The result of New Zealand’s Birds of the Year competition has some critics crying over the birds.
This is because The winner was announced on Monday It was not a bird at all but a long-tailed bat or pekapeka-tou-roa.
The novice candidate pounced on his first attempt to beat last year’s victor, a flightless parrot named kakapo, by nearly 3,000 votes. With varying degrees of seriousness, online bird lovers have responded by demanding a recount.
“If you rebrand the competition as ‘the best national airline thing’, that’s fine.” Twitter user wrote. “but this [is] A crime against Efes.”
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“We definitely had some feathers off the ground,” said Laura Keon, communications consultant for Forest & Bird, the conservation group that organizes the annual online contest.
The aim of the vote is to raise awareness of endangered native species.
As the “leader of the party,” the long-tailed bat represented itself along with other New Zealand bat species, the short-tailed bat. Bats are New Zealand’s only land mammals, so Keon said it made sense to include them in the same competition as birds despite the public outcry.
She said, “The ‘Wild Mammal of the Year’ competition was a really boring competition.
Bird competition usually inspires intense competition and endless memes. But this year’s accusations of election theft are just the latest example of the voting controversy.
last year’s organizers Remove more than 1500 fake voices In favor of the pukupuku kiwi, or the little spotted kiwi. The previous year, doubts were raised about the number Voices from Russia (The competition organizers said they were legit.)
However, Keown said New Zealanders are enjoying the contest because it is “pure silliness” and “a joyful celebration of our native wildlife”.
“Scandals make it funny and make people laugh, and if we can get people to laugh and learn about native species, I think we’ve really achieved what Bird of the Year is all about,” she said.
This year’s bat debate helped get a record number of votes: 58,561 votes. Although anyone in the world can participate, Keon said, the vast majority of voters are in New Zealand.
Ben Paris, who has pushed for the bat to be included on the ballot, said he was surprised by the level of support the creature had received during the two-week voting period, which ended Sunday.
It defeated more than 70 species of birds, most of which had their own campaign managers, and even had support New Zealand Ministry of Environment.
“New Zealanders really like the underdog to be competitive because New Zealand is such a small country,” said Paris, Auckland Council’s senior conservation adviser. “We always support the little guy.”
It is very small, it measures the size of a person’s thumb and the length of its wings is the size of a hand.
Paris said New Zealand bats face many of the same challenges as their birds, including habitat loss, climate change and the introduction of predators such as rats, cats, stoats and possums. The number of long-tailed bats has decreased and is now so rare that it is unclear how many bats are left.
“It’s really an essential part of our ecosystems and we need to make sure we protect them as much as possible,” said Paris, known as the “New Zealand Batman”.
Summer GleesonWhile her favorite candidate — the archer, or titipounamu, New Zealand’s smallest bird — ranked third, she said, it was a good year to represent birds in general.
“This year I was really pleased with three seabirds in the top ten: two penguins and an albatross,” said Gleeson, who is not affiliated with the competition.
On Monday, at least some of the bat’s competitors admitted favorably, including the Antipodean albatross, which came in fifth.
“Of all the non-birds who would have won #BirdoftheYear,” Bird Campaign He said on Twitter, “I’m glad it’s you.”