Wildlife Experts Are Tweeting Hilarious Animal Reviews to Promote Conservation Efforts

On March 9, wildlife experts at the Oregon Zoo began to post pictures of various creatures in their care on Twitter and give them Amazon-style reviews under the hashtag #RateaSpecies.

The reviews range from glowing praise for the “sturdy” beaver to appreciation for the apparently highly useful “cordless” bat. Here are just a couple of the zoo’s tweets:

My personal favorite is the octopus:

As you’ve no doubt gathered, these tweets are not just for fun. Included in the reviews are some interesting tidbits of information about each animal. For example, many octopuses die not long after mating or having young. Soon, other zoos and aquariums joined in on the act. Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens tweeted about its “mostly harmless” — and, I have to say, pretty adorable — lions:

The zoo’s ”extremely rare” Peninsular pronghorn garnered a coveted five-star rating for its specs:

While the Monterey Bay Aquarium drew attention to its rather fabulous — and apparently deadly – mantis shrimp:

Many more institutions soon got in on the act, and you can peruse all of these animal reviews by exploring the #RateASpecies hashtag on Twitter.

But a more serious note accompanies this bit of fun.

The #RateaSpecies movement serves a greater good

These witty animal reviews have become a massively fun game, prompting many Twitter users to join in by rating everything from exotic animals to their household pets. Given that the current political state of the world seems to lurch from one anxiety-provoking news story to the next, this light-hearted campaign offers a much-needed breath of fresh air. But beneath the fun is actually a clever and useful conservation strategy.

Many of the species that were included in Friday’s #RateaSpecies posts are endangered or seriously misunderstood.

For example, the Tennessee Aquarium  tweeted this review of a possum: ”Exceeds expectations! Very cute marsupial IMHO – and the only one found in the US! Curious if negative reviewers know about the benefits to the eco-system?”

Similarly, some wildlife experts sought to change public perceptions about animals like crocodiles and sharks, noting that while these predators often earn a bad press, they are actually rather docile if well-fed. And they’re certainly not the killing machines our popular culture would cast them to be.

Other wildlife conservationists wanted to draw attention to so-called ugly animals , or animals that do not get as much press because they aren’t as “cute” or charismatic. In fact, there’s a real disparity in conservation efforts between easily marketable animals — for example, the panda — and creatures that are less pleasing to the eye — but just as important, like the African vulture.

It’s true that no singular hashtag can save a species from extinction, nor will this movement directly lead to more funding for conservation efforts. However, social media campaigns that reach out to the public — and show nature in all its wonderful diversity — can greatly raise the profile of endangered or misunderstood creatures.

It looks like #RateaSpecies is here to stay, so make sure to join in the fun!

Photo Credit: Jared Rice/Unsplash

75 comments

Marie W
Marie W3 months ago

Thanks

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Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

TYFS

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Sue H
Sue H5 months ago

Thanks. Fun to read the responses!

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Cindy S
Past Member 6 months ago

cool

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JoAnn Paris
JoAnn Paris6 months ago

Thank you for this very interesting article.

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Ruth S
Ruth S7 months ago

Thanks.

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Chad A
Chad Anderson8 months ago

Thank you.

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Janis K
Janis K8 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Amanda McConnell
Amanda McConnell8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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Amanda McConnell
Amanda McConnell8 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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