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Thursday, September 17, 2015

9 “Ugly” Animals Going Extinct That Need Love Too

The Ugly Animal Conservation Society uses comedy to shine a light on ugly endangered species often not spoken about.

Biologist, science communicator and comedian Simon Watt founded the society because he was bored of people always asking questions about the same more aesthetically pleasing endangered species, like pandas and tigers. “I do a lot of lectures about biology and spreading the word about conservation as a whole,” he told BuzzFeed Science. “I got very bored of people always asking the same questions about the same species.”

1. Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)

Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
Bjørn Christian Tørrissen / Wikipedia Commons / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
There’s a very good reason male proboscis monkeys have huge, fleshy noses: because the female proboscis monkeys can’t get enough of it. Sadly, over the last 40 years, the numbers of proboscis monkeys have decreased rapidly.

2. Purple Pig-Nosed Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)

Purple Pig-Nosed Frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
Karthickbala / Wikipedia Commons / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
The purple pig-nosed frog is extremely rare, and its existence was unknown to humans until about 13 years ago.

3. Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)

Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)
Tom Junek / Wikipedia Commons / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
Aye-ayes are nocturnal creatures unique to the island of Madagascar. Many native Madagascans consider the aye-aye to be an omen of bad luck, which is why it is often hunted and killed.

4. Bald-headed Uakari (Cacajao calvus)

Bald-headed Uakari (Cacajao calvus)
Giovanni Mari / Flickr / Via Flickr: giovannimari
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable
Bald-headed uakari are social, intelligent creatures. However, they currently face extinction since their habitat is threatened by the timber industry, and they are often hunted by indigenous peoples for food.

5. Pig-nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta)

Pig-nosed Turtle (Carettochelys insculpta)
Ryantwood / Wikipedia Commons / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable
Pig-nosed turtles are very large freshwater turtles. They can be found in northern Australia and southern New Guinea. Their noses resemble a pigs snout, which is where they get their name.

6. Aquatic Scrotum Frog (Telmatobius culeus)

Aquatic Scrotum Frog (Telmatobius culeus)
Hostdy / YouTube / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
The Titicaca water frog is nicknamed the “scrotum frog” because of the extremely loose skin that hangs from its body. Its population has rapidly declined over the past 20 years, mostly due to over-harvesting for human consumption.

7. Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)

Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
Wheel Cosmic / Flickr / Via Flickr: wheelcosmic
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
Axolotl are unique to Xochimilco, near Mexico City. They also live permanently in water, which is not the case for other types of salamander.

8. The Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei)

The Yangtze Giant Softshell Turtle (Rafetus swinhoei)
Phó Nháy / Wikipedia Commons / Via
IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered
The yangtze giant softshell turtle is the most critically endangered species in the world, with only four known turtles remaining.

9. Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)

Greater Adjutant (Leptoptilos dubius)
Ali Arsh / Flickr / Via Flickr: ali_arsh
IUCN Red List Status: Endangered
The greater adjutant has a slow gait resembling a military officer’s, which is where it gets its name. They have a very small population, declining rapidly.

Watt’s favourite ugly animal is the blue-grey taildropper slug. “If you scare it, its bum falls off” he said. “It’s a very cool way of avoiding predators. If something grabs hold of you, you can just lose your tail.”

Simon Watt

The society focuses on animals that are locally or globally endangered.

They hold events including comedy tours where six comedians each champion a different endangered species. At the end the audience votes and the winner becomes the “Ugly Animal Mascot” for that city or town.
Earlier this year, Dublin voted for the lesser horseshoe bat to be the city’s ugly animal mascot. “I don’t think it’s globally endangered but it’s locally endangered there,” Watt said. “[It] meant that the people in the audience could go out and do something a bit more hands-on.”

“We think it’s possible that maybe 200 or so species are becoming extinct every single day,” Watt said.

“The crisis is as bad as that. We’re trying to get more people talking about conservation as a whole. Using comedy to talk about it is as good a way as any.”

You can find out more about the society on their website, or find them on Twitter.

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