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Those Cute Animal Videos May Be Causing More Harm Than Good

Those Cute Animal Videos May Be Causing More Harm Than Good


Lucy Cooke, author, "The Truth About Animals"


Photo credit: Basic Books

The book cover for "The Truth About Animals."

The San Diego Zoo advertised three new wallaby joeys last month with the headline: “A Triple Dose of Adorable.”

People love cute animals. Think about some of the zoo’s most popular animals. Giant pandas? Cute. Red pandas? Really cute.

But zoologist Lucy Cooke said all this talk about darling animals may be a disservice. She is the author of the new book, "The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos and Other Tales From the Wild Side of Wildlife."

For every baby animal that draws attention, and more importantly donations, there's another more homely creature without that same affection. Cooke said that's one of the reason vulture conservationists struggle to find funding.

"The urge to anthropomorphize trips us up and obscures the truth," Cooke wrote.

Cooke joins KPBS Midday Edition on Thursday with more on her study into animal myths, like whether moose actually get drunk.

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