Virtual Cocos

Virtual Cocos Island Teaches Children About Cocos Island and the Ocean Stops Poaching and the Destruction of Our Ocean Ecosystem

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Sharks, the ultimate predators are suffering a slow and lingering death due to the cruel practice of finning. The animals are still alive when their fins are hacked off, their helpless bodies, thrown overboard, sink to a slow and painful death. Amazingly, the killing is happening in a National Park and World Heritage Site — Cocos Island.


Sharks are hunted, but dolphins, turtles and other marine animals are killed in the process. Change will only come through awareness, education and alternatives, that's where The Imaging Foundation comes in. Our team of scientists, award-winning filmmakers and local grassroots volunteers uses the power of media to educate and develop ocean stewardship.


Cocos is remote, too far for most Costa Ricans to visit, so we will bring the island to them. An immersive educational experience, "Virtual Cocos Island" will foster understanding and pride of their natural heritage. The virtual tour highlights elements that make this island essential to the ocean’s health. The steep cliffs emerge in a virtual dawn, we reveal rich endemic wildlife and an exciting history of piracy, before dipping beneath the waves. Now virtual explorers discover Cocos's greatest treasure, its marine life. Visitors find themselves face to face with sharks and exchange fear for respect. Our tour descends 2,000 feet beneath the surface, highlighting the value of this World Heritage Site and nurturing a desire to protect it.


Essential to this exhibit is an interactive database offering illegal fishing alternatives. Kiosks highlight the role of predators and expose the illegal finning that could destroy it all. A live video feed from the island adds to the experience. All information will be fun, accessible and educational.


Thousands of Costa Rican children and their families will enjoy the exhibit first, promoting environmental stewardship within the community. The exhibit will also tour institutions globally so thousands can enjoy the island's beauty, yet leave it pristine.

Introduction

Cocos Island, lies over 300 miles west of Costa Rica (CR), one of the earth’s last spectacular wild places. The UN inscribed Cocos as a World Heritage Site, a place of “outstanding natural importance to the common heritage of humanity.” But Cocos is now under threat. We will develop a “Virtual Cocos” exhibit providing CR, the US and the world with a breathtaking display of the beauty and the looming environmental crisis, providing a powerful tool to help conserve Cocos.

The Problem
Cocos is remote and expensive to visit, only accessible via a 36 hour boat crossing. In the past this distance protected it from development and fishing. But as our seas become more depleted, fishermen turn to Cocos to fish illegally. Isolation makes it difficult for the authorities to enforce current laws. CR has a strong cultural history of fishing, and few CR citizens have visited the island and are unaware of its importance and beauty, as a result protection laws are unpopular.

The Impact
Our permanent exhibit in San Jose, CR and international touring display, will teach children, teachers and lawmakers about Cocos, raising awareness and support. Thousands will be able to tour the island remotely, without impacting the fragile ecosystem. 50% of sharks are on the endangered species list: Cocos could represent a safe haven, but only with protection. People love what they know and protect what they love. Enabling them to get to know the island, will make them want to protect it.

 


 

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