Beijing Zoo Goes Virtual So Visitors Can Learn About Wildlife Remotely
The Beijing Zoo launched a brand new site that host live video streams of its animal exhibitions.
For animal lovers wanting to branch out beyond charming cat videos, the Beijing Zoo just launched an exciting new website in collaboration with the web service Baidu that brings the educational zoo experience to your desktop. From penguins to pandas, ring-tailed lemurs, elephants, alpacas, and even giraffes, the new Baidu Zoo hosts live video streams that allows virtual visitors to observe these animals in real-time.
Baidu Zoo successfully launched on June 1 with more than 3 million views; representing roughly half of the zoo’s annual attendance and assuring project leaders that there are people out there eager to see their favorite animals live.
Zoos and conservation centers across the globe have set up live feeds for the public as a less invasive way for guests to get “up close” to animals without disturbing them. However, Baidu Zoo is the first site of its kind in China, and hopes to work as a resource for animal information and conservation as netizens search for keywords like “penguin” or “panda” via Baidu and link up to the live feeds.
The online zoo also serves an important social function. Most zoos are located in big city areas, such as Beijing and Shanghai, so people in rural areas do not have the same opportunity to enjoy the real zoo experience. The collaboration with Baidu helps spread the messages of conservation and nature education to all people across China.
Of course, there are some ironically similar difficulties that visitors familiar with brick-and-mortar zoos will experience on Baidu Zoo. Sometimes the animals won’t stay put in the camera frame, leaving visitors with a lovely view of a seemingly empty enclosure, or the weather will take a turn for the worst and cameras will glitch out.
But at its heart, the virtual Baidu Zoo has created the opportunity for curious animal lovers to view their favorite critters and foster concern for the natural world.