CoCo: Good morning and thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me.
Primo: My pleasure.
CoCo: So, you have been awarded the coveted title of Flagship Species for the CNMI Pride Campaign. How do you feel?
Primo: I’ve never felt better! I have been given an opportunity to help promote healthy reefs and I look forward to doing my best. Because my species depends on the reef for our survival, it is a topic near and dear to my heart.
CoCo: You mentioned your species, I have never heard of the Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish.
Primo: (sighs) Yes, most people in the CNMI and around the world have never heard of us. We are actually very rare. My species is endemic to the Marianas…that means this is our home…our ONLY home. The Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish is not found anywhere else in the world.
CoCo: No where else? Wow!
Primo: Yes, that makes us very special. But at the same time, it makes us very vulnerable. The survival of the Yellow Crowned Butterflyfish depends on the survival of the CNMI’s reefs.
CoCo: I see. Can you tell us a little about how you were chosen for this job?
Primo: It was tough competition. I was among many other marine creatures. We were then narrowed down to four: the spotted eagle ray, the bumphead parrotfish, the napoleon wrasse, and the yellow crowned butterflyfish.
CoCo: You were in the company of some pretty amazing animals.
Primo: It was an honor to stand among those three.
CoCo: How were you finally chosen?
Primo: The four of us were included in an island wide survey conducted by volunteer NMC students. Nearly 400 people were asked to choose which species they thought would be the best mascot for the CNMI’s reefs. All of our photos were included, and people selected their pick.
CoCo: I saw the photos. You looked fabulous.
Primo: Thank you, but I think that the bumphead parrotfish was by far the most photogenic.
CoCo: In the end, what were the results of the survey?
Primo: I came out ahead with 37% of the vote, followed by the bumphead who got 27%.
Primo: Thank you. But I want to remind people that the health of our reefs is important to all marine life…please take good care of it!
CoCo: I understand you have many exciting events coming up; where will you be in the next couple of months.
Primo: I’ll be hanging out at the Thursday night market, visiting the popular beach sites on the weekends. I will also be at the Build A Castle Save A Reef event on Nov 22 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel all day.
CoCo: that’s exciting. I hope your fans will get to have your autograph. Before you go on your way, do you have with any parting words?
Primo: Healthy Reefs, Healthy Fish!
The CNMI Pride Campaign is brought to you by Coastal Resources Management Office and the Coral Reef Initiative, a partnership of the CNMI’s environmental agencies, Coastal Resources Management, the Division of Environmental Quality, and the Division of Fish and Wildlife. For more information about Primo, the Pride Campaign, or for opportunities to help please contact Brooke Nevitt, Pride Campaign Manager and Education and Outreach Coordinator, Coastal Resources Management Office, 664-8320 or firstname.lastname@example.org.