Russia's new environmental mascot is a larger than life “Desman” mole who wants you to take care of nature... or else!
Meet Khokhulya – before it meets you, in your worst nightmares! This high concept (and low budget) mascot has one mission: no, not to eat your soul, but to raise awareness of environmental degradation and threats to nature. Or, as our source at English Russia states, it “maybe reminds people of how the nature may look like if they maltreat it.”
Khokhulya was conceived (yech!) and created by the Ministry of the Environment in Kaluga Oblast, located about a hundred miles south-west of Moscow. Nine southern and southwestern districts of the region were affected by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and are currently subject to ongoing radiation monitoring. What does this have to do with Khokhulya? Nothing at all, comrade, now move along!
Khokhulya may look like the protagonist of a straight-to-drive-in-movie-theaters 1950s flick destined to be skewered by Joel and the MST3K bots but believe it or not, there's a method to his madness. Khokhulya is supposed to be an oversized and anthropomorphized Russian Desman (Desmana moschata), a semi-aquatic mole species similar in size and lifestyle to the common muskrat.
There's been little love for the Desman, unfortunately, as the creatures were formerly hunted by fur-traders and their habitat in and around the mighty Volga river has been encroached upon and polluted by human activity... which makes it the perfect choice for a Russian environmental awareness mascot!
Khokhulya may not win any beauty pageants – “may not”. Have you SEEN a Russian beauty pageant? Anyway, looking cute & cuddly is mainly the purview of Japanese mascots, which Khokhulya's designers really should have referenced before starting work on their concept.
But we digress – raising environmental awareness is a good thing no matter which way one goes about it! As such, Khokhulya has been busy making appearances at local exhibitions and children's events, and pressing the flesh in the streets of the region. Should you find yourself wandering the highways and byways in Kaluga, keep an eye out for Khokhulya – and keep your other eye on your radiation monitor.