Apr 28

Merove favoured genetic familiarity last week, but will this week’s team member choose a close relative or opt for something more obscure?

Ben Roberts – ARKive In-House Designer

Favourite species? Tiger

Why? I’ve always loved tigers since I was little. They seem mysterious, powerful and graceful all at the same time. Plus, they just look cool! I used to draw them, paint them, make lego tigers, and do etchings of them. All that’s left art-wise is to photograph them – maybe one day! I did used to think all Siberian tigers were white though, for camouflage in the snow!

Tiger image

The tiger is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List. Tiger parts are used in many traditional Oriental medicines as an anti-inflammatory, even though it is listed on the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and trade is therefore banned. The market for tiger fur is also increasing. Habitat loss and the consequential decrease in prey populations have led to tigers taking domestic livestock and coming into conflict with local farmers. Habitat loss has also isolated certain populations, which remain in one area and eventually die out.

See more photos and videos of the tiger on ARKive.

Apr 27
Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

Species: Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

Status: Critically Endangered (CR)

Interesting fact: The southern bluefin tuna is one of the largest bony fish in the world, growing up to 4.3 metres long!

The southern bluefin tuna is an incredibly streamlined and powerful fish capable of reaching speeds of up to 70 km per hour through the water. Swimming together in shoals, the southern bluefin tuna migrates vast distances from the spawning grounds in the Indian Ocean to the feeding grounds in colder, southern waters. During the spawning period, a mature female will produce several million eggs. Southern bluefin tuna are opportunistic predators, feeding on a wide variety of other fish as well as crustaceans, cephalopods and other marine animals.

The southern bluefin tuna has been fished to the brink of extinction. Its flesh is highly prized in Japan, where an individual fish can fetch as much as 10,000 US dollars. The Commission for the Conservation of the Southern Bluefin Tuna was set up in 1994 to control the overfishing of this species; but some scientists believe more drastic measures need to be taken to save this species from extinction.

Find out more about this species on the Conservation of Southern Bluefin Tuna (CCSBT) website.

See this species on Google Earth.

See images and videos of the southern bluefin tuna on ARKive.

Apr 25

Creative climate Change Challenge imageARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge was launched during Climate Week back in March. We asked you to get creative and through an exciting and engaging way, raise awareness about a species affected by climate change.

The creativity was outstanding – we received everything from papier mache penguins to clownfish cookies. The ARKive judges were taken on an emotional roller coaster – from the tear jerking tale of the table mountain ghost frog to the awe-inspiring sounds of a karaoke koala!

The judges were looking for entries which evoked an emotional response that would inspire people to do something to help combat climate change. The results are in and there were 3 entries that, in the judges’ minds, stood out above the rest. So, drum roll please……..

Winner of the 16-18 category

I bet your drum roll’s not as good as the drumming skills of these very worthy winners - the Antsiranana Boy Scouts group! The scouts wrote and performed a song about climate change and its effects on the hawksbill turtle, which nests on the beaches of Northern Madagascar where the boys live. The scouts conduct all their awareness raising activities in collaboration with Community Centred Conservation (C3).

The Antsiranana Boy Scouts say, “We will be performing this song in local rural communities, but hope that people all over the world will watch online and learn more about the effects of climate change on the fano hara (hawksbill turtle in Malagasy) and what can be done to help.”

Winner of the 12-15 category

The polar bear is the star of the show in this poetic piece of song-writing by 14 year–old Emmy, from the US. Download the polar bear song.

Photo of polar bear swimming

Winner of the under 11 category

And finally, the prize for the under 11 category goes to Marcus and Kalina from the the UK. Top marks for entertainment. Flying fish anyone?

 

Marcus and Kalina’s teacher, Tasha Waldman, believes that educating children about climate change helps to raise awareness of our planet, giving understanding and hope to future generations. Marcus comments “Global warming is important because it is changing our planet and we need to help animals who can’t change with it“. Kalina agrees saying, “Lots of animals are dying and it’s our fault. It’s not just minor, it’s a MAJOR problem“. Wise words from some of our youngest contestants.

Get involved

Why not share one of the Creative Climate Change Challenge winning entries, helping our worthy winners to get their voice and message about climate change heard around the globe.

You can also let us know what you’re doing to help combat climate change by entering your comments below or joining in the conversation on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Congratulations to all our winners and a big thank you to all who took part in ARKive’s Creative Climate Change Challenge.

Apr 24

This week in the United States it’s time to celebrate all things green and leafy with it being both National Park Week and Arbor Day this coming Friday. With entrance fees to national parks across the country being waived, what better opportunity is there to go on an adventure and discover some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife.

Whether it’s hiking, swimming or kayaking that floats your boat, there is something for everyone, and we thought we would highlight a few of our favorite national parks to inspire you to get outside and experience nature.

Glacier Bay National Park

If you want to see glaciers crashing into the sea, orcas hunting their prey or brown bears effortlessly grabbing salmon from a rushing stream, head to Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska, where the majestic wilderness will keep your jaw dropped for hours on end. At this time of year you may also be lucky enough to see humpback whales breaching.

Humpback whales, two adults breaching

Grand Canyon National Park

Perhaps the desert is calling you, in which case Grand Canyon National Park would be a good call. It is no wonder why nearly 5 million people visit each year, with spectacular vistas of the mile deep, 277 mile long canyon. This terrain is home to the prickly pear cactus, puma and even the Critically Endangered California condor.

California condor in flight, lateral view

Voyageurs National Park

For those of you who aren’t afraid of a few mosquitoes and like to paddle a canoe, head north to Voyageurs National Park in Minnesota. This land of over 10,000 lakes is home to a variety of species such as bald eagles, moose, grey wolves, and American black bears.

Yearling American black bear playing

Everglades National Park

If you live closer to the tropical lowlands, check out Everglades National Park in Florida. This significant wetland has been designated a World Heritage Site and provides habitat for many Vulnerable species, including the American crocodile.

American crocodile photo

Shenandoah National Park

Finally, let’s look east to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. This eastern mountain range offers plenty of hiking trails, excellent stargazing and of course a plethora of wildlife to view. You might be lucky enough to see the eastern redbud a brilliantly colored tree that flowers this time of year.

Eastern redbud in blossom

Get outside and get involved!

Both National Park Week and Arbor Day are great ways to celebrate nature, enjoy wildlife, and they are entirely free to take part in! Have you been to any of these parks or captured photographs of these or other species? If so, why not share them on the ARKive Facebook page or Twitter feed!

In honor of Arbor Day on April 27th, you could even get your hands dirty and plant a native tree species in your own community. Find out how you can get involved by visiting the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Maggie Graham, Program Assistant, Wildscreen USA

Apr 24

If you’ve been paying close attention to the ARKive Education pages recently you may well have noticed that a new logo has appeared beside a couple of the modules in the 7-11 age group.

This new icon signals that ‘Adaptation: Design a Species’ and ‘Marvellous Mini-beasts’ are now both CREST Star accredited. This means they have been assessed and found to meet all of the required criteria for accreditation so can now count towards a recognised award here in the UK, the CREST SuperStar Award.

Super Star logo

During the accreditation process we have been working closely with the CREST Star Investigators National Programme Coordinator, Dylan O’Sullivan, so who better to help us explain the ins and outs of CREST Star Investigators.

ARKive: So what is CREST Star Investigators?

Dylan: CREST Star Investigators is a UK-wide award scheme that enables primary school children to solve science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) problems through practical investigation. The activities focus on a mixture of practical activities and discussion, and encourage children to work independently of adults; it’s all about hands-on fun investigation. They are designed to be used primarily outside of lessons and you don’t need a science background to run them which means they are great for clubs and home schooling; they do also have clear curriculum links and many teachers use them for practical lessons.

CREST Star Investigators logo

ARKive: What does your role involve?

Dylan: As National Programme Coordinator my role is to develop the programme to reach as many schools and children as possible. The main focus has been a move towards an online membership resource which will allow us to deliver more activities at an affordable cost to schools, and to provide other benefits to member schools; this will happen in September 2012. The other area we have been developing is our strategic partnerships; these fall into 2 main categories: sponsorship of new activities, and our rapidly expanding activity accreditation partnership programme which has grown to include some of the UK’s top science learning centres and online providers.

ARKive is one of a number of organisations that have accredited activities – including the Science Museum, Planet Science and @Bristol.

ARKive: What do you look for in potential partner organisations?

Dylan: Our main criteria for accrediting activities is that they must fit our guiding principles for CREST Star. Activities must offer the children the opportunity to:

  • solve a relevant, science-based problem, set within a context
  • work in pairs or small groups, independently of adults
  • take part in practical, hands-on science activities
  • think and talk about science, during the activity and when sharing their ideas.

We want to encourage children and educators to take science learning beyond the classroom, and to develop a love for the science that is all around us.

ARKive education pages with CREST logos

 

ARKive: What was it about Wildscreen’s resources that led you to contact us about becoming a partner?

Dylan: We love Wildscreen’s resources. The ARKive website is a great interactive source of wildlife and conservation information, and its strong visual focus makes it ideal for younger learners. The education resources are well thought out and very engaging, as well as a lot of fun. The accredited adaptation activities really get learners involved and thinking about how life evolves and adapts, and what could be a more fun way to learn about evolution and adaptation than designing your own species! We also firmly believe in the aims of Wildscreen and the ARKive project, so we are very happy to give our support to the organisation.

Our accredited resources can be found on our education page, along with our three newest modules – Nocturnal Animals, What is an Endangered Species? and Sizing Up Species.

For more information on the CREST Star Investigators visit the British Science Association website.

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Education Officer

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