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Keeping An Eye on Kakadu

For release 28 September 2006


Keeping An Eye on Kakadu

Web surfers in New Zealand and around the world will be able to keep an eye on Australia’s nature and wildlife 24 hours a day with the launch of the first-ever webcam installed in the country’s World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

The Kakadu Cam (www.ngm.com/kakaducam) uses cutting edge webcam technology to deliver live images and audio of native wildlife in one of the world’s oldest and most intriguing landscapes – putting these wonderful wildlife experiences within reach of people across the globe and in New Zealand.

By day, visitors will be able to see a parade of wildlife including kangaroos, crocodiles, birds, butterflies, wallabies, snakes and possums. At night, visitors to Kakadu Cam will be able to hear the authentic sounds of Australian animals as they hunt, feed and play.

Tourism Australia Chairman Tim Fischer said Kakadu Cam had been developed by Tourism Australia, National Geographic, Tourism Northern Territory (Tourism NT), Kakadu National Park and the traditional Aboriginal owners of Kakadu as part of Tourism Australia’s three-year Global Programs initiative.

“Kakadu is rich in traditional history and wildlife and contains indigenous rock art dating back thousands of years and for the first time in history, the webcam if offering a fascinating glimpse of one of the world’s most intriguing places,” Mr Fischer said. “It is a place of immense interest to people who love learning about the world around them.”

“An office worker in London or Rome, a high school student in Tokyo or anyone simply surfing the net in Washington or Los Angeles can experience Kakadu with the click of a mouse.”

The development of Kakadu Cam has been an intense operation with Tourism Australia, National Geographic and Tourism NT working closely with those who manage Kakadu and the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land to deliver this new initiative.

“Everyone involved in Kakadu Cam has been determined that the project would not cause any disruption or damage to the animals or landscape at Kakadu,” Mr Fischer said.

“A great deal of commitment, time, energy, thought and creativity has been poured into the project and we hope people all over the world will find some time to visit Kakadu National Park via their computer screen.”

Tourism Australia’s Regional Manager New Zealand, Vito Anzelmi believes the webcam ”is a great way for New Zealanders to see the large number of animals living in their natural environment in Australian National parks.”

“The webcam is an example of using technology to give people access to an experience they otherwise may never get.

“Not only is Kakadu National Park filled with native Australian wildlife, but it also has a spectacular landscape with grass woodlands, freshwater floodplains and monsoon forests. This makes it a great destination for New Zealanders and we would encourage them to make the trip over the Tasman to see Kakadu for themselves,” said Anzelmi.

Kakadu Cam was launched on Friday 22 September in Grand Central Station, New York. Giant screens beamed images live from Kakadu National Park to thousands of commuters and travellers during the ‘Experience Your World’ event.

‘Experience Your World’ brings the pages of National Geographic magazine to life and is a week long, interactive photography exhibit celebrating international and national parks.

The latest webcam and satellite technology has been used for this project. The webcam is contained in a cage to protect it from predators and has been positioned in an area of the Park where it is unobtrusive and has minimal environmental impact.

The webcam operates in real time and eventually Kakadu Cam will give visitors a chance to talk to the rangers who work in the Park and to hear traditional stories from the Aboriginal elders whose ancestors have roamed Kakadu for more than 50,000 years.

Kakadu is an obvious first choice because of its uniqueness and wide appeal to people of all ages, throughout the world. We are planning additional webcams in Australia that will build on the Kakadu Cam experience,” said Chris Johns, Editor in Chief, National Geographic magazine. “Furthermore Kakadu Cam is the first in a series of fascinating webcams that will be developed in Australia.

“Kakadu Cam shows people there are still places in the world that are unaffected by 21st century living. It offers a tantalising glimpse of a way of life that has been continuing since time began. We hope it will also encourage people to switch off their computer, get on a plane and experience the real Kakadu."

The webcam technology has been provided by Mercury Technologies in Western Australia. It uses a switching device that sends video data to a network router attached to a computer. The router transfers the data to an antenna pointed to a satellite that picks up the signal and relays it to a server. From there, the video is streamed to the internet through the National Geographic Society in Washington.

Tourism Australia’s Global Programs campaign is a three-year partnership with National Geographic that is designed to deliver Australian destination messages globally via a range of editorial, publicity, sponsorship and advertising initiatives. A key aim of Global Programs is to in increase the intention of people overseas to travel to Australia.

The National Geographic empire reaches millions of people across the globe. National Geographic Magazine is read by 40 million people, National Geographic Channel is watched in approximately 230 million households and the National Geographic website receives 4.3 million unique visitors each month.

ENDS

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