The extremely rare New Zealand kakapo has beaten out tigers, elephants and polar bears to become the world's favourite species in a global online vote.
Wildlife video website ARKive, a site created by filmmakers, photographers and conservationists, celebrated its 10th birthday by holding a vote to find the world's favourite species. About 14,000 people voted from 162 countries, and the rare New Zealand bird came out top.
The kakapo secured 9 percent of all votes, with most people saying their choice was because the flightless bird is "under threat and we need to protect it".
The top 10 animals were the kakapo, the tiger, the African elephant, the grey wolf, the polar bear, the red panda, the cheetah, the snow leopard, the Bornean orangutan and the Amur leopard.
Kakapo Recovery Programme manager Deidre Vercoe Scott found out about the win this morning and says she was really surprised but really excited.
"When I looked at the top 50, there were so many well-known species in there. I was surprised, pleasantly surprised, the kakapo came out on top."
Ms Scott says the fact kakapo are facing extinction, and the unusual qualities they have make them fascinating to people.
"They're so un-birdlike for a bird. They're cheeky and inquisitive. Everything about them is strange for a bird."
As well as being flightless, kakapo is the heaviest parrot in the world, and uses a low-frequency boom to attract mates. Most of the people who voted for the kakapo have probably never seen one, as there are only 125 living birds and they all live on offshore islands with restricted access.
Ms Vercoe Scott says it is awesome that so many people like the kakapo, and great for raising its profile even more.
"I think it's good for New Zealanders to see one of their species is getting this global attention.
"This will go a long way to keep attention focused on the kakapo."
She hopes it will mean there is more global support for the kakapo, to help get it out of its critical status.
"Our ultimate goal is to get the birds back to a position where they can be seen again."
One day Ms Vercoe Scott hopes everyone in the world will have heard of the kakapo.
"I guess I'd like to get to the point where all kids know about the kakapo."
For more information or to help the kakapo, visit the Kakapo Recovery Programme website.
Top 10 species (as voted by ARKive readers)
- African Elephant
- Grey Wolf
- Polar Bear
- Red Panda
- Snow Leopard
- Borenan Orangutan
- Amur Leopard
source: newshub archive