Five dolphins swim around with Milan Wilson at Matheson Bay. Video / Milan Wilson / Fishbro
The international competition, conducted by travel company Explore Worldwide totalled the chosen favourite creature of every country. The tiger was voted the world winner, with 26 per cent of countries choosing the big cat. The hippo was second and NZ’s pick, the dolphin, came in at number three. The less popular animals included the python, the shark and the stork, which all got one vote each.
More than 180 countries and 170 animals were accounted for in the research, which used Google search data to produce the results. The Google application Keyword Planner was used to create the map, with researchers filtering by phrases that would identify the animals that people were most excited to see. This included search terms like “[animal] + safari” and “how to see [animal name]”, across all native language translations.
The maps, which showcase each country’s favourite animal, as well as the combination of every country’s votes together, offer interesting insights for such a divisive topic.
The travel adventure company also released a large range of reports related to other trends in wildlife-related searching online.
Canada took out the top spot of most popular wildlife destination by tags and views on Instagram and TikTok, with Australia, the UK, South Africa and Brazil close behind. New Zealand ranked 13th.
Florida, home to big crocodiles, pink flamingos and relaxed manatees was the most popular US state for wildlife content. The snowy landscapes of Alaska and fox-filled plains of Colorado also made it to the top five.
The map might serve as some inspiration for future safari expeditions, and more tourists could choose dolphin safaris when visiting New Zealand. It could also enrage New Zealanders who feel particularly strongly about last year’s Bird of the Year winner, the pīwauwau/ rock wren.