Bald Eagle Wins Endangered Animal Contest
Jul. 04, 2003
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) _ The bald eagle won by a beak over the wolf as the threatened or endangered species that children most want to save, based on an informal survey of essays submitted to a recent Mutual of Omaha contest.
While the bald eagle's popularity might be caught in a patriotic updraft, a wildlife expert believes there's another reason children favor the bird.
``The most popular animals in the world are those who look like human beings,'' said Jim Fowler, the former co-host of the popular wildlife television show ``Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom.''
Mutual of Omaha sponsored the nationwide essay contest this year for children ages 9 to 12, asking them what threatened or endangered North American species they most wanted to save.
``We interpret the very powerful look in its face as a symbol of courage and majesty,'' he said. ``Lots of small salamanders. ... are endangered, but they're not the sort of things people find attractive.''
Nearly 6,800 children submitted essays. A winning essay was selected from each state, with the writer going to Los Angeles in April for the three-day Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom Kids Summit. Patrick Parks, an 11-year-old from Washington, D.C., wrote one of the 587 essays about bald eagles.
He listed ways he would save the animal, including ``give them homes. ... at someones house maybe even mine with a huge cage where he could fly around and do anything he wants.''
The wolf received the second-highest number of essays, with 568. Rounding out the top five were the Florida panther, the manatee and the cougar.
Not all the children, however, wrote about popular animals such as manatees and bald eagles: One wrote about a mussel, another wrote about a crawfish, and the Nebraska winner wrote about the endangered Salt Creek tiger beetle.
On The Net:
Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom: http://www.wildkingdom.com