JOHANNESBURG – An unlikey social media manager has been appointed to a Johannesburg institution. BG the honey badger has become an online sensation, after becoming the first animal at Johannesburg's Zoo with a Twitter account.
Hi there. I’m BG, pleased to meet you. As of today I am the official social media spokesanimal for the JHB Zoo. Welcome to my tweets.— Tweeting Badger (@zootweetslive) June 14, 2013
The 12 kilogram badger is the zoo's busiest body and quite the gossip.
"He talks about his best time, when his relaxing in the enclosure, he talks about his neighbours which is the porcupine and the African wild cat and he's also talking about the things in the zoo," says Agnes Maluleke, curator of the carnivore section at the zoo.
Awwwww. Look at these two lovers walking hand-in-hand. The zoo is the perfect place for a little romancin’. #younglove— Tweeting Badger (@zootweetslive) July 6, 2013
BG even took the time to congratulate South Africa's Daryl Impey on his Tour de France yellow jersey achievement.
The badger's first tweets were sent out on 14 June 2013, and it seems BG was still getting the hang of the platform - and his claws.
N a`zdjnxkax wq…is my English on? Are my words working? You have no idea how hard it is tweeting with these claws.— Tweeting Badger (@zootweetslive) June 14, 2013
In less than a month on the social media platform, and only 63 tweets, BG tweeting under the handle of @zootweetslive has gathered more than 5, 500 followers.
BG’s state-of-the-art enclosure at the zoo makes it possible for the animal to tweet in real-time. Wireless infra-red motion sensors divide the enclosure into six sections. These pick up where the badger is active and triggers one of hundreds of preloaded tweets relating to his current activity.
Camers's equipped with sensors also make is possible for the Zoo's social spokesperson to keep the public updated via twitpics.
The Johannesburg Zoo posted a video to YouTube introducing BG as their new social media manager, and explaining how this is made possible for an animal without opposable thumbs.
With such a large following, BG seems to be a little more selective about who he follows, with only 73 accounts making the cut. Many of the Twitter accounts the badger follows belong to other international zoo's as well as environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund.
Additional reporting Twitter and YouTube.