Updated: November 18, 2020 11:46:37 am
The word’s heaviest, longest-living and the only flightless parrot is New Zealand’s Bird of the Year for a second year, but its victory has been marred by claims of voter fraud.
“In a stunning upset, the kākāpō swoops in from behind to claw the title of #BirdOfTheYear 2020 away from competition front-runner – the toroa /Antipodean albatross,” Forest & Bird, the environmental group that organizes the annual contest, announced on social media Monday.
The annual competition is has politicians, celebrities and several groups endorsing their preferred avian. However, this year’s contest became particularly controversial after organisers allegedly detected fraudulent votes.
The Antipodean albatross, another endangered avian had topped the leaderboard during the two-week voting period. But then at least 1,500 votes for the kiwi species were found to have come from the same IP addresses, sparking speculations of voter fraud, reported CNN.
According to an Independent report, the Bird of the Year campaign has helped boost environmental awareness since its inception in 2005. It is believed to have played an important role in perceiving New Zealand’s unique environment and native species better.
Kakapo – a bird also known as “mighty moss chicken” – used to live throughout Aotearoa, but today survive only on predator-free islands, The Guardian reported.
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