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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: 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

 

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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!

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

 

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!

Species: Turtle dove

Nominated by: Sussex Wildlife Trust

Conservation status: Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Classified in the UK as a Red List species under the Birds of Conservation Concern Review and as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.

Why do you love it? Turtle doves are the ancient symbol of love and fidelity, with pairs remaining faithful from one year to the next. They are exquisite little doves, with beautifully delicate chestnut plumage. Turtle doves are the sound of springtime at our Woods Mill Nature Reserve; listen out for their graceful purring call floating over the blackthorn, crooning for all to hear, clearly visible at the top of a tall tree.

And where would we be on the second day of Christmas without two turtle doves?

What are the threats to the turtle dove? Turtle dove numbers have drastically declined in Sussex and the rest of the UK in the last 50 years, due to changing agricultural practices and habitat loss. Recent studies estimate there has been a 90 percent reduction in breeding birds since the 1960s and their breeding range in Sussex has halved in just 20 years. Unfortunately this is a pattern which is being echoed across Europe and the turtle dove is now considered to be the second most likely bird to become extinct in England by 2020.

What are you doing to save it? The Sussex Wildlife Trust is now working with Operation Turtle Dove which aims to identify the primary cause of decline and develop urgent practical solutions. We are lucky to still have a small number of breeding pairs in Sussex each summer. In particular the Adur Valley, including our nature reserve at Woods Mill.

There are two things that turtle doves need to successfully breed:

– Both adults and chicks require a continuous supply of suitable seeds throughout the summer from late April until the end of August. They feed on the ground in weedy areas where vegetation is short and sparse and especially depend on fumitory, knotgrass, chickweed, oilseed rape and cereal grains.

– Most turtle doves nest in hedgerows or scrub over 4m tall, so they need tall, mature hedgerows, areas of scrub or woodland edges with a thick shrub layer. Nests are also often associated with climbers including clematis, honeysuckle and bramble.

Find out more about the work of the Sussex Wildlife Trust

Discover more pigeon and dove 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!

Species: Field cow-wheat

Nominated by: Species Recovery Trust

Conservation status: Listed under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, making it an offence to pick, uproot or destroy it

Why do you love it? It’s a spectacular looking thing, with a truly bizarre inflorescence of mixed purple and yellow flowers. It also has an unusual lifecycle, producing half of its food by the normal method of photosynthesis, but getting the other half by parasitising the roots of other plants.

What are the threats to the field cow-wheat? Because it’s so rare (it only grows in four sites in the UK) it is under extremely high risk of localised extinctions – one of the sites is a nature reserve but at the others it receives little protection. Because it favours edge habitats it is also constantly at risk from scrub encroachment and losing the open areas it needs to thrive in. It has a complex germination strategy involving forming an association with the roots of other plants, and we don’t know how this might be affected by climate change and shifting weather patterns.

What are you doing to save it? We have set up a monitoring programme across all of its sites, and last year collected seed from half the sites to put in then Millenium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens. We have carried out habitat management at two sites and are working closely with the owners of the other sites to ensure their work does all it can to enhance the species.

Find out more about the Species Recovery Trust and the different plants and animals that they work with

Discover more dicot species on Arkive

 

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