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It’s a rap: Zoo’s blue tongue skink in hip-hop vid

NEWS RELEASE
1 June 2005

It’s a rap: Zoo’s blue tongue skink in hip-hop video

Scales and a blue tongue have proven appealing for an Auckland hip-hop group - who have called on a blue tongue skink from Wellington Zoo to appear in their music video.

Usually resident at Wellington Zoo, Billy the skink was driven to Get This One studios at Island Bay to star in recently-formed JCK’s new video.

Filmed in the hand of lead singer Lou Ludbrooke as well as lead artist JCK, the skink accompanied two wolfhounds and two doves in achieving a reflection of the dancers’ movements through the movements of the animals.

Get This One Director Matt Zwartz says: “We wanted to get away from some of the visual clichés associated with this genre of music. The use of animals, particularly the skink, allowed us to do this while adding visual interest and power at the same time.”

Targeting the 13-to-28-year age bracket, the video offers the Zoo an opportunity to showcase the animal world to a demographic that is not prominent among Zoo visitors.

Zoo Animal Conditioner and Trainer Gerry Whitehouse-Tedd says: “This skink hasn’t done any film work prior to this music video, so it’s quite a novelty for him.”

Native to Australia, blue tongue skinks are aptly named after their huge blue tongue which resembles an unruly, scaly blue pancake when it ‘tastes’ the air.

While the skink is not a species considered to be endangered, it is still a popular member of the Zoo’s Close Encounter animals and often appears in the Zoo’s Living Room as part of learning experiences for children and adults.

However, the Zoo is not limited to just one blue tongue skink – there are also three other members of this species in the recently-constructed Scaly Nursery which is also home to a range of other reptiles and amphibians.

Although music videos are not the norm for Wellington Zoo animals, Gerry says some animals at the Zoo are available for film and television work - however they should be shown in a positive light; not in an inappropriate manner.

ENDS

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