Google, Save the Elephants and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy partner to offer a virtual safari experience, and get users closer to elephants
You can wander the streets of New York, London, Paris, and Sydney, take a camel trek through the Liwa desert, swim with humpback wales in New Zealand, hike Everest base camp, and now, take yourself on a safari in northern Kenya. All in the space of a few minutes from the comfort of from your chair. Google Street View has opened up the world to the world – inspiring a new generation of digital explorers.
For the first time, Google Street View has come to Kenya – and the result is thrilling. Users can take a virtual safari through Samburu National Reserve and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. Furthermore, you have your own virtual guide with you – for every elephant you come across, you will have access to information collected over the years by the Save The Elephants team; the name of the individual, age, behaviour, history and family. It is hoped that this will help to raise global awareness about elephants and their landscape.
Elephants roam vast distances – and the individuals featured in the programme spend a lot of time in NRT member conservancies too. They benefit from NRT’s elite anti-poaching units as well as the conservancy rangers who also help to monitor and protect them. Thanks to NRT’s Wildlife CoMMS system, data collected by rangers in the field is easily and efficiently transferred into a central database – accessible to our conservation partners.
“We hope that by bringing Street View to Samburu, we will inspire people around the world to gain a deeper appreciation for elephants,” the AFP news agency quotes Google Kenya’s Farzana Khubchandani as saying. Other wildlife, such as lion and leopard, can also be seen on the virtual safari. In Lewa, users can visit the elephant underpass, explore the infamous Lewa Marathon route, and even pay a visit to the NRT HQ.
“The more people experience our culture, our people and the majestic elephants and other wildlife with which we co-exist, the more we are able to conserve and sustain the Samburu culture and its fragile ecosystem for generations to come,” said Samburu County Governor, Moses Lenolkulal.