The Empire State Building will use its famed lighting display to show images of endangered animals

Raising awareness.
Raising awareness.
Image: AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
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New Yorkers will be able to see a giant ape climbing the Empire State Building tonight (August 1).

No, it’s not the return of King Kong. Footage of an ape, as well as other creatures, will be projected onto the southern face of the iconic skyscraper from 9pm to midnight local time as part of a public art project intended to draw attention to the plight of endangered animals, reports The New York Times.

Founded by filmmaker Louis Psihoyos, the Oceanic Preservation Society teamed up with San Francisco-based Obscura Digital to project the moving images onto the building. Psihoyos, director of The Cove, an Oscar-winning documentary about dolphin hunting in Japan, could use the footage in his upcoming documentary, Racing Extinction, according to the Times.

In recent years, Psihoyos and Travis Threlkel, cofounder of Obscura Digital, have been projecting smaller installations around the city, with the most high-profile displays on the Guggenheim Museum and United Nations headquarters.

The timing of tonight’s event, which has been three years in the making, happens to coincide with a news event about another animal imperiled by humans. Conservationists, including Jane Goodall, have been expressing their outrage at the killing of a beloved lion in Zimbabwe named Cecil by an American dentist with a penchant for big-game hunting.

Though the Empire State Building has been lit up with images in the past, this will be the first time video will be displayed on the building. At 375 feet tall, the moving images—which will include a snow leopard, golden lion tamarin, and manta rays—will span 33 floors of the building.

People beyond New York will also be able to catch the show: Footage will be streamed live (embedded below).