Over the last few weeks, you may have found yourself among the millions of people chasing Pokémon around town. But did you know that many Pokémon Go characters are inspired by real animals?
When it comes to Pokémon, the weirder the better, so it’s no surprise that so many endangered EDGE species have provided inspiration for these beloved characters.
EDGE species (Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) are most unique species on the planet. With few or no close relatives on the tree of life, EDGE species are usually extremely distinct in the way they look, live and behave – as well as in their genetic make-up.
Their weird and wonderful physical and behavioural traits make these rare animals a perfect match for the Pokémon world.
Check out our list to see which of your favourite characters resemble EDGE species.
1. Articuno and Kagu (Rhynochetos jubatus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Roger Le Guen
2. Bulbasaur and Bullock’s False Toad (Telmatobufo bullocki)
Pokémon/Nintendo Claudio Soto-Azat
3. Chansey and Olm (Proteus anguinus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Arne Hodalič
4. Charmander and Chinese Giant Salamander (Andrias davidianus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Nick Lindsay
5. Dewgong and Dugong (Dugong dugon)
Pokémon/Nintendo Patrick Louisy
6. Drowzee and Asian tapir (Tapirus indicus)
7. Farfetch’d and Sichuan Jay (Perisoreus internigrans)
Pokémon/Nintendo James Eaton
8. Mankey and Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Howard Wu
9. Pikachu and Ili Pika (Ochotona iliensis)
Pokémon/Nintendo Li Weidong
10. Poliwrath and Purple frog (Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis)
Pokémon/Nintendo Sathyabhama Das Biju
11. Primeape and Red Slender Loris (Loris tardigradus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Anna Nekaris
12. Psyduck and Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Dave Watts
13. Rattata and Large Rock Rat (Cremnomys elvira)
Pokémon/Nintendo Brawin Kumar
14. Rhydon and Javan Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros sondaicus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Klaus Lang
15. Rhyhorn and Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis)
Pokémon/Nintendo Pete Oxford
16. Sandshrew and Sunda Pangolin (Manis javanica)
Pokémon/Nintendo Nguyen Van Thai
17. Sandslash and Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)
Pokémon/Nintendo Jason Chin
18. Seel and Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Zafer Kizilkaya
19. Tauros and European Bison (Bison bonasus)
20. Vaporeon and Axolotl (Ambystoma mexicanum)
Pokémon/Nintendo Richard Griffiths
21. Vulpix and California Channel Island Fox (Urocyon littoralis)
Pokémon/Nintendo Tim Hauf
22. Zubat and Cuban Greater Funnel-Eared Bat (Natalus primus)
Pokémon/Nintendo Lida Sánchez
By Deanna Tricarico, EDGE of Existence programme.
Find out more
Select a blog
Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.
At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions.
A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.
Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!
We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.
From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.
A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.
Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.
Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.
The Chagos archipelago is a rare haven for marine biodiversity. Hear from the team about our projects to protect the environments in the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT).
ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.
An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.