OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – You could own a unique collectible while also supporting the conservation of wild orangutans and their habitat.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Oklahoma Zoological Society have teamed up with designers to create a unique animal enrichment program.
Organizers say the zoo’s Sumatran orangutan, 21-year-old Elok, created digital artwork available for purchase as a non-fungible token (NFT) via an international auction on Friday, Aug. 19.
NFTs are digital assets that signify unique, virtual collectibles that cannot be copied or replaced.
Elok was given a 2-foot digital brush and a 3×4-foot screen. When Elok moved the digital brush, a motion detecting device projected the design onto the digital screen.
“Orangutans are highly intelligent, and by utilizing digital applications, you can provide a form of enrichment that’s individualized. Each of Elok’s creations from the movement and balance to the composition is entirely him. He voluntarily participated in these enrichment sessions, receiving his favorite snacks from his caretakers making it a rewarding experience, eliciting positive behavior from Elok.” Mathieu Kuhne added, “This project is a dream for us, we are combining NFTs with animal enrichment, conservation and charity! Collections like these can make NFTs more than just collectibles, they create a community for good. This is the future we want to see and be a part of.”
The Oklahoma City Zoo is hopeful that the first digital NFT created by an animal will be received with global excitement. All proceeds from sales of Elok’s art will be used to conserve orangutans and other endangered species in the wild.