For the first time, a bat has won the Bird of the Year award in New Zealand. Someone joked that the bat paid the management a bribe, but in fact – the management had good reasons to include the bat in the competition. She won by 3,000 votes!
This year the organizers of the Bird of the Year competition, New Zealand’s Forest and Bird, decided to include a bat in the competition. The New Zealand long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) has been facing threats of habitat loss in recent years. Thus, the organizers decided to pay attention to this problem, but unexpectedly for everyone, the bat became the winner.
In addition, because of the bat, the popularity of the contest has also increased. This year it collected a record 58,000 votes from over 100 countries. According to the results, the bat gained an advantage of 3,000 votes. She even overtook last year’s winner, the kakapo owl parrot.
Now the organizers hope that this event will help draw more attention to the problems of these bats. But despite this, some were unhappy with the inclusion of the bat in the list of participants. Some Twitter users demanded a recount, while others joked that the bat had paid a bribe. The management replied that if any other species needed help, they would include them in the competition next year as well.
Funny photo from the organizers of the contest
A huge congratulations to the pekapeka long-tailed bat for winning #BirdoftheYear 2021! 🦇🏆
Despite being our only endemic land mammal, most people don’t even know they exist, which makes their win even more outstanding. pic.twitter.com/dZEMNn7t5H
— Forest & Bird (@Forest_and_Bird) October 31, 2021