Sep 26
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What’s New: 26 September 2011

More amazing photos, videos and texts are added to ARKive every alternate week. Here is a summary of our latest update:
 
The stats
  • 24 new species
  • 232 new images
  • 14 new media donors
  • 31 new texts
Our favourite new species – Arcidocarpus orientalis
 
Acridocarpus orientalis flowers

Acridocarpus orientalis flowers

 
Our favourite new photo – panther chameleon
 
Panther chameleon walking along branch

Panther chameleon walking along branch

 
Powerful new images – Franciscana
 
Franciscanas caught as bycatch

A major threat to the Franciscana is being caught as bycatch

 Our favourite new facts – Horsfield’s tarsier

Horsfield's tarsier on branch

Horsfield's tarsier on branch

  • The unique shape of a tarsier’s spine means that it is capable of rotating its head nearly 360 degrees.
  • Tarsiers are remarkable in having the biggest eyes of any mammal, relative to their body weight.
  • Horsfield’s tarsier is capable of leaping over five metres, which is almost 40 times its own body length.

Get involved!

If you have any photos, footage or species information that you think we should add into ARKive please let us know. There are many ways to get involved with ARKive, from contributing your photos to just spreading the word about us – every little helps!

Full details

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Sep 25
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ARKive Media Donor Spotlight: Lydia Fucsko

Lydia Fucsko photoARKive’s media donors are often passionate about conservation and this is certainly true of Lydia Fucsko. Lydia has recently contributed a large number of fantastic amphibian images to ARKive and we were fascinated to hear about her work spreading the word about the plight of amphibians and what the public can do to help.

After undertaking a PhD project on amphibian conservation at Swinburne University, Lydia combined her passion for frogs with her skills as a children’s author and illustrator, educator, photographer, narrator and dramatist to find original and innovative ways of engaging the public with their amphibian neighbours.

Sadly, Australia is home to nearly 50 amphibian species listed as Vulnerable to Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List, including some remarkable beauties like the northern corroboree frog and the red-crowned toadlet.

Northern corroboree frog photoRed-crowned toadlet photo

However, Lydia’s passion doesn’t just stop with those species already facing extinction. Pollution, environmental degradation, invasive plant and animal species and human disturbance all threaten amphibians across Australia and Lydia is keen to get this message out there before more species start to disappear.

Author and Educator Extraordinaire!

Green tree frog photoLydia’s upcoming children’s book “My life is in the Toilet” focuses on the plight of species like the green tree frog which is often forced to find rather unusual alternative accommodation after water mismanagement, pollution and habitat loss have left it with nowhere else to go. By utilising photography in new and ingenious ways, merging science and art, capitalising on the universal appeal of adorable amphibians and incorporating terrific ‘toilet humour’, Lydia hopes to inspire the next generation about the need to protect precious wetland habitat and encourage direct engagement with the environment. Interested publishers can view Lydia’s winning book pitch here.

You can learn more about Lydia’s work and hear the narration of the Story of Tiddalik, the Water Holding Frog, by visiting her webpage and YouTube channel. To help engage children with the amphibian cause Lydia has also recently created some humorous new videos of talking frogs discussing topics like the environment, some rather interesting eating habits and the Earth Day Network’s ‘Face of Climate Change’ campaign – make sure you check them out! You can also hear ‘FrogMan’ Professor Mike Tyler’s introduction to Lydia’s work.

Publishers, authors, filmmakers, organisations or individuals wanting to collaborate on projects can contact Lydia directly at lydia@lydiafucsko.com.

And finally, why not check out Lydia’s new images on ARKive.

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Sep 24
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ARKive Celebrates US National Public Lands Day

Have you ever spent a lazy day at the local park, lounging in the sun and reading your favorite book? Can you recall a memorable experience hiking a scenic forest trail, or swimming in a cold, clean river? If so, the time you spent outdoors enjoying nature was most likely to be on public land, or in a local, state, or national nature area, protected by law and available to all.

Eastern deciduous forest canopy in early autumn

National Public Lands Day, 2011

National Public Lands Day (NPLD) will be celebrated in the United States today, September 24, 2011. It is the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands.

Last year, over 170,000 volunteers grabbed their gloves and shovels to remove an estimated 450 tonnes of rubbish from public lands. They also collected over 9,000 kilograms (20,000 pounds) of invasive plants, built and maintained 1,320 miles of trails, planted 100,000 trees, shrubs and other native plants, and more. To encourage people to help protect and conserve national public lands, the US National Parks Service has lifted park fees at over 100 parks across the country on National Public Lands Day, making it the perfect time to visit that park you’ve been curious about!

To help spread the word about National Public Lands Day, we at ARKive are highlighting a few of our favorite US national public lands, as well as some of the species that can safely call those lands home.

Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks of North Carolina, USA

Photo of red wolf lying down

Red wolf

With its beautiful sandy beaches and eastern deciduous forest, Cape Hatteras and the Outer Banks is also home to one of the world’s rarest wolves, the red wolf. Declared Extinct in the Wild in 1980, the red wolf is beginning to make a comeback due to a successful breeding and reintroduction program.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA

California condor in flight

California condor in flight

The California condor was declared Extinct in the Wild on Easter Sunday in 1987, when the last individual was taken into captivity and a critical breeding program began. Since then, this New World vulture has made a remarkable comeback in several states and today, nearly 50 of these magnificent birds are found at the Grand Staircase National Monument in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA

Photo of desert tortoise in burrow

Desert tortoise in burrow

Care to snack on some rocks and dirt? The desert tortoise, which makes its home Joshua Tree National Park, is thought to munch on soil and pebbles to obtain essential minerals. Loss of habitat is a major threat for this species, so with the help of protected national public lands, the desert tortoise has a better chance of survival.

Olympic National Park, Washington, USA

Photo of bull trout

Bull trout

Cold, fresh water is just the ticket for the bull trout, one of the endangered fish species of Olympic National Park. Home to the largest remaining unaltered segment of bull trout habitat in the US, the chilly rivers of this park offer the right combination of underwater boulders and undercut banks that make ideal bull trout habitat.

Join in!

Now that you’ve learned a bit about what makes national public lands special for threatened species, why not visit the National Public Lands Day website to read more, or join the volunteers working to preserve natural areas around the country?

Interested in seeing more images of vital ecosystems around the world? Visit ARKive’s eco-region pages to learn about the Eastern deciduous forest, USA, Atlantic forest, South America, Gutianshan National Nature Reserve, China, or the Western Ghats of India.

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

Sep 23
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Endangered Species of the Week – Humphead wrasse

Humphead wrasse image

Humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus)

Species: Humphead wrasse                    (Cheilinus undulatus)

Status: Endangered (EN)

Interesting Fact: Adult females are able to change sex!

Straight from our new endangered species section, the humphead wrasse is a reef-dwelling giant. One of the largest reef fishes in the world, this species earns its name from the prominent hump that develops on the forehead of mature individuals. Adults are generally solitary and spend the day foraging on the reef, using their tough teeth to consume hard-shelled species such as molluscs, echinoderms and crustaceans. Humphead wrasses are extremely long-lived, known to survive for at least 30 years, and taking around five to seven years to reach sexual maturity.

Although widespread, the humphead wrasse has never been common. The flesh of this fish is highly prized and more recently this species has become one of the most highly sought species of the Live Reef Food Fish Trade (LRFFT). Unfortunately, populations can only sustain light levels of fishing. As little is known about the biology of this species, more data are urgently needed to understand the scale of the threats faced by current populations, and to implement effective conservation programmes.

For more information on humphead wrasse conservation, visit the IUCN Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group page.

View images and footage of the humphead wrasse on ARKive.

Explore ARKive’s threatened marine species using Google Earth.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

Sep 23
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In the News: Freshwater species in the Western Ghats under threat

A new IUCN report has revealed that rapid economic development in the Western Ghats is leading to freshwater species being sacrificed as ‘collateral damage’.

River Kunthi, Western Ghats

River Kunthi, Western Ghats

A number of threats, including water pollution, overharvesting and invasive species, have led to 16% of freshwater species in the Western Ghats being classified as threatened on the IUCN Red List. Freshwater fish have been identified as the most threatened group, with over a third at risk of extinction.

The Western Ghats have been identified as a global biodiversity hotspot, containing more than 30% of India’s mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species despite covering less than 6% of the country’s land area. There are 118 endemic fish species, including the iconic Denison barb (Puntius denisonii), which is currently listed as Endangered due to its indiscriminate collection for the ornamental fish trade.

Denison barb image

Denison barb (Puntius denisonii)

The two-year assessment by the IUCN has shown that the pace of growth of the Indian economy is not in tune with conservation needs, and that in many cases environmental requirements are not considered during developmental planning processes. There is also little awareness of the ecosystem services the freshwater ecosystems provide.

Many people, particularly the poor, rely on freshwater species for their livelihoods, with more than half of India’s fish species and 18% of its mollusc species being used for food.

Rajeev Raghavan of the Conservation Research Group (CRG) at St. Albert’s College says, “If we continue to degrade our freshwater systems and overharvest our resources, we will not only lose biodiversity but also the many valuable services that nature provides us for free.”

Waterfall in Maharastra, Western Ghats

Waterfall in Maharastra, Western Ghats

It is hoped that the report, which assessed the global conservation status and distributions of 1,146 freshwater fishes, molluscs, odonates and aquatic plants, will help politicians and other decision-making personnel to make informed conservation decisions in the future.

Read the full IUCN report – The Status and Distribution of Freshwater Biodiversity in the Western Ghats, India

Find out more about the Western Ghats eco-region on ARKive.

Becky Moran, ARKive Species Text Author

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