Take t hat, ex­tinc­tion

Idealog - - WHY THIS MATTERS -

Since hu­mans first set­tled in New Zealand, we have lost one species of bat, at least 51 birds, three frogs, three lizards, one fresh­wa­ter fish, four plant species and a num­ber of in­ver­te­brates. Ex­tinc­tion comes from any num­ber of causes, in­clud­ing preda­tors, habi­tat loss, dis­ease and hunt­ing. But luck­ily, or­gan­i­sa­tions like For­est and Bird are har­ness­ing the power of so­cial me­dia to raise aware­ness and si­mul­ta­ne­ously amuse the na­tion through its com­pe­ti­tion for the( en­dan­gered) Bird of The Year. It’s ar­guably one of the most heated elec­tions of the year, with cam­paign­ers can­vass­ing cit­i­zens tire­lessly, fraud­u­lent votes prompt­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions and memes cir­cu­lat­ing on Twit­ter. Last year, a record 41,555 votes were counted for the com­pe­ti­tion and For­est and Bird com­mu­ni­ca­tions man­ager Caitlin Carew says this mod­ern tech helps bring at­ten­tion to the plight of New Zealand’s en­dan­gered birds. “The rise of so­cial me­dia, hash­tags and memes has helped cam­paign man­agers gain vis­i­bil­ity and sup­port in away that wasn’t so pos­si­ble a decade ago, and their anti cs at­tract me­dia in­ter­est which helps spread the com­pe­ti­tion fur­ther.” Why this mat­ters: Although New Zealan­ders are now more en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious than ever, we’ re still at risk of los­ing na­tional trea­sures like the Maui’s dol­phin and Kakapo if we don’t come up with some cre­ative ways of tack­ling this is­sue. Thank­fully, tech­nol­ogy of­fers up one way to help solve this prob­lem.

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