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Aspinall Puts Virtual Zoo Online

Damian Aspinall, whose father John Aspinall founded Howletts Wild Animal Park, has launched the world's first virtual zoo at www.howletts.net.

At the new site, announced Monday, visitors will be able to operate live controllable webcams, zooming in on endangered species as the animals move around their enclosures. Among the species that can be viewed are African elephants, Siberian tigers, a rare species of African antelope called the bongo, and the world's largest captive gorilla colony with 52 Western Lowland gorillas.

"Howletts' crusade to preserve rare and endangered wildlife attracts global recognition," said Damian Aspinall.

"We want people around the world to see the animals' excellent conditions in real time and learn about our unique breeding achievements. No other animal park or zoo can match this virtual live experience."

Howletts Wild Animal Park is a charitable foundation, located at Bekesbourne near Canterbury. It has a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work with rare animals.

"If I were an animal the ONLY place where I would like to live is at Aspinall's," said Kurt Benirschke, president of The Zoological Society of San Diego recently.

The new web site has be created by Blueberry New Media as an educational and entertainment experience. Six Sony Zoom webcams will be streaming live video 24 hours a day to users around the world.