Google Doodles draw people to wildlife conservation

Do you know where to find the world’s rarest rhino? Google does.

The internet search giant also has a clever way to feature information about Ujung Kulon National Park, the critically endangered rhinos’ home on the island of Java, Indonesia: a “Google Doodle.”

Drawing of Javan rhino and calf (© Google)
Illustrated image depicting a Javan rhino and calf for the 25th anniversary of Ujung Kulon National Park (© Google)

The company draws cartoons, which it calls Doodles, around its iconic logo for special occasions. A visitor who clicks on the cartoon is brought to informative search results on that topic. On February 25, Google highlighted Javan rhinos to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Ujung Kulon Park. That day, online searches for the park spiked to their highest levels, as millions of people who used Google in Indonesia got an artsy reminder about rhino conservation.

Google introduced the world to the pangolin, the world’s most trafficked mammal, in a series of games, just in time for Valentine’s Day. From February 11 to 14, users could guide a pangolin through Ghana, India, China and the Philippines — the animal’s habitats — on a mission to surprise a far-off valentine.

GIF of Google pangolin game (© Google)
Illustrated animated GIF of a pangolin, showcased by Google for Valentines Day 2017 (© Google)

“We hope that by playing this Doodle game, you can learn a bit more about these wonderful creatures,” said Google engineer Jordan Thompson.

Countries banned international trade in pangolins and pangolin products, which are falsely believed to have medicinal properties, in September 2016. With Doodles sending online searches for pangolins through the roof, more people are interested in helping protect these prehistoric-looking mammals.

Here are some highlights from past Google Doodles:

Thailand’s Similan Islands

Drawing of Similan Islands National Park (© Google)
Illustrated animated underwater scene commemorating the 34th anniversary of Thailand’s Similan Islands National Park (© Google)

The Google Doodle on September 1, 2016, highlighted the beautiful waters of Thailand’s Similan Islands National Park, which was established in 1982.

Wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania

Drawing of wildebeest migration (© Google)
Illustration celebrating the wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania (© Google)

For Kenya and Tanzania, Samuel Githui designed a logo for August 2, 2011, celebrating the wildebeest migration. Every year, about 1.5 million of the animals move through the Serengeti plains.

U.S. national parks

Sometimes called “America’s best idea,” the national parks got their own Google Doodle celebrating 100 years of the U.S. National Park Service on August 25, 2016.

Korean entomologist Seok Joo-myung

Butterfly animation (© Google)
Illustrated animation of a butterfly, in honor of entomologist Seok Joo-myung’s 106th birthday (© Google)

In Korea, entomologist Seok Joo-myung made important contributions to the study of insects. In honor of his 106th birthday on November 13, 2014, Google published an animation of a butterfly flexing its wings.

Russia’s nature reserves

Russian nature preserves (© Google)
Illustrated images depicting a nature reserve, the park system and ecology in Russia (© Google)

On January 11, 2017, the Google Doodle in Russia celebrated the 100th anniversary of Barguzinsky Nature Reserve, the Russian system of parks and a year of ecology in the Russian Federation.

World Wildlife Day, March 3, celebrates the diversity of plants and animals. Follow @WildlifeDay on Twitter, and use hashtag #WorldWildlifeDay to join the conversation.