In September of 2008, we had an idea - let's take all those adorable animals born at zoos and aquariums around the world, share them in one place, and showcase them as ambassadors for conservation. We could educate while we entertain. Puppy and kitten websites are great, but they felt like empty calories.
Four years later, this marks our 2000th post. It appears baby animals haven't gone out of style. Who would have guessed…? To mark the occasion, for the first time in four years, we wanted to do something different - introduce ourselves.
Some people are surprised to learn that ZooBorns was founded by two dudes… Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland (us), now in their early 30s. We've been friends since acolyting together at Trinity Episcopal in Fairfield, Connecticut then attending middle school and boarding school together. As a child in CT, Andrew forced his parents to take him to the Bronx Zoo every month. Chris spent his days drawing his pet degu, parrots and rat.
Andrew went on to the University of Pennsylvania and a career in marketing and new media and Chris studied and taught classical portrait painting in Florence, Italy.
From 2004-2006, we shared a very crowded, very dirty, five story walk-up together on New York's Upper West Side with three other guys and a homicidal cat named Cesar. In this photo, Cesar is giving Andrew an excrutiatingly painful love bite.
Today, Andrew lives in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood with his wife Lillian and his first daughter due 12/23 (Avery). Chris lives, paints and designs from his home studio in Park Slope (technically Windsor Terrace) with his cat Georgie.
After years of wrangling ZooBorns posts in the hours before and after full-time jobs, sales of the ZooBorns books have enabled us to devote a slice of our "real-life" work day to zooborning. For those of you have purchased them already, thank you. We also rely on the support of our two freelancers, Rochelle Joseph and Cheryl, who help us sort through the reams of baby animal submissions and craft excellent posts.
So here's to 2,000 posts, eight books, one calendar, one app, and some friendly and thoughtful readers. Thank you for letting us do what we love, sharing baby animals and spreading awareness and support for conservation.
Chris and Andrew at the Phoenix Zoo with Ralph, the Galápagos Tortoise