Come for the watermelon, stay for the knowledge. With a combination of fun animal snacking videos and in-depth conservation stories, the Oregon Zoo hit a social media milestone this week, surpassing 2 million followers on TikTok along with more than 40 million likes.
“This is an exciting milestone because it means our conservation and animal care stories are resonating with a really wide audience,” said Kelsey Wallace, who runs the zoo’s TikTok account. “We might go viral with a video of King the rhino crunching on fruit or Takoda the black bear splashing in his tub, but when people follow us, they’re learning how to help those animals in the wild too.”
The most popular videos tend to be spontaneous animal activity — like that rhino watermelon video (45 million views) or black bear tub video (55 million) — but stories of conservation and science are popular on the platform as well, Wallace says. A recent interview with Pamela Slaughter from the POCO Guardians program has more than 200,000 views, and a video about the zoo’s polar bear swim flume, designed to help scientists understand the caloric requirements of wild bears, has more than 600,000.
As more people find and follow the zoo’s TikTok account, they also encounter the work of the zoo’s conservation partners.
“We’re extremely grateful for our continued partnership with the Oregon Zoo,” said Jane Bacchieri, executive director of the Elakha Alliance, an organization working to restore sea otters to the Oregon Coast. “They’ve helped our small nonprofit expand our large ocean conservation message worldwide!"
TikTok isn’t the only platform where these stories resonate with a large audience. The zoo also has 2.6 million followers on Facebook plus another 700,000 on Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
“We love connecting with people on social media and sharing the amazing work our care staff and partners do for the animals,” Wallace said. “Stay tuned for more stories and crunchy snacks!”
Source: Oregon Zoo