More than half of Australian internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 play video games on their smartphones. But what if playing mobile games had a positive impact on the real world? World Environment Day, the United Nations day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment, takes place every year on June 5. To celebrate, we’ve found six mobile games with a focus on conservation and the environment, from runners to zoo simulators.

Kakapo Run

Help New Zealand’s favourite flightless, ground-dwelling parrot dodge predators and collect feathers on its way to Sanctuary Island in Kakapo Run. The delightful smartphone runner features recorded calls of real Kākāpō, from squawks to its distinctive mating boom, as well as plenty of facts about this critically endangered species. Kakapo Run has no advertisements or in app purchases as the game is all about awareness of the Kākāpō’s plight – there are only around 200 of the nocturnal birds alive today. Players are encouraged to Tweet their support for the world’s heaviest parrot with the hashtag #SaveTheKakapo.

Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

Paperbark

Snuffle through the undergrowth in Paperbark, a charming Australian game that tells the story of a sleepy wombat searching for a new home. Featuring music by Biddy Connor and stunning watercolour illustrations, this heart-warming game gives you a wombat’s-eye-view of the beauty and danger of the Australian bush as you forage for food on a hot, dry summer day.

Download it on the App Store and Google Play.

Find the Birds

Ever wanted to try your hand at birdwatching? Find the Birds is a free educational mobile game about birds and conservation produced by the non-profit organisation Thought Generation. Put on your birding hat and explore unique environments around the world, beginning with the desert in Arizona. The game features images, video and birdsong from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library, and you can unlock new areas and features by spotting birds and undertaking conservation tasks like removing weeds and planting native seeds.

Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

KangaZoo: Wildlife Rescue

Want to get to know Australia’s native wildlife? You can now live the life of a ranger in training thanks to KangaZoo, a new mobile game launched by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of the $5 million Bushfire Tourism Recovery and International Surge Support Package. Developed to encourage young people around the world to interact virtually with Australia’s unique animals and plants, KangaZoo lets players rescue injured native wildlife and nurse them back to health in your own wildlife sanctuary.

Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

QuestaGame

Prize-winning Australian citizen science app QuestaGame invites you to take your wildlife spotting skills into the real world. Earn ‘gold’ by submitting sightings of animals, plants and fungi you find in the wild or by identifying the sightings of other players. You can earn bonus points by correctly identifying your sighting and adding field notes – you can also choose to share your sightings with biodiversity researchers to support science and the environment. It’s not just points on the line – one player even had a newly discovered species of spider named after them.

Download it on the App Store or Google Play.

Wildchain

Wildchain, a new smartphone app which launches on World Environment Day 2021, seeks to gamify giving by allowing players to adopt wildlife, plant trees and support real-world conservation efforts. The game, which was crowdfunded through the World Economic Forum’s Uplink platform, allows you to digitally adopt rare animals by hatching them from magic eggs – each animal in the game is a unique digital counterpart of an animal in the wild, based on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. And when you plant a tree in the game, the non-profit organisation plants a tree in real life.

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Angus McPherson

Digital Copywriter

Angus McPherson,
Digital Copywriter

Angus is a copywriter on the Vodafone Digital Content Team. With a background in arts journalism, he is passionate about classical music and the performing arts.

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