On Saturday, 33 floors of the Empire State Building lit up with images of endangered animals, shining a light on the urgent plight of the world’s wildlife.
The spellbinding images of birds, bears, tigers, and other exotic creatures on the south side of the Empire State Building stopped Manhattan pedestrians in their path and crowded venues with a good view, while images quickly made their way worldwide via social media sites.
The building also played music and the sounds of nature as part of the show, which adorned the skyline for three hours.
The display, which the “New York Times” reported cost $1 million to produce, is intended to promote an upcoming documentary, “Racing Extinction” and inspire conversations about endangered species.
The project was headed by the Oceanic Preservation Society, in collaboration with Obscura Digital, which has been creating similar light shows for four years to call attention to the rapid decline of several species.
The eye-catching display was created using 40 20,000-lumen projectors placed on a nearby roof. While the Empire State Building will occasionally light up with colors on special occasions, Saturday’s display is the first to feature detailed color photos.
An image of Cecil, the infamous lion whose killing sparked a massive campaign against poaching, was also featured onto the 1,250-foot display. According to the Oceanic Preservation Society, Cecil wasn’t originally included, but was added after his death galvanized activists to take a stand against poaching.
In an interview with “The Verge,” the director of “Racing Extinction,” Louis Physos, says he hopes Saturday’s show will inspire people to make changes that preserve these threatened species for future generations.
“Film can change the world,” he said. “I call it a weapon of mass construction. I’m hoping with this film and this event, we can raise awareness and start a movement.”
Physos says the Empire State Building display will be shown at the end of “Racing Extinction,” which premiers on the Discovery Channel in December.