Angela Merkel Target of 'Ant Protest' Over Amazon

Instead of the usual scenes of people marching along streets with placards, a recent protest against the destruction of the Amazon rainforest featured half a million ants carrying messages for German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The leafcutter ants from Cologne Zoo, whose natural habitats include rainforests in South America, were given leaves with machine-etched slogans such as "Merkel, help!" and "Save the Amazon," which they dutifully carried around their tank.

The "Ant Rally" was curated jointly the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and Cologne Zoo ahead of a meeting between Merkel and Brazil's President, Dilma Rousseff later this week.

The WWF say economic reform plans in Brazil threaten Amazon rainforest protection. Areas already at risk face being opened up to further exploitation following changes in the constitution that give priority to short-term economic interest.

"The federal government of Germany must use the meeting to renew the joint efforts for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest and strengthen those forces in the Brazilian government, who do not want to allow a rollback in forest conservation," said Christoph Heinrich, chief of conservation at WWF Germany.

This isn't the first time an "Ant Rally" has been used by the WWF in Germany.

In 2013, the German advertising agency BBDO Dusseldorf won a handful of accolades at Cannes Lions, a festival and awards ceremony for creative communications, for their "ant-vertising" campaign made on behalf of the WWF.