Dec 8

When it comes to picking your favourite species, amphibians probably aren’t very high on many people’s list. Even I will admit that before joining the ARKive team I hadn’t given them much thought, being captivated instead by all things furry, feathery and scaly! However, since helping the ARKive team to track down images of the world’s threatened amphibian species, I have to say I am a convert!

Despite the fact that a third of all amphibians are now threatened with extinction, this fascinating, colourful and rather beautiful group of animals is often overlooked. Fortunately there are people out there working hard to put that right, including one of ARKive’s very own media donors, Colombian herpetologist Victor Fabio Luna-Mora.

According to the IUCN Red List, Colombia is home to 213 Vulnerable, Endangered and Critically Endangered amphibian species, including colourful little poison frogs like Ranitomeya tolimensis, the oddly named Boulenger’s backpack frog, beautiful glass frogs including Savage’s cochran frog and four Endangered salamander species such as the Pandi mushroom-tongue salamander.

Savage's cochran frog

Savage's cochran frog

While ARKive aims to raise the profile of endangered species on a global scale, Victor and his colleagues Manuel Gilberto Guayara and Ricardo Medina are working hard on the frontline of conservation, educating local people of all ages in Colombia about the plight of amphibians on their doorstep and what they can do to help.

Victor’s project, which is supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme and Conservación Internacional Colombia, aims to raise awareness and understanding in the local community through a series of educational workshops, talks, games and field trips that provide an insight into the methods used to study amphibians by researchers around the world.

Through this work Victor and his team have gathered together a fantastic collection of images of threatened amphibians which he has kindly donated to ARKive. By contributing his images to us, Victor hopes to encourage people from around the world to take an interest in amphibians and amphibian conservation.

Why not take a look at our amphibian pages today or use our Explore by geography feature to find threatened amphibians in your area? Who knows, maybe you will end up an amphibian convert too!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Dec 6

I grew up in Buckinghamshire, and have always been interested in nature documentaries on tv. Before university, I spent part of my gap year in Fiji on a marine conservation project, and also travelled around New Zealand, making the most of the sights. I’m currently working at ARKive as a Species Text Author Intern whilst on a placement from the University of Bath where I am studying Biology.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on species text for the wildcat, which is a fantastic, but little known species, and few people know that this species is even found in Britain – in remote locations in Scotland.

What animal skill would you most like to have?

The ability to climb up any surface like a gecko would be an amazing talent.

Which three people would you invite to the ultimate dinner party?

Michael Palin – He would provide a good sense of humour and stories of his travels around the world.

Jeremy Clarkson – To provide a controversial point of view and opinions for the night.

Michael Jackson – His music and presence were legendary, and he could provide some brilliant after-dinner music.

Where in the world would you most like to go?

I’ve been very lucky, and have visited lots of wonderful places already. This question is very difficult, and I’m struggling to narrow it down! Having been on two safaris this year, I have definitely caught the safari bug, and would love to go either to the Okavango Delta or visit mountain gorillas in Africa. But I feel myself drawn to Borneo before deforestation ruins its beauty and I would love to visit Central America and dive on the Barrier reef off of Belize.

Which celebrity do you most look like?

I used to really look like the Milkybar Kid, so much so that I used to enter fancy dress competitions during the early years of my life. He’s a celebrity right?!

What’s the best wildlife encounter you’ve ever had?

Again, I’m struggling to narrow this down, but both have involved elephants. The first was on safari in Kenya, when I saw a male lion running away from a charging elephant defending a young calf, and then cowering under a tree whilst the elephant looked for it. I also saw a standoff between an elephant and a rhino at a water hole in Namibia. The rhino alternated between running away and charging about four times, whilst the elephant stood flicking dust at the rhino with its front foot.

What’s your favourite thing on ARKive?

One of my favourite species is the leopard. Its mysterious and elusive behaviour fascinates me.

Tell us an animal related joke.

How do you know if there is an elephant under the bed?

Your nose is touching the ceiling.

Dec 5

The Big GiveDonate to ARKive at The Big Give website from 10am Monday 6th until Wednesday 8th December and your donation could be matched pound for pound by the Garfield Weston Foundation, making your generosity go twice as far.

Your donation will help us create the ultimate online guide to the world’s endangered species. By revealing what the world’s threatened species look like and what makes them special, ARKive is aiming to shine a spotlight on the many thousands of threatened animals and plants, thereby raising their public profile and, ultimately, helping to ensure their conservation.

Your contribution will help us keep ARKive growing and free for all – today and for future generations.

Thank you,

The ARKive Team

Dec 4

These early starts are rapidly becoming a theme! The next chapter in our ARKive On the Road series saw Ruth and I travelling to Bristol Metropolitan Academy to run a workshop with their Year 7 students (11-12 year olds). Entitled ‘Animals over Winter’, it covered the various aspects of how animals cope with the freezing temperatures, reduced daylight hours and scarcity of food typical of the winter season. On a suitably chilly day with a high probability of snow, I started to really appreciate the benefits of hibernation and/or a warm, fluffy coat to keep out the cold…

The workshop itself involved showing four classes different examples of species that migrate and hibernate to avoid the harsh conditions of winter and also those that just plain stick it out in the hostile winter wilderness. Highlights included videos of American bison struggling through deep snow and monarch butterflies migrating 3,000 miles to hibernate in the coniferous forests of Mexico, but by far the biggest “AHHH” came courtesy of the Arctic ground squirrel

Arctic ground squirrel

For the main activity of the workshop, we asked the class to design their own winter-adapted species using the examples we had given them. It could use migration, hibernation or winter behavioural and physical adaptations to survive the frigid cold of our winter scene, and the students really excelled themselves – their species were a lot more inventive than the meagre fayre we designed – for example the sqola bear – a cross between a squirrel and a polar bear, that has a thick coat, small ears and nose to prevent freezing and flat feet to help it walk in the deep snow!

Sqola bear

Sqola bear

Thanks to Kris, Lisa and Mr Downer from Bristol Met for their generous hospitality – especially the cake. Definitely worth leaving the den for in the depths of winter!

Find out more about the STEMNET Ambassadors scheme in the UK.

Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher

Dec 3

With the winter setting in, northern Europe has been blanketed by snow and for many every day life seems to have ground to a halt. But spare a thought for those species exposed to the elements on a more regular basis. Hibernation isn’t always an option, so for the sake of survival, the need to venture out into the snow means that these beasties know the literal meaning of getting cold feet.  

Which leads us to our next ARKive challenge…can you match the animal to the snowy track? Click on the image to reveal the answer and good luck!

1. Coming face to face with this large predator will be sure to leave you shivering in your boots!

Reveal answer


2. This agile and graceful animal is well adapted for life on the edge.

Reveal answer


3. A very elegant print left by the world’s largest wild canid.

Reveal answer


4. Due to this species normal form of locomotion, this print is likely to be the only one around.

Reveal answer


5. Not the quickest when walking, this species is able to toboggan across ice and snow.

Reveal answer


 Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher


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