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Sanford Health Unveils ZooTV

New Channel Brings Zoo Experience to Hospital Patients

(Sioux Falls, SD) – Sanford patients can now experience Zoo animals right from their hospital beds with the launch of ZooTV. ZooTV is a live feed of animals and behind-the-scenes activities from the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History to televisions in patient and waiting rooms at Sanford Children’s Hospital and Sanford USD Medical Center.

ZooTV includes a network of 14 weatherproof cameras, both fixed and pan-tilt-zoom cameras, that provide video feeds from multiple exhibits throughout the Zoo. Through these high-speed video feeds, visitors at the Zoo and patients can now view the carrousel along with tigers, snow leopards, monkeys, giraffes, meerkats and other animals throughout the day.

“ZooTV can help make a hospital stay interesting and educational for children and adults, alike,” said Charles P. O’Brien, MD, President Sanford USD Medical Center and Sanford Children’s Hospital. “Studies have shown that animals have a healing power, especially for children, and seeing these animals can provide a tremendously calming affect for our patients. They can also offer them a welcome distraction during what can be a difficult time.”

The ZooTV also will include some educational videos of the zoo’s animal educators doing training, feeding or other work with the animals. These cameras will also provide animal caregivers new ways to do their jobs more easily and precisely, including remotely monitoring animals ready to give birth or the introduction of new animals.

“The quality of programming on ZooTV is not being done anywhere else, known to us,” stated Elizabeth Whealy, Great Plains Zoo President and CEO. “Other zoos have developed webcam viewing that allows individual users to download low resolution images to their computers. The new ZooTV is broadcast-quality, real-time video developed specifically for distribution to the Sanford campus via their television system.”

ZooTV was created through a partnership with Sanford Children’s and the Great Plains Zoo. It also included the ZooExpress vehicle which brings Zoo educators and animals to area events, Sanford Clinics, Sanford Children’s Hospital and community celebrations.

About Sanford Children’s Hospital
A part of the Sanford Health system, Sanford Children’s Hospital provides the highest level of pediatric care in its region. Sanford Children’s Hospital opened a new, free-standing building designed to look like a castle in March 2009. This new building provides inpatient, outpatient and clinic services for pediatric patients and their families in a family-centered environment designed to meet the unique healing needs of children. A leader in children’s healthcare for nearly a century, Sanford Children’s continues to revolutionize healthcare with this new facility. The new building also serves as a home base for several new pediatric clinics to be built around the world in the next ten years.

About The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History
The Great Plains Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums – named among the Top 10% of animal institutions in the country. The Zoo offers visitors an up-close look at 850 animals (up by 350 animals in just a few years), from anteaters to zebras, penguins to porcupines, and including an exciting animal collection often not found in larger zoos: tigers, snow leopards, giraffes, rhinoceros, flamingoes and a variety of primates.

The Zoo also includes the Delbridge Museum of Natural History, a local treasure that houses a rare, one-in-the-world collection of 150 mounted animals, including 36 “vanishing species.” In 2008, the Zoo unveiled a new, engaging Asian Cat exhibit, featuring up-close viewing of the amazing big cats. Also recently completed is a new Children’s Zoo, with overhead goat bridges, pony rides and about five times the number of pettable animals for up-close, interactive feeding opportunities.

The Zoo’s attendance in 2007 was 220,000 visitors, up 60% over just two years before. The Zoo teaches 20,000 schoolchildren through ZooMobiles that reach the four-state area, and through on-site ZooCamps and classes. The Zoo participates in 17 endangered species breeding programs, working globally to enhance populations of snow leopards, Siamang gibbons, and other endangered animals.