Launching Unseen Empire

March 2, 2021

Entering Unseen Empire, you can experience the extraordinary wildlife of forests in far flung corners of exotic habitats in Southeast Asia, and share the delights and challenges of undertaking a continent-wide conservation project. You can also follow the lives of remarkable fieldworkers, and be inspired by their achievements, as you discover the ultimate impact of their dedication. Unseen Empire is a free educational experience built around WildCRU’s extensive camera-trapping survey in search of clouded leopards across Southeast Asia. Unseen Empire brings to life a massive ten-year study by Professor David Macdonald and many folk from the WildCRU team, on the impact of deforestation on the habitat of the clouded leopard. This is part of the largest camera-trapping project ever assembled around clouded leopards or any other species. This research is already producing a portfolio of journal papers, but our goal is to reach far beyond the community of specialists to a wide public. The goal of Unseen Empire is to share the science, the experience and the excitement.

Each virtual conservationist who enters Unseen Empire re-enacts the research process, placing camera traps across 8 countries, collecting and identifying hundreds of never-before-seen photos of rare species. The game pulls back the curtain on the immense effort by people on the ground to keep biodiversity and wild spaces intact.

Dive into Unseen Empire today and please share widely –  our goal is to engage new and widening audiences with nature in novel ways. See a short trailer for the game here.

It is available free on the App Store and Google Play:
Unseen Empire is a collaboration between WildCRU (science and content), Internet of Elephants (audience engagement through digital experiences), and Clever Franke (user interface design). It is made possible by a grant from the National Geographic Society.