THE mascot for this year’s World Cup is a Brazilian three-banded armadillo. Its name is Fuleco. The three-banded armadillo is found only in Brazil. The animal looks like a mixture of a tortoise and a squirrel. It has a thick shell and fur on the underneath of its body. It lives in the forest.
The animal is listed as a vulnerable species. A group of Brazilian scientists have challenged Fifa and the government to designate at least 1,000 hectares of Caatinga (卡丁加) scrubland as protected land for each goal scored during the 2014 World Cup.
The government has met with the scientists to discuss whether such a conservation plan is possible. Fifa has not responded directly to the request. However, one of its business partners has donated 100,000 reais (HK$340,000) to Caatinga Association, an organisation that is working to protect the species.
The animal is known as ‘tatu bola’ or ‘armadillo ball’ by the local people. It can protect itself by rolling its flexible armour into an almost perfect ball when threatened.