AZA Annual Conference - Nigel Martin Keynote

I'm sitting in the keynote speaker session listening to Nigel Martin, host of Prehistoric Park, Penguin Safari, Shark Week and other Discovery/Animal Planet shows, discuss the parallels between his job and that of zoo and aquarium employees.

He offered a number of examples including figuratively transporting people to places and introducing them to animals they could never have met otherwise. Without knowing these animals, viewers and visitors won't support conservation efforts, so the logic goes.

Listening to him speak, I could not help but also notice contrasts between his work and that of zoos and aquariums. Much like the Crocodile Hunter, Nigel takes some tremendous risks on his show. I saw more than a few audience members wince when Nigel came within twenty or so feet from fighting polar bears. Watching Nigel get bitten repeatedly by a false cobra was probably the best clip of the morning.

Taking a cue from Meerkat Manner, Nigel also incorporates elaborate, anthropomorphizing story lines into his shows, which seem only loosely based on reality.

Ultimately though, Nigel's shows do inform while they entertain. It wouldn't be the first time a message had to be watered down and dolled up to reach the masses. Ergo Zooillogix.

Below is a great video of a rare Sumatran rhino being born that Nigel showed a piece of during his talk.

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