Image: Courtesy of The Dodo.
The Internet is a wonderful, wonderful place for animal lovers. For the casual browser, there are various dog, cat, doge, cate, and other such sub-reddits, listicles on Buzzfeed about felines who deeply regret their pasts as cash cats, and endless videos of elephants painting things.
Some of us, however, enjoy a slightly deeper dive into the beautiful, often codependent relationship between animals and humans. It's something that is all the more interesting today when, beyond the domestic sphere, the lives of individual animals and the trends of species' existences at large can be early and troubling indicators of the way human action is forcing change upon the natural world.
For those whose interests run both in the realm of cat videos as well as the analytical, scientific, and philosophical inquiry into animal life, there is a new site that deserves a top spot on your bookmark list. It's called The Dodo — and while it may be named after an extinct creature, the brand-spankin' new site is already going strong. Backed by Ken Lerer of BuzzFeed and Huffington Post fame and under the direction of Izzie Lerer and former Salon.com editor-in-chief Kerry Lauerman, you'll find everything from silly, fluff-tastic clips to a gritty, real look at the life of an elephant poacher and musings on the far-reaching impact of the documentary, Blackfish.
You can count on a grounded, scientific perspective here, owing in part to Ms. Lerer's academic background. She's currently working on her doctorate at Columbia University, where she's conducted research on (you guessed it!) the changing nature of humanity's relationship with our fellow creatures. With that in mind, though, this is a natural evolution for the Internet's obsession with animals. The more cuteness we are exposed to and the more PETA and its ilk harness viral marketing tactics, the more we are forced to consider animals for what they are — not pests or cartoon caricatures. We've certainly had the exposure. Now, it's time to start thinking deeply about the lives of other creatures. And, The Dodo is a great place to continue that process (not to mention totally addictive, in the best possible way).