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How can you get people who are pre-occupied with economic disaster news and their own possible unemployment to pay attention to your money problems? Put a porcupine on YouTube to tell your story in a humorous way – of course.
Now, with the help of homemade video, YouTube, and online petitions, there’s one less porcupine on line at the NY State Unemployment Office.
Thanks largely to two decidedly low-budget, videos produced by The Wildlife Conservation Society, more than 83,000 people signed online petitions and wrote letters to the New York State legislature, who last week voted to continue funding the state’s 76 zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums.
The videos, which quickly went viral, take a humorous view of a dire situation, offering welcome relief from most news about the economy. In a year in which more than 6.5 million jobs were lost nationwide, the first video’s message is distressingly poignant. The zoo director tells Wednesday the porcupine who lives at the Bronx Zoo: “There’s no easy way to say this … We’re gonna have to let you go … Best of luck to you. I’d be glad to give you a great reference.”
Humor lubricates the tightest situations, and it was intensely clever of the Wildlife Society to use a light touch. Without it, all they would have had was one more desperate appeal in a sea of thousands.
Part One of the two-part video was viewed more than 52,000 times, and Part Two was seen more than 8,000 times, showing Wednesday at the unemployment office and then panhandling in front of the Bronx Zoo.
Unfortunately, notes the NY Daily News, city budget cuts still loom, so Wednesday’s close-up may not be over.