Internet of Elephants – Satellite Stories

Virtual reality experiences, documentaries, and pictures can be effective tools for making people appreciate the diversity of wildlife and nature, however, what is shown is a snapshot in time. It is a daunting task to effectively communicate a wider time frame in these visual mediums because it would require many more hours, resources, and, frankly, attention span than is practical. Internet of Elephant’s new Satellite Stories project attempts to expand the typical view that outsiders have of popular species by using data captured via satellite to show how these animals live, interact, and entertain themselves during their average week. Internet of Elephants created this project in the fall of 2018 by partnering with the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in central Kenya to track the populations of 12 different species living within the conservancy. Viewers see a top-down view of the conservancy with small clusters of different coloured dots representing each species. Species include the ever-popular elephant and zebra, but also more elusive and lesser-known species, like the aardwolf, all meant to showcase the rich diversity of the region. As the populations move during the week, so do the dots, and certain stories, such as an elephant jumping the conservancy fence to raid an adjacent crop field, are highlighted for the viewer. Data on these 12 species is collected via chip, colour, or another tracking mechanism by the Ol Pejeta Conservancy and is later mapped, making the data on the day-to-day adventures of species the foundation of the visual experience. The result is a product meant to show people the lives and interactions of species which are normally only seen in snippets. A critique could be levelled that by showcasing species in their natural habitat and showing the seemingly vast expanse they live in, viewers are lulled into a false sense of security that the animals and the land on which they depend is safe and abundant, when in reality many of these animals are endangered, poached, and their native landscape threatened by encroaching humans and a changing environment. As important as it is to highlight the beauty of the natural world, not hiding the reality of its current state is equally as important.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Ecological Modelling, Immersive Technology, Monitoring, Psychology