The EWCL Giant Armadillo Team (GA-Team) working in collaboration with the Giant Armadillo Project of Brazil, utilized the media hype surrounding the 2014 World Cup armadillo mascot and created media and educational materials to increase awareness about the giant armadillo.
Due to the current conservation status, low population density, as well as the nocturnal and burrowing behavior of the giant armadillo, one of the greatest challenges to the species is a lack of recognition both locally and internationally. Realizing conservation efforts and policy changes for the benefit of the species would only come about when enough stakeholders considered it worth protecting for future generations, the Giant Armadillo Team focused on two themes to counter the lack of information:
- Creation of media outreach materials
- Creation of education materials
Zoos were selected as the primary audience and driving force due to their captive audience, conservation investment, education expertise and popular armadillo ambassadors.
Educational materials in English and Portuguese were shared with the conservation and educational departments of 45 international zoological institutions for visitor education and media outreach during the 2014 FIFA World Cup, whose mascot was an armadillo.
The GA-Team’s materials were disseminated to an additional 50 zoos within Brazil by the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Tem Tatu Aqui campaign and were included on the campaign website. The campaign was a collaboration between the Giant Armadillo Project and Brazilian Zoo and Aquarium Association (SZB) to increase awareness of all endemic armadillo species in Brazil, utilizing the giant armadillo as the flagship species.
The Tem Tatu Aqui website had received 1,500 views as of December 2014.
Materials were also presented during both the 2014 American Association of Zoos and Aquariums conference and 2014 Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums congress, and shared with approximately 300 recipients associated with the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Pangolin, Aardvark, Xenarthra Taxon Advisory Group (AZA PAX TAG). Materials were also made available on the PAX TAG website.
The Giant Armadillo Project intends to continue the awareness campaign by having all materials translated into Spanish and presented at the Latin American Zoo and Aquarium (ALPZA) Conference in 2015.
To quantify the outcomes, all receiving institutions were asked for feedback on the usage of materials. A minimum of 60,500 guests were educated utilizing the materials of which 23,000 were from Brazil, where giant armadillos are endemic.
The GA-Team developed the following products:
- A 19 page Media Packet including general information on armadillos, prehistoric armadillos, genus and species overviews, threats, ecological importance, role in human health and culture, as well as a Giant Armadillo Project overview.
- A 15 page Species Overview of all 9 genus of armadillo, as well as specifics for each of the 21 species of armadillo including information on range, size, IUCN Red List Status, and threats.
- Nine interactive education lessons for children for use within classrooms or zoos; a teacher resource manual with armadillo information in child-friendly terminology; suggestions for actions to be taken by children to protect armadillos.
- Children’s educational activity materials such as coloring pages, games, vocalization recordings, masks, footprints, and large life sized giant armadillo props such as claws and photos.
The products will have been distributed in English, Portuguese and Spanish by the end of the project.
The GA-Team wishes to thank its supporters for the generous funding and in-kind support.
- Seaworld Busch Gardens Conservation Fund
- Tricia Dugat of Tricia Hope Dugat Creative Services, graphic design
- Yara Barros and the Brazilian Association of Zoos and Aquariums
- Danilo Kluyber and Arnaud Desbiez of the Giant Armadillo Project
- Martín Zordan of the Latin American Zoo and Aquarium Association (ALPZA)
- Gabriela Olimon for Spanish translations
- American Association of Zoos and Aquariums Pangolin, Aardvark, Xenarthra Taxon Advisory Group (AZA PAX TAG)
- Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL)
- International Union for Conservation of Nature, Anteater, Sloth & Armadillo Specialist Group. (IUCN)
The “Tem Tatu Aqui” initiative and website was highlighted in a National Geographic Brazil article as well as several Brazilian conservation and television websites.
The team has been invited to write an article for the 2015 International Zoo Educators Journal
How to Help
To learn more about the Giant Armadillo Project and how you can help, please visit https://www.icasconservation.org.br/projetos/tatucanastra/
For information about the Brazilian Tem Tatu Aqui campaign as well as materials and information to support armadillo awareness, please visit https://ipe.org.br/noticias/campanha-tem-tatu-aqui-em-parceria-com-a-sz…