London Aquarium Nabs PETA Award for Virtual Reality Orca and Polar Bears

For Immediate Release:

30 March 2016


Jennifer White +44 (0) 20 7837 6327, ext 222; [email protected]

LONDON AQUARIUM NABS PETA AWARD FOR VIRTUAL REALITY ORCA AND POLAR BEARS Earth’s High-Tech Exhibit Allows Visitors to Learn About Animals Without Harming Them

London – Following an immense public outcry over exhibits which exploit live animals, SEA LIFE London Aquarium has unveiled a new collaboration with the BBC – “Frozen Planet: Face to Face”, London’s first-ever augmented-reality display. The progressive exhibit allows visitors to interact with virtual reality animals, including polar bears and an orca, without harming real animals. And in recognition of the educational, animal-free exhibit, BBC Earth and the London aquarium will receive Proggy Awards from PETA. PETA’s Proggy Awards (“Proggy” is for “progress”) recognise animal-friendly achievements in commerce and culture.

“The SEA LIFE London Aquarium is diving into the future with cutting-edge technology that inspires young people to take an interest in animals without exploiting sea life”, says PETA Director Mimi Bekhechi. “This immersive augmented-reality experience ushers in a new wave of kindness and demonstrates that aquaria no longer need to imprison fish, or other aquatic animals for human entertainment.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that even the largest tank cannot offer the kind of environment that fish need in order to thrive. Fish are genetically adapted to swim in massive bodies of water. They are intelligent animals who can recognise individuals and maintain complex social relationships. In aquaria, shy fish have no escape from loud noises and flashing cameras and are often forced to live with incompatible species in tiny, barren tanks. Many animals in aquaria exhibit signs of psychological distress, such as swimming endlessly in circles.

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