Alt News September 12, 2013
And Nature's Ugliest Animal Is... The Blobfish!

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The new Ugly Animal Preservation Society mascot, the blobfish (Photo: Ugly Animal Preservation Society/YouTube)

We recently told you about the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, a UK-based group of comedians and scientists working to bring attention to the plight of some of nature's more bizarre creatures.

The Society ran a contest to choose an Ugly Animal mascot, with 11 species in the running. Now they have a winner.

The blobfish, a creature that lives off the coast of south-east Australia and Tasmania at depths of between 600 and 1,200 metres, won the contest and will be the (off-putting) face of the Society. Its body is gelatinous and only slightly more dense than water, and it spends most of its life floating around waiting for food.

It's also under threat from humans: although it's not edible, the blobfish feeds on crabs and lobsters, and can often get caught in the nets of fishing trawlers.

In the end, the contest between the blobfish and other creatures — like the axolotl (a salamander that lives underwater) and the proboscis monkey — wasn't even close. The blobfish got almost 10,000 more votes than the kakapo, a flightless parrot, which came in second.

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An axolotl, a proboscis monkey and a kakapo (Photos: AP/AP/Getty)

The aim of the Ugly Animal mascot contest was to raise awareness about the plight of these creatures, but it also has a secondary message: protecting animals — ugly or not — starts with protecting the places where they live.

Simon Watt, the president for life of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, told the BBC that "conservation should focus on the protection of habitats rather than specific species."

The Society also performs on-stage, with various comedians and scientists making the case for their favourite creatures. Here's a short doc about a performance in Edinburgh earlier this year:

Via NPR

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