San Diego Zoo Launches Free Online Education Program: Coronavirus

Kristina Houck

This article originally appeared on the San Diego Patch

SAN DIEGO, CA — San Diego Zoo Global has launched an online education program to keep parents, teachers and zoo fans connected to their favorite animals during the coronavirus pandemic. The #WereHereTogether program offers free online content, entertainment and educational tools.

"During these uncertain times, our thoughts are with our community around the world who have always shown us tremendous love and support as we carry out our mission of saving the world's species," said Paul A. Baribault, president and CEO of San Diego Zoo Global. "With new challenges come new opportunities, and now more than ever, we want to share the joy of our stories direct from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park with fans everywhere."

Website visitors can check in on animals and receive daily updates from the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park live wildlife cameras. Both parks closed March 16 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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The live cams enable viewers to watch wildlife explore, eat, swing and play throughout their day. The Butterfly Jungle Wildlife Cam will launch March 30 alongside existing channels.

In a single week, the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park have seen a 1,000% increase on average in online webcam viewership, with the Polar Bear Cam and Penguin Cam currently leading with the most visits.

"It's truly heartwarming that we can be a source of comfort and entertainment to the public during these trying times," said Ted Molter, chief marketing officer of San Diego Zoo Global. "Our live wildlife cams alone are reaching audiences around the world – from the United States to the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, India, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Germany and China."

In addition to the live cams, #WereHereTogether offers supplemental curriculum on wildlife, plants and animals, and habitats with content for students K-12, animal care professionals, educators, parents and other zoo fans.

Programs for students in kindergarten through fifth grade include San Diego Zoo Kids video stories and hands-on activities and games, with links to live wildlife cams and information about how to help save species. There is also the San Diego Zoo Kids YouTube Channel and ZOONOOZ Online.

Programs for middle and high school students include the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Science Blog with posts that cover subjects such as the happenings inside the pathology lab of Disease Investigations. Students can also become a "citizen scientist" and contribute data to conservation researchers by helping count, identify and track burrowing owls, giraffes and other wildlife online at San Diego Zoo Global's Wildwatch Burrowing Owl and Wildwatch Kenya.

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