• Weird Nature

The Most Charismatic Megafauna

Megafauna. Charismatic megafauna. What are they even? They are elephants and pandas and lots of other popular animals that people just love. These large animals are the poster children of environmental movements, put on posters and turned into adorable stuffed animals to gain public support for conservation and other environmental goals.

So, if you are wondering why you see giant pandas everywhere, it's because conservation groups were like, "Hmm, how can we get people all over the world to care about an ecosystem in China that is facing some peril?" The answer was cute pandas.

What are some popular charismatic megafauna? Well, think of just about any wild animal you are familiar with and have seen in the gift shop at your local zoo. Elephants, lions, sea turtles - the California condor even. They are all well-known species that were chosen to be the faces of various conservation campaigns and other endeavors.

Some of the animals on this list are endangered megafauna, while others are more ubiquitous, and some were maybe once on the brink of extinction, but thanks to their charisma, were saved! What a tale! Which charismatic megafauna species do you think look the most friendly? Are any of the animals on this list ones that you would love to chat with at a bar? Upvote the most charismatic of the megafauna creatures below, and go get yourself a stuffed red panda to cuddle until the end of time.
Photo:
  • 1
    88 VOTES

    Elephant

    Photo: mcoughlin / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
    Elephants are mammals of the family Elephantidae and the largest existing land animals. Three species are currently recognised: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant. Elephantidae is the only surviving family of the order Proboscidea; extinct members include the mastodons. The family Elephantidae also contains several now-extinct groups, including the mammoths and straight-tusked elephants. African elephants have larger ears and concave backs, whereas Asian elephants have smaller ears, and convex or level backs. Distinctive features of all elephants include a long trunk, tusks, large ear flaps, massive legs, and tough but sensitive skin. The trunk,  ...more
    78
    10
    Charisma or cha-blah-sma?

    The Greatest Elephant Characters of All Time#15 of 88 Animals with the Cutest Babies#4 of 29 28 Cute Animals That You Don't Want To Mess With

  • 2
    115 VOTES
    Photo: thedigme / flickr / CC-BY-NC 2.0
    The tiger is the largest cat species, reaching a total body length of up to 3.38 m over curves and weighing up to 388.7 kg in the wild. Its most recognisable feature is a pattern of dark vertical stripes on reddish-orange fur with a lighter underside. The species is classified in the genus Panthera with the lion, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard. Tigers are apex predators, primarily preying on ungulates such as deer and bovids. They are territorial and generally solitary but social animals, often requiring large contiguous areas of habitat that support their prey requirements. This, coupled with the fact that they are indigenous to some of the more densely populated places on Earth, has  ...more
    101
    14
    Charisma or cha-blah-sma?
  • 3
    54 VOTES
    Photo: Christopher.Michel / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    Penguins (order Sphenisciformes, family Spheniscidae) are a group of aquatic flightless birds. They live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere, with only one species, the Galapagos penguin, found north of the equator. Highly adapted for life in the water, penguins have countershaded dark and white plumage, and their wings have evolved into flippers. Most penguins feed on krill, fish, squid and other forms of sea life which they catch while swimming underwater. They spend roughly half of their lives on land and the other half in the sea. Although almost all penguin species are native to the Southern Hemisphere, they are not found only in cold climates, such as Antarctica. In fact,  ...more
    48
    6
    Charisma or cha-blah-sma?
  • 4
    46 VOTES
    Photo: Mycatkins / flickr / CC-BY-ND 2.0
    The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus; ) is a large cat of the subfamily Felinae that occurs in North, Southern and East Africa, and a few localities in Iran. It inhabits a variety of mostly arid habitats like dry forests, scrub forests, and savannahs. The species is IUCN Red Listed as Vulnerable, as it suffered a substantial decline in its historic range in the 20th century due to habitat loss, poaching for the illegal pet trade, and conflict with humans. By 2016, the global cheetah population has been estimated at approximately 7,100 individuals in the wild. Several African countries have taken steps to improve cheetah conservation measures. The cheetah was formally described by Johann Christian  ...more
    40
    6
    Charisma or cha-blah-sma?