Well, this is lovely. It’s not just our world that’s in mourning for Cecil the lion – there are at least two others determined to help big cats in the wild. Players in RuneScape and Old School RuneScape have so far raised more than £67,000 for WWF’s global conservation efforts.
Jagex are running a series of in-game Adopt a Big Cat activities until Friday July 31st. In RuneScape proper, players can seek out a conservationist NPC named Rohit Sharma to take part in a Big Cats Quiz and win the company of jaguar and tiger cub companions.
Meanwhile, players in Old School RuneScape – the element of the community who’ve wilfully reverted to a version from the browser MMO’s past – will be transported by the conservationist to a faraway cat land, where they’ll protect habitats from a horde of dwarves (the apparent trophy hunters of high fantasy). They can also adopt virtual big cat toys.
Donations are given as in-game bonds – in exchange for lion and snow leopard cubs – which are then converted into real-world cash by Jagex.
“RuneScape has a long history of supporting the work of charitable organisations around the world through in-game awareness drives, so it’s a thrill to partner with WWF and back the great work that the organisation does to preserve endangered big cats in the wild,” said RuneScape lead designer David Osborne.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to an engaged audience of RuneScape gamers and raise awareness of the threats facing some of the worlds’ most endangered big cats in a fun and entertaining way,” added WWF’s Ed Partridge. “WWF would like to thank all RuneScape gamers; the response so far has been incredible!”
Happy International Tiger Day, everyone.