May 09

vEco launches VR app in partnership with UNEP-GRASP

vEcotourism.org is both proud and incredibly excited to be launching our first virtual reality mobile app in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme – Great Apes Survival Partnership (UNEP-GRASP) and the Ape Alliance: apeAPP VR!

The app, which will be available on both Android and iOS smartphones, will offer immersive tours of all great ape habitats, designed to be viewed in full, immersive 360 degrees when paired with a Google Cardboard-style headset. You’ll explore locations from Gashaka Gumti National Park in Nigeria to the Tripa Peat Swamp in Indonesia simply by turning your head, and learn more about each great ape species via engaging audio narrations and interactive hotspots that display close-up images, fact sheets, and maps.


Doug Cress, programme coordinator for UN-GRASP (left) and Ian Redmond, Chairman of the Ape Alliance and Ambassador for vEcotourism.org


Launching to coincide with the 2nd United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) on 23 May, 2016, the app will showcase the innovative conservation efforts of GRASP, the coalition building of the Ape Alliance, and vEco’s ground-breaking VR technology.

Doug Cress, programme coordinator for the United Nation’s Great Ape Survival Partnership (GRASP) said: “It is our pleasure to bring you this innovative collaboration between our three organizations, bringing cutting-edge virtual reality technology to bear for great ape conservation.

“VR allows anyone with an inexpensive headset and a smartphone to make a connection with a (non-human) great ape. Once the app is released in late May, 2016, you’ll simply install the app from Google’s Play Store, if you have an Android phone, or from Apple’s App Store, if you have an iPhone; slip the phone inside the headset and off you go!”

GRASP Headset design

Ian Redmond, Chairman of the Ape Alliance and Ambassador for vEcotourism.org added: “I’m a huge believer in getting people outside, into nature, so that they can discover the natural world for themselves. But not everyone can afford the time and money to travel, and some places are simply too sensitive too accommodate throngs of visitors. Virtual reality offers an alternative way for people to explore, discover, and ultimately come to care about faraway places and species. You don’t get the smells, unfortunately, but it’s still quite something!”

If you’d like to experience apeAPE VR and you won’t happen to be in Nairobi at the end of May, stay tuned to our website or social media and we’ll let you know when the app is available online. If you don’t already own a Google Cardboard headset, now’s the time to pick one up! vEco recommends this model (£8) in the UK and this one ($15) in the USA.


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  1. Happy World Gorilla Day! » Virtual Ecotourism

    […] Karisoke began as a couple of tents in a forest clearing at 10,000ft (3,000m) in the saddle between two extinct volcanoes, Mount Visoke and Mount Karisimbi. By the time I arrived in 1976, it had grown to a cluster of corrugated iron cabins, each with a bed, a desk, a typewriter and a smoky wood-burning stove. Today, those cabins have gone and New Karisoke is a modern building in the nearby town of Musanze (formerly Ruhengeri) with laboratories, offices and this year, a public exhibition showing 50 years of research and conservation work. On this new virtual safari, we begin by joining the Geminder Family from Australia on a visit to the Titus Group, meeting descendants of the gorillas Dian Fossey began studying in 1967. Then we move to the peaceful glade near the site of the original Karisoke where Dian Fossey and a number of gorilla poacher victims are buried. Finally, we visit the 50th Anniversary exhibition in New Karisoke to learn about Dian’s extraordinary career. The Mountain Gorilla story is one of the few good news stories in conservation, with their numbers slowly recovering. What a wonderful, and — with your help! — lasting legacy. See http://www.4apes.com/species/gorilla for more information on gorillas and a list of organisations working for their survival. For more virtual gorilla safaris, click on the Take a tour tab above, or download the Apps, Gorilla Safari VR and Ape App VR. […]

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