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Students using Rainforest Heroes iPad app

I had a Spotted Deer in my viewfinder. It seemed totally unaware of my presence, or the fact that it was being watched by someone armed with powerful modern technology.

Time was running out. I took careful aim, and hit the button.

Click!

The resulting photo probably wouldn’t win any competitions, but it was definitely good enough to add to my field report, where it would help illustrate my journey through Taronga Zoo’s rainforest trail. The deer carried on, unfazed by the attention.

Rainforest Heroes welcome screen

I was testing out Taronga Zoo’s latest App for iPad, called Rainforest Heroes. It was developed in partnership with the NSW Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre to give visitors a fresh new way to learn more about the animals along the rainforest trail.

Rainforest Heroes is aimed at school students learning about rainforest ecosystems, but it’s also perfect for visitors of all ages who are interested in engaging with wildlife and conservation issues on a deeper level.

Digital binoculars allowed me to get a closer look at the Fishing Cat, and I was given virtual buckets of food to feed the White-Cheeked Gibbons. Tapping on some headphones let me hear what a Malayan Tapir sounds like, while the video camera icon showed me a series of film clips.

Of course you’ll need an iPad to experience the App, but Rainforest Heroes is free, and you don’t even need to be at the zoo to use it. It’s better if you are because the GPS helps guide you around the trail to each exhibit.

Rainforest Heroes field report

I picked up plenty of knowledge about inhabitants of the rainforest that I could have overlooked without the App, which provides you with interesting facts at every exhibit. At the end of my wander along the rainforest trail, everything I’d learnt was compiled into a field report, which I saved as a PDF file.

Rainforest Heroes was fun and easy to use, providing a great way for me to discover more about the amazing animals as I explored the zoo – and I even had my own unique digital keepsake to show for it.

The Rainforest Heroes App is available for free from the App Store on iPad or at www.itunes.com/appstore

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