Scientists are hoping Pokémon Go will get you interested in actual animals

Pokemon Go world

Screengrab via Lachlan - Minecraft & More/YouTube (CC-BY)

Birding is basically Pokémon Go IRL.

Science Twitter is totally into Pokémon Go, and not just because most scientists are nerds who played the games, collected the cards, and watched the show when they were kids. Instead, they’re seeing it as an opportunity to help people get closer to nature.

The LA Times reported that many researchers are using a hashtag #PokeBlitz for people who run into actual animals while catching virtual ones to get some species identified.

And it’s actually working!

Some naturalists are even reaching out to people who aren’t using or don’t know of the hashtag.

Another group has splintered off to create a Pokédex-style index of their animals of study using the #PokemonIRL hashtag.

And, once people get sick of playing Pokémon Go (if they ever do, that is) perhaps they’ll be interested to know that there’s a non-augmented reality Pokémon Go-style game that’s been around for literally centuries.

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