Swim Through Indonesia's Coral Reefs In This Immersive 360° Video

The calm, clear water in Bird's Head allows corals to grow very near the surface in this unique environment. Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock via Conservation International

It’s a real possibility that the world’s coral reefs won’t be around by the end of our lifetimes. However, off the shores of West Papua, Indonesia, there’s a coral reef that is pulsing with over 600 types of coral and 1,765 different species of fish – that's more than the Great Barrier Reef. Through this immersive and intimate 360° video, you can get an insight into this region's stunning biodiversity and the story of how it has avoided an untimely demise.

"Valen’s Reef" is a virtual reality film by NGO Conservation International that debuted at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity yesterday and can be viewed online exclusively via YouTube. Along with some visuals straight out of paradise, the video tells the story of Valen, the son of fisherman-turned-coral scientist Ronald Mambrasar, and the community-based conservation program, Bird’s Head Seascape Initiative, that has turned this ancestral area into one of the world’s shining examples of a bustling coral reef ecosystem.

“Our oceans are under severe threat but we know one method – community-based conservation – can and does make a measurable difference,” said Dr M. Sanjayan, Conservation International’s Executive Vice President and Senior Scientist, in a statement.

He added: “In ‘Valen’s Reef,’ we use the immersive power of virtual reality to transport you to the most biologically diverse sea on our planet, and one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time, to inspire love and support for our oceans.”  

Check the film out in all its glory below. Make sure you click and drag the screen to "move around" the scenes as they play out.

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