Mobile Games Combat Poachers in Indonesia
In an attempt to curtail poaching, Indonesian Society for Animal Welfare has taken an innovative new approach.
They have teamed up with mobile game developers to protect the diverse and endangered wildlife in Indonesia, creating apps to raise awareness and educate masses.
“Many young people now own smart phones,” says Kinanti Kusumawardani, executive director of the Indonesian Society for Animal Welfare. “Mobile games are a way to generate their attention, as they are less interested in listening to lectures.”
A competition was held: developers were to create a game that promoted wildlife conservation and featuring local endangered wildlife. Two winners emerged, both of which incidentally deal with birds.
‘Pora: Free Cockatoos’ follows a fish named Pora who wields a cannon of sorts to torpedo poachers imprisoning yellow-crested cockatoos. The villains in the game cram the birds into plastic bottles, which is a malicious exercise that has in fact happened. The game’s creator, NED studio, previously released Pora the Lake Rescuer, which found the same titular crusader battling trash in Lake Toba.
The other app is ‘Adventures of Jalak,’ an endless-runner game where a Bali starling aids friends escaping from hunters. The exotic and endangered starling is taken by poachers and sold for up to $500 each. The app is free, but it may soon include an avenue to donate money to conservation efforts.
There are roughly some 30 million active gamers in Indonesia, and almost half spent money on mobile games last year.
“Playing games can make users feel involved [with a cause] without being too serious,” said Andi Surja Boediman, a managing partner with an Indonesia venture capital firm that works with game developers “It’s effective to raise awareness.”