Our national animal is a buck-toothed, over-sized rodent that cuts down trees and blocks rivers. We're not casting aspersions, but is the beaver the greatest animal in Canada?
That's the question the Calgary Zoo is posing with the launch of a contest where the public can vote between seven Canuck creatures in order to pick the best for Canada's 150th birthday.
"It's a fun campaign that we hope will both kick-start a celebration of the wonderful Canadian species that are so important to our national identity, and to raise awareness of the serious challenges they face in the wild," said spokesperson Lindsey Galloway in a news release.
From the tight butt and giant head of the plains bison, to the brooding grizzly bear, from the graceful — and endangered — whooping crane to the not-so-graceful beaver, the decision is a tough one.
Are Canadians industrious like the beaver? Collaborative like the wolf? Independent and sure footed like the mountain goat? Wise and sort of frightened looking like the grey owl?
The full list of candidates is:
- Plains bison.
- Grizzly bear.
- Whooping crane.
- Grey wolf.
- Great grey owl.
- Rocky Mountain goat.
Species at risk
The contest is being used to educate the public on some of the country's iconic species and the risks they face.
"Currently, there are 521 species at risk under Canada's Species at Risk Act (SARA), with 63 of them living in Alberta and 12 only found in the province," said the zoo in a news release.
"Educating visitors about conservation is one of the Calgary Zoo's most important jobs, and the Canada's Greatest Animal campaign is helping to shine a light on the need to protect Canada's precious wildlife."
Canadians can cast their ballot at calgaryzoo.com/greatestanimal.
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