The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens is featured in a new Netflix documentary series called “Connected: The hidden science of everything.”
News Channel 3’s Caitlin Thropay interviewed the host and executive producer of the series to find out why our local zoo was chosen.
“If there was a dating app for animals and then I looked it up and low and behold it existed and I was like I need to know everything about this dating app for animals!” Latif Nasser told News Channel 3. Nasser is the host and executive producer for “Connected: The hidden science of everything” currently streaming on Netflix.
“Let’s go to all these far-flung places of the world and see scientists and look over their shoulders as they’re doing really cool stuff but then the fun of it is can we go to those places but can we find ways to connect it back to the viewer,” Nasser said.
In episode one, the show features The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens.
“We entertained going to so many different zoos but the reason we settled on The Living Desert, there are a few, one was that they had recently used that ZIMS system,” he said.
ZIMS stands for the Zoological Information Management System, which works kind of like a dating app for animals.
“The animals don’t get to swipe left or right. We make the choices for them but we’re doing that to further their reproductive success,” CEO and President of The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens Allen Monroe told News Channel 3.
In the episode, Nasser refers to ZIMS as “tinder for critters” and calls it “the highest stakes dating app of all” because this matchmaking is saving endangered species.
Netflix cameras filmed the episode over two days last summer showing the zoo’s African Wild Dog puppies.
“There aren’t a lot of big barriers or things that are so far away,” Nasser said. “This felt like you could really get right up in there,” he added.
They also showed the zoo’s Mexican Grey Wolf, Slender Horned Gazelles and Arabian Oryx.
“People think of us as just being the fun place to come with your family and friends and that’s great but we’re also doing all this behind the scenes work for our conservation programs and education efforts and so it seemed like a good opportunity to pair up and tell our story on a national platform,” Monroe said.
The series goes on a fun educational journey showing how everyone is tied together through science and nature. There is one season with six episodes. You can learn more about the show here: https://www.netflix.com/title/81031737