New Technology Brings the Public in China Up Close to Endangered Wildlife

studentelephant

Young conservationists perform at an awareness event in China encouraging youth to learn more about endangered species. Photo: IFAW

Young conservationists perform at an awareness event in China encouraging youth to learn more about endangered species. Photo: IFAW

During the last quarter of 2015 the public in China was given a unique opportunity to get up close and interact with life-size wildlife. In shopping malls across the country, augmented reality screens featuring – among other characters – ‘Laura’ the elephant were placed in central locations. This was accompanied by a ‘pledge board’ asking signees to reject ivory consumption, as well as games, elephant photo galleries and mascots. The display areas at the Harbin and Chengdu shopping malls alone receive a combined passenger flow of 110,000 per day. The activities have been highlighted on social media, posters, signage and extensive media coverage, allowing even more potential consumers to receive the anti-ivory message. The activity aims to connect people with wild animals and help reduce demand for wildlife products in China, one of its key markets. The initiative was carried out by USAID partner the International Fund for Animal Welfare in China under the USAID-funded ARREST program.

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