Apr 21

ARKive's Egg-spose the animal campaign logoEggs are on everyone’s mind here at ARKive. From the anticipation of them hatching to reveal a cute little chick (awwh!) to the pleasure of a more chocolate kind (mmmm!)

That’s why on Facebook we’ve gone all out on egg puns and scrambled some of your favourite threatened species in a new game. Before you read on I must warn you that this blog may contain egg puns!

Can you eggs-pose the animal?

How to play along

Each day we add a new species to Facebook disguised with an egg. Use your animal knowledge to guess its identity, then ‘Like’ ARKive to reveal the answer and discover some eggs-traordinary facts. Help us gain eggs-posure for these amazing creatures and share the clues with your friends!

Let’s eggs-pose some animals!

Can you guess today’s? After hatching, the young of this species face a mad scramble for the sea, avoiding predators along the way.

Click on the photos to help reveal the answers.

Click to eggs-pose the animal!

Can you identify this primitive primate?

Here’s a clue – it’s well-known for its eggs-traordinary leaping abilities!

Click to eggs-pose the animal!

What’s hatching behind this egg?

Poaching eggs from this certain snappy someone is definitely ill-advised!

 Click to eggs-pose the animal!

Who’s got egg on its red face?

The fur of this primate may prove a red herring.

 Click to eggs-pose the animal!

Look out for eggs-tra species over the holiday weekend!

Join us on Facebook, play the game and share with your friends. The more people who are aware of these animals, the better chance we have of saving them!

Apr 20

As the spring blossoms fill the air with their sweet scents, unfortunately ARKive’s smelliest species are threatening to take over your senses! Gas masks at the ready.

Stinky spray!

Striped skunk photo

Yes you guessed it, number one is the striped skunk! When threatened it can squirt foul-smelling fluid from scent glands, as far as 2-3 metres. So stand back because you’ll be hit by the smell of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber. Errrgh!

Chundering chums

Photo of American black vultures feeding on dead alligator

One animal you might not want to startle, the American black vulture! This charming creature will vomit up putrid-smelling semi-digested meat if frightened to lighten their weight for a speedier exit.

Deadly scent

Photo of a titan arum in flower

Try fitting this one in your garden! The corpse flower, at a whopping 3.5m tall, emits a rancid smell of rotting meat which can be detected up to a kilometre away. This is to attract pollinating insects, which are actually attracted to this stench! Definitely not one for your flower bed.

Smelled but not seen

Photo of a European wolverine up a tree

Thank your lucky stars this critter is so elusive! Unlike its X-men character, the wolverine is a stink-meister due to its anal musk glands used for defence and scent marking.

It’s all in the name…

Stinkhorn photo

This fetid fungus, the stinkhorn, gets its name from the foul-smelling slime that coats its fruiting body. For some strange reason this attracts insects which gobble up the slime, providing the stinkhorn the perfect way to spread its spores.

2 for 1

Photo of a pair of male muskox

The beastly male muskox is particularly smelly during the rutting season. The female goes mad for the smell of the male’s urine which he uses to mark his territory. Unfortunately for him, the urine can get matted in his hairy belly, causing him to carry this sickening stench around with him. Lucky ladies!

A stink that will bug you

Portrait of a green shield bug

The ghastly green shield bug is one of many species more commonly known as stink bugs. Old stinky here likes to exude a sticky chemical from the sides of its body to ward off enemies.

Don’t play with the devil!

Tasmanian devil photo

I wouldn’t follow in this fiend’s footsteps. The Tasmanian devil releases a pungent odour from its ano-genital scent gland when stressed. Along with its chilling nocturnal screeches, this creature certainly is demonic!

Rank Rafflesia

Rafflesia kerrii bloom

Don’t waste your pennies on this plant! Rafflesia’s giant flower is only open for four days, after which it shrivels into a black slimy mess. Even when it is open it reeks of decaying flesh, so maybe you’re better off sticking to carnations!

Excuuuuuse me!

Zorilla photo

This may look sweet, but it’s definitely not sweet smelling! The zorilla is ARKive’s smelliest species, and most of you have probably never heard of it! It squirts a rancid liquid from its scent glands when in conflict or disturbed. Some native African tribes are even said to have used these secretions to mask their own smell when hunting. We doubt this perfume will fly off the shelves any time soon!

Have we forgotten any? Let us know if you’ve smelled any species recently that have wrinkled your nose!

Rebecca Sennett and Rebecca Taylor, ARKive Media Research Assistants

Apr 18

Wolves have been removed from the Endangered Species List after the U.S. Congress signed a provision in the budget bill, angering conservationists who have long been at odds with hunters over the status of the nation’s wolves.  

In the nearly 40 year history of the Endangered Species Act, this is the first time that the U.S. government has directly intervened in the delisting of a formerly endangered species, leading to concerns that this may set a new precedent for congress removing controversial species from the Endangered Species Act.

Photo of grey wolves' fur colour variation

Wolves ‘ravaging elk populations’ 

Once abundant in the U.S., the grey wolf was added to the Endangered Species Act in 1974, granting it protection from private hunters. Government-backed hunting in the 19th and 20th centuries virtually wiped out the grey wolf from swathes of the U.S., to prevent wolves from killing livestock as ranchers moved into vast stretches of plain. By the 1930s, the grey wolf was close to extinction in the U.S. 

Last year, biologists estimated that more than 1,600 wolves lived in the northern Rocky Mountains region, up from just over 400 a decade before. Hunters, who are pressing for more flexibility to manage wolf packs through controlled hunts, now say that wolf populations have met target recovery goals and are ravaging elk populations. Indeed, wildlife biologists in Yellowstone National Park said in January that the elk herd there had dropped by 72% since the 1995 wolf restoration. 

Unmanaged wolves have destroyed jobs, rural economies, and the opportunity for people to put food on their plate,” said Don Peay, founder of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife.

Photo of grey wolf dominance behaviour at carcass

Removal of federal protection 

The new law, which was signed on Friday by U.S. President Barack Obama, removes federal protection from grey wolves in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington and Oregon, allowing the states to manage their wolf populations. The law was also granted despite a U.S. district judge recently preventing the wolf from being removed from the Endangered Species List in Idaho and Montana.

The wolves’ champions now fear the worst. 

We may soon be witnessing the second large-scale extermination of wolves in the West,” said Suzanne Stone of Defenders of Wildlife, which has fought vigorously to maintain the wolves’ federal protection. 

Kierán Suckling, Executive Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, added “Congressional delisting without the opportunity to restore protections threatens to bring us back to the days when wolves and other wildlife were systematically poisoned on public lands.”

Photo of grey wolf, side view

Top predator 

The return of wolves to the western U.S. has allowed researchers the rare opportunity to study how an ecosystem changes when its top predator returns. Biologists discovered that elk, propelled by fear, moved away from many of their preferred grazing grounds. The lack of constant grazing allowed long dormant aspen stands to return, biodiversity to increase, and ecosystems to become healthier. 

Cristine Eisenberg of Oregon State University said in 2009 that wolves are not killing all of the elk, but rather have caused the animals to revert to more natural behaviour. 

[Wolves] have totally changed [the elk’s] behavior. For 60 years we’ve become used to complacent elk. These elk aren’t complacent. They’re on high alert,” said Eisenberg. 

Find out more about the grey wolf on ARKive.

Read more about this story at Mongabay – US wolves lose to politics

Alex Royan, ARKive Species Text Author

Apr 18

Students exploring the ARKive websiteSpending sunny afternoons after school exploring the local zoo and experiencing dozens of endangered species face-to-face all while playing with a smart phone doesn’t seem like the normal after-school program on the surface. However, students in Chicago, IL, USA are doing just that and more in a newly launched pilot program marking a unique collaboration between mobile learning initiatives and conservation education.

Biodiversity quest

Recently, the ARKive team traveled to Chicago, IL, USA to help kick-off the Biodiversity Quest program designed to challenge young people to create mobile experiences, also known as quests, at the Lincoln Park Zoo using iPhones and a popular scavenger hunt application, 7scenes. Through a partnership between ARKive, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots and the Pearson Foundation’s New Learning Institute, this 10-week curriculum is designed to illustrate connections between Chicago youth and the endangered species of the world, both near and far.

The quests will each have a theme that leads other young visitors around the Zoo helping them draw connections between exhibits. For example, a group might design a quest that guides visitors to the exhibits of several species that share a Critically Endangered status because of common threats to their habitats. After completing the program, students will be able to explain what an endangered species is, discuss various threats to species populations around the globe, and gain an understanding of possible solutions to help protect endangered species, all while demonstrating a greater technical skill set gained through hands-on experience with mobile technologies.

Exploring the continents

The ARKive team led two after-school sessions about endangered species and the importance of biodiversity. Students learned about the unique plants and animals found on each continent using the newly created ‘ARKive Geographic: Biodiversity Around the World’ activity. Through this activity, the students enjoyed learning interesting facts about globally endangered species from across the globe. 

ARKive Geographic - Biodiversity Around the World

Students learning about endangered species through the ARKive Geographic - Biodiversity Around the World Activity

Additionally, ARKive staff taught students how to search ARKive by species category (mammal, bird, reptile, etc), by geography or by common name and demonstrated how to create a MyARKive scrapbook for organizing images and films to include in their Biodiversity Quests.

The Biodiversity Quest pilot program comes to an end in June with a culminating event at Lincoln Park Zoo where students will lead their friends and family members on the Quests they’ve created. We’re very excited to return this summer to experience all the hard work and dedication the students put into both their Quests and into learning about endangered species and their conservation.

Liana Vitali, ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA

Apr 15

There is renewed hope for the conservation of one of the world’s most Critically Endangered and elusive mammals, the saola (Psuedoryx nghetinhensis), following the establishment of a new protected reserve.

Photo of wild saola in habitat

Saola in the wild

New agreement, new hope

Yesterday, the Quang Nam’s People Committee agreed that the Forestry Protection Department could establish a new, dedicated Saola Natural Reserve in the Annamite Mountains, along the border of Vietnam and Laos, offering a glimmer of hope for conservationists working to protect this species.

Ms. Tran Minh Hien, Country Director of WWF Vietnam, says that “The establishment of this new Saola Nature Reserve shows a strong commitment by the Vietnamese Government and Quang Nam Province in the conservation of this highly threatened endemic species. This new reserve will create a biodiversity corridor connecting the East of Vietnam to West side of Xe Sap National Park in Laos.”

WWF Vietnam has been working with various agencies and authorities in Vietnam to promote the establishment of the Saola Nature Reserve in Quang Nam and the Saola Nature Reserve in Thua Thien Hue, as well as encouraging the extension of Bach Ma National Park.

Photo of saola in captivity

Saola in captivity

Ideal habitat

The Saola Natural Reserve in Quang Nam contains ideal habitat for saola, which will hopefully allow them to thrive in the region in future. It is also hoped that establishing the Nature Reserve will help to promote the conservation of the Annamite Mountains, a diverse region home to many other globally threatened species, such as Francois’s langur and the kha-nyou.

Photo of Francois's langur

Francois's langur

We believe that, with the guidance from the People’s Committee, related local Departments and the cooperation with WWF, the Management Board will carry out the Saola’s conservation well which will not only help improve the Saola’s survival but also have long term value in developing and maintaining the biodiversity of the area.” said Mr Dang Dinh Nguyen, Director of Quang Nam Provincial Forest Protection Department and the Acting Director of the Saola Nature Reserve.

A recent discovery

The saola was only discovered as recently as 1992 by a joint WWF and Vietnam Department of Forestry survey. Despite being relatively new to science, the future of this enigmatic species is severely threatened by illegal hunting for its horns and by the loss of its forest habitat.

WWF has worked closely with scientists, along with protected area staff, rangers and local communities, to try to understand the population status and ecological requirements of this vulnerable bovid since its discovery. Currently, it is thought that, at most, only a few hundred individuals may remain in the wild. No saola have been known to survive in captivity.

In attempts to lessen the numerous threats to the saola, teams of WWF Forest Guards and Forestry Protection Department rangers are patrolling the nature reserves on a daily basis, removing thousands of snares and destroying many illegal hunting camps, as part of a new cooperative enforcement programme.

Find out more about the saola on ARKive

Helen Roddis, ARKive Species Text Author


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