We want to see a world in which we care about animals on a daily basis – what they do, where they go, who they meet, and whether they survive. A world where we have a vested interest in their survival; where, when their lives are interrupted, so too are ours.
We have used technology to create stronger connections between people across the world and it has changed the way we interact, both with those we know as well as those we don’t. There are opportunities for us to make the same connections between people and individual animals. Our attention and reaction to Cecil the Lion’s death seem to indicate that we are eager for that connection.
Changing the Message
Other than wildlife enthusiasts, most people simply read about poaching epidemics or loss of habitat thousands of miles away from were it is actually happening. They react with sadness, but rarely stay actively engaged or understand what is in their power to impact.
More so, we have grown weary of hearing about what is wrong and the seeming hopelessness of the situation. The prevailing pitch to get support include photographs of stranded polar bears on ice flows, organizations and campaigns named “Save the <insert doomed flora or fauna here>”, and contrived World <insert doomed flora or fauna here> Days. Each vie with each other for which message can be the most negative, generate the most pity, and prick your conscious into opening its pocket book to donate.
Our intention is to change that through the use of interactive games and education that take advantage of already existing data on real wild animals. We intend to spark the imagination and energy of people in the same way that the recent death of Cecil the lion prompted a burst of reaction. However, through our solutions, we want that to last, and to celebrate the life of these animals, not just mourn their death.
Using Tech and Data to Change the Game
Internet of Elephants is building innovative ways to engage a worldwide audience with wild animals through a combination of technologies that include GPS hardware, data, games, and social media. The objective is to create a stronger, more vested connection between people and animals that directly influences consumer attitudes and behavior in a way that has a positive impact on wildlife populations worldwide while at the same time generating revenue for the sector.
Through our partnerships with organizations in Kenya, we have access to the GPS data of a variety of wild animals that are being tracked for research purposes. Historically, this type of data has only been used by scientists and researchers and is only accessible to the general public through technical publications or short news articles, often years after it has been collected.
We see this data as an untapped asset and an opportunity to keep people more engaged with these same animals, to create a vested interest in their lives, and in the process generate publicity and revenues for the conservation organizations conducting the research.
We believe that through games for fun and education and even for betting, we can multiply the number of wildlife enthusiasts around the world. Akin to Farmville, or fantasy sports, or horse racing, or even playing the stock market, we can ‘play’ with wild animals that are not within our sight, but with whom technology allows us information about their movements and whereabouts. We can visualize those movements in a way that elicits a connection and a desire to learn more. We change the way children learn about animals or perhaps even other topics such as geography and math. And we can do this while at the same time generating a revenue stream that is not dependent on on-going donations but instead on the inherent value of the product or service being provided.
We believe our solutions can engage 40 million people around the world with wildlife and generate $100 to $200 million USD for wildlife conservation initiatives per year.
The Benefits to Wildlife Conservation
- The democratization of access to wildlife for the masses improves awareness, has a long-term impact on consumer behavior, and helps to foster interest and love for animals at a young age.
- Massive revenues directed directly back into the wildlife conservation organizations that provide data to the games that can be used towards further research, resources, and programs.
- Direct access for wildlife organizations to an untapped donor segment that could previously only be reached through intermediaries or with expensive campaigns.