Who doesn’t love pandas or elephants?  Doesn’t a baby hippo steal your heart?  Aren’t you in awe of the majesty of lions and the fierceness of tigers?  Each of these endangered species has one or more organizations dedicated to saving them.  Each is also a charismatic species.  We are drawn to them because we like them and we are inspired by them.  We recognize something about each that we don’t want to lose.  

Now imagine if every species, threatened or not, had an advocate.  Unfortunately, not every species has the ability to naturally attract a fan club.  Some are born photogenic, others are rather plain.  This shouldn’t dictate their chances for long-term survival.

Since there are no available photos for use of Northern Bog Lemming, here is a similar-looking Common Red-backed Vole. © Jarmo Saarinen | Dreamstime.com

For today’s nature challenge, select a little-known or under-appreciated species.  For example, in Maine, we have the Northern Bog Lemming (Synaptomys borealis).  It is the rarest mammal found within the state and it is considered threatened here.  The species shares much of the range with the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis).  However, the lynx is a charismatic species that receives federal protection.  Not so for the Northern Bog Lemming. 

I chose this as my species to support.  Now, it’s your turn.  What species will you choose?

Each state and many countries have lists of local species.  Find one that intrigues you.  Seek out one that you’ve never heard of before.  Learn as much as you can about it.  In what kind of environment is it found?  What is its life history?  How would you go about making it more well-known and more popular?  Note, many of these don’t have decent photos available on the internet.  Perhaps you could capture a compelling snap?

If you were this species’ public relations manager, how would you advance its image?

For inspiration, you might want to listen to Lucy Cooke’s wonderful presentation to the Commonwealth Club of California.   She almost single-handedly made sloths popular.  Here is a link to the podcast:  https://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2018-04-26/lucy-cooke-truth-about-animals

Another great listen is by Dr. George Schaller, also known as the Feral Biologist.  Here is the link to Scientific American’s show called Science Talk for the episode:  https://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode/2d91176b-d494-02ed-fb892017eb1c1dbf/

This challenge can be rated as easy or difficult depending on how involved you want to become as the PR manager for your selected species.   Good luck!

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