Online dating sites aren’t just for humans anymore! Now animals are getting hooked up too, Time reports. A computerized system is being used to match the most desirable animals from different zoos, taking their behavioral patterns, geography, and individual quirks into account to find their best mating matches. Heath, a 12-year-old river otter in California's Oakland Zoo successfully mated with Ginger, a 5-year-old, who was brought over from Massachusetts, and they are now proud parents, thanks to the database.
The hook-up process is used to conserve species and create wildlife ambassadors. However, the argument that it's unrealistic to release animals in captivity into the wild has been made by some. It began in 1981 with the “Species Survival Plan,” when accredited American zoos started matching their animals up with each other. In 2000, the American Zoo Association created the Population Management Center, which manages the electronic stud books with all the animals’ info.
Zoo staff are pretty stoked about the results. “I was speechless. Elated,” Oakland Zoo's otter keeper, Andrea Dougall, told the San Francisco Chronicle, when she discovered that Ginger had babies. I mean, who doesn’t like baby otters?
Image by David and Micha Sheldon; Courtesy of TIME