Medium and message: WWF

Conservation organisation WWF is the latest charity to take its message to virtual world Second Life.

Visitors to virtual world Second Life can now visit WWF's new Conservation Island and explore different habitats to learn more about the environment.

Conservation Island was developed by specialist digital agency Enable and volunteers from around the world. The island is divided into unique habitats designed to highlight some of the environmental issues facing the planet.

There is a lost world populated by orang-utans and pandas. One ice cream-selling orang-utan tells his customers about the devastating impact that palm oil, a common ingredient of ice cream, is having on his forest environment.

David Cole, online outreach manager at WWF International, says: "Second Life provides a unique environment that allows us to interact directly with supporters and members of the public. People can explore our virtual island, interact with objects and talk directly to WWF staff. They can gain a real understanding of some of the conservation challenges we face and WWF's solutions to them. We hope to reach a new audience."

Cole says the initial response has been positive. "People from all over the world are contacting us and offering their time and talents to help us develop the island," he says.

In the future, WWF will look at ways to use Conservation Island to promote its work through virtual events or other interactive displays.

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