep each other honest. .me, .org, .info, were easy. .biz and .com, I did what I could. since 501(c)3's are .orgs, anyway, I'm ok with that. for now.

      we now have:

      unzoo.me
      unzoo.org
      unzoo.info
      unzoo.biz
      unzooworld.info
      unzooworld.org
      unzooworld.com
      unzooworld.me
      • Nov 26 2013: I suspected you were quietly working away in the background ..well done !!..

        I think is sufficient

        The worlds will be ideal for any 3D sites.
        • Nov 26 2013: I'm so glad you liked the worlds -- I thought it made sense for all sorts of reasons, and it was an easy get. Cheers, Elise
      • Nov 26 2013: lol! new week, apparently, allowing me to thumbs up your comment again! Awesome... really appreciate how you grasp and move and act! When I first entered this conversation, I had no idea you were already so far into and running with this already! Bravo! So exciting!

        And Anthony, I have not the foggiest about 3D or bots or a lot of what you are sayin', but I sure do appreciate it, because I know it's these tech details, organizing them well, that allow this magic to happen.

        Elise, do you have to "invite' us to the wordpress site for us to be able to post there?
        • Nov 27 2013: Mary, not far at all, but you and Anthony have been marvelous in helping me take the right steps forward. I really like the domain names, and your mantra is marvelous.

          I am interested in how a bot would work. Doubtless, this is wholly wrong, but my superficial NYT-based information related, if I am recollecting correctly, to an allegation that a bot was employed to simulate a human social media interaction, i.e., to communicate apparent interest in a topic for which there was no interest, in fact. How would we use them?
  • Nov 25 2013: I have heard back from the 3D content builders who say they are able to provide the bots and connections to cams etc ..and when you are ready I can put you in direct communication with them so that you can relay your exact wishes. I have given them a general rundown.

    You can also ask to see examples of their previous work for educational clients.
    • Nov 25 2013: I would very much like to see. Would you mind introductions via elisengbzoli@gmail.com, copying Mary, please?
      • Nov 26 2013: O.K. but once I hand over I will be lost on advice regarding cams and vids ..but you will be in excellent hands.

        I will be here for hosting alternatives and other things, website construction..etc.

        Can not advise you on cost but know will be very reasonable and will not get stung. Will be based on hourly labour rates. So the more you have planned in advance the better.



        But is worth some discussion now so that they can get an idea when to book you in and how long for.

        Can we save this discussion when it expires or will it be lost forever ..?
        • Nov 26 2013: You will not be lost, nor will this discussion. TED maintains a file, and I'm also going to request the ability to transfer your, Mary and my conversation to the website. I can understand how TED might not be interested in allowing me to copy everyone's input, as some folks were opposed and TED based. As an aside, unless it violates a TED or other rule, I will print screens and scan for posterity. Cheers.
  • Nov 25 2013: I just read this... good article balancing the ID of problems and hopeful solutions unfolding. UNZoo fits right into the hopeful solutions part--educating campaigns and offering alternatives.

    http://news.yahoo.com/11-billion-people-mean-earths-animals-140541848.html

    ...which brings me to the topic of highlighting/linking to conservation groups like WWF, Sierra Club, NRDC, etc...? Wildlife depends on wild habitat....
    • Nov 25 2013: agreed. I have supported WWF for years, so they reach out, and worked with SC and NRDC, although NRDC and I have been on the other side of the v. in energy cases as well. I don't think management-level discussions would be hard.

      This is my brother: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=496701610404719&set=a.140461122695438.35463.134756069932610&type=1&theater

      I'm one of 5, and certainly Teddy and Corri would have weighed in here, but for the inconvenience of having the same last name and not wanting to have this be a family gaggle. they'e rockstars in their respective fields, so we'll also plan on wildlife "corridors."

      Haunting article, as is Peter Knights (WildAid's) statement: "Let's not be the generation that allows rhinos and elephants to go extinct." Damn right.
  • Nov 25 2013: Great posts Anthony.
    I read good revues of Hostgator in my googlin. Also agree on the domain search caveat- may be more useful, if financially reasonable, to purchase the unzoo outright in as many TLD (you call the ext that?) as possible and just hang onto them. You can always change your mind and go with something else later (wasted funds, i know), but that seems better than losing it or overpaying for it? Would hate to see unzoo.me be lost!

    Absolutely on the psycho/sociopathic model... it is saddening that a state of insanity seems to be common everyday fare. However, on a human/humane level, I would prefer to steer clear of shaming. That, too, is a form of violence, in my experience. One can easily get overwhelmed by shame and wind up defiant and defensive and even more resistant to change, even becoming prideful of and extreme in the behavior.

    But that leaves the dilemma of how to call out abuse and violence, and do so in ways that invite people to examine themselves with curiosity and compassion, forgiveness. If i am judging and shaming myself or accepting it from others... well, let's just say that has been incapacitating for me in my life, so I really want to overcome projecting that same energy to others-challenging! Don't know the answer to this, maybe there would be some suggestions for interaction in psychological/counseling practices? I've often wondered how NonViolentCommunication/NLP would work when interacting with those engaging in/defending outright cruelty?

    I like the virtual garbage bin idea! With just a paragraph identifying why the sites (no links) are there, and of course, what a healthy happy alternative might be? Maybe have something like this model?
    http://www.buycott.com/about

    I am also appreciating the power of internet petitions--as in petitioning broadcasters/advertisers/govts to make new choices...I really think most people are interested in healthy happy world, but need more support to be able to make informed choices
    • Nov 25 2013: Agreed, thank you both so much. I think we have to things to be careful of: (1) not undermining ourselves in the first instance by calling out the (sometimes, rich and powerful) bad actors; this is not fear on my part, but a sense that we need to functional to effect change; and (2) engaging people in the positive side of animals, so that we don't inadvertently having children happening onto the horrible behavior of others. I'm for reality, but a slain elephant, well, that's not for any five year old, and we want those five year olds (from five on), as they're the agents of change.
  • Nov 25 2013: To backorder a domain name it is best to use a specialised company and you only pay if they are successful in obtaining it for you.

    domain names do become available again if a person fails to reregister it

    companies to register with would be snapnamess.com monicker.com enom.com best to register with all ..if approaching a company to buy from them they will usually ask and exorbitant price,

    and if any see that you are thinking of using that name .me for instance they may buy it then offer it to you to make a profit

    best to grab it now if you want it sorry about the paranoia..
    • Nov 25 2013: Based on what we have obtained above, I think we are ok. Any concerns?
  • Nov 25 2013: It is advisable to have domain name registration and hosting with the same company ..changing later on can be problematical

    A baby account at hostgator allows for unlimited domains and subdomains and look out for special promotions. Also wordpress and a number of website scripts are available in the automated setup part of the c-panel .

    Do wildlife refuges and animal shelters qualify as good cam sites ..?
    • Nov 25 2013: Wildlife refuges, if genuine SANCTUARIES, such as PAWS, WIld Animal Sanctuary, the Global Elephant Sanctuary, etc., are definitely in. They seem to me a perfect opportunity to donate webcams, and enlist aid, with links to support them. Shelters seem a bit different to me -- temporary homes, too often with cages. But, if you consider David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust a shelter, yes there too.
  • Nov 25 2013: check of domain name availability here

    http://www.crazydomains.com.au/domain-names/search/?domain=unzoo&tld=.com

    bearing in mind that some very competitive companies seize the name if and when they know you want it and put the price up

    to claim .org the organisation needs to be a genuine voluntary organisation ..but many do not care about that..

    .com and .net are already gone ..

    .tv and .me still available

    .co is a more recent TLD

    backordring is possible but need to know which company to do it with

    some companies specialise in that and will get it as soon as it becomes available for you

    the on i provided here is not one although it offers the service ..for a fee ..
    • Nov 25 2013: I learned sometime ago, don't look until you are buying. I bought the domains, but the part I'm not sure about is the hosting. If I own the domains, I can host anytime, anywhere, right?
  • Nov 25 2013: Sadly the garbage bin may prove more popular than the things we try to promote but people would at least know where they have their heads and we would not miss out on viewer numbers.

    Outing of people such as your godaddy elephant man and my Bear Gryls might read like a who's who of such abuse or exploitation.

    They might also be pleased to know that cruelty to animals has always been known to be diagnostic in the assessment of psychopathic disorder now know as sociopathic disorder and still is.

    I would like to shame them into retractions of previous actions and offer them retribution in the form of voluntary donations in proportion to gains made at the expense of those creatures and the young minds they polluted.

    We should offer opportunity and praise for the courage to admit they were wrong.

    Big game hunter turned wildlife photographer type of thing. Forgiveness is always an option ..I believe is the recognized solution to many of the worlds problems today..
    • Nov 25 2013: I agree on the garbage bin and making amends.
  • Nov 25 2013: Something I have noticed which is common today but do not think was the case even during the age of big game hunters and fur trade era is irreverence towards living creatures.

    Many claim to have the right to certain practices which I find unnecessary, but they do through their cultural or societal practices such as fox hunting where I grew up in England


    http://www.howstuffworks.com/outdoor-activities/hunting/principles/fox-hunting.htm

    or ethnic traditional hunting rights where I now live here in Australia

    http://www.awpc.org.au/other_fauna/innocents.htm

    and that argument goes on but recently I have noticed things such as eating live creatures for sensationalist T.V. shows is common. One example is Bear Gryls who often shows off his ability to eat such things supposedly for survival.I was moved to make comments on various postings of his after seeing him devour a large New Zealand Weta which has never been heard of in the history of New Zealand. He made a big show of how disgusting it was and how it made him close to vomiting

    Desensitizing of kids to ill treatment of creatures through such admired personalities is a huge challenge. If Bear Gryls does it, it must be O.K. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBnssLXZEwI



    I was disappointed the New Zealand Government failed to respond to that abuse of their heritage..imagine troops of tourists combing New Zeland for Wetas to play with to show of their prowess.

    It is also not as safe as he maintains and emulators have died as a result of eating similar for dares etc.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/09/us/florida-roach-eating-death/



    This along with irreverence towards food in general is a new phenomena I believe. Having been taught never to waste food myself as I believe my generation all were and am sure it was automatically disallowed on T.V. previously.


    I would be inclined to give such T.V. shows and personalities a star rating as do hotels and restaurants.

    or have a virtual garbage bin to put them in.
  • Nov 25 2013: I should be able to organize a cam to see kangaroo's ..plentiful in my area.
    • Nov 25 2013: Perfect. My experience is that they mostly sleep ...
      • Nov 25 2013: In the heat of day they group together in whatever shade is available but very active in the cooler hours ..we managed to save a nearby piece of land that was designated for development (friends of pooh corner ) as always there are some issues ..like them getting onto roads etc..
        • Nov 27 2013: Good for you!

          I would be very interested in your strategies for managing road mortality. We have a serious issue with road mortality here in the US, as well. I don't recall the precise numbers, but a substantial percentage of cougars in Florida, which are extremely endangered, die as a result of being struck by automobiles. They're wearing collars, and yet we still cannot protect them. It's incredibly frustrating, and my sense of it is that we need far better under/over high passes designed for animals.
    • Nov 25 2013: YAY!!! I was wondering about commercial free cams around the globe...as a "user", i want to see as much of it as i can!
      • Nov 25 2013: This is so right. I wonder if we can put out an RFP, and ask for surplus satellite, drone and webcam time at a cut rate ...
      • Nov 25 2013: So, this was worth it, as EPA is buying small (portable) satellite equipment: http://www.epa.gov/oamsrpod/hcsc/034/RFP.pdf

        I think we ask government beyond NPS for their eyes on the ground time -- a good collateral use, particularly for migratory behavior.
  • Nov 25 2013: I had visions of a large eagle swooping down on your drone cam, grasping it with it's feet and carrying it off to its nest..would be good footage I think !

    Congrats on the swift action for the blog..I think we have a good team
    • Nov 25 2013: :-)

      Me too. Thanks so much.
    • Nov 25 2013: lol! that would be pretty awesome! hate to lose good equipment, tho... was just doin some googlin on drone/cam outfits... it's a whole new industry!!! And, surprisingly affordable, even the cameras! danger.. starry eyes love the drone/cams...
      • Nov 25 2013: I agree on drone systems. For larger spaces, its just the right idea. We will have to work on cost.

        George Clooney acquires satellite time for Sudan. There, again, high cost, but we may be able to get some donated time.

        As y'all say, image quality is a challenge.
  • Nov 25 2013: Ah ! I meant that it seemed they were more interested in showing that because it is perhaps more entertaining for some, I accept that the wild is the wild.

    Shocked to see that trapping in Alaska also has big entertainment value and using traps that hold the animal ..by the foot until death comes by club or wire noose so as not to damage the skin..still..

    Reality T.V. programe spearing a large swamp rodent with a crudely made spear stick with a piece of glass attached for pseudo survival in the wild nonsense ..



    I am using Hostgator and they seem very good hostwise .don't know if there are any issues.


    these groups are hosted with them..

    http://gator92.hostgator.com/~medgen/earthnetworks/eco/index.php?option=com_weblinks&Itemid=4&catid=7
    • Nov 25 2013: Thank you, and agreed on all counts. Perfect nonsense, and mean as hell besides.
    • Nov 25 2013: oh yeah, sorry.... sorry to say there are countless horrific youtube videos... there are people who seem to enjoy violence, or even worse (as Elise called out another poster) saying 'that's just the way it is' .. please.... sport/trophy killing...torture/experimentation... factory 'farms'... i just don't get it. I keep energizing the 'hundredth monkey', when this behavioral trait becomes less and less tolerated in oneself, and within the greater community.
      • Nov 25 2013: Thanks, Mary. I do think this will have a real role to play -- making violence unacceptable is step one.
  • Nov 25 2013: uuugh! really? (godaddy) crap, i had no idea, now i have to move mine... hmmm
  • Nov 24 2013: Setting up a wordpress blog is a easy thing to do to continue this conversation so that all can read and contribute comments without having to relay the information back and forth yourself.
    • Nov 24 2013: That's what we'll do, absent FB offering a more ready opportunity to allow public involvement. Thank you.
      • Nov 25 2013: definitely would not advise using FB for discussing biz plans, later yes. Besides, I eliminated my account and have no intentions of goin down that road again! :-)

        Anthony is right about wordpress, you can password it until you want to have it open, i think? And they are very cool open source folks. GoDaddy is good for domain and or web hosting. But wordpress has the free blog option.
        • Nov 25 2013: Thanks, Mary. I am one of the several million recipients of the founder of GoDaddy sitting on an elephant that he has killed. Zero chance of our going there.

          I understand about FB, and will check out wordpress. I haven't loved dropbox, that's for sure.
    • Nov 25 2013: New wordpress address above. :-)
  • Nov 24 2013: I love the concept of living with animals... I can imagine having a green house, run on green energy, surrounded by trees and animals. The potential for trouble lies in the highly protective nature of our own young and mob mentality. Predators as you know are an essential part of the ecosystem... The more humans and wildlife mingle, the more 'accidents' will happen... Especially when involving bigger or more venomous predators. Once a few kids get hurt... Well the communities will do what they've always done, they'll take steps to keep wildlife out. God, people are obsessed with keeping wildlife out, just look at all the insect and rodent prevention ads we have. Humans will always come first. And I'm not saying i agree with that mentality at all... Its just the way it is.
    • Nov 25 2013: Darren, I agree that we have a long education process, and there will be many -- too many -- setbacks before we or a future generation makes it work. But, "that's just the way it is" neither excuses, nor exonerates. In fact, has been used to keep African Americans and women from voting, women and children from being able to obtain justice, gay men and women from marrying, and so on. "That's the way it is," when it involves domination or mistreatment of other beings, can only be a statement of a current static environment of failure, not what the future can and should be.

      You are, regrettably, wrong on the facts. Much of the world lives with wildlife that can cause harm, most of that wildlife is less than an inch long and looks like the world's pollinators or bug controllers (spiders), whom we neither try to or actually could exterminate without compromising human food supplies or human habitat. Real danger is never the issue. Fear mongering is. The proof -- as if we needed any -- is malaria, child abuse, slavery; if a "few kids" getting hurt brought the world to its feet, well mosquito nets would be available to everyone, a helluva lot more men would be in jail and Bill Gates would be able to work on something else. So, what I think you mean, reading between the lines, is that if a couple of white, upper middle class kids might get mauled by mountain lions in Colorado. I think the actual evidence of that is zero, since there have been mountain lions in the West for a long time. But, if keeping "kids" from being mauled is a priority, I think it'll be the easy thing we ever accomplish to improve childhood safety. Whether lighting and fences, or the household dog, I suspect that the number of US "children" lost to mountain lions will be a small fraction of those injured by a family member.

      And, if you don't believe things, stop saying them. Embrace change, or admit that you support status quo. You deserve as much, and so do I.
      • Nov 25 2013: Whoa, ease up turbo! Did you just liken me to someone who is sexist? I don't think that's fair, nor do i think its an apple vs apple comparison. Protectiveness of ones young is just one of many built in instincts at play here. That IS the way it is. Suppression of another group like the one you brought up(women) is not a natural instinct, but rather an unfortunate social reality in some cultures... One that must be stamped out i might add.

        I think you may be misreading me, the issues we speak of are far from black and white. My comments are somewhat rushed, and therefore not as well put as I'd like(am at work). but i do like you and your intentions are of course for the well being of our planet. I cannot say a bad word against that. I still think its down to a math problem, & I'm scared of what will happen to our furry friends if we continue to overpopulate.
        • Nov 25 2013: No worries on the mushed ideas. Happens to all of us.

          Sexism isn't much of a worry anymore. We hold our own pretty well, what with the voting and few rights, not to mention raw numbers on our side.

          They -- Big Life, that is -- will cease to exist, as Philip K. Dick posited. Which would be unconscionable. Hence the action. Turbo it is.
  • thumb
    Nov 24 2013: The first time a lion or any other carnivore eats a gazelle or a male lion eats a few lion cubs you know those cute little baby lions , or how about a polar bear eating a seal ,or a bunch of any other wild beasts just being wild ;
    some animal rights organization will have the feeds shut down so fast or should kids and other squimish people get to just fast forward , or how would you like the animals in the wild to behave .

    i dont even like to put my dog on a leash but I am told she has to be .

    When I rode horses , yes growing up I did ride them . i road most of the time I rode bareback , sorry I guess I just got off on a tangent .

    You are probably a vegan , vegetarian ,maybe not I was for a few years when I was younger . Do you wear leather shoes , does your jaguar or mercedes have leather seats how about the steering wheel cover .
    Sorry about the tangents .

    I took my kids when they were little to the zoo . We talked about a mass escape for the animals ... we didn't go through with it .

    I would like a better WAY FOR THE ANIMALS . People should realise that we in our selves are just animals ,and for now we are the gatekeepers .
    • Nov 24 2013: Thanks, Jeff. I'm going to take your note as support, contingent on my not being a poseur.

      I don't mind the tangents, as personal accountability is perfectly reasonable to demand. So, the list: (1) Vegetarian since 13ish, don't drink milk, but eat an egg every so often; (2) organic household and farm, though I am a clean energy/cleantech attorney for most hours of the day; (3) don't drive a mercedes or jaguar, but rather a hybrid -- my first car was a 220D though, and I've spent a good 15 years driving the 220 through 300D series -- I still think they're the best car out there, but for safety upgrades; (4) I don't wear leather shoes if I can help it -- I have a bit of a limp these days, and sometimes I have trouble fitting shoes.

      Don't mistake any of the above for weakness, however. Google a bit, and you'll find out full well that I don't suffer bad ideas or fools. Anything else?!?
  • Nov 24 2013: Anthony, I really appreciate your point of view here -- so much having to do with Big Life is extreme, and therefore false -- a fear-mongering form of exploitation that is more aligned with pornography than much else. I'm really looking forward to moving away from "personalities" to real people speaking in a calm, intelligent and positive manner. I don't want hype.
  • Nov 24 2013: could strategically placed cams also serve a useful purpose in emergency situations ..if so an extra source of funding may be forthcoming..must admit I do not know too much about these cams ..so decided to take a look.

    I saw more forced ads than anything else and a video of an antelope being ripped apart by hyenas...so I think this media is being exploited and only reinforces to me that a high quality ad free site is probably needed.

    Also forgot to mention that a portable downloadable off line stick version of this 3D software is possible which is used a lot by educators..a good introduction to the concept and preview before using online.

    anthonyleaman@hotmail.com
    • Nov 25 2013: Anthony, most of the cameras i watch, you just see whatever is happening, and yes, animals do hunt, kill and eat prey, and you may see that, but in the overall context, this is part of wildlife, ... and depending on the camera, you may never see something like this. I seem to remember Rangers Roy and Mike talking about this a number of times, I truly respect how they speak openly, plainly about the animals and their behaviors. I've watched two different watering hole cams in Africa, and I have never witnessed anything like that. But the raptors and bears tearing apart fish... all the time.

      I completely agree about commercial free, there must be a better way.... makes fundraising huge, although perhaps sponsorships from like-minded companies/individuals, like the PBS model?
  • Nov 24 2013: I think if having a forum on the website we will be able to discuss many issues. With every new idea comes a range of differing opinions and points of few and I do not feel even minutely qualified to say too much through fear of offending and alienating others but feel it is high time I committed to something and played my part.I feel I could support this project.
    • Nov 27 2013: Anthony and Mary, I will get access to the unzoo site tonight or first thing in the morning. As I have tried to reread these posts tonight, I think we must consider how to bets engage people to overcome their inherent apathy. Perhaps, that means focusing on children, but I hate to give up on us. So, my thought is that we should create a system of rewards for observations, for taking action, for effecting change. Please, think about that - after all, RED uses its 10+ ratings. Why shouldn't we develop a reward system allows people to see their peers rise to the challenge, with different age groups and truly descriptive names for kids?
  • Nov 24 2013: I think one of the advantages of Elise's project is that questions like yours could be brought up in a forum.

    I also think before this TED closes that we need a head count of who is in for the long haul ..
    • Nov 24 2013: That's fair. I think you, Mary, Harald, George and I are in -- I hope that MIT's media lab will back us up through and through. I don't think the Right Honorable Sasquatch will join us. ;-)

      Honestly, I do wish TED would allow us to imbed names, so that it could function as prompts ....
      • Nov 25 2013: yes, i'm in, just try to get rid of me now! I am hoping to operate some cams down the road :-)....omg i want to be a drone-cam pilot!
        • Nov 27 2013: Mary, you can be queen of the drones!

          Btw, I think we need an expert, someone who can help us ensure that our use of drones doesn't cause aversion/avoidance of areas. Webcams and satellites, there, I'm not too worried, but drones apparently can be quote loud at low altitudes.
  • Nov 22 2013: I apologize for digressing ..we should really stick to the main thread of the conversation..but my argument would be that when we believed non white people to be of slightly less than human capability many nations did in fact appoint guardians to them if they were free and not slaves. Now that we know for sure that our ape cousins are 1% less than human we don't.

    I have made some inquiries regarding the use of bots and general layout of the 3D environment we propose.

    Waiting for response.
    • Nov 24 2013: It's not actually a digression, but a very interesting idea. This morning, on FB, I ended up with an image of an orangutan infant whose fingers were lost as a result of a lumbering -- how wasn't exactly clear. What was clear is that orangutan infant looking at his mutilated hand was indistinguishable to me from any small child. What is equally clear to me is that I would not care whether the maimed infant was a lion, tiger or bear. As I sit at my dining room table, I think we have failed to be logical about sentience and to accept a responsibility to ensure that we do not maul, abuse or compromise species, including ourselves. And, my sense is that we have hit a milestone in human thought, as folks like you and me -- average people -- are having this discussion, and taking action and making a difference. It may be a soft revolution, but its certainly not the 1950's either.

      Veyr much interested in hearing what you've learned.
    • Nov 24 2013: I don't think the aspect of sentience is digression at all, but actually a huge part of the point, yes? If waking up the public's awareness and passion to say, de-zoo, or re-design to the sanctuary model, they need an avenue to become informed perhaps to the level of how one could participate in one's own city making that transition...creating the demand... and offering models, new means of financing, like crowdfunding a start up fund, all sorts of options once the demand is there. This is like the beginning of that road. Get people watching, feed their interest, invite them to care, to participate...

      Anthony, I have really appreciated all your comments on this. How we interact with each other, and all species, is a choice... do we operate in a field of wonder, respect, honor, allowance and appreciation? .... or do we operate in a field of "willful blindness"? (Margaret Heffernan, The Dangers of Willful Blindness), where fear and myths and ignorance abound?

      I think the more you experience the Truth for yourself... as in witnessing up close and personal, the real, the valid, the beautiful, the tragic, the triumphant lives of every species.. and they move your heart!.. it gets harder and harder to remain in the field of willful blindness.

      I absolutely feel that open discussion of sentience, and otherwise respect for all life would be part of the whole package, because it sounds like part of the Mission to me?

      Which reminds me Elise, have you considered approaching any Native American Tribes about cams on their lands?
      • Nov 24 2013: Exactly. Briliant on Native Americans -- and let's make sure that we can find a way to pay them to share.
  • Nov 22 2013: I was just re-reading your introductory statement for this whole conversation.... lots of excellent mission statement stuff in there!
  • Nov 22 2013: yeah, the 'livehabitats' doesn't do a thing for me. I have to admit, I'm likin' the unzoo thing.. unzoo, the real deal.... unzoo, real animal world views

    "Unzoo! Get Real!"

    lol!
    • Nov 22 2013: Mary, that's perfect -- Unzoo! Get Real! it is.
  • Nov 22 2013: btw,
    Are you thinking of being only 3rd party, showing only already operating cams? If so, clearly no control over any aspect of those, although how you bundle it with interactive and informational content is your end then, is that right? Can you can go back and capture/edit from someone else's feed?... as in putting together daily videos to post/archive?
    • Nov 22 2013: My structural thought is: 501c(3), with (1) open access posting, provided that you meet the criteria (wild or sanctuary), and (2) contracts rights to place webcams where we donate them, asking for assistance, e.g., from the National Park Service or sanctuary employees, in maintaining the equipment. For anything posted, we have an edit right. We'd like commentary from others, form also will have our own.

      I do a lot of DOE, ARPA-E, DARPA, SBA/SBIR grants for my clients, and I'm hopeful that I can develop a grant that advances education about and protection of Endangered/CITES Species, so that our startup and early stage costs are covered. Continuing revenue will be a genuine issue, and -- particularly in the beginning -- I don't want to charge viewers or posters, but I think Foundational and Corporate sponsors, not to mention Crowdrise or Kickstarter, is not out of the question. At some point, we may consider sponsorship credits (no Disney) for webcams. Also, and this will take real cleverness, but I think we might come up with a tipping charge -- I have to work on that.

      Also, I will reach out to the satellite rights holders, and see if we can enlist them in our protection/education mandate.
      • Nov 22 2013: this sounds excellent Elise! Very exciting.
        btw, as this conversation on Ted comes to a close, will you establish a space on some venue to privately post your ongoing biz plan details?, I would love to keep up with what you are doing!!! It has been really wonderful to be able to join in on this, as i said in beginning, has been tickling my consciousness for a long time, tho it never seemed like "my" road per se... so happy to trip over somebody who can and is running with it all!
        • Nov 24 2013: Hugely important, and yes we'll come up with a separate space to continue noodling (though my gmail address is above, and I'm easily googled). FB may be a good way of branching out and continuing in the TED vein, so I want to give that some thought.

          This week and next, I was hoping to get some time to speak to several of the sanctuaries that I admire and ask about their willingness to allow webcams that UNZoo funds. If we have PAWS, WIld Animal Sanctuary, etc., all agreeing, it's possible that we we could have engaging feeds of cats, wolves, bears and elephants in the near term. This would allow us to bridge to "wild."
      • Nov 24 2013: actually replying to approaching the sanctuaries...absolutely!!! I can only imagine they would LOVE it, fantastic for their fundraising, their educational outreach... I think it's important to see/experience that previously captive animals, under all kinds of circumstances, are able to be moved to wonderful places where they can live out their lives according to their nature, with the space and environment they require for healthy "free" life.

        and just remembered... http://americanprairie.org/
        would love to see a cam there! :-) bison :-)))
  • Nov 22 2013: great stuff everybody!
    Naming-don't know, but domain name is big factor.
    Mission Statement vs How we do it statement:
    For instance from what you offer Elise,
    "We provide close-up, real-time access to the World's most magnificent animals as they are in nature or humane sanctuaries -- without confinement, without cruelty, without interrupting their behavior, without roller coasters."
    I would consider this more of a statement of what you do, (critical 1st step marketing plan!). like the homepage banner, under the logo. "UNZOO..we provide..."

    The Mission is the 'what for?', the 'why', the purpose. What purpose do you hope this project will serve? Why does this project exist? What goal or agenda or whatever, is driving it? This is the part that people connect with, often emotionally and deeply, when it is a project such as this, so it is important to give this process it's due, because it is the foundation, the litmus test for everything. If some form of info on how folks can shift away from cruelty based stuff is a core value and purpose, that needs to be integrated into the Mission. If providing viewing/learning alternatives such as live cams etc are your goal, integrate that here.

    These morsals are Mission; "sentience, and avoiding cruelty..active participation.. efforts to monitor and protect, in a humane manner, some of the most marvelous animals on earth -- for the next generation, for the future, forever!"

    Then as Harald states, the business plan, simply cannot move forward without this, financing depends on it, as does everything. It is the overview, the table of contents, from which all the details (budget, equipment, staffing, website, etc) then emerge. Many models, many levels of detail to just begin, but you need something to keep on track. Private for profit , or charitable, or? Need to talk to good tax person to make these decisions. Marketing Plan is part of the biz plan.
    Then the next layer of filling out the details of the Plan
    • Nov 24 2013: Mary, you are absolutely correct that the Mission Statement needs more thought. I'm going to noodle it awhile, and solicit the thoughts of the sanctuaries and NPS. I'm mostly an enabler, but they're the folks in the trenches, and I want their insight.
  • Nov 22 2013: That is just my personal view on the ape thing I am not pushing it ..my support will be from the virtual world corner to put you in touch with the right people...unzoo is very descriptive and a very catchy name which is needed I don't think good zoo's will be too offended .maybe a call to a few to see ?..live habitat is good but maybe a bit drab..I am sure you will get a lot of support from the opensim virtual community for a project like this

    I dont think it is necessary these days to tell people about cruelty and other issues they know and already see enough ..but to be given a view of what is currently available that is positive instead of negative and an alternative to the Pandawatch thing you describe..


    3 very professional aids will be the association of virtual worlds (professional organisation) Maria Korolov, .(.lournalist) ..opensim city (social network) When ready to announce ..they will be sure to spread the word around.
    • Nov 22 2013: Anthony, if I thought that I could advance a legal theory to appoint guardians for animals to ensure against abuse, I'd do it in a heartbeat. This is my start -- convincing the public that cruelty is unacceptable and unnecessary on a generational level. Over the next year, I'll buy you a drink and have figured out -- with folks much smarter than I am -- how we achieve a far better mechanistic approach to animal protection.

      I dont watch TV, but I will say that -- when I glimpse it in airports -- I find the exaggerated, crazy approach to animal life so daunting. I wish that I could say people wont tolerate cruelty, but I suspect that is not correct, at least here in the US.
  • Nov 21 2013: Any ideas for a name ?

    If not wanting to associate it with a zoo ,,what would it be called..?

    If wanting to break away from conventional ways of thinking about how to maintain a connection with beings of the wild.

    Would there be a neutral policy or would it be championing the establishment of rights. ?

    I would be in favor of establishing rights for all the apes but do not like to draw a line and leave out other species but think it is time for change and a start needs to be made somewhere especially with the commonly known knowledge now that we share 99% of our genes with chimps.

    I believe they should have birth certificates, passports and official guardians.
    • Nov 22 2013: Super questions:

      (1) For the URL, a friend has suggested "livehabitats.com," which is great, but a tough brand and not as clear as I would like about our mission. I'm inclined toward variations on the UN-Zoo. This really needs thought, though.

      (2) Your hope for animals makes me smile, and is a credit to you. My thought is that we should begin with sentience, and avoiding cruelty. As a mission statement, I think we want to try for the following: "We provide close-up, real-time access to the World's most magnificent animals as they are in nature or humane sanctuaries -- without confinement, without cruelty, without interrupting their behavior, without roller coasters."

      (3) I think we must ask for active participation, and have integrated comment section of likes and observations so that our viewers become our best advance scientists: "Be part of our efforts to monitor and protect, in a humane manner, some of the most marvelous animals on earth -- for the next generation, for the future, forever!"
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        Nov 22 2013: If I were a possible investor, my first question would be "do you have a business plan ? and is this plan sound ?"
        Only after that I would start looking into details.
        Be passionate is a key ingredient to success, however, numbers are equally important, especially if you need to raise funds.
        A business plan also helps you with your planning because you can use it as a check list, filling in details as they become available.
        So, how are you doing with a business plan or is everything still at the exploratory stage ?
        • Nov 24 2013: Yes, Harald. Having written them and judged them extensively, business plans that is, I cannot disagree. But, I'm not going to rush that yet -- still exploring the best path forward. There's real thought leadership that is needed first, and I want to better understand how a partnership with the NPS and Sanctuaries may advance their goals and mine at once. Per note above, I'm reaching out to them first. Then, once I understand, I can design the right deck. There's quite a bit around control and access that needs thought as well. I think last quarters are good for that, and by first quarter I'll be in a position to advance grant applications, think about crowdfunding and strategic partners.
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        Nov 24 2013: Crowd funding could work. You could try kickstarter.
        I think offering NPS and sanctuary a central platform (your project) should be of interest to them because it would be more efficient if everything is under one roof (also cheaper in the end I suppose) than everybody doing his stuff for himself.
        Btw, are you alone on this project or do you have like minded souls working with you on this project ?
  • Nov 21 2013: What do people think about staffing ?

    Seems this kind of thing will need constant tweeking ,,
    • Nov 22 2013: This is a truly important question -- what are everyone's ideas?!?
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    Nov 20 2013: Elise, if you ever need an expert in nature I strongly recommend to get in touch with my friend Jim Conrad. He is a naturalist with an eye for nature that's incredible. He sees something amazing in almost anything found in nature and brings it to you in a way that it amazes you as well even if he's only talking about a stone or some weed.
    Feel free to check out his website and if you contact him tell him that Harald from Mexico recommended him to you.
    This is his site: http://www.backyardnature.net
    • Nov 21 2013: Harald, thank you so much for this. Of course, I would love to meet Jim, and will use your name. Right now, I'm working out a way to get the donations of webcams funded, and perhaps Jim will have thoughts there. Cheers, and thank you so much for all of your help, Elise
  • Nov 20 2013: Hi,

    Yes I agree and provided the dog vid as the quickest visual I could provide to give an idea of what the media looks like ..the shop in the background can be used as a portal to the places you described ..clicking on the displays would tkae one to the webcams etc.

    And it would be to your own specifications.

    Most often teachers supervise the visits .. as a class outing ..and access can be controlled by owner of the grid.

    Having somebody inworld would be difficult.. volunteers do not usually work. 24/7 but pre arranged could be the alternative to that.

    The 3D world should just be the vehicle to the webcams not the activity itself .agreed.

    A lot can be done using bots ..inworld robotic avatars..to guide to the web
    b portals

    the following is an excellent example, Rachel Gloedu designed and had the site built to her specifications..

    http://becunningandfulloftricks.com/2013/09/29/hypergrid-adventurers-club-visiting-the-center-for-global-healths-east-africa-traveler-safety-simulation/
  • Nov 20 2013: sorry to bombard, but it's my day off so the brain is humming with time to get it out there... please do not feel you have to respond to everything! I just tend to operate immersively like this when i can...

    If I look at the explore site as a model, some short-comings I would take into account.. caveat, this is just my opinion! I love the variety of wild cameras and the interactions with the rangers and scientists... this is magnificent..., but certainly do not appreciate many of the other cams, i also take issue with breeding dogs for the otherwise beautiful dog bless you program when how many animals are "euthanized" and surrendered every day in this country? My point is that I would rather have only wild or sanctuaries as you stated.

    They are under-staffed, apparently 5 people for that site! Only one tech person? Basically, a lot of problems because of this.

    The disqus program is a nightmare. There is simply not one good thing I can say about that. If you want to be able to pull information to archive/utilize, the original data has got to be easily searchable, ie, well organized and tagged from the beginning.... then a place to put it and of course, integrating it creatively so new or old viewers can become avid learners if they like. While there is much info on their cam pages, the page seems poorly organized for access while still being able to view the cam.

    They are inconsistent across formats... the video clips are often saved on their youtube channel, but not on the site with the camera or vice versa, but not both, but sometimes both. And I think their presence on UStream is different still.

    Rumors and mis-information and anthro--(ok, can never spit it out, but I know you know what I mean)run rampant in the viewing communities, so regular means of interacting with the real facts as time goes along, learning could expand more rapidly?

    Ustream is so broad based, tons of commercials. But love some of the Africa cams, wish they had Rangers on!
  • Nov 20 2013: :-) aloha Elise
    I actually prefer "everyday" persons, clearly deeply knowledgable and passionate about the subject matters, and also with the delightful, even playful personality characteristics that make the experience interesting, real, and even fun. I was just using George as an example, but who knows, maybe he would get a kick out of it?! The famous person thing isn't anything important to me personally, just the expertise put forth in an accessible, approachable, delightful and creative, fun ways...by someone directly, intimately involved in the environment. Just my preferences of course!

    As I was just watching the Brooks River cam, I am reminded of the amazing role of camops/zoomies, in getting a great experience//and there are delightfully entertaining informative rangers, lifelong guides, biologists, etc out there...(I remember commenting in one of Ranger Mike's chats that I forsaw an adventure series for him.. just sayin'!!) ... I am imagining cams operated by such people on a regular basis--as regularly as possible-- as they can then chat about what is being seen, answer questions, etc. They will create their own rock star status! (this is how the food network was built?--some already famous names, but mostly throwing knowledgable, experienced creative personalities, tho unheard of -- out into a great format, and they created their own fame) I can see myself needing connected tech to cart around so I could always be tuned in somewhere!

    I've wondered about how cool it would be to hang out in a cafe/salon scene where live cams are running on the big screens...?

    Again Elise, thanks for creating the space to share these ideas out here, loving all the great posts!
    • Nov 20 2013: We LOVE the Katmai rangers in our house, and I agree. My thoughts are that: David Attenborough or Jane Goodall or Ed Stewart would confer credibility and acts as draws; and that scientists who help us put in perspective what the collective effect of our efforts may be in avoiding extinction. The educational component may not be for all, but we want it to be available.

      Oh, by the way, I think we should have as our mission deputizing our watchers as rangers. We don't want passivity, but for them to take an active role in committing to protect -- in various ways -- what they love watching.

      Cheers, and thanks so much for your thoughts!
      • Nov 20 2013: beautiful! And it works, remember the cam viewers busting fishing rule violators and the rafters over the falls? But making connections into one's daily life choices and actions, that is the heart of the matter.
  • Nov 19 2013: just wanted to add this to the dialogue... "rewilding".
    www.ted.com/talks/george_monbiot_for_more_wonder_rewild_the_world.html
    Great talk, I can imagine persons such as he hosting fun virtual learning adventures into the wild...That wildness is it's own greatness, its own fascination, its own wonder, and with a great presenter/audience interaction, it is truly personal and magical. Gamification will certainly attract many, but I would take care in approaching "reality"/live cams in ways that objectify what is viewed in just a new set of clothing, from zoos to games... it's an interesting edge for some, a distraction for others.
    • Nov 19 2013: Mary, thanks so much for posting this -- just marvelous, and clearly aligned with the "unzoo" movement.

      I agree on the risk of gamification, which we will/must avoid, but I am willing to use it as a patch until David Attenborough, not to mention George Monbiot, can be convinced to be our guides.
  • Nov 19 2013: Glad to hear that ,

    I know that many are concerned about others, particularly kids becoming addicted to the internet and gaming. A media that is connected to the real world in this way could be designed to provide a connection to the real world by providing the information and means to follow up with real world visits which may could be through schools etc and involving sight and touch. myself and Prof Curtis of the Virtual Worlds Grid would be happy to donate the online virtual land (which would be the first thing required) free of charge to enable this project to become a reality.
    • Nov 19 2013: I think Mary's concern, which I share, is the non-real part be limited to the superstructure, and perhaps some human beings, who help to guide visitors to the webcams of real animals that are what bring them to us in the first place. That's 100% my commitment, and I would not consider anything else. Cheers!
      • Nov 22 2013: I've been thinking the 3d thing would be a cool way to present things like safety rules in parks, and the "what to do if" stuff.... what does it look like to have a large male bear walking in your direction, how close is 50 feet, how fast can he reach you from there if he decides to charge (! that would be intense!) and what you should do! I'd rather see that 3d! Same things with other species...?
  • Nov 7 2013: Thanks so much for taking the time, Dick.

    First, I agree on sound! It's essential. I have been to zoos, and never heard elephants trumpet. I heard that first on a PAWS video of Annie, who was terribly abused, swimming: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BM972YbphtQ
    Her gorgeous, happy, elephant joy had me instantly in tears.

    Second, the right smells -- grassy, musty smells for elephants, for instance -- must be a goal, and while it wont be easy, I'm sure that we can ultimately get there. The smell of fear and desperation, and confinement, I cannot stand, and I will be glad when it is gone.

    Third, I do think we can up with a way that animals have sufficient suitable space (not concrete bunkers painted to look "real" to human beings and plastic trees) and companionship, where appropriate, and people -- particularly, children -- are able to present, as occurs at some sanctuaries. Banging on the glass, no. Present, yes.

    What I certainly do want to avoid is the panda-cam at the National Zoo, which underscores how unsuitable for the animal, uninteresting and sad the entire zoo dynamic is and can be: http://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/webcams/giant-panda.cfm

    Thanks so much for your time and thoughts.