May 4

ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent has proved that it still has a few tricks up its sleeve with one of its most recent auditions – Olivia Binfield and Lucy, her pet python.

Whereas most animal-themed acts tend to involve singing or dancing dogs, Olivia went against the grain, telling the judges that she was going to recite a poem.

The little laureate then wrapped 6ft python Lucy around her neck and took centre stage, delivering confident but heartfelt rhymes about saving threatened species from around the world. With cheeky quips to the judges and nods to the more superficial nature of the talent show in general, Olivia practically reprimanded the audience and let them know what is important to her in the world – something that struck a note with us here at ARKive.

So which threatened animals made it into Olivia’s poem? Of course, we have them on ARKive so it would be a shame not to let them share the limelight a little. I’m sure Olivia knows all about them anyway though, including the latin names…!

Amur leopardPanthera pardus orientalis

The Amur leopard is classed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN and is one of the most endangered big cats on the planet. This beautiful cat is well adapted to its cold, harsh habitat but has been driven from it by hunters who use its coat and bones in traditional medicine.

Amur leopard photo

Amur leopard - Critically Endangered

Poison dart frog

Actually representing a whole host of threatened species, poison frogs are famed for their toxic skin and its use by South American tribes in making poison arrows and darts. The golden poison frog Phyllobates terribilis is one of these, with bright yellow skin to warn predators of its toxicity.

Golden poison frog photo

Golden poison frog - Endangered

Polar bear – Ursus maritimus

Although polar bear populations are currently stable, there is widespread concern for this awesome bear’s future in the face of global climate change, through which it could lose its valuable ice floe habitat.

Polar bear photo

Polar bear - Vulnerable

Komodo dragon – Varanus komodoensis

Growing to over 2 metres long, the Komodo dragon is the largest lizard in the world and resides in the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Flores in Indonesia. Known for its voracious appetite, scientists also recently discovered that this giant is poisonous, subduing its prey with slow acting venom. Perhaps not the cutest of creatures but definitely one of the most remarkable!

Komodo dragon photo

Komodo dragon - Vulnerable

Siberian tiger – Panthera tigris altaica

Another subspecies, the Siberian tiger is the largest of the largest of big cats, the tiger. Although once widespread in Asia, the tiger now only survives in small fragments of its original range, increasing the chance of inbreeding and making them even more susceptible to extinction.

Siberian tiger photo

Siberian tiger - Endangered

I don’t think anyone could have chosen a more impressive selection of animals to inspire people about wildlife! It’s great to see the conservationists of tomorrow are getting involved so early on, so bravo and more of the same please, Olivia!

Watch Olivia’s audition on YouTube.

Charlie Whittaker, ARKive Media Researcher