13th September 2023
Move over cute and fuzzy, it’s time to let the underdogs step into the limelight! We believe all creatures have a purpose and should be admired for what they bring to our planet, whether they’re great or small, beautiful or ‘ugly’.
Find out where you can visit the remarkable creatures featured in our "Ugly" Endangered Animals campaign, and see how amazing they are for yourself…
The ever so elusive Pangolin
I Pangolins might be one of the hardest animals to spot in the wild as they’re elusive (for good reason, since they’re the most trafficked animal in the world) and nocturnal. You’d be very lucky to see one of these amazing creatures on safari in the African bush.
Even if a trip to the tropical forests of Asia or the arid deserts of Africa are out of the question, you can still fall in love with their adorable faces, be fascinated by their distinctive scaly armour, and learn more about their incredible climbing abilities.
Pangolins might be closer than we think… did you know that despite their resemblance to armadillos, genetic evidence shows that they’re most closely related to lions, wolves, and other carnivores?
Natterjack toads in the UK
Despite being protected by law, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the natterjack toad is at risk. Get to know this quirky little creature, including the way they ‘run’ instead of hop and have a bright yellow stripe along their back, by visiting them at one of the 60 sites natterjacks call home in the UK.
Here are some of the places you might be lucky enough to see a natterjack toad:
- Sefton Coast between Liverpool and Southport.
- Sand dunes in East Anglia.
- Heathlands in Hampshire.
- Solway Firth in Scotland.
- Salt marshes in the northwest.
- Heathlands in Surrey.
Please note: When visiting a natterjack toad habitat, it’s important to stick to footpaths and, if you’ve brought them with you, keep your dog on a lead to protect these rare amphibians from injury.
Even if you don’t see a natterjack toad, you may hear them between April and July (during their breeding season), because their calls can travel up to a mile away!
For more information, visit our Natterjack Toad Fact File or Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust charity page.
Vultures at the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Hampshire
Thanks to film and TV, vultures have gained a bit of a bad reputation. However, the vulture plays a vital role in protecting water sources, humans, and other animals from bacteria and diseases, by cleaning up carrion (dead creatures). They’re also extremely intelligent and have a brilliant sense of humour (see the videos linked below)!
Although many people may see vultures as scruffy and ‘ugly’, watching a majestic vulture in flight might change your mind…With their large, emotive eyes and fluffy, white collar, let African white-backed vultures capture your heart at the Hawk Conservancy Trust.
Just in case you can’t visit vultures in person, why not watch them help clean their aviary?
Mako Sharks in the UK
When we think of sharks, many of us are likely to conjure images of a sharp dorsal fin cutting through the ocean’s surface, to that suspenseful, spine-tingling tune.
But sharks are so much more than the predators we see on TV, because, in reality, they’re protectors of the sea. Shortfin mako sharks, in particular, prey on diseased fish, which helps to prevent disease from damaging ecosystems.
Since shortfin makos are the fastest shark species in the world, and can grow up to 13ft in length, you’re unlikely to see them in captivity (thank goodness!). Mako sharks thrive in the ocean, their natural habitat, where they have plenty of space to swim and catch their prey.
You may be lucky enough to see a mako shark if you choose to explore the ocean (with an experienced, qualified guide!) through scuba diving or boat tours.
In case you need an excuse to spend time studying sharks, Shark Awareness Day happens on the 14th July every year.
Proboscis Monkeys are hard to find
Proboscis monkeys have long, bulbous noses, pot bellies, and webbed toes, so you’d be forgiven for thinking they belong in a fantasy novel!
Though did you know the proboscis monkey’s unique appearance has a purpose? For example, males have big noses to attract females and amplify their calls, all proboscis monkeys have pot bellies so they can digest young leaves and unripe fruit other primates can’t eat, and their webbed toes make them superb swimmers.
To meet proboscis monkeys in person, you could visit Labuk Bay – a sanctuary which is home to one of the largest isolated populations of proboscis monkeys in Borneo. During your visit, you can get to know the colourful personalities of individual proboscis monkeys.
If visiting Malaysia to see proboscis monkeys isn’t on the cards for you right now, here is a fascinating video about this curious creature: