Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert Featured in Netflix Docuseries

Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert Featured in Netflix Docuseries

Taylor Martinez

PALM DESERT (CNS) – A Palm Desert zoo that uses software to connect to more than 1,200 worldwide organizations for its breeding programs was recently featured in a Netflix docuseries now streaming online, zoo officials said Tuesday.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens was included in the first episode of “Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything,” in which host Latif Nasser travels the world to discover how everyone is connected through science and nature. The first episode delves into how software is used in different types of surveillance.

The Living Desert is part of a global conservation network that uses Zoological Information Management System, or ZIMS, which is maintained by the nonprofit Species360, and includes more than 1,200 wildlife institutions in over 100 countries. Nasser calls it “Tinder for critters.”

“Today, ZIMS includes everything from what the animals eat, to who they interact with, how often they poop,” Nasser said during the episode. “Then, zookeepers look through these profiles, factoring in age, genetics, location.”

Zoo staff then use that information to select breeding pairs.

Allen Monroe, the zoo’s president and CEO, says the zoo’s usage of ZIMS helps fulfill its mission of conservation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the science behind what we do here at The Living Desert,” Monroe said. “We are a conservation-first organization, working to save species around the world. This kind of show helps highlight that, and lets people know, on a deeper level, who we are and what we are trying to accomplish.”

Nasser and his crew filmed the spot over two and a half days in the summer of 2019. It highlights the zoo’s breeding programs for the Mexican Gray Wolf, Arabian Oryx and Slender Horned Gazelles.

After being shuttered for nearly three months due to COVID-19, the zoo reopened in June amid new safety protocols aimed at reducing the spread of the virus, which include mandatory face covering, a cap on guest capacity and timed ticketing.

For additional information about the zoo, visit http://www.LivingDesert.org.

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