Spooky Scary Animals

Photo from Mental Floss

By Carter Harrison

If you have spent any time on social media over the last 6 years, the face of the blobfish might be familiar to you. Now, don’t you worry, this isn’t the terrorizing “blob” from the old and cheesy horror films The Blob and Beware! The Blob. Although the interstellar origins of the “Blob” and the Blobfish are probably too close for comfort, the blobfish is actually native to the deep waters off the coast of Australia and Tasmania . Recently, the Blobfish was awarded the title of “World’s Ugliest Animal” by the Ugly Animals Preservation Society.

As the designated mascot for the organization, the preservation society and the blobfish are doing wonders for some of mother nature’s most “aesthetically challenged” critters by changing the species preservation culture. This U.K. based group of biologists-turned-comedians are working to raise awareness for ugly endangered species through comedy. They go from city to city around the U.K. to perform their preservation skit. Each member of the society makes the case for preservation in front of an audience by sharing hilarious facts for their ugly animal of choice. For example, society members have been known to talk about the proboscis monkey, the pig-nose turtle and the dromedry jumping slug. At the end of the show, those in attendance vote for the ugly animal best fit to be the city’s “official” mascot.

Of course this is all in good fun. Each of these ugly animals has something important to offer the ecosystems in which they live – yes, even the blobfish – something that, if it were missing, would cause harm to their fellow animal neighbors. In fact, these animals have helped shape the world into what it is today. So, these comedic skits come with laughs and the hope that listeners will feel compelled to help all endangered species. Simon Watt, the groups leader, has said, “Our traditional approach to conservation is egotistical. We only protect the animals relate to because they’re cute.” By bringing these unfortunately ugly creatures to the forefront, they hope even the blobfish or the naked mole rat will find the compassion of researchers and conservationists.

Organizations like the Ugly Animals Preservation Society demonstrate that even you and I can make a difference, and not just government agencies, in preserving all of nature’s gifts. Now, Halloween is only a few days away and has traditionally been a holiday that celebrates the ugly “frankenstein’s” of the human imagination. This Halloween season, I ask you join the fight to save the ugly blobfishes of creation. Don’t get me wrong. I want Panda’s and Blue Whales to be around for a while, but I agree with Mr. Watt that it is time we heard from our ugly friends as well!

Strata is committed to finding innovative solutions to issues such as air quality, climate change and preserving endangered species. Check out Strata’s research on the Endangered Species Act and other sources here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5zBARcDiSYc

https://www.strata.org/news/study-theres-a-better-way-to-protect-endangered-species-than-govt/

https://www.strata.org/improving-esa/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/using-humor-to-protect-ugly-animals-because-they-cant-all-be-as-cute-as-pandas