President Donald Trump is a grub, as far as some environmentally-conscious Brits are concerned. A UK-based sustainable building materials company had a surprise for the world on Tuesday: After winning the rights to choose the title of a newly-discovered species, EnviroBuild named the worm-like amphibian after Trump. The group apparently thinks the unique critter with bad eyesight — now known as Dermophis donaldtrumpi — has a lot in common with the current president.
EnviroBuild won an auction by Rainforest Trust in which the environmental nonprofit sold the rights to name 12 newly-discovered creatures (the group says it was the "largest species-naming auction in history"). The donaldtrumpi is a caecilian, an amphibian without any limbs, and was discovered in Panama, according to the Guardian. Because the animal depends on the water, EnviroBuild notes that it's especially at risk of being hurt by climate change, a phenomenon for which Trump has shown little concern. Ah, the irony.
Clearly, naming a sleek, worm-like creature after a U.S. president is meant to be a bit of a joke. But EnviroBuild wants you to do more than chuckle.
"While the story itself is lighthearted," the group wrote in a Tuesday press release, "EnviroBuild are really aiming to push forward an important message; with climate change only accelerating, legislation still isn't doing enough to apply the brakes. This means the only option is to create new avenues ourselves in which we change the way we buy, build and live our lives."
There are multiple shared qualities between Trump and the amphibian, the group argues in its release. For one thing, its eyes only see lightness and darkness — no color. EnviroBuild writes that the president's unwillingness to accept climate change shows that he's "capable of seeing the world only in black and white."
The Dermophis donaldtrumpi mostly lives beneath the ground, and its muscular head allows it to burrow into the dirt. Trump also buries his head in the ground, EnviroBuild argues, "when avoiding scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change."
"Protecting the world's remaining rainforests is now acknowledged as one of the most effective ways to mitigate climate change," the Rainforest Trust's Chris Redston said in the release, "yet every day nearly 70,000 acres of rainforest are destroyed forever. This is not only one of the main causes of climate change, but it is also having a devastating impact on endangered wildlife, indigenous communities and the planet's weather patterns."
Rainforest Trust noted that the caecilian was "perhaps the most unusual species" at its auction. About a dozen centimeters long, serpentine, and shiny, it's less familiar-looking than the orchids, frogs, salamander, mouse, and ant that made up the rest of the contest.
The group estimated that the species' name would go for between $10,000 and $20,000, but EnviroBuild ended up paying $25,000 — more than any other creature went for at the event. According to Rainforest Trust, the proceeds will be put towards protecting the Latin American reserves where all 12 of the new species were discovered.