We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.
Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.
Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.
Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).
Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!
Species: Grey-headed flying fox
Nominated by: Wildlife Land Trust
Conservation status: Vulnerable
Why do you love it? Grey-headed flying-foxes are Australia’s only endemic flying-fox and one of the largest bats in the world. They are able to travel large distances for food making them vital for pollination and thus the reproduction, regeneration and evolution of a range of forest ecosystems. They are also critical to the survival of a number of coastal vegetation species that are only receptive to pollination at night. Grey-headed flying-foxes are also highly social and intelligent animals, and the often vitriolic and unwarranted treatment they receive makes it all the more important to stand up for them!
What are the threats to the grey-headed flying fox? Threats to the grey-headed flying-fox are numerous, and include habitat loss and fragmentation (particularly in urban areas), climate change (grey-headed flying-foxes are unable to tolerate very high temperatures, making them susceptible to heat stress deaths during hot periods) and shooting by orchardists for crop protection. This latter threat is particularly disturbing due to the nature of injuries suffered, with documented instances of pregnant flying-foxes or mothers with reliant young stranded on the ground dying of starvation due to punctured wings. Not even the dwindling remnants of flying-fox habitat are safe, with urban colonies often being subject to forced dispersals due to people not liking living next door to them – these are often conducted through methods with severe implications on animal welfare.
What are you doing to save it? The Wildlife Land Trust has been long involved with grey-headed flying fox conservation, from our nomination that led to the species being listed as nationally threatened (under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) in 2001, to our ongoing involvement in the New South Wales Flying-fox Consultative Committee.
We were also instrumental in the establishment of a wildlife-friendly orchard netting subsidy in New South Wales which has halted licenced shooting for crop protection in the state, and continue to lobby authorities on the importance of maintaining existing camps and protecting habitat suitable for grey-headed flying-foxes at a local, state and federal level. Our ongoing efforts are focusing on improving legal protection and management policies throughout the various jurisdictions grey-headed flying-foxes call home.