Internet of Elephants builds AR app to help wildlife conservation

Nairobi startup – Internet of Elephants – is building an app-based game to help boost public awareness of wildlife conservation.

The Kenyan social enterprise aims to educate people about endangered species in an engaging way, turning animal migrations into a game. It’s a collaboration of technologists, conservationists, educators, game designers and strategists. Their stated aim is to create a stronger connection between people and wild animals.

The group is creating an app-based game, also called Internet of Elephants. It helps users learn about different species of wildlife in Kenya and elsewhere. Users select animals and place them in their real-world environments. They can then follow them around and play games based on each animal’s migration pattern. The app also has a reference guide for further background.

Internet of Elephants is a play on the term the Internet of Everything. It’s the brainchild of Gautam Shah, who came to Kenya from the United States and originally worked in IT consultancy. Jake Manion is product lead. He spent six years as creative director for Aardman Animations. Bas Hochstenbach creates business and finance strategy. Michiel Sala is in charge of game development through his company Little Chicken.

Internet of Elephants is building up partnerships with different conservation groups. Each group can create its own areas within the app, building up material around a particular animal.

Over time, the app will build to cover a wide variety of geographies and different groups. It is thought a range of organizations working with animals will be involved, including conservation-minded zoos and preserves.

The game also has the potential for monetisation, both for its own business and its partner organisations. Payment could be required for new levels and migrations, or new animals to unlock. There will also be options to donate within the app.

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