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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.
Feb 1

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: Lowland tapir

Nominated by: IUCN Tapir Specialist Group

VulnerableConservation status:

Why do you love it? Tapirs are widely recognised as umbrella species (species with large area requirements, which if given sufficient protected habitat area, will bring many other species under protection). Meeting the needs of an umbrella species provides protection for the other species with which it co-occurs and the wild lands on which they all depend. In addition, tapirs are landscape species (species that occupy large home ranges often extending beyond protected area boundaries, which require a diversity of ecosystem types and have a significant impact on the structure, productivity and resilience of ecosystems). The movements of landscape species can functionally link different habitat types within a given landscape. The elimination of a landscape species may undermine these functional links and lead to cascading changes in ecological communities or even the loss of the ecosystem functions critical to the persistence of other species, communities, and the larger landscape itself.

Tapirs play a critical role in shaping the structure and maintaining the functioning of ecosystems, mostly through seed dispersal and browsing, and thus have been recognised as ecological engineers or gardeners of the forest. Tapir population declines and local extinctions can seriously affect biodiversity.

What are the threats to the lowland tapir? The Lowland Tapir Action Plan published by the IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group in 2007 identified habitat destruction and fragmentation with resulting population isolation and hunting as the main factors behind the decline of lowland tapir populations. Other threats include road-kill, infectious diseases, agri-business (soybean, sugar cane), eucalyptus plantations, forest fires, and pollution of water bodies by pesticides among others.

Due to their individualistic lifestyle, low reproduction rate, long generation time, and low population density lowland tapirs do not achieve a high local abundance, which makes them highly susceptible to threats. Populations show rapid decline when impacted. In addition, large parts of the lowland tapir populations live outside the boundaries of legally protected areas, which also hinders their protection.

What are you doing to save it? The Lowland Tapir Conservation Initiative is a nation-wide, long-term research and conservation effort in Brazil, which uses tapirs as ambassadors for conservation, applying research data to substantiate habitat conservation and protection, environmental education, outreach and awareness, training and capacity-building, and scientific tourism initiatives.

The LTCI believes that only long-term, multidisciplinary scientific research will provide the foundation for the design of solid, realistic, effective conservation actions for tapirs and their remaining habitats. The overall goal of the LTCI is to have tapir research and conservation programs being carried out in all four Brazilian biomes where lowland tapirs are found – Atlantic Forest, Pantanal, Cerrado and Amazon – and biome-based Tapir Action Plans developed and implemented.

Watch Pati Medici’s TED talk about tapirs (co-ordinator of the LTCI project)

Find out more about the work of the IUCN Tapir Specialist Group

Discover more tapir species on Arkive

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Feb 1

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: Pileated gibbon

Nominated by: Wildlife Alliance

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? We love gibbons because unlike most primates, gibbons are monogamous and will stay with their partners for life. These affectionate primates live in close family units, and defend territories of up to 30 acres. Known for their beautiful and complex vocalisation that can transmit over long distances, bonded pairs will often duet together in the mornings.

These acrobatic apes are also the fastest and most agile of all tree-dwelling, non-flying mammals! Their extremely long arms and legs can propel them up to speeds of approximately 35 miles per hour through the jungle and allow them to swing distances as wide as 50 feet!  While they can travel short bipedal distances, they are arboreal and prefer to avoid the ground.

What are the threats to the pileated gibbon? There are less than 35,000 pileated gibbons left in the wild, and their populations are in sharp decline. They are threatened by hunting, the illegal pet trade and habitat degradation and fragmentation.

What are you doing to save it? While the situation maybe dire, there is still hope. Wildlife Alliance’s forest protection program works tirelessly to protect two million acres of crucial gibbon habitat and our anti-trafficking unit rescues gibbons from the illegal wildlife and pet trade. Individuals are often rescued from wildlife poachers that sell them as pets or tourist attractions in bars and hotels. Our team also receives many donations of gibbons that have been torn away from their mothers as infants and kept as pets until owners realise they cannot control these wild animals. Animals that can no longer survive in the wild are given a life-long home at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center. Here, our caretakers work hard to rehabilitate the animals, and house them in spacious enclosures to facilitate natural behaviour. Through outreach and education, Wildlife Alliance is also working to raise awareness in Asia about the dangers of keeping primates as pets.

Find out more about the work of the Wildlife Alliance

Discover more gibbon species on Arkive

 

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Feb 1

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: Crau plain grasshopper

Nominated by: IUCN Grasshopper Specialist Group

 

Conservation status: Critically Endangered

Why do you love it? The Crau plain Grasshopper is an iconic grasshopper species, endemic to the Crau steppe in southern France. The species has a large body size (males 31 mm, females 45 mm) and robust appearance. It is flightless and has a very clumsy method of jumping (looking more like a frog than like a grasshopper and often landing on its back). It completely relies on its camouflage to avoid predators and will very often rarely moves at all.

During mating, the male periodically stimulates the female by drumming with its antennae, legs and palpi on the female. After mating, the male performs a giant leap with a loud stridulation. The function of this behaviour is unknown, but it is assumed to distract predators from the freshly mated female. The Crau plain grasshopper is one of the flagship species of the Crau reserve (“Réserve naturelle nationale des Coussouls de Crau” as it represents one of the few endemic species to the Crau. However, the species declined dramatically during the last 15 years for unknown reasons.

What are the threats to the Crau plain Grasshopper? Transformation of (semi-)natural habitat into farmland (orchards, meadows) is the most obvious threat (which mainly acted historically). The reason for the recent decline is poorly understood.

It is currently being studied whether predation by invasive cattle egrets, changes in sheep medications (grasshoppers like to feed on sheep dung) or changes in vegetation structure have caused the decline in this species. Another potential threat is climate change (particularly cold and rainy springs, and dry autumns may also be detrimental).

What are you doing to save it? The conservation strategy for the Crau Plain Grasshopper was signed in 2014 and implementation of the strategy is currently in place. There are three major goals of the strategy: research to obtain the information necessary to describe and monitor population status, management to increase the area under enhanced conservation management which can be backed up by an ex-situ population and public awareness.

Find out more about the Grasshopper Specialist Group

Discover more grasshopper and cricket species on Arkive

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Feb 1

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: Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit

Nominated by: PDX Wildlife

Conservation status: The Washington US Fish & Wildlife Service considers the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit as a distinct population segment, and listed it as state endangered in 1993.  The distinct population segment of the species was listed in 2003 as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) because a Washington state-wide survey in 2001 found fewer than 30 pygmy rabbits.  Researchers captured 16 of them to start the conservation breeding program at the Oregon Zoo, Washington State University, and Northwest Trek Wildlife Park but by 2004 all Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits were believed to be extirpated.

Why do you love it? What’s not to love about a cute, furry rabbit that can fit in the palm of your hand?! Though small, they are important ecosystem engineers as they are the only US rabbit that can dig their own burrows.

They’re a conservation breeding success story! Starting from 16 in 2004 now the semi-natural breeding enclosures have produced 1,300 kits and released 1,200 rabbits into the wild onto natural and protected habitat on the Sagebrush Flat Wildlife Area.  They have been so successful in these breeding pens that last year in 2015 a USFW started to repopulate a second recovery site.

What are the threats to the Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit? Similar to giant pandas and bamboo, Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits are highly specialised feeders relying on sage brush for 99 percent of their winter diet and more than half of their summer diet.  They also rely on “old-growth” sage brush for the loamy soil it provides so they can dig their burrow systems and take cover among the branches.  The main threat to pygmy rabbits is habitat destruction. Unfortunately, farmers, ranchers and developers have cleared much of their sagebrush habitat.  Other threats include disease, wildfire, a loss of genetic diversity and predation.

What are you doing to save it? Captive breeding and mate choice work was undertaken by a masters student on pygmy rabbits at the Oregon Zoo and Portland State University. The pygmy rabbits had been rescued from the wild a few years before the research was performed and weren’t breeding very well in captivity.  They set up dichotomous choice tests, where female rabbits were housed such that each female was given a choice between two males. Scoring the female’s preference through behavioural analysis, they then then paired females with either preferred or non-preferred males. It was found that the females that had been paired with preferred males were more likely to have litters, produced more kits in each litter, and had kits survive to breeding age more than those paired with non-preferred males.

This paper was the first to investigate a mate preference relationship to reproductive success in captive breeding and led to a similar experiment on giant pandas that was just published in Nature Communications.

Many endangered species breeding programs are plagued with low birth rates and incompatibility among mates. Animals are typically paired based on estimates of genetic relatedness and little to no opportunity is given for mate choice.  PDX Wildlife’s findings on both giant pandas and pygmy rabbits show that scientists should be considering mate choice and behavioural compatibility in conservation breeding programs – “love” may actually be the key to successful breeding!  Due, in part, to this research the decision to breed rabbits in large natural outdoor enclosures was made so they can exercise their own choice. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Find out more about the captive breeding programme for the pygmy rabbit

Read the paper on mate choice and its effects on captive breeding

Find out more about PDX Wildlife’s work

Discover more rabbit and hare species on Arkive

 

VOTE NOW!

 

Feb 1

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!

Name of species: Caicos Island dwarf boa

Nominated by: UK Overseas Territory Forum (UKOTF)

Conservation status: Yet to be classified by the IUCN Red List. It is listed on Appendix II of CITES. Further survey work is needed.

Why do you love it? We like different, we like unique. This is the smallest boa in the world and unique to the Turks and Caicos Islands. It fits in the palm of your hand.

What are the threats to the Caicos Island dwarf boa? Thought to be declining. Main threats to this species may include: habitat loss and introduced species, local persecution and capture for the pet trade.

What are you doing to save it? Founded in 1986, the UK Overseas Territories Conservation Forum (UKOTCF) is a UK-based non-government organisation, which exists to protect and to promote biodiversity and other heritage conservation in the UK’s Overseas Territories (UKOTs). It does this by inter alia supporting capacity building; strategic planning; deployment of specialist volunteers; developing and running conservation and education projects with local partners; sharing ideas and experiences and providing advice to decision makers. It involves bringing together a wide network of bodies in the UKOTs, and supporting organisations in Britain and elsewhere.

We have 25+ years involvement in the Turks and Caicos Islands. During this time we have secured funding for and initiated many projects. These include: education projects on wise water use, bird-watching guides to main islands including North Caicos (home of this boa), creation of nature trails, running a major project on surveying wildlife, develop conservation plans, and an information centre, a virtual tour for the territory. We are also working to establish the international importance of sites, under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands and the Important Bird Areas programme.

Find out more about UKOTF projects

Discover more snake species on Arkive’s topic page

 

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