When you’re an endangered species jockeying for federal funding, good looks are historically a plus. That may be changing, the Washington Post reports. In the past, researchers note, “there has been a very heavy bias toward ‘charismatic megafauna’—relatively large, well-known birds and mammals.” But in recent years, smaller, less attractive animals, and even plants, have seen a boom in protection funding.
A beetle that mates inside rotting animal corpses is getting three times the money it did 10 years ago. But while the Fish and Wildlife Service maintains it doesn’t discriminate, it still seems that way. The Chinook salmon alone gets as much as 72% of the list combined. “Can we do that for the Furbish lousewort?” a scientist wondered. “I’m not sure.”