My Africa

Created in partnership with Conservation International, Vision 3 grants the public an immersive virtual reality experience that allows viewers to travel to Kenya’s Reiti Elephant Sanctuary. Available for free online or in VR viewing apps, “My Africa: Elephant Keeper” seeks to bridge the gap between man and nature by giving viewers an opportunity to care for a baby elephant at the sanctuary. Viewers feed the baby elephant milk, wet its ears, and listen to its heartbeat, amongst other things. The 2018 film is narrated by Academy Award-Winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, and thematically tackles the degradation of Africa’s natural capital and its effects on the continent’s diverse ecosystems and wildlife, such as the African Elephant. “My Africa: Elephant Keeper” features the Reiti Elephant Sanctuary as an exemplary model of community-based conservation efforts, which not only tackles the protection of elephants from illegal wildlife trade, but protects rangeland from further degradation as well. With the continent predicted to experience a decline in agriculture yields and an increase in water stress, such conservation methods are crucial to mitigation of climate related harms. While well-intentioned, the use of elephants as the main point of connection in conservation-related awareness initiatives has long been criticized as propping up charismatic megafauna, which may not always be the species under the most stress in any given environment. Elephants have long been heralded as a “precious” species by animal and conservation activists, yet the African Elephant itself was moved from endangered to vulnerable status back in 2004. Nevertheless, the creators of “My Africa: Elephant Keeper” do attempt to widen their geographic scope by acknowledging similar degradation occurring in Asia and South America.


Aesthetic/Leisure, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Illegal Resource Extraction, Immersive Technology, Visual Technologies