Apr 10

© Peter ChadwickAn award winning photographer, Peter Chadwick won the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species, supported by ARKive, at last year’s Veolia Environnment Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Peter has also donated many of his wonderful images to the ARKive project so we thought we should find out a bit more about his work and interest in wildlife photography.

Q: You currently work as the programme manager of the WWF South Africa – Integrated Ocean Use Programme. Tell us a bit about that, and what inspired you to work in conservation?

I have had the incredible privilege to spend most of my life in the outdoors, having grown up in the bushveld of Zimbabwe. Conservation was always an obvious choice for me and I have spent the last 25 years having worked throughout southern Africa in some of its most special wild places. These include the Kalahari Desert, Kruger National Park, the Drakensberg Mountains and the sub-Antarctic Prince Edward Islands. Working across these diverse habitats allowed me to gain vast experience in all aspects of conservation management in all of the different biomes in southern Africa. My special interests are in ecosystem-based approaches to management, developing management strategies for rare and endangered species and in capacity development of conservation personnel.

I currently work as the Programme Manager of the WWF South Africa – Integrated Ocean Use Programme and my work focuses around supporting marine protected areas (MPAs) in South Africa and sub-region. The health and integrity of much of the world’s oceans and coastal environments have been severely degraded and remain threatened by human activities such as over-fishing, pollution, development and unregulated tourism. MPAs have been advocated as an effective management tool for securing and restoring the health of our oceans. My work aims to bring together the strengths and competencies of national government, relevant conservation agencies and civil society to effectively manage and secure our unique and rich marine heritage while promoting social benefits.

Q: Do you have any exciting projects or trips coming up?

I am currently working on a project that aims to raise the profile of South Africa’s MPA’s. Although South Africa has an excellent network of 21 MPA’s, these do not have the same support and understanding that terrestrial protected areas have. With our oceans being under huge threat, these MPA’s play an important role in the protection of habitats and biodiversity as well as being insurance policies for the future of our fisheries stocks. Through the power of iconic imagery, we aim to visually “Bring People to the MPA’s” so that they can begin to see and understand the incredible diversity, uniqueness and importance of these MPA’s. The project is undertaken in collaboration with the South African Department of Environmental Affairs: Branch Oceans & Coasts.

I also continually work on promoting South Africa’s diverse birding destinations and profiling the developmental bird guides that have become important ambassadors and protectors of these often-isolated patches of biodiversity. Through encouraging and supporting the developing businesses of these guides, they in turn are able to educate members of their own communities to support conservation.

Group of African penguins on rock

Peter helps promote South Africa’s diverse birding destinations

Q: Do you have any advice for young people who want to have a career in conservation?

I believe that the role that conservation will play in the future of this planet will be ever more important as there is an awakening to the fact that we cannot continue to abuse our planet at current rates. Conservation leaders are definitely going to be needed into the future and for the youngsters wanting to enter into conservation, I believe that they need to have a deep personal and ethical commitment that is founded in personal engagement with conservation. In other words, while it is possible to gain an intellectual understanding of the various issues it is very important to get out into the field and learn from practical experience. I spent all my weekends and school and university vacations volunteering with different conservation organisations. This helped me gain a good foundational understanding of conservation and more importantly guided me to where I could make the biggest positive impact for conservation. Get out and observe the world around us, as the more you understand about the outdoors, the better decisions you will make to protect it.

Q: What has been your favourite wildlife encounter?

For me every single encounter that I have with wildlife is an incredible privilege and I never stop learning and being amazed by what I see. There is not a single outing in the wild that I do not see something new and exciting and many of these encounters take place close to where I live. We do not necessary have to venture far into the larger wilderness areas and view the “big 5” to see something amazing. I gain just as much from finding a new flower species that I have not seen before and watching a pair of African black oystercatchers feeding under a full moon as from watching a pack of spotted hyaena hunting co-operatively. What is important is that we must make the most of every opportunity and soak in the outdoors that is so intrinsically linked to the wellness of our own souls.

African black oystercatcher pair calling

African black oystercatcher's photographed by Peter

Q: You have worked in lots of interesting and remote places around Southern Africa, is there anywhere else in the world you would really like to go and any species in particular you would like to see?

For me the two places that are always on my dream list to visit are the Antarctic and the Arctic Circle. Their absolute wildness yet total fragility has always enticed me. My visit to the sub-Antarctic’s Prince Edward Islands in the early 1990’s also wet my appetite by seeing locations where mans imprint is minimal and the wildlife accepts us as part of the environment, often having no fear of us. I would love to be able to watch Arctic foxes hunting seabirds amongst their colonies in the Arctic and watch emperor, chinstrap and Adélie penguins in the Antarctic.

Arcic fox portrait, winter coat

The Arctic fox, one of the species Peter would love to see in the wild

Q: And finally, why do you think that wildlife photography and the ARKive project are important?

For me, wildlife photography is a natural extension to my conservation work where I have numerous opportunities to capture photographs that showcase the beauty and complexity of the outdoors. I firmly believe that through a photograph, we have the ability to capture a moment of time, that if correctly composed can positively influence the way that we respond, think and act. I always strive to take compelling and ethical nature images that communicate the key values of the environment, showcasing its benefits and highlighting the need for the protection of our fragile earth. ARKive also needs to be strongly supported. It as an incredible image bank that allows the greater public to view the vast diversity of planet earth, it raises awareness of the plight of the many species and shows the earths fragility and through so doing will hopefully enthuse others to become conservation supporters. Sadly, people only support and protect what they know and ARKive certainly helps bringing the unknown to a vast number of people.

See more of Peter’s images on ARKive, or visit his website to find out more about his work.

Rebecca Taylor, ARKive Media Researcher

Apr 5

More amazing photos, videos and texts are added to ARKive every alternate week. Here is a summary of our latest update:

The stats
  • 95 new species
  • 1,090 new images
  • 26 new videos
  • 41 new media donors
  • 19 new texts
  • 15 newly authenticated texts

What’s new – our favourite new species

Klemmer's day gecko photo

We've added a new profile for the Endangered Klemmer's day gecko


Crowned eagle photo

We've also added a profile for the Endangered crowned eagle

What’s new – our favourite new images

Miller's grizzled langurs photo

We've added rare images of Miller's grizzled langur, an Endangered subspecies of Hose’s langur


Stone curlew photo

We've added 19 great new images of the stone curlew

What’s new – our favourite new videos

Eurasian lynx photo

Check out our 9 new videos of the Eurasian lynx

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 

Subscribe to our RSS feeds for full details of what’s new to ARKive.

Apr 3

ARKive's Easter Egg Hunt

A dozen free range ‘eggs’ have been laid around the ARKive website for you to dig up using your eggspert knowledge!

It’s easy to play along:

  • Unscramble the first cryptic clue to lead you to the correct page on ARKiveARKive's Golden Egg
  • Find the egg and break it open to eggspose the next clue
  • Crack all of the clues until you reveal. . .
  • The final Golden Egg
  • Collect a special twibbon to show your friends what an egghead you are!


If you only make it half-a-dozen-way through and need to take a break, you can save the latest webpage in your ‘favourites’ and continue the egg hunt later.

Here’s your first clue:

“Watch this eggstreme angler video! Is this bird of prey the ultimate fisher?”

Do you eggcept the challenge, or will you chicken out?! If you’re finding it extraordinarily challenging, you can ‘like’ us on Facebook to get some eggclusive eggstra clues!

Good luck and let us know how you get on!

Apr 1

The natural world is full of trickery, with many species proving to be masters of deception, not just on April Fools’ Day, but every day.

Amphibious antics

This master of disguise has got the leaf-look down to a tee, with its twisted body, veined skin and tail which appears to have been nibbled by insects or decayed amongst leaf litter. If its name and physical appearance doesn’t deter predators, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko can also flatten its body to reduce shadow, shed its tail and open its mouth to reveal a shocking red mouth. It seems this critter has plenty of tricks up sleeves!

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko image

Nature’s stink bomb

The Palawan stink badger lives up to its name by its method of defence. When attacked, a putrid-smelling yellow fluid is squirted from its anal glands, which will linger on the unfortunate victim for quite some time. Sometimes this species even ‘plays dead’ before ejecting the stinking secretion over the unsuspecting intruder.

Palawan stink badger image

Comical coney

Juvenile coneys are known to adopt a rather sneaky hunting technique known as ‘agressive mimicry’. By joining a group of similarly-sized and coloured brown chromis (Chromis multilineata), they are able to sneek up on prey unnoticed.

Coney image

Swindling snake

The juvenile Mexican cantil has a cunning method of attaining its next meal. By wiggling the tip of its yellow tail, it tricks other snakes and lizards into thinking it is an invertebrate. What comes next is definitely not a pleasant surprise!

Mexican cantil image

Is it a bird, a plane or a car alarm?

An expert impersonator, the African grey parrot is known to repeat everything from car alarms and human speech to calls of mammals and other birds. This species is considered to be one of the smartest animal species in the world and is thought to have the same intelligence level as a five year old human!


African grey parrot image

The plants are doing it too!

In certain populations, the peacock moraea flowers bear a striking resemblance to two different pollinating beetles, the glittering monkey beetle and the P. rufotibialis beetle. The plant is thought to have developed this remarkable mimicry to attract male beetles to the flower, enabling the plant to spread its pollen. This trickery must be rather disappointing for any would-be suitors.

Peacock moraea image

Can you think of anymore mischievous mammals, roguish reptiles, badly behaved birds, playful plants or impulsive insects? Let us know!

We wish you a happy and incident-free April Fools’ Day!

Hannah Mulvany, ARKive Species Text Author Intern


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