October 06, 2021

Not All Eco-Heroes Wear Capes



Not All Eco-Heroes Wear Capes
Unsurprisingly, Khokhulya also faces a lot of cyberbullying.  Nature Minstry of Kaluga Oblast, Youtube

In a scruffy costume that has been described by one Twitter user as "so bad that is is even better," the Kaluga region's mascot name, Khokhulya, has captured the hearts (and nightmares) of many on the internet.

From as far back as 2019, Khokhulya, who is meant to resemble an endangered Russian desman, has been working for the Kaluga region as an "eco-hero." His duties include giving YouTube lectures about the environment and attending events in the region as a spokesperson. 

Khokhulya's (albeit unsettling) presence in the Kaluga region's environmental activism scene has been undisputed until recently. He worked only alongside his partner Kapa, a mascot shaped like a single drop of water, but they were both equals in the fight to promote environmentalism.

That is until recently, when a new and fancier mascot by the name of Losyash, an elk in a camouflage suit, was seen on the official Kaluga Region social media, taking the primary role in events. This sparked public speculation that some sort of change of power struggle took place or that Khokhulya had been silently dethroned.

The region's ministry actually responded to these conspiracy theories in a press release stating that all three of the region's mascots are equally representative of the region's environmental needs in their own unique ways and that there is no leader among them. 

All this media attention actually encouraged the rodent (who had been absent from Instagram for almost a year) to make a step back into the public light. And he came back with a flurry, posting memes and creating his very own TikTok account. Fittingly, his first TikTok was a reel he created with the three other regional mascots to the tune of the "Friends" theme song, putting an end to any rumors of rivalry among them once and for all. 

Given the large amount of forest fires and pollution that continue to take place in Siberia every year, we know that Khokhulya is the eco-hero that Kaluga needs. But is he is the one that Kaluga deserves? Many internet users say "yes!" While he might be sort of creepy, like our biscuit-headed friend from Tula, it also seems like creepy-yet-endearing mascots are a bit of a Russian tradition.

To add to the fact, if you look up what a Russian desman looks like, you'll be surprised by how well they actually nailed its representation in the costume. They are not naturally very attractive creatures, to put it kindly. 

 

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