‘Rare & Ready to Be Saved’: The Return of TakePart’s Endangered Species Bracket Game

Join TakePart as we showcase 16 scarce and vulnerable critters. Vote for your favorite, and pledge to help ensure its protection.
Mar 24, 2015· 2 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.
Rare & Ready to Be Saved bracket

Consider, if you will, an increasingly common day in the life of an alpha male proboscis monkey. The orange-coated primate, best characterized by a pronounced, fleshy, bill-like nose and an outsize belly, wakes at dawn in the treetops of the Bornean jungle. Before long, he and his harem—dominant males live with two to seven females and their offspring—are brachiating about the branches in search of the day's first meal. After a morning spent foraging for leaves, seeds, and unripe fruit, the harem returns to the treetops where it slept the previous night—only to find them in flames, torched to clear land for the construction of a palm oil plantation.

The alpha male and his harem must navigate whirling black smoke and embers falling like smoldering snowflakes in search of a new home—not an easy task, given that a half century of deforestation has stripped Borneo of 97 percent of its virgin rainforest. This loss of habitat has caused a 50 percent reduction in the monkey's population over the past 40 years.

If this dismal outlook for the endangered proboscis—or any other vulnerable and imperiled animal, for that matter—bothers you, well, why not join TakePart in doing something about it?

Beginning today, March 23, and running through April 7, you can vote in TakePart’s second annual “Rare & Ready to Be Saved” bracket, featuring the work of Conservation International.

The endangered species bracket is our attempt to have a bit of competitive fun while also shining a big, bright spotlight on 16 of our planet’s endangered species, including the proboscis monkey.

Over the next two weeks, you can vote on animals facing off in four themed regions: “Weird and Wonderful,” “Cute and Cuddly,” “Water-Dwelling Wonders,” and “Powerful Predators.” You’ll pick one animal in each matchup to advance to the next round. At the end of 14 days and four rounds, a winner will emerge.

However, unlike in this month’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s basketball tournament, there will be no losers. Every species in “Rare & Ready to Be Saved” is a winner. Why? For every 10 votes received, TakePart will donate $1 to Conservation International, up to $5,000. This money will be used by Conservation International in their efforts to help protect monkeys and/or other endangered species in their natural habitat.

Each region of the 2015 “Rare & Ready to Be Saved” bracket is chock-full of great story lines.

“Region 1: Weird and Wonderful” seems to be a wide-open contest. Will you, the voters, go with the soaring gracefulness of the California condor as its semifinal representative? Or will one of the region’s three other animals, the Chinese giant salamander, the Asian tapir, or the proboscis monkey, pull off a slight upset and advance to the final four?

The contestants in “Region 2: Cute and Cuddly” appear to be evenly matched. Good luck, voters, picking a semifinalist from among the Javan gibbon, the red panda, the northern hairy-nosed wombat, and the wild sand cat. This region’s a true toss-up.

No disrespect to the scalloped hammerhead, the Hawaiian monk seal, and the North Atlantic right whale, but the odds-on favorite to surface in the semifinals from “Region 3: Water-Dwelling Wonders” has to be the sea otter, right? ICYMI, the Interwebs have quite the crush on the whiskered marine mammals.

And then there’s the Sumatran tiger, the 800-pound gorilla (so to speak) looming large over not only “Region 4: Powerful Predators” but the entire bracket. The critically endangered top predator—between 400 and 500 remain in the wild—won last year's “Rare & Ready to Be Saved” campaign in a landslide, easily defeating the mountain gorilla to take the championship.

Here’s the key thing to remember about the “Rare & Ready to Be Saved” campaign: We can’t kick-start the process of protecting animals and their eroding habitats until you start voting. After that, there’s one final, crucial step. Share your votes on social media—the more people play, the more votes, and the more animals we can help save.

Start voting now!

“Rare & Ready to Be Saved” is a sponsored series produced in collaboration with Disneynature, its upcoming film Monkey Kingdom (in theatres April 17), and Conservation international. For everyone who sees Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom during opening week (April 1723, 2015), Disneynature will contribute $.20 per ticket to Conservation International through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $100,000. Information concerning Conservation International can be obtained, without cost, by writing to Conservation International, 2011 Crystal Drive, Suite 500, Arlington, VA 22202. The ticket purchase is not tax deductible.