Condor, © Scott Frier/USFWS

Show Some Love to the Ugly and Endangered

Let’s face it – not every animal is going to win a beauty contest. Not every one has glossy fur, shimmering scales or soulful eyes. But all of them are important, and they all deserve a chance at survival. So with Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s show a little love for some of the endangered species that may not be the prettiest, but need our help all the same.

The Bottom-dweller: Pallid Sturgeon
Pallid sturgeon, © Katie Steiger-Meister/USFWS
This ancient fish has whiskers, is covered in armored plates, and spends its time grubbing along murky river bottoms in the Missouri and Mississippi River systems. Pallid sturgeon can grow to be huge – up to six feet long and more than 80 pounds! And if you think that’s impressive, get this: The species has been around for more than 78 million years. That’s right, these guys once shared the planet with dinosaurs.

And sadly, they could be going the same way as their now-fossilized friends. Today, the last wild-born pallid sturgeon are nearing extinction. As humans built dams in the waterways these fish need to survive, they blocked the pallid sturgeon from being able to reach its breeding grounds. We’re working to bring down a dam on the Yellowstone River, right in the heart of pallid sturgeon habitat. But it will take years of restoring this and other parts of sturgeon habitat before this species can rule its home rivers once more.

The Scavenger: California Condor
California condor, © Chuck Szmurlo
Like all carrion eaters, the California condor sports a bare featherless head, the better to plunge into dead things without getting too dirty. Add to that the scaly skin and those glaring red eyes, and it’s clear these birds don’t exactly fall into the “cute and cuddly” category. But there many things about California condors that are just plain cool. With a wingspan of up to 9 ½ feet (!), they’re one of the largest birds in the world. They can glide for hours without beating their wings, and the skin on their necks can actually change color based on their emotional state – kind of like a mood ring.

But due in large part to habitat loss, illegal shootings, and lead poisoning, by 1985 the entire known wild population had been reduced to just nine birds. It took a concerted conservation effort to bring this bird back from the brink of extinction. Today, 228 condors survive in the wild. But they still face a range of continuing threats, including lead poisoning from ammunition used by hunters to kill wildlife that condors eat. Not long ago, we won a victory in California where hunters are now required to use non-lead ammunition throughout the state. It’s a great step forward, but it will take a wider effort to secure a stable future for these birds.

The Bad Rap: Northern Long-eared Bat
Northern long-eared bat, © USFWS
Few animals have as undeserved a bad reputation as bats do. Far from creepy or dangerous, bats actually provide incredibly valuable services like pollination or eating insects that could otherwise kill crops or make us sick.

North American bats like the Northern long-eared bat are being decimated right now by a fungal disease called “white nose syndrome.” This epidemic has lent new urgency to efforts to protect bat habitats and reduce other threats to their survival. Sadly, some in Congress don’t seem to agree. Last year saw several legislative attacks on the efforts to protect this species. And thanks to pressure from the oil, gas and timber industries (which have a vested interest in seeing the bat’s habitat stay less protected), the Northern long-eared bat hasn’t even been given the level of protection under the Endangered Species Act that it desperately needs. We’re fighting these battles for the bat in the courts and on Capitol Hill, but we’re going up against a decidedly anti-wildlife Congress and many extremely well-funded industries; it’s going to be a long road ahead.

These are just three of a long list of imperiled species that need our help – even if they aren’t always the ones that get the lion’s share of the spotlight. This Valentine’s Day, show some love for species like these. Pick your favorite image below, then click to share and help spread the word!

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Categories: Wildlife

89 Responses to “Show Some Love to the Ugly and Endangered”

  1. Debi Kittle

    I have a very special place in my heart for the non-traditionally “beautiful” and unusual creatures. They all have an important place in our ecosystem and it is important to keep them safe

    • Marga

      Are all so-called humans “beautiful”?????? No, they certainly are not and humans are contrary to animals not as true and loyal. ALL animals have a right to live. I love all animals, if considered beautiful by human standards or not.

  2. Sandy H

    How ignorant mankind has become over the centuries. We kill humans and animals at an alarming rate, with no conscious thought of moral, ethical or inhumane consequences. People and animals alike suffer agonizing deaths at the hands of man. Thousands of species of animals are being slaughtered to make way for more people on this planet. At the rate we are going, mankind will soon wipe out MANY species that have been on this planet for thousands of years. I wonder……how long before mankind wipes out itself? The killing MUST STOP! LIFE MUST BE PRESERVED, before it is too late.

    • Ellen

      I wholeheartedly agree Sandy H. We’ve got to do something now before it’s to late for animals and humans.

    • carlie

      Yes, well said indeed Sandy. So glad to see there are many of us not liking it. ?

    • Marga

      You are sooooooooo right!!!!! Animals have been on that wonderful planet long before the human race “errupted.”…. and will be extinct before the animals do I believe.

  3. Mildred Roatche

    Please save all the animals? They are all beautiful in Gods eyes!

    • Ellen CookeAll wildlife is beautiful. Please save them!

      All wildlife is beautiful. Please save them!

  4. Carol

    Sandy H. Had it spot on. The arrogant human, innocent wildlife, hardly a fair fight. We MUST protect all animals from the powerful special interests who have ‘friends’ in high places. The time is NOW to do what we can before we all lose out.

    • Ellen CookeAll wildlife is beautiful. Please save them!

      All wildlife is beautiful. Please save them!

  5. Priscilla

    I LOVE bats! Having lived with the wild creatures for many, many years I find bats to be truly one of the most endearing. Coyotes are also more than cool. Had one little buck coyote coming up about 35′ from my deck and egging the dogs to come out, “You want a piece of this?”. I know he was mooning them and flipping them off. The dogs knew his game, he’d take off running, and they weren’t buying it. He moved up by degrees to maybe 15′ of the deck, sat there and sassed my dogs–nananayaya. That was too much to take for the Red Tick. She took about 5 long strides thru the house and, like a bullet, was out the pet doors. That li’l buck’s eyes must have opened wide. He didn’t torment them again, but in late December, I thought the Red Tick was elsewhere but I heard the Black and Tan bark, then there was a whole lot of screaming. I knew the li’l buck’s voice. The Red Tick had come out of nowhere and whipped his ‘nass and he hadn’t even announced himself. That, “Here, hold my beer and watch this,” thing doesn’t always work out. None of the coyotes have been back since. I miss them. What a sad, colorless world this would be without all the wild things.

  6. ludivine

    I look at these beautiful creatures and hope that they will all be saved. It is our duty otherwise we have no reason to be here..

  7. Priscilla

    Just had to give one more :> Vultures. . .so TOTALLY cool ! They have the most interesting societies and family groups. Truly a fun and intelligent group to watch. One summer’s day there were 9 of them wing tip to wing tip across the road airing out their hot underarms from the heat. But, when I sat there for some time and they weren’t moving, I started to get the creeps. My daughter still insists that a vulture swooped down to snatch her off her pony when she was little. Vulture societies are wonderfully rich and fascinating.

  8. Laurie Ann LaGoe

    It is so arrogant of some people to think that “Humans” are more important then animals, plants and trees. Those same kind of people think “White people” are superior to people of color. That is why poor and people of color get stuck with the polluting industries.

    What kind of a world would it be if there were only people and they were all the same?

  9. Lorraine

    They are beautiful creatures and part of our world! Mankind are the ugly ones here! Please save these gorgeous animals ❤️

    • Roro

      What?! They’re not ugly at all. Bats are so cute, the sturgeon is beautiful and the condor is just mesmerizing! I honestly see beauty in all animals. The only animal I find ugly is the human, both inside and out (of course, there are exceptions).

    • Roro

      Lorraine, I totally agree with you. <3 I just got mixed up and posted my other comment as a reply to yours… Sorry!

  10. Cheryl N.

    Just imagine if help was only offered to cute or beautiful people! These animals’ lives matter just as much as the wolves, big cats, and polar bears. Take time to stand up, and speak out about the importance of making changes that help protect our wildlife, before there is no wildlife to protect. I want my grandkids to know I fought and made a difference for them to be able to see the majesty and perfection in the wild.

  11. Adriana

    A beleza é algo muito relativo pois o que é belo hoje já foi considerado feio algum dia… Não há animais feios porque a sua beleza vem de dentro.
    A Sandy H. no seu comentário disse tudo.
    O meu OBRIGADO a todos os que defendem a vida inocente!

  12. Marie-Andrée Michaud

    All creatures are loveable. All creatures were created by the Divine.
    All creatures are sacred.
    We are all part of the Universe. We are all related.
    We are one.

  13. Anthony DiCostanzo

    How many species are we going to neglect? Every animal plays a significant role in its ecosystem, especially bats. The consequences of our actions are greater than we think.

  14. Marie-Andrée Michaud

    I love them all. We are all part of the Universe. We are all related. We are one

  15. Jeremy

    These animals are just as important as any other and are here for a reason. Making an effort to help these animals should be a no brainer but unfortunately many people dont see it that way. That is why it is so important for us to keep defending them. Keep it up.

  16. Michelle Tudor

    They may be “ugly”, but deserve the same protection as any other animal anywhere.

  17. Judy

    Everything creature has beautiful markings if u look closer. They all deserve respect and kindness.

  18. Susanne Bader

    All of nature’s creatures are beautiful in their own way! Sometimes you just have to look beyond the surface, and when you think about how important they are in the web of life, they get prettier all the time. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!

  19. McKenna Kunshier

    These sweet animal babies must be saved. They can’t help the way they look. But, surely that doesn’t mean that we should show them less love than we do to the cute animals. Our society is very highly based on looks and that if you don’t look pretty than therefore your not pretty. It has gotten better. But, it has to be solved because people and animals aren’t just pretty based on looks they can be pretty at heart too. And these animals are pretty and they must be saved.

  20. Halil Ayral Sahin

    These endangered animals need our protection now!
    The Sturgeon fish and the Cross Opterigean fish are
    the only living fossils now.

  21. Joseph Andrew

    Our world is one continuous cycle of life-no creature can be ignored- if we expect it to survive for future generations !When we don’t see the warning signs we face dire consequences, that will & do effect us all ! True beauty is the whole picture that surrounds us-everyone can make a contribution by realizing the choices we make matter! Save something everyday- U know it matters !

  22. Colleen Humphries

    Sandy H says it all. All of the necessary life species are beautiful in their own way!

  23. Carole Hay

    IT is terrible how horrible HUMANS have become too our planet and all the animals that roam and live here as GOD intended, all HUMANS are doing is destroying everything in their paths be it animals of all kinds , because of their HATE and HEARTLESS MANNERs they do not care if they wipe everything to EXTINCTION, and DESTROY our EARTH, they need to realize WE ONLY HAVE ONE EARTH and at the rate it is being destroyed in so many ways it will DESTROY OUR EARTH AS WE KNOW IT and all the ANIMALS that live here too.. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON ALL THESE GREEDY SOULLESS HEARTLESS CREEPS that just love to destroy and kill. THEIR SOULS will be JUDGED ONE DAY their days are COMING>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> WE need to keep voicing to save all the INNOCENTS that keep getting picked on , as GOD has placed them all with the normal control of NATURE as it needs. and PEOPLE just keep on destroying the animals and UPSETTING THE N ATURAL BALANCE of things . SO I SAY SHAME ON ALL THE abusers of animals and of our FRAGILE EARTH anymore………

    • Couldn't have put it better myself....

      Humans are the most horrid species on this planet, we are hell bent on killing poor defenceless animals who have done nothing wrong, they have a right to live here, like us, but what do they get??…torture, abuse, starvation, skinned alive, live bait, humans make me sick to the stomach, shame on us…

  24. Carole Hay

    IT is terrible how horrible HUMANS have become too our planet and all the animals that roam and live here as GOD intended, all HUMANS are doing is destroying everything in their paths be it animals of all kinds , because of their HATE and HEARTLESS MANNERs they do not care if they wipe everything to EXTINCTION, and DESTROY our EARTH, they need to realize WE ONLY HAVE ONE EARTH and at the rate it is being destroyed in so many ways it will DESTROY OUR EARTH AS WE KNOW IT and all the ANIMALS that live here too.. SHAME SHAME SHAME ON ALL THESE GREEDY SOULLESS HEARTLESS CREEPS that just love to destroy and kill. THEIR SOULS will be JUDGED ONE DAY their days are COMING>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> WE need to keep voicing to save all the INNOCENTS that keep getting picked on , as GOD has placed them all with the normal control of NATURE as it needs. and PEOPLE just keep on destroying the animals and UPSETTING THE N ATURAL BALANCE of things . SO I SAY SHAME ON ALL THE abusers of animals and of our FRAGILE EARTH anymore………

  25. Susan Lewis

    All life has value, whether it fits our definition of beautiful or not.

  26. Josephine Ansaldo-Nixon

    I think they are all adorable, there is no such thing as an ugly animal, only ugly humans and I am talking about the inside.

  27. Howard Pugh

    We tend to forget that we are part of nature also and all life is a balanced chain and once that link is broken then we will inevitably suffer.

  28. VegAtheist

    Humans must learn to control their breeding! Transitioning to a vegetarian/vegan diet will help animals and the environment immensely!….not to mention…your health…

  29. Rosemary houston

    All creatures deserve to be protected from man kinds barbaric cruelty

  30. Gale

    Everything I had to say was said by Sandy H., and more eloquently than I would have done. My disgust, and despair for my own race would be unnecessarily evident. We are the keepers of this earth. It’s our duty and moral obligation, (not to mention just plain common sense) to preserve and protect this earth, and those of us who are meant to be here. That means animals, and decent people who are strong enough, and caring enough to protect them. All animals serve a very necessary, positive function, people should but sadly not all of us do.

  31. Carole Hay

    HUMANS are so terrible to animals and our PLANET anymore they destroy everything in their paths. ANIMALS WERE put here by GOD as nature intended to keep the eco balance in nature properly and HUMANs keep on upseting and destoying everything Shame ON ALL these humans that are destroyers and killers THEY need to stop doing all these killings and babarbic actions agaisnt’ innocent wild animals and let them alone and stop picking on them.

  32. Carole Hay

    HUMANS are so terrible to animals and our PLANET anymore they destroy everything in their paths. ANIMALS WERE put here by GOD as nature intended to keep the eco balance in nature properly and HUMANs keep on upseting and destoying everything Shame ON ALL these humans that are destroyers and killers THEY need to stop doing all these killings and babarbic actions agaisnt’ innocent wild animals and let them alone and stop picking on them.

  33. Robert ziegler

    We need to protect and save all creatures large and small from extinction from corporations wanting to to invade spaces for their own profit and greed!

  34. Jillian

    All of our critters deserve love !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. Doug Hendrickson

    All creatures are beautiful in their own way. This biologist loves you all.

  36. Susan

    I simply believe whatever creatures living in this human-dominated world deserve to be protected, especially those that are endangered!

  37. J. David Scott

    ALL animals are deserving of our protection and compassion. We are all Gods’ creatures.

  38. Deborah Arneson

    All creatures whether cute or not so cute by our standards need to cherished.

    Humans are the gatekeepers not only for this extraordinary planet but for all creatures great and small! Peril stands by just waiting on the sidelines…not only for all these God given treasures but also the human species..
    We ARE next in line…pls help others wake up ! OR, we can all take a “number” as our turn is forthcoming…….

  39. Christina

    Awww, who said they’re ugly? That’s mean, and they’re not. They deserve to be safe to live their own happy lives too. Happy Valentine’s Day Cuties! ?

  40. andree courand gueye

    protéger tous les êtres vivants est impératif, La beauté est un critère des hommes non de la nature. la nature est savante et créatrice, superbe d’ingéniosité. Ne pas la détruire, c’est protéger l’être humain, cet inconscient qui ignore la raison de son existence

  41. Donna Scarbrough

    You are right.most of these are less than lovable, but are necessary to keep us in balance.I believe every living thing has a purpose, though sometimes we wonder what it is. Your message today explained a lot!!!

  42. Lisa Murzin

    It is the circle of life! GOD put the animals here first, and what these greedy politicians and big oil, etc. don’t understand is, every species on Earth has a purpose, and when we start losing different species, it has impact on the environment and life cycles of EVERYTHING!!! IF THESE PEOPLE DON’T WAKE UP, WE WILL BE NEXT! WE MUST ALL LIVE IN HARMONY WITH ALL LIVING THINGS!!!

  43. Jane Oakley

    “Bless the beasts and the children. For in this world they have no voice, they have no choice.” These are the profound lyrics of an old Carpenters hit which may have come from a play. Trying my best to be a vioce for the voiceless is what motivates me to do what I do.

  44. Kenneth

    I think it’s about the most arrogant disgusting heinous thing imaginable that humans are in any way shape or form responsible for decimating any wildlife species, in some cases to a only a handful left or even extinction. We do not have the right! And if when and where we do cause such situations, it is absolutely our obligation and duty to fix the situation as quickly as possible, no ifs ands or buts, dragging heels or lagging about it.

  45. Linda

    Reading all these eloquent comments restores a little of my faith (sic) in my fellow humans. How appropriate that I’m given the opportunity to add my two cents on Valentine’s Day: animal species of all sizes/types/colors/whatever: I love you!

  46. Rebecca

    I am sick of our country’s track record on protecting wildlife, whether it’s a gorgeous butterfly or a homely bat! We are upsetting the balance o nature more and more. They sre a part o our planet/galaxy/universe too!!

  47. Raymond Schamel

    The web of life is fragile and all living things from prochlorococcus to the mighty blue whale are necessary. I was 14 years old when I committed myself to love all living things, the loved and the unloved. I grieve that the human species seems to have become the “cancer” that threatens the continuation of life on earth including themselves. these beautiful comments give me some glimmer of hope.

  48. Terry

    Thanks for sharing these amazing animals. Like others, I have always had a soft spot for the less loveable critters in our world. I love them all equally. The beauty of life is fabulous regardless of the package.

  49. GABRIELA VARGAS MARTÍNEZ

    TODAS LAS ESPECIES SON ESTÉTICAS, NO HAY FEOS EN LA NATURALEZA. CREO QUE LA ESPECIE REALMENTE POCO ESTÉTICA ES LA HUMANA, PERO BUENO, CUESTIÓN DE ENFOQUES. ADEMÁS TODAS LAS ESPECIES CON EXCEPCIÓN DE LA ESPECIE HUMANA, CUMPLEN CON UNA FUNCIÓN IMPORTANTE EN EL CICLO VITAL, Y FUNCIONAN PARA LA SUPERVIVENCIA DEL PLANETA. ES UNA LÁSTIMA QUE LÍDERES Y CONGRESOS NO TOMEN EN CUENTA LA IMPORTANCIA DE LA VIDA DE TODAS LAS ESPECIES, ES TRISTE SABER QUE NO TIENEN LA CONSCIENCIA SUFICIENTE Y QUE TODAVÍA EL SER HUMANO MUESTRE TAL NIVEL DE IGNORANCIA. LAS SOCIEDADES EN GENERAL TODAVÍA NO ALCANZAN LA SENSIBILIDAD SUFICIENTE Y EL CONOCIMIENTO COMO PARA DETENER LA TERRIBLE CRUELDAD CON LOS ANIMALES, SERÍA UNA PENA QUE FUTURAS GENERACIONES SÓLO CONOZCAN A LAS ESPECIES EN FOTOGRAFÍAS. ESTAMOS ACABANDO CON LA VIDA EN TODOS LOS RINCONES DE LA TIERRA, ESO SIGNIFICA QUE ESTAMOS FIRMANDO NUESTRA PROPIA SENTENCIA DE MUERTE. NO NOS DAMOS CUENTA DE ELLO????

  50. GABRIELA VARGAS MARTÍNEZ

    ESTAMOS TODOS MUY AGRADECIDOS CON DEFENSORES DE LA VIDA SALVAJE POR TODA LA INFORMACIÓN, POR SU VALIENTE Y HONORABLE TRABAJO Y POR DARNOS LA OPORTUNIDAD DE SER PARTE DE LA SALVACIÓN DEL PLANETA. MUCHAS GRACIAS A JAMIE RAPPAPPORT POR SU ADMIRABLE TRABAJO, SU ENTREGA ABSOLUTA Y SU FUNCIÓN TRASCENDENTAL POR LA VIDA.

  51. GABRIELA VARGAS MARTÍNEZ

    ESTA CARTA ES UN AGRADECIMIENTO A JAMIE RAPPAPORT CLARK POR SU ADMIRABLE TRABAJO Y SU ENTREGA ABSOLUTA; GRACIAS JAMIE POR TU FUNCIÓN TRASCENDENTAL POR LA VIDA. GRACIAS A TODO EL TRABAJO VALIENTE DE LOS DEFENSORES DE LA VIDA SALVAJE POR SU VALOR Y ENTREGA, POR TODA LA INFORMACIÓN TAN VALIOSA Y POR HACERNOS A TODOS PARTE DE LA SALVACIÓN DE LA VIDA.

  52. Lorinda

    Are there any Condor left…wild in Los Angeles National Forest ? Seeing them fly high overhead is a beauty to behold. And I love bats ! I’ve saved and protected them. I’ve even met one of these Long-eared Bats…a beautiful bat !…at UCLA years ago. Have you ever heard a bat talk ?
    Remember : Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    All of these are critically Endangered. They need our astute and continual protection.

  53. Paul

    All Life is Sacred and beautiful. They are all awesome and deserve saving from Man’s foolish actions.

  54. Badstuber

    Your Comment here…I feel sorry for animal so much because i can not help now,if their is any body out there who can help, please help.I love animals.

  55. Kassy

    Human greed is the devil’s workshop. Corporate America thinks of nothing but $$$$$. And hey, by the way…. put a condom on it !!! We act like we can’t do anything about the 8 billion and growing. Ridiculous and insane! Clearly we’re breeding stupidity into our gene pool.

  56. Elisha Stewart

    All animals are worthy of saving no matter there looks. No animal deserves to die they all have a place and purpose in this world.

  57. N

    All animals have a place in this world. All creatures are needed, useful, have purpose in life. Not all animals included people are beautiful, but their hearts are full of love, doing what they suppose to do in nature. That is why they are there for all of us.

  58. Aida

    Here’s to ALL OF THE ABOVE and then some! They are BEAUTIFUL and serve a purpose that enhance the WHOLE WORLD!! LIVE AND BREED ON! We NEED YOU!

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