Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky thinks we have an animal meme problem.
“With technology taking up so much of our lives, it’s easy to feel disconnected from nature and animals,” he said in an announcement from the travel company on Thursday. “Maybe this is why social media is dominated by animal memes." And existential dread, Brian.
His disdain for dank content is part of what inspired a brand new category of Airbnb travel offerings, aptly dubbed Airbnb Animal Experiences, focusing on nature and animals simultaneously, with the help of expert hosts. That could look like a lot of things, and the video presented with the announcement (shown above) tries to cover the bases. You see people bird watching, paddle boarding with corgis, hangin' with horses, and even -- as Airbnb puts it -- eating with "naughty sheep." Interpret that how you will.
The new category of travel experiences is in an exclusive partnership with The Dodo, the leading brand for mobile animal content and Thrillist's sister site (our parent company is Group Nine Media). In other words, you don't have to worry about the animals featured in these experiences being abused or harmed.
Airbnb said the experiences will be "underpinned by a new, industry-leading animal welfare policy, created in collaboration with World Animal Protection." The company's new approach to animal welfare is based on the latest research, and policies range from feeding limitations to avoiding exploitive offerings -- like elephant rides -- in general.
To give you a sense of what to expect from the wide array of new Animal Experiences, Airbnb provided a list of highlighted excursions:
- Tea with Naughty Sheep (Loch Lomond, United Kingdom)
- Meet the Dogs of Chernobyl (Slavutych, Ukraine)
- Discover Arctic Foxes (Sudavik, Iceland)
- New Zealand Getaway and Horseplay (Auckland, New Zealand)
- Gibbon Research Assistant Experience (Phuket, Thailand)
- Urban Rooftop Beekeeping (Hamilton, Canada)
- Butterflies and Caterpillars Oh My! (Columbus, Ohio)
- Meet Life-Saving Animals (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
- See Released Macaws (Nosara, Costa Rica)
- Ultimate Cape Town Birding (Cape Town, South Africa)
- Wild Brooklyn Parrot Safari (Brooklyn, New York)
- Go on a Safari with a Maasai Guide (Nakuru, Kenya)
- Hike Runyon Canyon with a Rescue Dog (Los Angeles, CA)
- A Day in a Gaucho’s Life in the Andes (Mendoza, Argentina)
As you can see, there are various levels of intensity for these excursions. The company's announcement even mentions helping rescue puppies lost in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which is absolutely danker than memes and will probably reduce your existential internet dread, as well.