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Chester Zoo has Launched a New Mobile AR Game To Transform Real-life Surroundings into a Jungle

Chester Zoo has recently launched a new mobile augmented reality (AR) game that transports users into a jungle environment, where they can track animals and complete conservation tasks from their smartphone devices.

Players of the AR game join a group of wildlife scientists and put in efforts to protect the remaining wild spaces on the planet, which are home to critically endangered ape species. The game is centered around animals found in the wilderness today, and individuals who are preserving them. Augmented reality brings all such elements to life within one’s living space.

Internet of Elephants, the Kenyan game company behind the offering, has partnered with conservation bodies including the Goualougo Triangle Ape Foundation and Zoo Atlanta, and the Borneo Nature Foundation. The app, known as Wildeverse, is available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play.

Some fans have labelled the application as the wildlife equivalent of Pokémon Go. According to them, the difference is that the characters one comes across are real animals, and so are the messages being conveyed to the players.

The Chester Zoo Wildeverse app creates a jungle of your environment. Image source: wildeverse

Charlotte Smith, Chester Zoo’s Head of Conservation Education and Engagement, remarked that the organization is seeking out inventive methods for encouraging individuals to join in their mission. This would help them prevent possibilities of extinction and turn into future wildlife conservationists. Smith remarked that the objective behind focusing on the widespread popularity of mobile platform gaming, to aid people in living environment-friendly lives and promote endangered species conservation.

He elaborated about the new application, calling it an incredible experience that takes users on a trip to the tropical rainforests. The app also features real-life conservation professionals who collaborate with the zoo in the field. The conservation messages and storylines within the application are influenced by what real conservationists face, including those employed at the Chester Zoo.

Speaking in the context of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Smith said that since most people now are having to confine themselves within their homes, they have a lot of time to enjoy breathtaking wildlife experiences without having to go anywhere. Chester Zoo and its partners of animal conservation are hopeful of creating a necessary connection between wildlife and people, by making observations of virtual jungles within the homes of players.

Gautam Shah, Internet of Elephants founder, remarked about the sharply reducing number of apes across the globe. He emphasized that wildlife conservationists are facing considerable struggles, with support online coming from a small number of people.

Shah revealed that his team had to make trips to the jungle areas of Borneo and Congo to get a closer look into the work of conservationists. It was also a necessary step to scout the game’s wildlife stars. The four chosen stars of the game are a gorilla named Buka, Aida the chimpanzee, an orangutan called Fio and a Gibbon named Chilli. Shah wants to turn more people into wildlife lovers and conservation supports with AR technology.

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