Facebook is the place where you expect to see old friends, vacation photos and funny videos. But, a surprise sea lion pregnancy announcement from the OKC Zoo? Almost 20 million Facebook friends of Animal Planet were able to hear and see the great news in real time as an ultrasound was verifying our suspicions—all part of the cable network’s Facebook Live stunt.
The Zoo worked with Facebook friend and conservation supporter Animal Planet, along with 18 other national zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoo and Aquariums (AZA), for a 10-hour “live” event showing how Zoos provide expert care for the animals in their keeping. The Facebook live event supported Animal Planet’s new series “The Zoo” which aired Saturdays at 9 p.m. CST, which revealed the behind-the-scenes stories of the Bronx Zoo. The 10-hour Facebook Live event, streamed live on March 2 on Animal Planet’s Facebook page (facebook.com/animalplanet), was comprised of 10- to 12-minute segments provided by zoos as across the country and featured an array of animals by their expert keepers.
The Zoo provided two segments for this digital feat. The first presented a critically endangered litter of African painted dog pups receiving their third round of wellness vaccines, and the second featured the sea lion Pearl receiving a live ultrasound, revealing to the world Pearl’s suspected pregnancy, which shared with Zoo fans for the first time! Among all of the fascinating live segments from the 18 zoos, these two had the most viewers watching live. Within the first week, more than 6 million people had tuned into some part of the 10-hour Facebook Live event.
While the intention of this Facebook live event was to illustrate the expert care Zoos provide their animals and promote the Animal Planet series “The Zoo”, the success of this “experiment” has inspired many zoos – including the OKC Zoo – to use Facebook in new ways. The Zoo has over 83,000 followers who regularly see and react to timely photos and videos (both recorded and live) of our animals, keepers and botanicals. Going forward, Facebook followers of the Zoo (@okczoobg) may see more Facebook Live segments. Showing live events is an innovative way to show a limitless number of guests an immediate and up-close experience of our mission in action!
See the excitement for yourself! For more information on the Animal Planet Facebook live event on, visit facebook.com/animalplanetand for the latest news and video from the Oklahoma City Zoo – visit facebook.com/okczoobg!
– Greg Heanue, senior director of marketing and public relations