Did you know that you can view over 60 different animals, including insects, dinosaurs, and many dog and cat breeds, using Google augmented reality technology? I didn’t until just yesterday, though the program has been in the works since 2019. Using any smartphone that is sufficiently recent, you will be presented with the option to view any of the animals included in this technology in 3D, after searching for them with a regular Google search. You don’t even need any additional devices to get the whole 3D experience. While the mission statement of the Google augmented reality technology is to help facilitate learning through getting to see an animal (or machinery, planets, or anatomy, all of which are also included in the program) up close and moving, I also see it as a valuable resource for preserving the appearance and movements of these animals. While most of the animals you can see are not endangered, some are, like the red panda and leopard. I believe that we can save these species from extinction, but having such a clear record of them will ensure that their appearance and behavior can be seen comprehensively in one place.
Of course, Google isn’t the only project that is striving towards these types of records, and they’re definitely not the first. ARKive launched in 2003 with the purpose of collecting photos and videos of every endangered species we know. While the ARKive is no longer accepting photographs, every single picture is being stored safely offline. Not only does ARKive raise awareness and compassion for endangered animals, it also collects a monumental amount of information about each animal, information which I think is crucial to protect.
Another ark is also storing information about endangered animals, albeit different information than ARKive or Google augmented reality. The Frozen Ark project stores the DNA of endangered animals in frozen conditions so that, should they go extinct, they won’t really be gone. The Frozen Ark project also hopes to spread information about the crisis of biodiversity that many species are undergoing, as well as serious climate issues which are leading to endangerment.
Be sure to check out all of the websites I’ve talked about today, they’re all well worth your time. If you know of any other organizations doing this important work, leave me a comment. I will showcase them in the future.
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