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A handout undated picture released by A Caatinga NGO shows a Brazilian Three banded armadillo (Tolypeutes tricinctus), aka Tatu-Bola in Portuguese. The Tatu-Bola was chosen as the mascot of the FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 and will be presented next September 16 during a television programme. AFP PHOTO/ Mark PAYNE-GILL/naturepl.com/A Caatinga RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO/ Mark PAYNE-GILL/naturepl.com/A Caatinga" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTSMark Payne-Gill/AFP/GettyImages

Meet the World Cup's endangered armadillo mascot

Yahoo SportsJune 10, 2014

SAO PAULO – Fuleco, the official mascot of the World Cup, is cute and cuddly and wears the kind of confident smile you might expect from a cartoon figure that will be part of soccer’s most important showpiece.

He also, sadly, represents a species hovering on the verge of extinction and caught in the middle of a conservation battle involving soccer’s world governing body FIFA and outraged environmentalists.

Fuleco is based upon the rare Brazilian three-banded armadillo and might be the most perfect choice as mascot in tournament history, given that the animal’s unique defense system to protect itself from predators is by rolling itself up into a ball.
— Martin Rogers