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Dear Tim Cook,
Apple CEO

I'm sure we can agree that one of the wonderful things about new technology is it presents opportunities to solve social and environmental problems.

As CEO of Responsible Travel, I am writing to you and addressing the tech industry to set a new challenge –

‘How can we apply augmented and virtual reality to inspire families about wildlife without keeping animals captive in zoos?’

Earlier this year, Responsible Travel took a stand - we became the first travel company to drop zoos altogether. We set ourselves a mission - to find a solution to the problems in animal captivity seen in today’s tourism. I believe as a technology innovator, Apple is well-positioned to solve the problem of zoos.

I visualise the solution as a ‘real’ educational experience using the very best in creative technology and virtual reality. This will be an amazing opportunity to showcase new innovations and prevent the animal behavioural issues created by captivity.

We'd like to invite you, in collaboration, to create what we are calling 'iZoo' (please forgive the use of your branding as a shorthand).

Here are some initial ideas:

  • Firstly, and importantly there will be no animals in captivity apart from critically endangered species destined for rehabilitation.
  • Kids would be suspended horizontally in slings, with arms out stretched, wearing virtual reality (VR) headsets, flying along a trip wire like birds.
  • A ‘back in time machine’ using VR will allow a child to choose from a series of doors saying ‘choose your era’. Think Jurassic or 100 years ago to show how wild spaces have changed and what the world could look like in the future.
  • Daily live broadcasts from conservationists will be projected onto big screens from the field. A Question and Answer box will be available and appear on the screen.
  • Kids can dive the Great Barrier Reef, stepping into a submarine using VR headsets.
  • People will be able to join volunteer programs in conservation, forming relationships with schools and colleges.

Not only will iZoo be a lot more interesting and engaging than animals miserably sitting in cages it is also a more humane way to raise money for wildlife conservation. Furthermore, we found it will have overwhelming support from the public. It will create a business model than can exist for the next 100 years, attracting today and tomorrow's children who will visit with good conscience.

Furthermore, it will create a business model than can exist for the next 100 years, attracting today and tomorrow's children who will visit with good conscience.

There are a number of ways we might go about taking this forward and we hope you might be interested in discussing.

We urge Apple, and the rest of the tech industry to rise to this important challenge.
Justin Francis signature
Justin Francis, CEO Responsible Travel
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