Lost species appear alive again in 'The Zoo of Extinct Animals'

(CNN)Thought to be extinct, the baiji dolphin no longer swims in the Yangtze River in eastern China -- but now, you could find it swimming in your living room. Along with other extinct animals, it is being brought back to life as an augmented reality experience.

"The Zoo of Extinct Animals" is a project started in 2020 by creative director Sebastian Koseda that allows you to observe and interact with 3D representations of extinct wildlife in your own environment, through a Snapchat lens.
You can watch the dolphin twirl around in water and make it move around you. A carrier bag can also be seen floating around, suggestive of the plastic waste that has infiltrated its habitat.
    Sebastian Koseda's Snapchat lens lets users interact with the baiji dolphin.
    The animals Koseda is featuring have all already gone extinct in the last 20 years due to human activity. Through the project, he aims to "raise awareness and show what we've already lost as a call to action -- to make a change."
        "Generally, the feedback is like: 'Oh my god, wow, that's beautiful. It's a dolphin swimming in the living room,'" says 32-year-old Koseda, who is based in London. "And then: 'Oh god, it's extinct. That's really sad'. So, it hits home. It's like: 'Oh, I'll never be able to see that in real life.'
        "Because it's out of sight, it's kind of out of mind ... that these animals are going extinct in places that we might not see, like in the Yangtze River," he adds. "It's still happening and it's still due to human interaction, human disruption (and) pollution."

          Wildlife is vanishing

          The baiji, nicknamed the "Goddess of the Yangtze," is a type of river dolphin that was native to the Yangtze River and the neighboring Qiantang River. It was declared functionally extinct in 2006, with the last verified sighting being of a pregnant female in November 2001. The main cause of its extinction is thought to be habitat degradation and the level to which it was being unintentionally caught by local fisheries.