5 Impressive National Animal Symbols of Countries
Updated: Jun 30
1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - Bald Eagle
The Bald Eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782 when it was placed on the Great Seal of the United States with its wings outstretched. It appears in many government agencies and official documents, making it the most illustrated bird in all of America. The eagle appears on the president's flag, The Mace of the House of Representatives, military insignia, and billion-dollar bills.
For six years, members of Congress had a fierce disagreement over what should be the national emblem. One of the foremost opponents of bald eagle status was Benjamin Franklin. In a letter to a friend, Franklin wrote: "I wish the bald eagle had not been chosen as our country's representative; it is a bird of bad moral character; Like men who live by sharpening and robbery, it is often poor and often very bad. The turkey is a much more respectable bird, and a true, original Native American." But not all Congress shared Franklin's sentiments. Bald eagles, like other eagles around the world, have been viewed by many as symbols of strength, courage, freedom and immortality for generations. And unlike other eagles, the bald eagle was native only to North America.
2. CANADA - Beaver
The beaver gained official status as a Canadian emblem on March 24, 1975, when it received royal assent to "a law recognizing the beaver (Castor canadensis) as a symbol of Canadian sovereignty".
After the first European explorers realized that Canada was not the spice-rich East, the main money-making attraction was the beaver population. In the late 1600s and early 1700s, the fashion of the day demanded fur hats that needed beaver skins. As these hats became more popular, the demand for hides increased. King Henry IV of France saw the fur trade as an opportunity to generate much-needed income and build a North American empire. Both British and French fur traders were soon selling beaverskins in Europe at 20 times the original purchase price.
3. FRANCE - Gallic rooster
The Gallic rooster is an unofficial emblem of the country. During the French Revolution, the animal became a representation of the country's identity. It has also featured on coins and seals wearing the Phrygian cap (another symbol of the French Republic).
Later, when Napoleon became Emperor, he not only replaced the Republic with an Empire but also replaced the rooster with an eagle. He said: ''The rooster has no power, it cannot represent an Empire like France.'' The image of the rooster was rehabilitated during the Second French Revolution, which lasted for three days from 26 to 29 July 1830. Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orleans even signed an order allowing the animal to appear on flags and uniforms.
4. ENGLAND - Barbary Lion
The Barbary Lion is a national animal of England. In the Middle Ages, the lions kept in the Zoo at the Tower of London were Barbary Lions. English medieval warrior rulers, famous for their bravery, chose the nickname "Lion"; The most famous example is Richard I of England, known as the Lionheart. The national animal of England was used on shields, statues, and places of national significance as a symbol of courage, strength, and royalty.
5. RUSSIA - Bear
Like France, this animal is not the official symbol of the country. However, the bear image was also taken up by the Russians themselves on several occasions (especially in the 20th century).
Using the bear cub "Misha" as the mascot of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games was clearly intended to counter the image of the "big and wild Russian Bear" with a small, cute, and smiling bear cub.
In his successful re-election campaign in 1984, Ronald Reagan used the bear motif in the famous "Bear in the Jungle" advertisement, which claimed to have recognized the Soviet threat and denied the existence of his opponent.
In Russia, associations with the image of the bear received relatively mixed reactions. On the one hand, Russians appreciate the bear for its raw strength and cunning, and bears were often used as a mascot or as part of a design in a logo. On the other hand, the excessive use of the bear image by foreigners visiting Russia before the 20th century led to the bear image becoming a kind of insider joke, and it was assumed as an example that the phrase "Russian streets are full of bears" was actually false.