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24/10/2014

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Blobfish is the world’s ugliest animal

Ugly Animal Preservation Society name mascot 

Today, the Ugly Animal Preservation Society announced that the blobfish has been voted their new mascot after a global online public vote.

Working in partnership with the National Science + Engineering Competition, the Society’s campaign videos have clocked-up nearly 100,000 views, and thousands have voted. Comedians celebrated 11 of Mother Nature’s most aesthetically-challenged beasts, with celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Simon Pegg tweeting their support for their favourite unsightly animals.

Paul Foot, the key supporter of the blobfish, said about the announcement, “On behalf of all the blobfish, thank you for this award. Thank you it means a great deal to me. Now, stay away from me and my family.”

The campaign aimed to give ugly animal a voice, and was supported by scientist and broadcaster Professor Brian Cox. He said, “I support the ugly animal campaign, there are too many people trying to save cute animals. They get all the press, and all the attention. Ugly animals are more deserving than cute animals. So I think it is a superb campaign.”

Simon Watt, biologist and President for Life of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, announced the winner at the British Science Festival in Newcastle. He said, “We’ve needed an ugly face for endangered animals for a long time and I’ve been amazed by the public’s reaction. For too long the cute and fluffy animals have taken the limelight but now the blobfish will be a voice for the mingers who always get forgotten.”

The project aimed to encourage young people to get involved in conservation projects, as well as helping to promote some of the animals with faces only a mother could love, and challenging our love-affair with the pin-ups of conservation, like the panda and the red squirrel.

To find out more about the campaign and to watch the videos see: www.nsecuk.org

Meet the new Ugly Animal Preservation Society mascot

Blobfish live at depths of between 600 and 1,200 metres where the pressure is several dozen times higher than at sea level and can grow up to 12 inches in length. It spends its life gently bobbing around the deep sea and its gelatinous appearance aids it buoyancy. The blobfish suffers a significant threat from fishing trawlers – although it is inedible itself, it gets caught up in the nets. It feeds off crabs and lobsters living at the same depth.

Paul Foot (Never mind the Buzzcocks) – supported the blobfish. In his campaign video, he explained why he has a soft spot for this gelatinous blob…“Some would describe it as a bit ugly, but I think the sad face of the blobfish belies a kind and very wise little brain in there.”

Meet the runners up

Number 2: Kakapo

A critically endangered giant parrot, the kakapo is a classic example of evolution on an isolated island. The only flightless parrot in the world, it is also the heaviest. Its muscular thighs mean it is better suited to walking and climbing, than taking to the air – although it probably evolved from parrots that could fly.

Steve Mould (BBC Blue Peter scientist) explains why the kakapo deserves more support, “The kakapo encapsulates the fragility of life that evolved in a bubble – in this case, the bubble is New Zealand… but that bubble burst and New Zealand is full of predatory mammals, but the kakapo hasn’t evolved a fear response. Often its response is curiosity – ‘who’s this?’ the kakapo would say – ‘oh, I’m in its mouth…’”

Number 3: Axolotl

Axolotls have the amazing ability to regenerate lost limbs and are a type of salamander that remains aquatic for their entire life. This freaky cross between Peter Pan and the X-men, is endangered because of urbanisation in Mexico City and polluted waters.

Helen Arney (science presenter and comedian) supported this little critter; “Beauty is only skin deep, and the axolotl has a dark secret… it never truly grows up, it’s like Peter Pan, Justin Bieber, or any character Zooey Deschanel ever plays in a film…”

Number 4: Titicaca water frog

The largest truly aquatic frog, the Titicaca water frog is found only in Lake Titicaca in South America. Its Latin name literally translates as the ‘aquatic scrotum’ and the multiple folds in its skin enable it to breathe underwater without needing to surface for air.

Iszi Lawrence (comedian), is very excited by this. She says; “Scrotum frog, you heard me right, scrotum frog. Even better than being called scrotum frog, it lives in Lake Titicaca!

Number 5: Proboscis monkey

Named after its impressive nose, the proboscis monkey uses its nose as a resonating chamber to increase the volume of mating calls. The bigger the nose, the more attractive the mate. Its diet of unripe fruit makes it a pretty gassy primate and this gives it a fairly rotund appearance.

Ellie Taylor (presenter of Snog, Marry, Avoid) was the supporter for this big-nosed critter, she explains why: “These guys need our help! They can’t compete with the orang-utans, who are really cute, these guys are really hideous…They’ve got massive noses, really ugly willies, and they’re full of farts. I mean come on, that thing needs our help!”

Comments...

Bob Mehen's picture

While certainly no oil painting,(unless it was done by Hieronymus Bosch with a hangover) the Blobfish really is a victim of a smear campaign over it's 'unconventional' looks. The photos used to judge these unfortunate deep sea beauties are almost always of a long since deceased specimen dumped on the deck of whichever trawler has plucked them from their happy home - it's no wonder they don't look their best! It's much like judging Miss World based on post mortem pictures of the entrants after they've been lowered into the Mindanao Trench. So yes, please help promote the saving of less conventionally attractive wildlife - pandas get enough press coverage already - but don't add insult to injury by calling Blobfish the ugliest animal on Earth. After all beauty is in the eye of the beholder! More info on these lugubrious lovelies can be found here - as you can see I'm a long term admirer of the creature!
http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=4205

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