How On the Edge is Bringing Awareness to Lesser Known Species

The On the Edge foundation is protecting lesser-known species and the worlds they live in.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The On the Edge foundation is protecting lesser-known species and the worlds they live in. Image: Pixabay

Reading Time: 3 minutes

How On the Edge is Bringing Awareness to Lesser Known Species

Humans tend to be attracted to the beautiful things in life. We perceive good-looking products to function better due to an emotional response we cannot control. Interestingly, we do the same with animals. We are programmed to be drawn to “cute” animals. This even happens with animals that are at risk or endangered. The “cute” animals like panda bears, polar bears, or elephants might get more attention from the general public than a less “cute” animal, say a snake or toad.  

Studies have shown that less aesthetically pleasing animals receive less research and conservation funding. Vertebrates like mammals, fish and reptiles have been said to get 468 times more investment in conservation efforts than invertebrates such as insects, spiders and worms. And even among the invertebrates, there is less research on the “less cute” species. For example, wasps help regulate populations of caterpillars, spiders, and green flies, yet they receive significantly less attention than the bumblebee.  

Conservationists urge us to change the narrative around the “ugly” animals because they need protection too. The On the Edge (Edge being an acronym for Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered) foundation is looking to change that. On the Edge protects lesser-known species and the worlds they live in. The foundation uses innovative digital campaigns to raise awareness about animals, including the Indian pangolin, the purple frog, the great hornbill and many more.   

They are looking at telling stories about species you’ve never heard about before and bringing them to life through movies, video games and tv shows. They work with communities to learn more about the species and discover how they need protection.  

On the Edge’s Save the Purple Frog video game, for example, highlights the importance of this unique animal that lives underground for all but one day each year when they hop to their breeding ground. Within the game, you become emersed in the dangers the purple frog experiences daily, and you learn fun facts about it as you go.  

In the Kākāpo Run game, players face threats that have almost wiped out this unique species. Quick moves will get you to safety — and save the species!

There are a number of reasons why gamifying and making important topics fun can help with topical engagement.

  • A game makes learning more fun and engaging. When people are having fun playing On the Edge’s games, they are more likely to be engaged in the learning process. Gamification can add elements of competition, challenge, and rewards to learning, which can make it more enjoyable.
  • It provides clear goals and feedback. Games typically have clear goals and objectives, as well as a system of feedback that allows players to track their progress. This can be helpful for learning, as it gives people a sense of purpose and helps them to stay motivated.
  • It promotes collaboration and teamwork. Many games require players to work together to achieve common goals. This can help to promote collaboration and teamwork in the real world, as people learn to work together to solve problems.
  • It can be personalized to the individual learner. Gamification can be used to personalize the learning experience for each individual learner. This can be done by tailoring the challenges, rewards, and feedback to the individual’s interests and needs.

The company has an open call to people with an idea for a wildlife game and developers who would like to make the next On the Edge game.

On the Edge has also created a series of videos that allow you to experience the fears and anxieties of these unique animals and show how we are not that much different from them regarding the problems we face. 

On the Edge is focusing its scientific research on EDGE Zones, 25 world areas with exceptionally high concentrations of EDGE species. They have successfully protected 271k of habitat for the 23 species they are fighting to save. They also have 1.4 million pledges to help preserve EDGE species.  

Although these “ugly” animals may not get the same attention as the cuddly and cute animals, they still need our protection. Innovative techniques like those from On the Edge can help bring these animals into the spotlight and bring awareness to people worldwide.  

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