Everyone goes crazy for pandas, but what about the less aesthetic wonders of the animal world? The Ugly Animal Preservation Society (UAPS) aims to support endangered creatures that are unpleasant to look at through a national tour that combines comedy and education.
In an online competition, the blobfish (Psychrolutes marcidus), a flabby, gelatinous mass found off the southeast coast of Australia, was voted as the society's official mascot. UAPS chief and biologist Simon Watt told us more.
The blobfish apparently looks a lot better in its natural habitat on the bottom of the ocean. Are you contributing to its bad image?
Fair enough – we don’t have a leg to stand on with that, except that we are being satirical, and the main point is that the blobfish is still neglected and we want to champion it.
Blobfish look so miserable – can you cheer them up?
It’s been driven to extinction so it deserves to look sad. Just let them be hideous in peace.
Should you also consider undermining ‘pretty’ animals? Dolphins are so overrated.
No, dolphins might well be aggressive and less intelligent than we believed, but they are still fascinating and we should do everything we can to preserve them.
What can you do for these hideous creatures?
We’re mainly showing that the natural world is interesting to people through comedy. When you read articles about nature it’s just a list of what’s extinct. But everywhere on our tour people have got behind ugly animals – in London they like the proboscis monkey, in Brighton the mole rat, in Winchester the "scrotum frog."
Would you adopt one?
I would gladly appear in public with them and have done on the tour. One student is doing a PhD on a horrid beetle, so the appreciation is spreading.