World Cup's Armadillo Mascot Facing Extinction
People around the world are waiting with bated breath to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup but while sports fans are enjoying the tournament, the official mascot, the Brazilian three-banded armadillo, is facing extinction.
The armadillo lives primarily in the eastern part of Brazil close to the equator and is said to have declined in numbers by more than a third over the last 10-15 years. The species has been listed as “vulnerable to extinction”. The marked decline is due to the major loss of the animals shrubland habitat. Sadly, the Brazilian armadillo is among 22,103 species critically at risk of extinction.
The fascinating armadillos defend themselves by rolling into balls, which make them the perfect symbols for World Cup soccer, but their ability to resemble soccer balls does not assist them in protecting themselves from hunters or exposure due to a loss of habitat. There are concerns that World Cup publicity may lead to armadillo fever and subsequential adoptions of the wild and endangered creatures, but we hope that media coverage of their endangerment may spur a movement to keep these soccer-ball sized animals around for future generations to understand and enjoy.
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