JAPAN GAMES POKEMON GO.jpg
Photograph: EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

Players of Pokemon Go, the new mobile gaming phenomenon, can help protect real species while hunting down fictitious creatures, as one Belgian zoo has demonstrated.

Antwerp Zoo announced Tuesday that it had raised 12,000 euros (13,000 dollars) in a Pokemon Go hunt organized last week, the Belga news agency reported.

The money will go towards the zoo's research and conservation centre, whose work focuses on endangered species, the animal park said.

On Friday evening, the zoo opened its doors to Pokemon Go players for two hours. While the event was free of charge, visitors were encouraged to make a proposed 3-euro donation.

Around 15,000 people participated, the zoo said according to Belga.

Pokemon Go, which was released last month, involves players using a mobile phone application to search for Pokemon, rare cartoon monsters, around real-life geographical locations.

The game has quickly become a worldwide phenomenon, nearly doubling the stock price of brand-owner Nintendo overnight.

But not everyone is happy with its success, and the game has been banned in some locations after reports of accidents caused by unwary players made headlines around the world.

Police in the Belgian capital Brussels are considering introducing fines for players who endanger themselves by crossing roads without paying attention to the traffic because their eyes are glued to the game, a spokeswoman told dpa on Monday.

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