The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Dec 23, 2012
 

Tatu-bola, 2014 World Cup mascot, could vanish soon

 
 

SAO PAULO (AFP) - The three-banded armadillo, a threatened species chosen as the official mascot for the 2014 World Cup, could disappear entirely within decades, a Brazilian NGO has warned.

Indigenous to Brazil, where it is known as the "tatu-bola," the animal "is at risk and, if nothing is done immediately in terms of conservation, the species could be extinct within 50 years," Mr Rodrigo Castro, executive head of the Caatinga NGO, was quoted as saying Saturday.

"It is a species which feels changes in the environment. If there is deforestation, forest fires, urban sprawl or expansion of farmlands, it disappears because it does not bear climate change," Mr Castro told the official Agencia Brasil.

Caatinga led the drive to make the poorly known tatu-bola the mascot for the first World Cup to be staged in Brazil since 1950.