- Pioneering app brings wild animals to life with your smartphone
- Snap them in your world then add to social media to win African safari
- Contest raises funds for animal charities in Africa and Americas
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 Elysees 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 October 7th, and features weekly challenges to capture all of the six species involved – 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."
Players crowdfund 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 the six conservation organisations partnering with Internet of Elephants: Conservation International, the Chicago Zoological Society, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Space for Giants, Tswalu Foundation and Pro-Carnivores..
Game uses data from real animals living in the wild
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 that conservation charity 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," said 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."
full game coming summer 2018
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
available royalty free for features regarding Safari Central through our Google Drive folder.
Internet of Elephants
+254 715 277 453
Space for Giants
+44 7815 507865
Ol Pejeta Conservancy
WWF Brazil & Pro-Carnivores
Pro-Carnivores: Viviane Pismel firstname.lastname@example.org +55 11 4411-6966
WWF-Brazil: Taís Paiva email@example.com, +55 61 99810 3050
firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 703-341-2405
Chicago Zoological Society