FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NAIROBI, 21 August, 2017 – A world-first competition launching today turns everyone with a smartphone into a wildlife photographer wherever they are, bringing ferocious fun to funding conservation and giving players a chance to win a safari to Africa.
Safari Central, from gaming group Internet of Elephants, uses data from animal protection organisations to create Augmented Reality (AR) versions of real animals including elephants, jaguars, and lemurs, in a free app that players download to their phones.
There they can unleash their creativity to take photos of their favourite animals wherever they are. A virtual rhino might be snapped charging down the Champs Élysées in Paris, or a pangolin starting a climb over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or a grizzly bear barging between tables at a streetside cafe in Chicago.
Players enter their favourite images to a photo contest on social media using the hashtag #RewildYourWorld. The competition runs to 7 October, and features weekly challenges to capture all six species – grizzly bears, indri lemurs, black rhinoceroses, African elephants, pangolins, and jaguars – as well as an overall Augmented Reality Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner.
“The grand vision is to get millions of people around the world to think about wildlife for five minutes every day, and think about it positively,” says Gautam Shah, founder of Internet of Elephants, the initiators and makers of Safari Central.
“Conservation suffers from so much bad news and gloomy images. People just want to turn the page or change the channel. But there are more than two billion people who play online or computer games. What if by playing our games we can get even a fraction of them to be addicted to wildlife? That could be a real game-changer for conservation.”
It’s free to download the app and to enter your first photographs into the competition. Players can then opt to buy more ‘photo film’, and those micro payments accumulate and go to Space for Giants and the five other conservation organisations partnering with Internet of Elephants: Chicago Zoological Society at Brookfield Zoo, Conservation International, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Tswalu Foundation, and The Institute for the Conservation of Neotropical Carnivores – “Pro-Carnivores”.
Each organisation gave Internet of Elephants data and images on actual animals that they research and monitor. The game designers then used that information to create virtual versions of those very animals for the photo competition.
The elephant in Safari Central, for example, is Mweturia, a 40-year-old bull who lives in central Kenya and is notorious for breaking fences Space for Giants has erected to protect farmers’ fields from his ‘crop-raiding’. As they take part in the photo contest, players are also learning about actual animals conservationists are working to protect.
“Linking people who play games directly to an actual animal living and roaming the wilderness today is, in our minds, genius,” says Max Graham, Space for Giants’ CEO. “It gives people an understanding of the very real lives of these animals, and of the very real threats they face, in a way that isn’t overly gloomy, and doesn’t lecture or preach. That’s the way potentially to gather millions and millions of new supporters to all our causes. We’re super excited to be part of this.”
Safari Central’s AR animals will go on to feature in a full Internet of Elephants game scheduled for release for the summer of 2018.
It will use GPS data of the animals’ movements across their territories – a jaguar patrolling the Brazilian rainforest, perhaps, or an elephant browsing Kenya’s savannah – and overlay that to selected world cities. Players will then track and try to spot the animals’ virtual twins, picking up insights into their behaviour that give them tactical advantages.
Notes to Editors
To learn more and download the app please go to www.safaricentralgame.com.
Images are available royalty free for features regarding Safari Central. Please find a selection of low and high resolution images at http://safaricentralgame.com/press.
Internet of Elephants Gautam Shah firstname.lastname@example.org +254 715 277453
Space for Giants Emma Ledger email@example.com, +44 7815 507865
Space for Giants works in Kenya, Gabon, Botswana, and Uganda to protect Africa’s elephants from immediate threats like poaching while working to secure their habitats forever in landscapes facing greatly-increasing pressures. www.spaceforgiants.org