The use of animals in entertainment is going out of fashion for ethical reasons and its decreasing popularity. The documentary Black Fish has put the spotlight on the plight of big sea mammals in water parks. Bullfighting is on the wane in Spain and other parts of the world as younger generations are not entertained by animal cruelty. Recently, Ringling Bros announced it was retiring its elephants ahead of schedule. And all over the world our treatment of animals is undergoing a paradigm shift.
One institution that is also under serious scrutiny is the zoo. Formerly seen as a kind of classic family entertainment, these days its image is of a miserable prison where animals pace around listlessly, craving for the freedom they have never known. In low budget zoos, animals often starve and receive no veterinary care. Even in relation to zoos with considerable resources, the question arises as to the ethics of capturing and displaying animals for humans to see.
These days, technology gives us new and better ways to appreciate animals. There are plenty of TV shows with high budgets to record stunning footage of animals in their habitats. Now, a team of Spanish digital imaging experts has created what they call eZOO, which consists of state-of-the-art digital footage of animals in the wild. The images are stunning and offer a much more intense experience than seeing animals locked up behind a fence, looking miserable.
eZOO is also meant to support protection and conservation efforts, so fifty percent of its profits go to the protection of biodiversity in reserves, sanctuaries and national parks.
In order to get the project off the ground, the eZOO team has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo where supporters can get Cheempo, a plush toy that is the first of a series of characters to promote the concept.
The characters are targeted at children to educate them about sustainability, the dignity of animals and the preservation of their habitats.
Funds raised directly through Cheempo will go to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) to improve the living conditions of chimpanzees. Cheempo comes with additional Augmented Reality compatible to smart phones or tablets. The additional content will serve to educate supporters and backers, and will show the natural habitat of the chimpanzees.
Image credit: eZoo
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