The Dodo is back from extinction. At least in digital form.
The new site, The Dodo has launched, “a community-driven destination that’s committed to understanding, celebrating and helping animals.” For this site, “anyone can be a contributor,” though there is also an editorial staff. According to the press release we received, contributors will have the power to create content, pull things from social media, and add items with the hashtag #thedodo.
And based on a glance at the site’s homepage, we’re talking about more than just cat videos and baby animal webcam footage. Topics covered include SeaWorld’s non-reaction to a dolphin hunt in Japan, issues with an Animal Planet program, and an oil spill in Trinidad.
OK, there is one cat video. But it’s a white tiger, so slightly different.
The site has got some big name backers, including Lerer Ventures and Sterling Equities, and counts among its contributors Arianna Huffington and the Dog Whisperer himself Cesar Millan.
But the question is whether there’s enough passion out there to sustain a site with an animal focus. We’ve seen fervor over animal rights wax and wane over the years. Dodo EIC and CEO Kerry Lauerman addressed that issue in an email to us.
“There is certain basic data that reflects a shift — Gallup had a poll last year that showed support for animal testing has dropped 18 points in the past 12 years for the younger 18-34 age range, for example; 72.9 million American homes have pets, which is a pretty huge 40 percent increase since 1988 (according to the American Pet Products Association). But more than that, research is coming out constantly that shows how much more like us animals really are. That’s not a fad, that’s just fact. There’s a new report we’re writing about today, for example, that shows how female Capuchin monkeys throw rocks at the males they’re interested in. OK, so not exactly human behavior — but we certainly can relate to it.”
As we spend more time with animals in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and on our many screens, the greater our concern for them. There’s also a good chance we’ll spend more time learning about the issues that affect their well being, and dish out more money on things we think they like. Research published this month even shows that younger demographics have shown a willingness to spend money on their pets that they won’t spend on their children.