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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.
Jun 18

Do you love camels as much we do? The Arkive  Team had the wonderful opportunity to chat with the amazing folks at the Wild Camel Protection Foundation to learn all about what they do and their current essay competition with cash prizes!

Can camels drink saltwater? Did you know that you can help camel conservation right this second? Read on to find out more!

Wild-Bactrian-camel-with-newborn-calf

Wild Bactrian camel with newborn calf

Can you tell us the story behind the formation of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation?

In 1997, the Wild Camel Protection Foundation (WCPF) was founded after John Hare realised the wild camel was critically endangered. After several expeditions he made with scientists in Mongolia and three expeditions with Chinese scientists into Lop Nur – the former nuclear test area of China and the habitat of the wild camel – the global estimate of wild camels was found to be less than 1,000 remaining in the wild. In China they were totally unprotected. Co-founding the UK registered charitable foundation WCPF with environmental lawyer Kathryn Rae, the first aim was to establish a protected area for the wild camels in China. Working together with eminent zoologist Professor Yuan Guoying, the Chinese national, and regional authorities and later securing funding from the Global Environmental Facility in Washington, WCPF established a vast reserve – the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve in Xinjiang province in north-west China. Comprising 155,000 square kilometres, it is one of the largest protected areas in the world and for the first time afforded protection to the remaining wild camels in China. WCPF is the only environmental organisation in the world which protects the wild camel in its remaining desert habitat.

As experts on the wild Bactrian camel, what are some of the most interesting facts and stories that you can share about this special species?

The wild camel in China survived 43 atmospheric nuclear tests of which over half were more powerful than the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima at the end of the second world war. It lives in China on salt water with a higher content of salt than sea water. No other mammal can do this – not even the domestic Bactrian camel. In 2008, after 5 years of genetic testing at the Veterinary University in Vienna it was discovered that the wild double-humped camel is a separate species of camel, one which evolved from a species of camel over 700,000 years ago.

Young-wild-Bactrian-camel

Young wild Bactrian camel

Can you share some field stories about how the Wild Camel Protection Foundation protects the wild Bactrian camel and its habitat in the Gobi and Gashun Gobi deserts?

In China, the management of the Lop Nur Wild Camel National Nature Reserve supervise the running of the reserve and undertake regular patrols in areas where the wild camels survive.  Checkpoints in the reserve were established with money raised by the WCPF. One of the greatest threats to the wild camel is illegal mining where prospectors go illegally into the desert in an attempt to discover minerals or oil. This greatly disturbs the wild camel which is a migratory species and follows set paths of migration every year. In Mongolia, the wild camel population (approximately 450) is within the Great Gobi Special Protected Area “A’. WCPF works closely with the Director of the protected area and the Mongolian Environmental Ministry. WCPF has established a successful breeding centre for the wild camel in the buffer zone of the park. This is supervised by the Park Director and funded entirely by WCPF. 

Dr. Jane Goodall is a world-renowned chimp champion yet she has dedicated herself to the Wild Camel Protection Foundation as Honorary Life Patron. How did this come about?

Dr. Jane Goodall has been a personal friend of John Hare for over 40 years and, although a primate scientist, she is dedicated to the cause of the wild camel. She greatly admires its tenacity to survive against all the odds in some of the harshest conditions on earth. WCPF worked with the Jane Goodall Institute to establish their Roots and Shoots programme in China.

Wild-Bactrian-camel-standing-in-desert-landscape

Wild Bactrian camel standing in desert landscape

Looking at your Future Scientific Projects section, you list several critical focus areas for future wild camel conservation efforts. Which would you say has the highest priority?

The highest priority is to ascertain the carrying capacity of the desert areas in both Mongolia and China where the wild camel is found. The environment is extremely harsh with sparse desert vegetation and little water found only at water points. These water points change and dry-up so understanding how the desert habitat changes is crucial and would be part of a study to identify how many wild camels these two fragile habitats can support long term. Identifying ways to stop degradation of the desert habitat through mining both illegal and legal is also very important as it is a major problem for the survival of the wild camel in both countries 

What has been your favourite conservation success story at the Wild Camel Protection Foundation? And conversely, what has been your saddest conservation defeat?

Success: Discovering a hidden and unmapped valley in China which contained a naive population of wildlife which had never seen man. Defeat: Going back 7 years later to discover that the wildlife population had been exterminated and the water source polluted  by illegal gold miners. 

Herd-of-wild-Bactrian-camels-walking-in-desert-landscape

Herd of wild Bactrian camels walking in desert landscape

At Wildscreen, we strive to find multiple ways for our passionate audience to take action in support of the organisations we partner with. What specific actions can our readers take to support the conservation of wild Bactrian camels with the Wild Camel Protection Foundation?

They can become active members of WCPF for a small annual fee of £20 sterling or the equivalent in Euros/Dollars a year. They can buy the booklets about the wild camel which are available through the WCPF websiteAll money raised goes to fund the work in Mongolia. They can sponsor a camel calf. Young camel calves are born every year at the breeding centre in Mongolia and WCPF requires approximately $2,500 a year over three years for medicines, vet visits and hay to ensure each one of these young wild camel calves survive. Individuals can sponsor and name a young wild camel and have the opportunity to follow its development. Every year WCPF visits the protected areas in both countries and this is a major overhead cost for the Foundation.  Winter hay is essential for the 25 wild camels at the breeding centre in Mongolia and costs WCPF $15,000 a year. This money has to be raised annually by the WCPF. It should be noted that all the trustees work for the Foundation on an entirely pro bono basis.

Can you tell us a little about the essay competition you are currently running?

Every year we hold a fundraiser, with the aim of both raising awareness of the plight of the wild camel and its rare desert habitat and also to raise the funds necessary to feed the wild camels in our captive breeding centre, in Mongolia, over the winter. This year we are holding an essay competition, which is kindly sponsored by Cotswold Wildlife Park. The title of the essay is “Why should the critically endangered wild camel be protected”. The competition is open to everyone, with both an adult and a junior category. As well as knowing you are helping the wild camel and its habitat there is also the opportunity to win the top prize of £500 and you will get to name one of the calves born next year! The full terms and conditions can be found on our website

Wild-Bactrian-camel-walking

Wild Bactrian camel walking

We hope you enjoyed learning about the incredible work of the Wild Camel Protection Foundation. Can you pledge to take action to support their efforts? Click the “Wish List” below to log your support. Each doing our own small part, we can turn the tide for camel conservation!

wish list button

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Jun 8

Wildscreen is dedicated to spreading the stories of passionate conservation & wildlife organizations around the world. One such wonderful organization is REGUA (Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu).

 

REGUA_playButton (3)

This film, narrated by Michael Palin, was produced for REGUA by Verity White of Five Films with a soundtrack written by Matthew Sheeran.

Only 7% of the Atlantic Rainforests original cover remains …

Founded in 2001, REGUA is committed to conserving the Atlantic forest of Rio de Janeiro state’s upper Guapiaçu river basin through land acquisition and management agreements. While the Atlantic forest is one of the most biologically rich places on earth, it is also one of the most threatened with only about seven percent of its original cover remaining. 

All it takes are a couple of heroes … 

Nicholas Locke

Nicholas Locke, President of REGUA (© Alan Martin)

Raquel Locke

Raquel Locke, Vice President of REGUA (© Alan Martin)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The dynamic husband/wife duo of Nicholas and Raquel Locke spearhead the organization with Nicholas expanding the  reserve to protect more forest and Raquel managing the outreach to nurture and develop REGUA’s reputation. Their love and passion for the nature that surrounds them has helped make REGUA one of the most prominent conservation organizations protecting the Atlantic forest. Their wish list for a brighter future for REGUA is long but there are plenty of ways for all of us to take action right now to help them.

REGUA wish list button

From hunter to hero …

REGUA_Adilei

Adilei Carvalho da Cunha, bird guide

One of the most fascinating members of the REGUA team is Adilei Carvalho da Cunha. Before joining the staff, Adilei was a well known hunter in the area, but today he is one of the best rangers on the staff. He is internationally renowned as one of the best bird guides in South America and has been an invaluable asset to the organization by instilling his love of nature in others.

REGUA takes every chance today to inspire the conservationists of tomorrow …

REGUA_classroom2

Raquel Locke teaching children about nature

One of the most important aspects of REGUA is education, particularly focusing on teaching the local children in the area and helping to create the future generation of conservationists and guardians. Seeing wildlife up close like capybaras, frogs, and caimans helps children to discover happiness and develop a sense of wonder. Most importantly, they become better acquainted with species that need their protection.

REGUA_capybara

Capybara eating and wading in water

REGUA by the numbers

 9,400 hectares (23,000 acres) in total land acquired and/or managed by REGUA

40 hectares (98 acres) converted from farmed land back to vital wetlands

280,000 trees planted  in the Atlantic forest

90,000 additional trees to be planted in 2015. It is this type of dedication that sets REGUA apart from other organizations in the area

98% reduction in hunting in REGUA since 2001

No person (or nonprofit) is an island … REGUA can not do it alone

REGUA_lodging

Lodging at the REGUA reserve

REGUA is unique in that those who wish to support Nicholas, Raquel, and the team can do so while experiencing the wonders of the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil for themselves. REGUA operates a state-of-the-art lodge welcoming visitors from all over the world to marvel at the astounding species biodiversity in the area. Feel like rolling up your sleeves and jumping in to help? No problem as there is always plenty of work that needs done at REGUA from helping to host guests at the lodge to jumping in as a nature guide.

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Hummingbird, one of many bird species at REGUA

However, if visiting isn’t an option, REGUA gratefully welcomes support through online donations or by simply telling others about the invaluable work being done by REGUA. Doing so will ensure REGUA can continue their reforestation efforts in the Atlantic forest, and ensure that generations to come can enjoy the diverse wildlife that reside in one of the world’s greatest biological hotspots.

Become a hero for REGUA

Click on the REGUA’s Wish List button below to discover several actions you can take right now, this very minute, to support REGUA. Each pledge of support, no matter the size or type, will be enormously appreciated.

REGUA wish list button

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

 

Jun 5

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, May 29, 2015

Invasive predators, deforestation driving Tasmanian parrot over the edge

Swift-parrot-in-branches

Swift parrot in branches

Research shows that 50.9 percent of female swift parrots nesting on the main island of Tasmania were killed by sugar gliders while incubating eggs. In addition, industrial logging is the principle cause of habitat loss in the swift parrot’s breeding range.

View original article

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Sugar glider on branch preparing to leap

Article originally published on Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wildlife agencies urge US to curb illegal ivory trade

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African elephant calf covered in mud

The World Wildlife Fund and African Wildlife Foundation both expressed that the United States should emulate China’s destruction of confiscated ivory. “Major ivory consuming countries hold the key to saving Africa’s elephants,” said Ginette Hemley, WWF senior vice president of wildlife conservation. Every year 25,000-30,000 African elephants are poached to supply the ivory trade.

View original article

Article originally published on Sunday, May 31, 2015

Don’t try to “adopt” lost bear cubs, Oregon Wildlife officials warn

Yearling-American-black-bear-playing

Yearling American black bear playing

Oregon Wildlife officials urged the public to not take bear cubs home after an incident in which a bear cub was spotted begging for food and showed no fear of humans. Cubs, which have been “adopted” and then released into the wild never learn to care for themselves and become easy prey for hunters.

View original article

Article originally published on Monday, Jun 1, 2015

“Purring” wolf spiders softly serenade mates

female-two-coloured-wolf-spider

Female two-coloured wolf spider

Male wolf spiders use vibrations to serenade females, but it only works if female wolf spiders can feel the vibrations. The courtship must occur on conductive surfaces such as dead leaves. Their sensitivity to vibrations might also help them avoid predators.

View original article

Article originally published on Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 

Pollution and climate change are deforming and killing Alaska’s frogs

wood-frog-tadpole

Wood frog tadpole

A recent study found that even a small amount of copper can have big consequences for amphibians such as the wood frog. The presence of copper in the environment altered the behavior of tadpoles so they spent more time near the surface of the water, which made them easier prey.

View original article

Article originally published on Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015

Trainers banned from performing with ‘world’s loneliest orca’

Three-orcas-spyhopping

Three orcas spyhopping

Lolita, a wild-caught orca will no longer perform with her trainers. This move by the Miami Seaquarium comes after a decision by NOAA in February that determined that Lolita deserved the same protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as her wild kin.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, Jun 4, 2015

Seven tiny frog species found on seven mountains

Shield-toad

Shield toad (Brachycephalus pernix)

The seven frog species discovered in southeastern Brazil are all less than 1 cm long and belong to the genus Brachycephalus. The sensitivity of these frogs to their environment accounts for different species being found on different mountains. The most visible difference between these new species is the texture and color of their skin.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

Jun 4

Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and members of the Arkive Team can often be caught daydreaming at our desks about lemurs in Madagascar or giant tortoise in the Galapagos. This got us wondering what volunteer field opportunities might be out there for quenching both our wanderlust and interest in supporting conservation.

Below is a list of incredible chances to get up close and personal with species and the researchers that have dedicated their lives to them. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience! Which of these are your favorite?

Cheetah Conservation/Administrative (Namibia)

juvenile-cheetah-head-portrait

Juvenile cheetah

We originally mentioned this amazing opportunity with the Cheetah Conservation Fund in the story that kicked off our Arkive’s Conservation Heroes Series. Volunteers are needed to assist with data entry and other office related tasks but they will also help with chopping up meat for feeding the cheetah along with collecting and cataloging scat samples – joy!

Deer Herbivory Study (Seattle, Washington)

Odocoileus-virginianus-clavium-doe

White-tailed deer doe

Wolves are recolonizing northeast Washington state in America and scientists at the University of Washington can use some help discovering how the reintroduction of this species is affecting white-tailed deer grazing. Volunteers joining this study (available in two week increments) may have the opportunity to practice radio telemetry, install trail cameras, review camera footage and more. Talk about a serious resume-booster!

Fairywren Personality Study (Melbourne, Australia)

The white-winged fairy-wren is a close relative of the superb fairy-wren that is part of this study

Calling all bird fans! Volunteers are needed to help the University of Melbourne monitor a color-banded population of superb fairywrens to study their personalities. They will also census the birds as well as search and monitor their nests – amazing. We’re checking our passports for the minimum 6 blank pages as we speak!

Biological program – Habitat Restoration (Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge)

Laysan duck vocalizing

This opportunity has it all: habitat restoration, invasive species removal, bird nest monitoring, and all in a ridiculously beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Volunteers will join the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with native plant propagation and even helping to remove ocean debris before it pollutes the health of the local animals and environment.  Overall, a total win-win!

Galapagos Turtle Center – Conservation (Galapagos Islands)

Volcan-Alcedo-tortoise-in-habitat

Volcan Alcedo tortoise in habitat

You had us at Galapagos! Volunteers with the Intercultural Outreach Initiative Galapagos will feed and care for tortoises, maintain their enclosures, and measure their shells for growth charts. They will also educate tourists about tortoises and inform them of rules and regulations. Where do we sign up?!

Giraffe and Wildlife Conservation Project (Nairobi, Kenya)

Male-southern-giraffe-drinking-at-waterhole

Male southern giraffe drinking at waterhole

This project has really piqued our interest, not just because it involves working with the amazing species and habitats of Kenya, but because part of the experience involves tracking large mammals alongside young Masai Mara. If you are interested in the intersection of conservation and culture, this is for you! Volunteers with Life Net Nature assist with new studies of Masai giraffe nursery groups and help monitor wildlife. The volunteer dates are scheduled at peak wildebeest migration period – as if we needed any more reason to join!

Monitor Endangered Lemurs (Madagascar)

Black-and-white ruffed lemur resting, close up of head

For all lovers of lemurs, have we got a treat for you. Join the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to help gather information on lemur habitat usage, population dynamics, and territorial range, all of which will aid in conservation of these endangered species. Imagine walking the forests of Madagascar with researches tracking and observing radio-collared lemurs. Yep, we’re in!

Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates – Habitat restoration (Uttarakhand, India) 

The forests of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates are prime habitat for leopards

Previously highlighted in our Arkive’s Conservation Heroes series, volunteers would assist with The Gadoli and Manda Khal Wildlife Conservation Trust with restoration and reforestation of degraded forest within the estates. They would also help with surveys of the flora and fauna of the area and work with local school children to share the importance of this special place.

To learn more contact Subir Chowfin: thcmchowfin@yahoo.com

Note that, while the Arkive Team is sharing these opportunities with you, we are not responsible or liable for the integrity or safety of the programs or the entities that have organized them. We just think these are pretty amazing opportunities and strive to help spread the word of species and the organizations dedicated to helping them to survive. If you like this feature, let us know in the comments and we’ll bring you more!

 

 William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

May 28

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, May 22, 2015

Octopus has the ability to see with its skin

Common-octopus

Common octopus

In a recent study, researchers found that octopus skin contains the same light-sensitive proteins found in eyes. The skin responds to light independently of the central nervous system, and detects changes or increases in light brightness.

View original article

Article originally published on Saturday, May 23, 2015

Rescue workers try to save oil-soaked pelicans

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Brown pelican on water

Rescuers have been able to rescue eight brown pelicans, but an intensive clean-up process awaits them. Pelicans must acclimate to their new surroundings for 48 hours and are afterwards extensively cleaned. They are then taken care of for two weeks after which they can return to the wild.

View original article

Article originally published on Sunday, May 24, 2015

Synthetic horns may offer hope to endangered rhinos

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Black rhinoceros

Currently, three of the five rhino species are critically endangered primarily due to poaching for their horns. A California biotech start-up, however has posed an unorthodox solution; creating synthetic rhino horns to offer consumers an ethical alternative. Conservationists are skeptical that synthetic horns will reduce demand for the real thing.

View original article

Article originally published on Monday, May 25, 2015

Endangered saiga antelope mysteriously dying in vast numbers in Kazakhstan

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Male saiga antelope

Around one-third of the saiga antelope population in Kazakhstan has mysteriously died. Their agriculture ministry hypothesizes that a pasteurellosis epidemic might be the culprit. As of yet the cause has not been officially determined.

View original article

Article originally published on Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mozambique loses almost 10,000 elephants in just five years

African-elephant-family

African elephant family

In 2010, Mozambique was home to approximately 20,000 elephants, but today it houses only 10,300. Almost all of the poaching occurred in the remote northern region of the country. Celso Correia, Mozambique’s new Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, has stated that tackling poaching is a top priority of the government.

View original article

Article originally published on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

World’s rarest porpoise is dying to feed a black market in fish bladders

Vaquita-calf-at-the-surface

Vaquita calf at the surface

In a recent report, Greenpeace officials noted that vaquitas are being caught and drowned in illegal gillnets, which are meant to catch totoabas, another endangered species. The vaquita population was 200 in 2012, but now only 97 individuals remain.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, May 28, 2015

An erupting volcano threatens one of the world’s rarest animals

galápagos-pink-land-iguana

Galápagos pink land iguana

Isabela Island, where a volcano is currently erupting, is the sole home of the Galápagos pink land iguana. Park officials are monitoring lava flows, which thus far have not affected the 200 iguanas on the island.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

 

 

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