|Til the deceased rabbit - Photo Uwe Meinhold/dapd/Associated Press|
In this zoos have a distinct advantage; the opportunity to parade warm and cuddly live animals to an adoring public. 'Panda-monium' may be an extreme example but it shows what can be achieved on a global scale when there is a clear strategy to raise funds by using the collection in novel ways.
So it is no surprise to learn that an East German zoo planned to do something similar with a mutant rabbit. This furry creature was born without ears making it even more 'adorable' according to the media releases. A big media event was planned to introduce the bunny to an adoring public.
Alas things went terribly awry. Til, for that was the rabbit's name, meant an unfortunate end giving new meaning to the old saying "Til death does us part".
Those of us who have worked with the media know just how fraught the relationship can be. For many years I worked in a museum and my first appointment was that of Exhibitions Officer, at the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch. One of my duties was to keep an eye on camera crews from the various media organisations sent in to cover major exhibitions and events.
It was a never ending battle of equipment and cables in close proximity to to precious art works. It is simply amazing the amount of 'stuff' and hangers-on that are needed to produce a 30 second clip that will appear on your television news every night.
No doubt the filming of the German zoo event faced similar challenges and the adage 'never take a backward step' should also have applied. The cameraman who was setting up to do some advance filming did so, killing the star of the show instantly.
A new media release was hurriedly issued claiming that the rabbit did not suffer unduly as a result of this mishap.
"He was immediately dead; he didn't suffer. It was a direct hit. No one could have foreseen this. Everyone here is upset. The cameraman was distraught."
I am sure he was. What had been planned as a major crowd puller for the zoo turned out to be a requiem for all downtrodden rabbits.