Monday, 9 September 2013

Iconic animals

One of the benefits of travelling around visiting zoos is that I get to see some beautiful parts of the world. From my home country Australia to parts of Asia the USA and Canada, each country offers its own culture, natural beauty and unique animals. Many regions capitalise on this uniqueness with iconic symbols that are instantly recognisable when projected out into the world. This is especially true for animals.    

When you think of some of the great countries of the world it’s hard not to conjure up images of the animals that call those countries home. Some animals are also used to represent smaller regions and even companies will adopt them to portray patriotism.  Advertisers know the power of a patriotic icon!

Of course you don't need to travel the world to see these animals. Just a quick trip to your local zoo is probably as far as you need to go  to see the animals that reflect everything that is unique about  countries and regions from all corners of the world. It is fun to see animal icons everywhere from your local supermarket to ads on TV too.

When you think of the USA the Bald Eagle is the quintessential animal that stands above all others as American. So there should be no surprise that the national emblem for the USA is the Bald Eagle. Many USA states such as North Dakota, Illinois and Iowa have the Bald Eagle on their flags and the USA coat of arms is dominated by the Eagle as the central figure.   Although the Bald Eagle is the animal of choice some states have featured other animals that are arguably just as recognisable. For example California has the brown bear on its flag and Wyoming has the bison.  

The Bald Eagle - Bronx Zoo

USA Coat of Arms

Missouri state flag - featuring the bear and bald eagle

Being an island continent Australia is blessed with having very unique animals that aren’t found anywhere else in the world. The Kangaroo is by far the most identifiable animal, and its image has been used many times to depict Australia. Qantas, Australia’s national airline is known as the flying kangaroo because of its bold kangaroo symbol on its tail. The kangaroo features on Australia’s national emblem alongside its other national animal the Emu. Interestingly the Kangaroo does not feature on any national or state flag but there have been flag designs made that feature the kangaroo that may perhaps replace the current Australian flag once we inevitably become a republic and cut Monarch ties with the UK.

Kangaroo - Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
Qantas Plane - At Brisbane International Airport
Alternative Australian Flag designed be Harold Scruby

Canada has two national animals, the Beaver and the Canadian Horse. The Beaver featured on Canada’s very first postage stamp in 1849 and is the symbol of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Toronto Police Department and many other notable Canadian companies. The Beaver is also featured on many of the Provincial coats of arms. The Canadian Horse depicts the proud agricultural history of Canada. 

The Beaver

Canadian Pacific Railway logo

Here is a list of other countries and their notable national animals: 

China - Giant Panda, Red Crowned Crane and Chinese Dragon

France - The Gallic Rooster 

Germany -  Golden Eagle

India - The Royal Bengal Tiger, The Cobra, Indian Elephant and Peacock
Greenland - The Polar Bear

New Zealand - The Kiwi 

The United Kingdom has ten national animals including the Lion, Red Deer and Bulldog

South Korea - The Tiger

Spain - The Bull, and the Spanish Imperial Eagle

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