CINCINNATI — A family 6,000 miles away draws comfort in times of trouble from videos made by the Cincinnati Zoo.
“I wanted them to know, halfway around the world, it really – everything they post – it makes a difference, and they’re doing a fantastic job,” Rachel Segal said.
Segal's family lives in Herzliya, Israel. This week, video from their part of the work has shown rocket attacks and air strokes between Gaza militants and Israelis — a situation that’s scary for people caught in the middle.
“It’s a very complicated story, and the human level, it’s very, very sad on all sides,” Segal said.
Segal and her daughter, Anna, are surprised at the violence that’s descended on the place they call home.
“When things are calm in Israel, it is a wonderful place to live,” Segal said. “Great food, great people, great beach — but right now it’s unsettling, to say the least.”
The situation is so dangerous that the Segal family heads to a shelter in the basement of their house when the sirens sound.
“It’s stressful if you don’t know whether you can take a shower or go get a carton of milk or take you dog to the vet, or your son to get allergy shots, because you’re afraid rockets are going to fall,” Segal said.
When they’re huddled in their shelter, she said she turns to something comforting from her hometown of Cincinnati: videos created by the Cincinnati Zoo.
“That’s what made me feel happy again,” Anna Segal said. “You can see the cute baby animals from the zoo hugging their mothers or baby Fiona trying to eat the rain — it makes you smile again after this scary part.”
The videos are so helpful in the family’s hardship that Rachel felt compelled to message the zoo to thank them, saying in part: “I just wanted to say watching the video of your baby rhino yesterday was particularly special as it calmed my eight and 11-year-olds after we were forced into our bomb shelter due to heavy rocket fire.”
After receiving Rachel’s message, Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard told his staff they could change their daily motto from "Inspire every visitor with wildlife every day" to "Inspire everybody, everywhere with wildlife every day."