Pandas get way too much attention.
At least that's the observation behind The Ugly Animal Preservation Society - a tongue-in-cheek, yet crucially important new initiative to broaden the idea of what we value and which species we care to save.
This is a theme that Chris touched on just the other day, exploring how anthropomorphism might help humans to empathize with animals that have so far not made it to the "must save because it's so cute" list. After all, from the mini-beasties in our soils to the weird and wonderful life under the sea, most of the animal kingdom is, at first glance at least, pretty far removed from us humans.
Simon Watt, biologist and comedian, is harnessing what has always been a useful tool for the more aesthetically challenged among us—humor. Recruiting a troupe of comedians/scientists and scientists/comedians, Watt and his team are each championing a specific species, and then asking their audience to select a favorite for their region.
Here's a little more about the campaign:
There is also, we are told, a "family friendly" version of the roadshow. Here's a little more from Simon Watt: