Animal Conservation

Participate in the Conserve Wildlife Foundation’s Critter Chaos

COMPETITORS: In a battle between the Pine Barrens Tree Frog (left) and the Eastern Toad, each native to the Pinelands of New Jersey, which species will reign supreme? Choose one within the FCF range. (Photo provided)

Which species would win in a hypothetical fight between an osprey and a bobcat? What about a battle between the Pine Barrens Tree Frog and the Eastern Toad? The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey team selected 40 species that spend at least part of their lives in New Jersey to compete in a series of mock battles to determine the fittest — or luckiest — of the bunch. . It’s Critter Chaos!

Call it a game of natural selection or just a game of chance. Participants represent one of four categories: mammals, shorebirds and raptors, reptiles and amphibians, and grassland birds and invertebrates. As the CWF explains, “We assigned each competitor a rank within their division based on their defense mechanisms, predation techniques, camouflage, parenting style, or anything else we considered relevant in a fictional fight. The top competitor from each faceoff will advance until we discover the worthy winner of CWF’s symbolic 2022 Darwin Prize.

“If this sounds a bit familiar,” adds the nonprofit, “then yes – this competition is based on the NCAA basketball tournament ‘March Madness’ and inspired by ‘March Mammal Madness’, a fun and educational alternative for those who are more (or as much) interested in springboks as they are in the sport.

“And if you’re most interested in toads, then I’m happy to tell you that the eastern toad makes an appearance as the No. 7 seed in our Reptiles & Amphibians division.”

The table will be posted on CWF’s social media – Facebook and Instagram – on Wednesday, February 16. The pairings for the first round have been predetermined, but players will have to decide who would win in a brawl. “For example, the Eastern Toad Toad (#7), mentioned above, will face the Pine Barrens Tree Frog (#10) in the initial match,” notes the CWF. “How you decide is entirely up to you; you can be scientific and do your research, rely on our rankings, or just focus on the species you like best. …Do this for each round until you’ve chosen your champion.

“Once you have your support together, we would love for you to share it with us!” add the group. “All who do so will have an equal chance to win gifts including hats, t-shirts, amphibian ornaments and pocket guides to CWF bird identifications. We have 10 prizes ready to go!

The winners of each round will be determined by a random number generator, but weighted in favor of the highest ranked contestant. Participants get one point for each battle they correctly predict in the first round, and the point value increases as the tournament goes on. CWF will publish each result and share interesting information about the candidates throughout March.

“So join the chaos!” the association encourages. “We think this will be a really fun way for you (and your friends, family, co-workers, boss, local postman, Uber driver, dog groomer – whoever you want to share it with) to celebrate diversity. of New Jersey Wildlife.JK-H.