Welcome to the Arkive blog!

Here at Arkive, we provide the ultimate multimedia guide to endangered species, and through our blog we’ll keep you up to date with news from the world of wildlife videos, photography and conservation, alongside the latest on our quest to locate imagery of the planet’s most wanted plants and animals.
Jun 11

A team of students and staff from the University of Exeter are set to embark on a 12-day voyage to measure pollution in the Arctic

Their aim: to make the unseen seen. By collecting vital baseline data on the non-visible pollutants lurking beneath the sea’s surface and with a diverse crew of film-makers, artists, photographers, scientists and sailors, they hope to increase public awareness of issues from microplastics to manmade noise by making their findings educational and engaging; highlighting the actions needed to preserve this spectacular region before it’s too late.

Key objectives:

  • To unite sailors, scientists, artists, filmmakers, adventurers, biologists and researchers to make the unseen seen, and reveal the invisible pollution threatening our remarkable marine environment
  • To collect data on microplastics and manmade noise which will be added to a global research database, and in turn will go towards informing policies and instigating change
  • To engage with the public: from the local community in Svalbard to students, their findings will educate and inspire others to make changes to their everyday lives and result in a cleaner, healthier environment

    Microplastics & Zooplankton… take a closer look and all manner of interesting lifeforms and objects appear. Zooplankton are abundant in this sample but also microscopic plastic fragments and microfiber filaments, broken down into tiny pieces entering the very base of the foodchain.

Why?

The Arctic is a unique region witnessing environmental change on an unprecedented scale. Ocean currents such as the Atlantic Gulf Stream meet a ‘dead-end’ close to this archipelago, offloading a plethora of plastics and waste carried for hundreds of kilometers from the UK and elsewhere in Europe – essentially, the Arctic is acting as a ‘dumping ground’ for our waste.

Pollution is a major player among the myriad of threats our oceans face: plastics, toxic chemicals, manmade noise and countless others. These all present an acute threat to living organisms, whether that be through entanglement and ingestion of discarded waste, through to the disruption of communication in animals like dolphins and whales caused by an increasingly noisy underwater environment. However, many of these pollutants aren’t particularly obvious to us, even though their effects on the marine world can be disastrous.

The effects of this ‘non-visible’ pollution on marine life, as well as its concentration and distribution, presents a major gap in our scientific knowledge. This is especially true in remote regions such as the Arctic ocean, where the focus of most research is primarily on the impacts of Climate Change – no less urgent or impactful on the ecosystems here. With this expedition they strive to unveil the exact nature of these ‘invisible’ pollutants in the Arctic ocean, whilst communicating findings to the public and giving compelling evidence to act.

The team assess the levels of pollution in the waters of the Falmouth Estuary in Cornwall

The Expedition

The team will travel on Blue Clipper, a 33m tall-ship, powered solely by wind and ideally suited to Arctic conditions.  Here they will carry out a series of transects across the Barents Sea to the south-west of the archipelago, using manta trawls, drop-net sampling and acoustic hydrophones to gather data on microplastics and noise pollution in this remote area. Once the data collection finished their work will continue as they spend a week in Svalbard itself: meeting members of the local community to present findings, document opinions on global pollution, and assisting with  the beach clean initiatives already in place.

The team’s home for two weeks, aboard the magnificent tallship, the Blue Clipper

Public engagement is a strong theme running throughout the exhibition.  The team, having already reached out to school children about the impacts of single-use plastics, surveyed locally for microplastics here along the Cornish coast, hosted beach cleans and engaging film screenings, and have run a variety of fund-raising events including a ‘Ceilidh Against Plastic’ and ‘Gig Against Plastic’! All these events have enabled public engagement with the issues of single-use plastics and how areas which seem pristine and untouched can be tainted by our actions here in the UK.

Be part of the solution to save our oceans: support the project and enable them to make the unseen seen.

Find out more

Visiting their website www.sailagainstplastic.com

Keep in touch:

Facebook – @amessagefromthearctic

Instagram – @amessagefromthearctic

Twitter – @Sail4seas

Email – sailagainstplastic@gmail.com

Jun 7

To celebrate the launch of the inaugural Wildscreen Photo Story Panda Award at this year’s Wildscreen Festival, Arkive is getting to know the award’s amazing team and jury, who are themselves international photography professionals. Here we meet Neil Aldridge.

Neil Aldridge is the Technical Consultant for the Wildscreen Photo Story Panda Award. As a conservation photographer his images have won awards all over the world, including the World Press Photo environment category, the NPPA Best of Photojournalism award for environmental storytelling and the overall title of European Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His work has also featured in Wildlife Photographer of the Year and he has twice been a winner of British Wildlife Photography Awards.

Neil is also a lecturer in Marine and Natural History Photography at Falmouth University and a trustee of the charities Animals Saving Animals and Poaching Prevention.

The return of the rhino | © Neil Aldridge

As a conservation photographer, was there a defining moment that led you to start documenting conservation issues?

I grew up reading Getaway Magazine in South Africa and I remember being inspired to want to tell stories with my camera, not just take single shots. But it wasn’t until I began researching African wild dogs while training as a wildlife guide at Antares in South Africa in 2005 that I realised telling conservation stories and engaging people in these issues was how I could best contribute to saving species and protecting our environment. It took me another three years to save up the money and throw myself into the world of photojournalism. I’ve not looked back since.

How does imagery help in conservation efforts? How do you think photo stories with a clear narrative affect audiences compared to single images?

While some iconic single photographs do tell a story in one shot, the most effective way to draw an audience into an issue, to make them care and, importantly for conservation, to make them take action is to take them on a journey – to show them what the issue is, where it is happening, why it is important, who the people are at the heart of the issue and what the solutions are.

When a company builds a website, they talk about the journey they want to take their web visitor on from when they land on that site. As a storyteller, it’s the same principle. By thinking about narrative, I’m thinking about where I want my audience to go when they open a magazine onto the first page of my photo story. This may sound logical but it’s not as easy to deliver as it sounds. Where narrative-led photography really is helping conservation efforts is the ability to connect the audience with real people – whether it’s rangers, researchers, vets or even the unfortunate villager who is having her livelihood impacted. Now that we have learned to stop banging the drum just about the big iconic animal and embrace the people who can save it, we are switching more people on to the importance of saving our natural world – because they can see that human lives depend on it.

Living with foxes | © Neil Aldridge

Over the years there have been a variety of photographic styles to document conservation stories: from hard-hitting and emotive imagery, to those showing the wonder of the natural world and the diversity of species. What do you think the role of conservation photography is in 2018 and going forward – to shock audiences or to send out positive messages about conservation and the environment?

Both. People take in information in different ways, even within audience demographics. Personally, when I’m looking at a story or watching a documentary, I’m still grabbed by the hard-hitting moments that some people find too much. Those are the moments that stay with me. And with the state that our planet is in, I don’t think that we can afford to filter or totally dumb-down our messages. People do have the choice to look away or turn the page if they want to, so I would rather see photographers still taking the pictures that have the power to stop an audience in its tracks. But, that’s the beauty of creating photo stories. You can include hard-hitting imagery alongside the solutions, the beauty of nature and the wonderful people dedicating their lives to stopping atrocities happening. That is what I have been trying to do with my work, I then work with an editor to decide what the best mix of images may be from a wider set to achieve the right impact and reaction.

The ‘plastic issue’ has clearly galvanised public opinion. What do you think are the other important environmental issues and challenges we now face?

I could sit here and say climate change or habitat loss but fundamentally our attitude towards the natural world has to change. How have we evolved to a stage where we think it’s okay to sell keyrings with live baby turtles sealed inside? We will never beat the trade in wildlife or protect key habitats and the species that depend on them if there is not the appreciation for what functioning ecosystems can do for us. Yes, policing illegal trade or logging is important but it’s like sticking a plaster over a gaping head wound. The real change has to come from ordinary people putting pressure on the decision makers to change policies – policies with a focus on sustaining life, not making short-term profits and winning votes. The plastic issue has been a positive example of this, but it’s still up to us to keep the pressure on governments to stay true to their words.

As a lecturer in photography are you seeing a shift in the topics that your students want to document or the stories that they want to tell?

I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the passion and broad knowledge of conservation topics within our student group at Falmouth. I get to learn about places, species and issues that I didn’t fully understand. But perhaps the biggest shift I’m noticing is in how young photographers are telling their stories and engaging their audiences. That’s what is really exciting. Yes the traditional, strong magazine stories or documentary films are there but we’re seeing installations, apps, 3D imagery and VR pieces. It’s an exciting time to be a young storyteller.

Underdogs – African wild dogs © Neil Aldridge

How can photography galvanise the younger generation into action? Is social media having an impact?

If I knew the answer to this I could be making good money advising major organisations on their engagements strategies. It’s a tough one because yes, smart devices have made it easier than ever for people to take and share incredible photographs of the world around them, but at the same time they are driving shorter attention spans, addiction to endless browsing and opening people up to targeted marketing and promotional campaigns with budgets that conservation causes just can’t compete with. But yes, the potential is certainly there for galvanising and mobilising people into action. I think we have seen some of this potential already in the activity that was stirred by the plastic scenes in Blue Planet 2.

Which environmental campaign has had the greatest impact on you?

I used to work on a BBC learning campaign called Breathing Places that drove action off the back of the UK-focussed BBC nature shows like Springwatch and Autumnwatch. The message at the heart of that campaign was ‘Do One Thing’. It was so straight forward, so simple for people to engage with. We just wanted everyday people to do something for nature, whether it was planting a tree, making a bug hotel, joining their local wildlife charity or getting out for a walk in the woods. As with everything, it was impacted by funding cuts when the BBC hit a crisis. I feel that we need something like Breathing Places to harness all of the positive energy that is created by the content we as photographers and filmmakers are producing.

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Thanks to Neil for taking the time to share his thoughts. We’re really excited to see him and all the incredible photo stories at the Wildscreen Festival 2018!

You can find Neil on InstagramTwitter and Facebook, or visit his website conservationphotojournalism.com

May 30

Wildscreen is partnering with the International League of Conservation Photographers at Wildscreen Festival 2018 where many of it’s fellows and associates will be speaking at the festival this October. We spoke with Susan Norton, iLCP’s Executive Director, about the organisation and their role supporting conservation photographers.

Tell us a little more about iLCP, your mission and your work.

iLCP was founded in 2005 by professional photographers who devote their lives to conservation photography.  Our mission is to promote environmental and cultural conservation through ethical photography and filmmaking.  We have 107 Fellows and Emerging League Photographers based in 26 countries, working in more than 100 countries.

 

Can you tell us more about iLCPs Emerging Talent league and why it’s important to you to encourage early career photographers?

iLCP has an Emerging League Photography (ELP) program that selects up to three photographers each year who are just starting out as professional photographers. The ELP term is three years and each one has an iLCP Senior Fellow as a mentor.  This program is very important as we encourage and inspire early career photographers to join us in the effort to use their images to support conservation efforts.  As an ELP, they join a global community of like-minded individuals who use their work for the greater good.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a professional photographer?

Perseverance, passion and patience are key traits of successful professional photographers.  It is very important to understand the business side of photography and wonderful when someone decides to devote their lives to photography for a cause.  It is also very important to practice good ethics in dealing with any subject – whether human, wildlife or environmental.  Professional photographers should always stress the value of their work, and anyone wanting to use their images should appreciate the experience and professionalism that went into creating such compelling images and be willing to pay fair market value to use these.

What projects are coming up for iLCP and its Fellows?

We are excited to be working with a number of iLCP Fellows, Emerging League Photographers, Affiliates and Partners on eight different expeditions to Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  These begin at the end of May and last until September.  The expeditions will involve photographers, filmmakers, artists, writers and members of the Gwich’in community.  The resulting images and text will be used to promote awareness of and appreciation for this important biodiversity and culturally rich area in the wake of plans to allow oil and gas drilling. #arcticrefugestories

A post shared by iLCP (@ilcp_photographers) on


We’re thrilled that iLCP is partnering with us on creating content for some of the photography content at the Wildscreen Festival 2018. Why is it important that Wildscreen and iLCP are working together in this way? 

Wildscreen has long supported and celebrated the very best wildlife and natural history filmmaking through the Wildscreen Festival and the PANDA Awards.  iLCP is delighted to be the conservation photography partner for the Wildscreen Festival 2018 with its new two-day focus on photography and the inaugural PANDA Photography Award.  It is more important than ever to educate the world about the value of ethical photography taken by dedicated professionals.  We welcome the opportunity to have our Fellows share their images and conservation projects with the Wildscreen audience and look forward to growing our partnership.

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You can follow iLCP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or visit their website conservationphotographers.org

May 25

To celebrate the launch of the inaugural Wildscreen Photo Story Panda Award at this year’s Wildscreen Festival, Arkive is getting to know the award’s amazing jury, who are themselves international photography professionals. Here we meet Britta Jaschinski.

Award Winning Photographer Britta Jaschinski

For over 20 years, Britta Jaschinski has been devoted to documenting the fractured existence of wildlife, which suffers in the name of entertainment, status, greed and superstition. Britta was born and raised in Bremen, Germany but is now based in London. Her passion to protect wildlife, takes her across the globe to investigate the relationship we have with animals and to highlight what we risk losing. Britta is the winner of numerous awards, including GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year twice, and several times finalist and a winner of the Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year. She is a sought-after speaker at photography festivals and her work has been published and exhibited worldwide, with more than 25 solo shows so far.

Smuggeld Across The Globe ; Confiscated At Borders And Airports. © Britta Jaschinski

Britta is the co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ – an international group of award-winning photographers who have joined forces to use their powerful and iconic images to help bring an end to the illegal wildlife trade.

What was your exposure to photography growing up?

I was more influenced by fine art. Albrecht Dürer’s woodcut of the Rhinoceros and his drawings of plants and bird wings fascinated me and I reckon you can actually see that in my work. Later, during my BA in Photography, I studied photo journalist like Don Mccullin and James Nachtway. My first hero in wildlife photography was  Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols.

What in your opinion makes a good photo story?

Firstly you should ask yourself if you actually have something to say. Something you feel passionate about. A situation you like to change or improve or just simply share with the world. If you know what you are talking about, you are halfway there with your story. Make sure you have researched into what you like to document – become an expert in it (at least for the duration of the project). Then think about your approach and the style you like to apply. Look at good photographers and how they have achieved telling a powerful story. Each photo should be strong enough as a stand-alone shot but they all need to work together and compliment each other.

Seized Wildlife Products, Fish & Wildlife Service, Denver, Colorado, USA, 2016. Wildlife Or Commodity? © Britta Jaschinski

You’re co-founder of Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™, what events prompted you to begin this campaign?

We are loosing wildlife at an alarming rate. Scientist believe we are living through the sixth extinction – only this time, we can blame ourselves for it. I felt frustrated, angry and scared what the future holds. Photography is a powerful tool. Looking at history, even one photo can bring change.

Smuggeld Across The Globe ; Confiscated At Borders And Airports 2016/17, Rhino feet, 2 adults and one baby. © Britta Jaschinski

How would you like the stories told in Photographers Against Wildlife Crime™ to be perceived and how will this book help to bring an end to illegal wildlife trade?

I have had the honour to work with some of world’s best photographers, authors and journalists. Together we can tell the world how it is and give a voice to the voiceless. With our iconic photos we show what we stand to loose. But we also want to celebrate the heroes who protect our wildlife and fight for our wild spaces.  Our work is proof that photography matters and without photographers, filmmakers and journalists the word’s conscience will wither. We will get our message where it needs to be heard – the consumer of wildlife products. We have connected with opinion sharpers who are spreading the message and we will also reach out to politicians responsible for the environmental and wildlife policies. Together we can change consumer behaviour to end the demand in our lifetime.

© Britta Jaschinski

You are on the jury for Wildscreen’s inaugural Photo Story Panda Award. Why do you feel it’s important that Wildscreen is including stills photography within the Panda Awards and the Wildscreen Festival?

There are not many photo competitions that cover conservation and environmental photography, but it is so important right now. If we cannot shed light on what is going and send strong messages across the globe, we will loose much wildlife forever. This is a real tragedy and any small wheel can make a difference in raising awareness and to bring change.

Pangolins are thought to be the most trafficked animal in the world, and face extinction as a result. Their scales here were smuggled under the disguise of fish scales. © Britta Jaschinski

If you could give 18 year old you one piece of advice for building a career in photography, what would it be?

Find your own style, your own niche and become an expert in it. Don’t take photos you have seen before – find new ways and different approaches – be inventive and daring. Surprise people. Teach your audience new things and never give up. Stick to what you believe. Don’t whine – pull up your sleeves and crack on!

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Thanks to Britta for taking the time to share her thoughts. We’re really excited to see her and all the incredible photo stories at the Wildscreen Festival 2018!

You can visit Britta’s website brittaphotography.com

May 21

It’s our birthday!

Arkive is 15 years old!

We’re thrilled to be able to celebrate and share the incredible diversity of life on Earth. However our planet is currently under a crisis, our planet’s ecosystems are under threat like never before, and the world is watching as more and more species fall victim to habitat loss or wildlife crime. It’s easy to get lost in the science, but it does not lessen the urgency needed in combating these extinctions.

Here, as a stark reminder, we see 15 species which have become extinct, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, over the 15 years Arkive has been running.

Alaotra grebe

Declared extinct in 2010

Baiji – Yangtze river dolphin

Presumed extinct since 2006

West African black rhino

Southwestern black rhinoceros male charging

Diceros bicornis longipes, the Western black rhino, a subspecies of the black rhino Diceros bicornis, was declared extinct in 2011

Golden toad

Male golden toad

Declared extinct in 2007

Hawaiian crow

Hawaiian crow perched on branch

Declared extinct in the wild in 2004

Madeiran large white

Female Madeiran large white

Presumed extinct since 2007

Po’ouli (Black-faced honeycreeper)

Po'ouli in tree

Presumed extinct since 2004

Eastern cougar

Side view of a Patagonian puma

Puma concolor couguar, the Eastern cougar, a subspecies of Puma concolor was declared extinct in 2018, it’s cousin the Western cougar may now be expanding it’s range

Rabbs’ fringed-limbed treefrog

Captive Rabb's fringe-limbed treefrog

Declared extinct in 2016, the species has not been observed in the wild since 2007

Spix’s macaw

Spix's macaw

Presumed extinct in the wild since 2000

St Helena redwood

St Helena redwood with immature and pollinated flowers

Extinct in the wild since 2003

Pinta Island tortoise

Volcan Alcedo tortoise in habitat

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island tortoise died in 2012

Bramble cay melomys

Declared extinct in 2016

Japanese river otter

Close-up of common otter head among seaweed

Lutra lutra whiteleyi a subspecies of the common otter, Lutra lutra as seen above, and was declared extinct in 2012

Pyrenean ibex

Male Pyrenean ibex standing on rock

Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica is a subspecies of the Iberian ibex Capra pyrenaica, was declared extinct in 2000, but was one of the first species to be briefly made de-extinct in 2003

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