With health officials around the world urging the public to practice social distancing during the covid-19 outbreak, zoos, art galleries and museums are offering more remote programming. That doesn’t cut it? Thanks to Google 3D wild animals are ‘entering’ people’s homes.
Find out how you can interact with animals from your sofa to help you calm your worries.
Image via Camstreamer
The Dallas Zoo began sharing behind-the-scenes footage and educational videos on social media, using the hashtag #BringTheZooToYou.
Edinburgh Zoo has a variety of webcams set up for virtual visitors to watch Yang Guang the panda, as well as penguins, tigers and koalas.
Chester Zoo has more than 50 activities you can access online – on all things animals, science and conservation. And the attraction, which has just released the first images of its rare twin baby lemurs born to parents Fiona and Dog, has more fun planned later this week. The zoo is planning to do a ‘virtual zoo day’ live on its Facebook page starting at 10am UK time on Friday, broadcasting animal action from various habitats around the zoo at different points in the day.
The San Diego Zoo directed their fans to 10 live webcams that feature the zoo’s koalas, penguins, tigers and other animals. Also included is archival footage of giant pandas that were returned to China.
Image via Secret London
If you want to check out something entertaining how about keeping an eye out for this famous Melbourne Zookeeper who found a unique way to entertain fans who tuned into a livestream to watch some giraffes when he broke out in an epic dance routine on the zoo’s live video feed. “Animal House” is a live series that allows people stuck at home to enjoy the Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo as coronavirus continues to sweep throughout the world. In the video shared to the zoo’s Instagram, the zookeeper — named Adam — showed off his epic moves in front of one of the giraffe exhibits, even pulling out a fan as a prop.
Image via USATODAY
The currently closed Shedd Aquarium is one of the most visited cultural institutions in Chicago. Even though the centre has now closed to the public the staff have reassured everyone that the animals will continue to receive care. While closed the aquarium staff let some of the penguins out of their exhibits to explore the aquarium and visit other animals. People watching from home were thrilled to see footage of the cheeky penguins’ antics on social media. “Penguins in the Amazon?! ????????,” the beloved Chicago aquarium wrote on Twitter. “Some of the penguins went on a field trip to meet other animals at Shedd. Wellington seemed most interested in the fishes in Amazon Rising! The black-barred silver dollars also seemed interested in their unusual visitor.”
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, the aquarium’s executive director, Julie Packard, invited the public to view the aquarium’s webcams. People can watch live videos of jellyfish, penguins and sharks from their homes. The aquarium’s Monterey Bay Cam also offers viewers a peek at the birds and sea mammals — like harbor seals and sea otters. For the first time, people can view the aquarium’s sea otter exhibit via webcam to see rescued sea otter pups interacting with their foster moms.
Animals in your own home
Image via Engadget
Looking for some animal magic a little closer to home? Last year, Google introduced a new way for people to interact with their favourite animals online, thanks to augmented reality. To use the feature, you’ll need to google an animal, for example: ‘giant panda’. Just underneath the image search results and the Wikipedia description of the panda, you’ll be able to see a little box that says, “Meet a life-sized giant panda up close”. Click the ‘view in 3D’ button, then click ‘view in your space’ to see the panda in your own surroundings. You’ll need to give Google access to your camera for it to be able to insert the panda into your space. In order to access this feature, your device will need to be AR enabled. The best part is that it works for both Android and iOS users. For android, it requires an operating system of Android 7.0. For iPhone users, the running iOS needs to be 11.0 or higher.
This creature may not be a bird, animal or even a plane but an augmented-reality sculpture by KAWS! The street artist KAWS aka Brian Donnelly has stepped into the digital art world with an AR art project that will bring virtual versions of his trademark “Companion” figures. The artist has partnered with the VR and AR production house Acute Art on the project. “Given the current situation with COVID-19 we do not encourage the gathering of people, but instead, propose that you enjoy this small version of COMPANION (EXPANDED) for free in the comfort of your own space,” said KAWS in a statement. “I am completely overwhelmed and thankful for the way my project has been embraced and love seeing all the photos being uploaded so please keep them coming. THANK YOU!! Stay Safe!” COMPANION (EXPANDED) is free of charge until April 15. Download the Acute Art app here.
Text by Peigi Mackillop