The native kakapo, one of the most endangered species in the
world, has been named on a list of the ugliest animals in the
world. The reason? Conservation.
The British-based Ugly Animal Preservation Society wants to
raise the profile of some of "Mother Nature's more
aesthetically challenged children".
The society, in a tongue-and-cheek manner, is trying to find
an "ugly mascot", because, as it points out, the "panda gets
too much attention".
As well as saving endangered species, the campaign aims to
encourage young people to consider careers in conservation.
The society is asking the public to vote on the "ugliest"
animal from a list which includes the blobfish, pig-nosed
turtle, axolotl, proboscis monkey, European common eel,
dromedary jumping slug, flightless dung beatle, British bat
Kakapo Recovery programme manager Deidre Vercoe was surprised
to hear of the kakapo's inclusion.
"Ugly is the last word I would think of," she said.
Ms Vercoe said people had overwhelmingly positive reactions
when they first met a kakapo.
"They've just got an amazing face and a curious little nature
While Ms Vercoe disagreed with the "ugly" tag, she was
supportive of the promotion of kakapo.
Only 124 of the highly endangered parrots are left, most on
two predator-free islands near the bottom of the South
"For the profile of kakapo it's really important that they're
well known nationally and internationally," said Ms Vercoe.
Among the notable figures supportive of the "ugly animal"
campaign is English comedian and actor Stephen Fry, who met
Sirocco the Kakapo, DoC's "official spokesbird for
conservation", in 2009 and described the bird as having a
"Victorian gentleman's face".
On the webuglyanimalsoc.com
- Ben Irwin of the NZ Herald