A bat was named New Zealand’s Bird of the Year, in a controversial move that has ruffled feathers.
The long-tailed bat swooped in for the title following an online poll.
Contest organizers had included the bat, one of the country’s few native land mammals, to raise its profile as an endangered species.
But the victory bothered some, with one commentator saying the country had become “pissed off.”
Outraged bird lovers screamed at birds on Twitter, calling it a “total farce”, a “stolen election,” plus more colorful, non-printable terms.
Some on social media also saw it as a much-needed PR victory for the bats, after two particularly tough years.
But environmental group Forest and Bird, which organizes the competition every year, said the bat’s inclusion was not an attempt to restore its image in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spokeswoman Laura Keown said in a statement that “a vote for bats is also a vote for predator control, habitat restoration and climate action to protect our bats and their feathered neighbors!”
A huge congratulations to the long-tailed bat pekapeka for winning #BirdoftheYear 2021! ?
Despite being our only endemic land mammal, most people don’t even know about their existence, which makes their victory even more outstanding. pic.twitter.com/dZEMNn7t5H
– Forest and birds (@Forest_and_Bird) October 31, 2021
The Bird of the Year competition was seen as a way to raise awareness of New Zealand’s biodiversity and endangered species.
In apparent defiance of the laws of scientific taxonomy, Forest and Bird had decided to include a terrestrial mammal for the first time this year, claiming they face bird-like challenges.
The long-tailed bat, also known as pekapeka-tou-roa and the size of a thumb, beat a flightless parrot to win the title.
More than 56,700 people cast their votes, with more than 7,000 for the mace and just over 4,000 for the kakapo, which won the competition last year.
This isn’t the first time the competition has flown into controversy.
In 2019, hundreds of votes were found to come from Russia, fueling fears of election fraud.
Organizers later determined that they likely came from Russian bird lovers, rather than hackers intent on manipulating the vote.
- New Zeland
The fattest parrot in the world is New Zealand’s bird of the year
- November 18, 2020
Read More about World News here.
This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source