Weird Nature

The Most Charismatic Megafauna  

Amy Boal
1.2k votes 263 voters 6.1k views 27 items

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.
1 75 VOTES
Tiger is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Charismatic Megafauna
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 on Wikipedia

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2 66 VOTES
Giant Panda is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Charismatic Megafauna
Photo: Michael Gwyther-Jones/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

The giant panda, or panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca, literally meaning "black and white cat-foot") is a bear native to central-western and south western China. It is easily recognized by its large, distinctive black patches around the eyes, over the ears, and across its round body. Though it belongs to the order Carnivora, the panda's diet is 99% bamboo. Pandas in the wild will occasionally eat other grasses, wild tubers, or even meat in the form of birds, rodents or carrion. In captivity they may receive honey, eggs, fish, yams, shrub leaves, oranges, or bananas along with specially prepared feed. The giant panda lives in a few mountain ranges in central China, mainly in Sichuan province, but ...more on Wikipedia

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3 66 VOTES
Elephant is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Charismatic Megafauna
Photo: mcoughlin/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0

Elephants are large land mammals in two extant genera of the family Elephantidae: Elephas and Loxodonta, with the third genus Mammuthus extinct. Three species of elephant are recognized: the African bush elephant, the African forest elephant and the Indian or Asian elephant] although some group the two African species into one and some researchers also postulate the existence of a fourth species in West Africa. All other species and genera of Elephantidae are extinct. Most have been extinct since the last ice age, although dwarf forms of mammoths might have survived as late as 2,000 BCE. Elephants and other Elephantidae were once classified with other thick-skinned animals in a now invalid ...more on Wikipedia

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Gray Wolf is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Charismatic Megafauna
Photo: Arne_von_Brill/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

The gray wolf or grey wolf also known as the timber wolf, or western wolf, is a canid native to the wilderness and remote areas of North America, Eurasia, and northern, eastern and western Africa. It is the largest extant member of its family, with males averaging 43–45 kg, and females 36–38.5 kg. Like the red wolf, it is distinguished from other Canis species by its larger size and less pointed features, particularly on the ears and muzzle. Its winter fur is long and bushy, and predominantly a mottled gray in color, although nearly pure white, red, or brown to black also occur. As of 2005, 37 subspecies of C. lupus are recognised by MSW3. The nominate subspecies is the Eurasian wolf, also ...more on Wikipedia

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