Which animal would you choose to conserve?

After finding people preferred large, cool-toned and multicoloured imaginary animals (see here for more information), we wanted to find out whether people liked the same things in real animals. After 16 animals were carefully selected, artist Rory McCann drew the beautiful images below for the experiment. Find out more about each animal by hovering over its image.

Funded by the National Geographic Society
Mauritius fody
Foudia rubra

160-220 individuals

Stable population

Like many birds, the Mauritius fody is sexually dichromatic - males and females have different colours. The female Mauritius fody is a duller yellow and brown.

Grevy's zebra
Equus grevyi

900-1100 individuals

Stable population

Found only in Ethiopia and Kenya, Grevy's Zebra is the largest zebra species, and the largest wild equid (horses, donkeys and zebras) 

Jamaican blackbird
Nesopsar nigerrimus

1500-7000 individuals

Declining population

Only found in the Jamaican highlands, the Jamaican blackbird's call has been described as sounding like a film camera motor.

Golden lion tamarin
Leontopithecus rosalia

3200 individuals

Stable population

Female golden lion tamarins usually give birth to twins, but sometimes have triplets or quadruplets.  

Djoongari
Pseudomys fieldi

10,000 individuals

Stable population

Now, the djoongari can only be found on a few islands in Shark Bay, Australia. But in the 19th century it was found across mainland Australian, even as far inland as Alice Springs, 750 miles from the coast.

Striated caracara
Phalcoboenus australis

1000-2500 individuals

Stable population

Striated caracara have the most southern distribution of any bird of prey, found in the Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego.

Stella's sea eagle
Haliaeetus pelagicus

3700 individuals

Declining population

Stella's sea eagle is the heaviest eagle in the world, and females can weight as much as 9kg.

Eurasian lynx
Lynx lynx

60,000 individuals

Stable population

In areas where their prey is less common, male Eurasian lynx can have hunting areas as large as 450 square kilometres

Brush tailed rock wallaby
Petrogale penicillata

20,000 individuals

Declining population

Found in south east Australia, 70% of the brush tailed rock wallaby's habitat was destroyed by bush fires in January 2020.

Tonkin's snub-nosed monkey
Rhinopithecus avunculus

250 individuals

Declining population

Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys were thought extinct until a small population was discovered in Northern Vietnam in the 1990s.

White rumped  falcon
Polihierax insignis

300,000 individuals

Stable population

Found in south-east Asia, the white rumped falcon eats insects, lizards and even small birds.

Bactrian camel
Camelus ferus

950 individuals

Declining population

The wild bactrian camel is a different species from domesticated bactrian camels, and only found in China and Mongolia. 

Northern cassowary
Casaurius unappendiculatus

10,000-20,000 individuals

Declining population

Although first described to Western science from individual an aviary in India, the 1.8m Northern Cassowary actually lives on New Guinea.

African spoonbill
Platalea alba

7,300-73,000 individuals

Stable population

African spoonbill's are found across sub-Saharan African in marshy wetlands, where is swings it's head from side to side to catch small fish and invertebrates. 

Black honey buzzard
Henicopernis infuscatus

6,000-15,000 individuals

Declining population

Little is known about the shy black honey buzzard, which is found only on the island of New Britain.

Bonobo
Pan paniscus

15,000-20,000 individuals

Declining population

Bonobos have a matriarchal society, which means social interactions centre around females which have higher status than males.