Last year I received a copy of the incredibly cute and heart-wrenching book Zooborns, a collection of animals born in the zoo. Why heartwrenching? Because the animals included belonged to endangered species.
I was asked to help publicize the book and gladly did so. That interview ran here. As you'll see in the interview below one idea posted in comments for the last interview are something turning into fruition, which is kind of cool.
About two months ago I received a copy of the new book by the same co-authors, this time the book is more focused: on cats.
As with the first book the photos are incredibly cute and the text quite informative. It's interesting for readers of all ages and if anything, as I talk about in the interviews, it's only problem is you can overload on the cuteness so you want to read them in chunks,as I did. The books can also serve as great Christmas presents(as i'm likely to do with my copy.)
The book's co-authors are Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland. They are also co-owners of ZooBorns.com.
Why did you decide to do another book, this one all about cats? Or was the plan always to do a second book?
Andrew: Feline kittens and cubs are always among the most popular babies showcased on ZooBorns.com. Many people connect with cats and can see more than a bit of their beloved domestic tabby in lions, tigers and cheetahs. However, most folks don't know that there are thirty-six different species of feline or that most of them face dire conservation challenges.
With ZooBorns Cats! we wanted to create a different kind of book that showcased the incredible variety within the cat family. More importantly, we wanted to highlight the man-made threats faced by these elusive and elegant species.
Was the first a success? Has it helped fund projects? Can you talk about that?
Andrew: Our first two ZooBorns books were very well received and has so far contributed $8,000 to the Association of Zoo & Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund. This money goes to support conservation programs developed and administered by accredited zoos and aquariums.
Chris: In terms of new projects, we're exploring a number of new outlets for ZooBorns including internationalizing the website, streaming live video from accredited zoos, iPad apps, and television.
Is this one coming out with two versions, one for kids and one for all ages, like the first one? Why or why not?
Our newest kids book, ABC ZooBorns, is ridiculously adorable and teaches kids their ABCs one animal at a time. ABC ZooBorns comes out in a few months.
Are you both cat people as opposed to dog people?
Chris: Andrew is more of a dog person and I’m pretty much a "crazy cat lady". We've each known and lived with dogs and cats (and hedgehogs, degus, snakes, lizards, fish, hermit crabs and turtles) but as the chips lie now, Andrew and his wife have two dogs, Izzy and Mathman and I have my cat, Georgie. I just don’t feel the need to associate with emotionally shallow animals so much.
If you had to pick a favorite cat from the book which would it be and why?
Andrew: It's hard to resist the wide-eyed innocence of the tiny sand cat kitten or the rough-housing playfulness of the Smithsonian National Zoo's seven lion cubs. However, our personal favorites are the hard-earned photos of the South American guiña and Japanese Iriomote cat kittens. These photos came from researchers and conservationists in the field and, to our knowledge, are the first time photos of these species as kittens have ever been published.
Was it easier to do this one than the first one now that you and Chris have one under your belt? Were there mistakes you were able to avoid this time around or ways you were able to save time?
Andrew: We wish! ZooBorns Cats! represents three times more work than the first ZooBorns book. Last time around we simply chose our favorite photographs and stories out of hundreds of species we had showcased. This time we had to go hunting for high quality photos of thirty-seven very specific species, which was much, much, much harder.
How many photos did you have to comb through to decide which ones to use? What were the criteria for an cat's inclusion in this book?
Andrew: When we started this project we had no idea how difficult it would be track down photos of many of these species. There are plenty of photos of the big cats (i.e. lions, tigers, cheetahs and jaguars) as cubs but many of the smaller species are rarely exhibited and poorly researched.
Soon we found ourselves imploring ZooBorns readers in Columbia, Brazil, Thailand, Malaysia, and Japan to reach out to their local conservation organizations on our behalf. We also hired our friend, Julia Chosy, a biology PhD who has worked to promote feline research and conservation, to help us reach out to feline researchers in the field around the world. She was absolutely instrumental in helping us secure our rarest photos.
The whole experience was a rather remarkable international adventure, albeit entirely over email.
When I did the first interview with you guys, for the first book, one reader had an interesting idea as you can see here: http://sbutki.newsvine.com/_news/2010/11/02/5395638-an-interview-with-andrew-bleiman-co-author-of-zooborns namely, why not do a calendar instead of a book so as to spread out the cuteness rather than having to fear getting a sugar high if you consume too much cuteness at once. Was that an idea considered?
Andrew: Ha! We've been immersed in cuteness for years now and we have yet to suffer any ill effects!
Chris: We listened! A 2013 calendar will be hitting the shelves next year.
What's next for you guys and ZooBorns?
Andrew: We’d love to find creative new ways to share our content via games, interactive apps, or even television. If your readers have any creative ideas, we’d love to hear them!
What impact do you hope you have made through this project?
Chris: These books are just an extension of ZooBorns mission to teach people about the important conservation work being done by responsible zoos and aquariums and inspire people of all ages to help protect endangered species.
Lastly, anything you wanted to mention that I failed to bring up?
Andrew: Go visit your local accredited zoo or aquarium and find ways to support their conservation and education efforts! And when you're done with that, check out ZooBorns.com!