I first saw this phenomenon in Switzerland, with cows, and Wikipedia confirms that it was the originally-Swiss (now international) Cow Parade that started this trend off. It seems to be getting a bit silly, but I guess it's a fairly harmless silly. The idea of 'collecting' (photographing/visiting) the whole set of $animal in $town appeals to my nerdy side, though realistically I'm not likely to do it while it would involve dragging a recalcitrant toddler around with me. Perhaps I should just 'collect' similar projects and add them to the list in the Wikipedia article, because I can do that after bedtime without leaving the house.
Sadly nowhere yet seems to have filled its streets with giant fibreglass badgers.