Photo by John Matychuk from Unsplash

Photo by John Matychuk from Unsplash

INDIANAPOLIS ZOO – Crisis Management

Inspiring compassion amidst tragedy.

The Indianapolis Zoo experienced an incredibly difficult situation in the spring of 2019 after losing two of their young elephants to a rare virus. Though the Zoo provided exceptional care, it is always at risk of attack by protestors and people who don’t understand the work the organization does to advance animal conservation.

It was important that the Zoo be able to communicate in a timely and transparent fashion despite not having all details of the situation. The organization also needed to calm fears related to the health of the remaining elephants in the herd, as well as the safety of the Zoo staff, volunteers and guests.

Borshoff counseled C-suite executives and provided guidance on communications strategy, positioning and approach. We developed messaging that was used internally and externally for all audiences and media-trained the Indianapolis Zoo president for an emotional press conference. While the issue received weeks of national attention, the news coverage was compassionate and the social media sentiment was far more positive than anticipated. Coverage included more than 1,500 articles nationally and internationally, including CNN, U.S. News and ABC and CBS national. The Indianapolis Zoo has since become a leader on the topic EEHV (elephant endotheliotropic herpesvirus) and is working with organizations around the world to promote elephant health and well-being.

Photo by Camilo Jimenez from Unsplash

The public response to the Zoo’s tragic loss was deeply compassionate and widespread, garnering more than 1,500 articles from news outlets across the globe, including CNN and The Indianapolis Star.

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