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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.
Apr 2

Welcome back for part two of our Arkive Atlantic Islands feature series where we celebrate the incredible biodiversity of the South Atlantic islands! Let Arkive melt away the remaining winter snow with these magical tropical paradises of the South Atlantic. These islands have a high degree of endemism –  species that are only found on those islands – as well as biologically rich waters.

Below are some of the marvelous species that inhabit these islands. Enjoy!

Ascension Island

Ascension-spurge

Ascension spurge

Ascension Island was formed from the debris of a now extinct volcano. It is considered to be one of the most isolated islands in the world.The unassuming Ascension Spurge grows on the driest parts of the island on lava fields up to 310 metres above sea level. Its stems contain a thick, poisonous, milky juice that can cause blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes.

Falkland Islands

Falkland-steamerduck-pair-with-ducklings-on-tideline

Falkland steamerduck pair with ducklings on tideline

The Falkland Islands are visited by approximately 227 migratory bird species who remain on the islands throughout the breeding season. The Falkland steamerduck receives its namesake from its habit of using its wings and feet to propel itself across the surface of the water like an old paddle steamer. Unlike most ducks, this species is flightless since its wings are shorter than its body.

Fernando de Noronha

Green-turtle-ventral-view

Green turtle ventral view

The insular Atlantic forest on Fernando de Noronha is the only one of its kind. Green turtles are born with a special hooked ‘egg tooth’ used to break out of the egg, which they later lose. Also, they are named not for the colour of their carapace, but rather for the green colour of their fat.

St Helena

St-Helena-boxwood-flower-close-up-in-abandoned-cultivation

St Helena boxwood flower

St Helena is one of the most remote inhabited islands in the world. The critically endangered St Helena boxwood is a small shrub that smells strongly of tobacco. Erosion is the primary force pushing this endemic species toward extinction.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Sao-Tome-shrew-close-up

São Tomé shrew

São Tomé and Príncipe is Africa’s smallest country and was formed from the accumulation of volcanic debris. The elusive São Tomé shrew is a rarely seen species that appears to be a solitary mammal since they are usually seen alone. This species is tolerant of human activity and has also been found close to human settlements.

Tristan da Cunha

Inaccessible-rail-drying-wings

Inaccessible rail drying wings

The offshore islands of Gough and Inaccessible are considered to be two of the world’s most important breeding grounds for sea birds. The adorable Inaccessible rail holds the title of the smallest flightless bird in the world.  It is most abundant in tussock grassland, further away from cliffs and in the open fern-bush on the plateau.

Now that you know a bit more about the islands, species, and ecosystems of the South Atlantic, ever wonder which island would best match your personality and interest? We wondered that too so we came up with a nifty little quiz that compares your personal interests and personality to unique characteristics of the islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Would you swim with the southern rockhopper penguins of the Falkland Islands? Or maybe you prefer to scour the rocky shores of São Tomé and Príncipe? 

Islands quiz button copy

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

Mar 31

Arkive officially announces the launch of its Atlantic Islands feature series: North Atlantic Islands and South Atlantic Islands! Through generous foundation support, our team has researched the islands of the North and South Atlantic Ocean, pulling together some of the world’s best imagery and informational factfiles to shine a spotlight on the incredible island ecosystems in this part of the world.

Through a two-part blog series beginning today with the  North Atlantic islands page we highlight some of the most stunning species and habitats from Iceland down to the Bahamas and more. 

Ready to be whisked away to island life? Let’s go!

Stunning Anegada Island, British Virgin Islands

The North Atlantic islands are a diverse group with some of them formed through the movement of tectonic plates and others through accumulation of volcanic material. One of the most unique features of any island is its ability to support endemic species. However, these endemic species often face the dual threat of overfishing and tourism, which leads to urbanization and an alteration of the landscape.

Bahamas

Nassau-grouper-portrait

Nassau grouper

The Bahamian islands are extremely low-lying with an average elevation of only 10 metres.  The mottled Nassau grouper resides in shallow waters near reefs and other rocky substrates. This austere species possesses the unique ability to change its colour pattern to resemble its surrounding environment or as a means of communication.

Bermuda

Bermuda-skink-on-rock

Bermuda skink on rock

Bermuda is made up of 7 main islands and over 140 smaller islands, arranged in a crescent-like formation. The diminutive yet robust Bermuda skink inhabits rocky, coastal area and is the only terrestrial vertebrate endemic to Bermuda. Hatchlings are born with sky blue tails that become brown/black with age.

British Virgin Islands

Virgin-Islands-coqui-on-leaf-lateral-view

Virgin Islands coqui on leaf

The position of the British Virgin Islands makes them extremely vulnerable to hurricanes and other weather events. The Virgin Islands coqui is a stunning little frog that strongly prefers living near terrestrial bromeliads. Males serenade females with two tone calls and will only commence their courtship call when the female approaches.

Canary Islands

Canarian-shrew-on-biologists-hand

Canarian shrew

The Canary Islands is made up of seven islands that include Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, Hierro. The lilliputian Canarian shrew resides lava fields with little or no vegetation. This seemingly mild-mannered species uses a neurotoxic venom to immobilize its prey such as the Atlantic lizard.

Cape Verde

Loggerhead-turtle-swimming

Loggerhead turtle swimming

The natural habitats in Cape Verde range from being desert-like and flat to luscious high-elevation forests. The endangered loggerhead turtle prefers coastal water, but may be found in the open ocean as well. These turtles have extremely powerful jaws that can crack the shells of even the queen conch and giant clam.

Cayman Islands

Buffy-flower-bat-hanging-from-ceiling

Buffy flower bat hanging from ceiling

Of the 26 reptiles and amphibian species, 75 percent are endemic and 30 of the 48 freshwater mollusc species are found nowhere else in the world. The enigmatic buffy flower bat has a diet, which consists largely of pollen, but may include nectar and fruit. This sleepyhead is believed to leave its daytime roost later than other bat species.

Cuba

Male-bee-hummingbird-in-breeding-plumage

Male bee hummingbird in breeding plumage

Wetlands are found on around 4 percent of Cuba’s surface providing a habitat for numerous resident marine organisms and many migratory birds. The micro-sized bee hummingbird holds the honor of being the smallest living bird in the world! It can beat its wings 80 times per second and consumes up to 8 times its body mass in water each day.

Iceland

arctic-fox-portrait-winter-coat

Arctic fox, winter coat

Around 11 percent of Iceland is covered by glaciers and 6 percent by rivers and lakes. The pristine Arctic fox is a sturdy critter that can withstand subzero temperatures. It has a short nose to reduce heat loss and increased blood flow to the feet pads to prevent freezing.

Jamaica

Captive-Jamaican-hutia

Jamaican hutia

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and is located to the south of Cuba. The Jamaican hutia can be found in mountainous areas of karst formation where extensive networks of tunnels and crevices offer it protection. Hutias give birth to well-developed young that can eat solid foods and move around just 30 hours after its birth.

Madeira

Madeira-pipistrelle-head-detail

Madeira pipistrelle

The word madeira is Portuguese for ‘wood’, referring to the extensive laurel forest that once covered the island. The Madeira pipistrelle is an early riser and among one of the first bats to emerge from its roost in the evening. It uses echolocation to detect its prey and emits calls at a frequency of around 45-47 kHz.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Caicos-Islands-dwarf-boa-subspecies-greenwayi

Caicos Islands dwarf boa

There are 35 protected areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands that include national parks, nature reserves, sanctuaries and areas of historic interest. The miniature Caicos Islands dwarf boa lives up to its name and averages around 38 cm in length! When threatened it coils itself into a tight ball, hides its head, smears a foul-smelling fluid on its coils and exposes its bright yellow tail.

Now that you know a bit more about the islands, species, and ecosystems of the North Atlantic, ever wonder which island would best match your personality and interest? We wondered that too so we came up with a nifty little quiz that compares your personal interests and personality to unique characteristics of the islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

Would you thrive living alongside the puffins of Iceland? Or maybe you prefer to scour the warm, sandy shores of Jamaica? 

Islands quiz button copy

And stay tuned for the second half of this series where we introduce you to the marvelous flora and fauna of the South Atlantic Islands.

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

Mar 27

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, Mar 20, 2015

Pleasure palace in Lao facilitates wildlife poaching for Chinese elites

Chinese-pangolin

Chinese pangolin

A city-sized resort in Laos is facilitating large scale wildlife trafficking for Chinese tourists. Visitors can openly buy endangered species products including pangolins and helmeted hornbills.

View original article

Helmeted-hornbill-male-with-large-stick-insect-to-be-delivered-to-female-in-nest

Helmeted hornbill male

Article originally published on Saturday, Mar 21, 2015

Green sea turtle still at risk, say wildlife agencies

Green-turtle-ventral-view

Green turtle ventral view

Hawaii has fewer than 4,000 nesting green turtles with 96 percent of them nesting at French Frigate Shoals. This makes the population highly vulnerable to disease outbreaks.

View original article

Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 22, 2015

Opossums may come to humans’ rescue for snake anti-venom

Patagonian-opossum-portrait

Patagonian opossum

Opossums suffer no ill effects from snake bite venom due to a protein which appears to neutralize the venom. Poisonous snake bites account for the death of 20,000 humans a year.

View original article

Article originally published on Monday, Mar 23, 2015

Skin microbiome may hold clue to protect threatened golden frogs from lethal fungus

Golden-arrow-poison-frog-on-leaf

Golden arrow poison frog on leaf

Researchers applied the beneficial bacteria from the skin of several  wild Panamanian frog species that were Bd-resistant to the skin of the golden arrow poison frog hoping it would confer resistance. While this procedure did not confer resistance, researchers learned that survivors of the fungus already possessed unique bacterial communities prior to the experiment.

View original article

Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 24, 2015

World’s forest have fragmented into tiny patches

Munchique-wood-wren-on-the-hand-of-a-scientist

Munchique wood-wren

Fragmentation reduces biodiversity by up to 75%. Some fragmented regions house endemic species such as the Munchique wood-wren that exists in only a handful of peaks in the Colombian Andes, but these are now isolated from each other by pastures and roads.

View original article

Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015

Elephant poaching rate unchanged – and still devastating

Forest-elephant-bull

Forest elephant bull

Around 20,000 elephants were killed in 2014, which is the same as 2013. China remains the largest market for ivory, while the United States is second.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Why there is a record number of starving sea lion pups this year

Young-California-sea-lion

Young California sea lion

Since the start of the year, more than 1,800 sea lion pups have washed up on California shore from San Diego to San Francisco. Researchers are looking at warmer oceans as the primary culprit.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 

 

Mar 20

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, Mar 13, 2015

New wormy amphibians discovered in Southeast Asia

Sagalla-caecilian-head-detail

Sagalla caecilian head detail

Three new caecilian species have been discovered in Vietnam and Cambodia. Southeast Asia currently hosts about 15% of all known caecilians.

View original article

Article originally published on Saturday, Mar 14, 2015

Wildlife: Sandhill cranes migrating through Colorado

Greater-sandhill-crane-ssp-tabida-calling-in-flight

Sandhill crane calling in flight

As they make their way toward Canada about 25,000 sandhill cranes might pass through Colorado.  Cranes are among the oldest living species with fossil records going back 9 million years.

View original article

Article originally published on Sunday, Mar 15, 2015

 Rehabbed bay area bobcat released back into the wild

Three-week-old-bobcat-kitten-vocalising

Three week old bobcat kitten vocalizing

Last fall a 3 pound juvenile bobcat was found seriously injured near Brentwood by a rancher. Last week the bobcat was released after being rehabilitated and her weight doubled to a healthy 6 pounds.

View original article

Article originally published on Monday, Mar 16, 2015

 Switch off the lights for bats

Leislers-bat

Leisler’s bat

Bat activity is generally lower in street-lit areas as opposed to dark ones, a new study found. This overturns a previous assumption that street lights benefit bats because insects congregate around them.

View original article

Article originally published on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015

 ‘Basically they just fell out of the sky’: 2,000 snow geese found dead in Idaho

Snow-goose-on-tundra-with-chicks-

Snow goose on tundra with chicks

Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game announced on Monday that 2,000 snow geese were found dead and they suspect that avian cholera might be the cause. Officials disposed of the bodies to ensure that the disease does not spread to other bird species.

View original article

Article originally published on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2015

 Hear that? Orangutans use hands to amplify calls

juvenile-southern-bornean-orangutan-p-p-wurmbii-

Juvenile southern Bornean orangutan

When orangutans use alert calls to warn others about predators, they sometimes cup their hands around their muzzles to make their calls louder and deeper. Changing sounds by using a part of your body was formerly thought to be a behavior unique to humans.

View original article

Article originally published on Thursday, Mar 19, 2015

Dottyback’s deadly colour trick revealed

Narrow-bordered-Bee-Hawk-moth-

Narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth

The dusky dottyback can change the color of its body to match the species of reef fish it is hunting. The art of mimicry is well known in the natural world with species using ruses to catch, mate or avoid others such as the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth that resembles a bee.

View original article

Female-common-carder-bumblebee-feeding-from-flower

Female common carder bumblebee feeding from flower

 

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

 


Mar 19

Have you ever seen a wildlife film and wondered to yourself, who is the person behind the camera? Enter Rich and Richard Kern – the dynamic wildlife filmmaking father/son duo who capture incredible imagery of Florida’s magnificent wildlife and ecosystems and share it with over 1.5 million students! They are a more-than-worthy team to conclude Arkive’s Conservation Heroes series.

Rich (left) and Richard Kern out in the field.

Rich (left) and Richard Kern out in the field.

If you find Rich and Richard’s story inspiring, then click on the blue button below or at the end of the interview to see Rich and Richard’s “Wish List” of actions that would help them continue sharing their films with the world. Working together, we can support and promote conservation.

Kern wish list button

Can you share the story behind the beginning of Odyssey Earth and how the pieces came together?

Rich: I began as a filmmaker and I showed the films that I produced to travel adventure audiences all over the United States and Canada. In 1977, my wife and I started the non-profit Encounters in Excellence to teach students in the Miami-Dade area about Florida wildlife and ecosystems. This soon became a large series to over 50 schools per year.

Rich Kern and his wife, Judy, founders of Encounters in Excellence

Rich Kern and his wife, Judy, founders of Encounters in Excellence

However, I also wanted to find a way that students could have access to this type of educational material year round. My son, Richard came up with the idea of creating a website for the films he and I had produced. Teachers and students could now navigate this site and explore and discover the different resources available to them for lesson plans which became Odyssey Earth.

Richard: Our typical film presentation series runs from the Fall through early Winter. This past year my dad visited 25 schools and I visited 50 schools. We give 2-3 presentations for each school totaling about 130 presentations each year. We create different presentations for elementary school and then middle school and high school students reaching about 40,000 students each year.

Can you share a filmmaking moment that stands out to you whether it was a connection you made with a species you were filming or a moment of enlightenment about nature?

Rich: I was in Silver Springs, FL filming fish and I was quite focused. I didn’t realize that there was an alligator swimming behind me. I didn’t see it until it was practically in my lap. Once I understood that the alligator was more afraid of me than I was of it then I started following it and filming.

American alligators abound in Florida, USA

Richard: When my dad got home, he started going through the film, and my mother promptly told him that he should buy life insurance.

Have there been ways that you can measure the impact that your work has on students both in Florida and around the world?

Richard: One way that we measure our impact is through questionnaires and evaluations that we hand out to teachers and students.

Rich: The average rating we receive from teachers is a 95% “excellent” for our presentations. I think it also significant that we fill our quotas for teachers and schools that want us to present. We recently made some films that dealt with the food web as well as more specific issues like the rise of sea levels.

Creek snorkling low res

Richard Kern snorkeling and filmmaking in creek

Can you share your typical kit (equipment) list?

Rich: Back in the day, you needed 16mm film equipment and changed your film every 3 minutes.

Richard: With new technology, however it’s changed what you pack. First off you need a backpack to carry all your supplies. Usually we take a fluid head tripod, a small hi-def Canon camcorder, and a digital single lens reflex camera. Getting into specifics though, I always pack a light shotgun microphone, lenses, and an external digital sound recorder. As for essentials in Florida, water to stay hydrated, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent is a must.

Sometimes, a filmmakers kit can be just as interesting to the subject as it is to the filmmakers themselves!

Can you also share your equipment tip list for amateur filmmakers?

Richard: If you already have a handheld camera, then that is a good place to start. I would recommend a fluid head tripod.

Rich: It makes your shot smoother, which makes the film less distracting for the viewer. You can also get a pan-tilt cradle where you can place your camera to get wide angle shots. You also should get a camera with a wi-fi capability which allows you to use it remotely.

What would you advise someone who is starting to look at how to get into wildlife filmmaking?

Rich: Go to college and study biology. Filmmaking you can pick up as you go. As a filmmaker, you have to learn to craft a story. You want to make sure that you get the science right and that you engage your audience. You should also take a journalism course or English course in college, it helps you to effectively create the narrative.

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Rich Kern filming seals early in his career

In your opinion, what is the advantage of visual media compared to other ways of storytelling?

Richard: The written word comes in many different languages that cannot be understood by everyone. Meanwhile, the visual is universal. It’s a universal language. Visual media can be easily digested and seen by everyone.

Finally, what do you find most rewarding in your field of wildlife filmmaking?

Rich: I love it when I capture a rare species behavior. To get it on the screen and get it right the first time is worth a lot of excitement.

Richard: You can look at flora and fauna as puzzle pieces. Seeing how those puzzle pieces work together, finding the relationships is amazing.

 

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The Kerns have been fortunate enough to film a variety of species in incredible global locations

From reading about Heroes to becoming one yourself 

Inspired by Rich and Richard’s story to take action? Please click on the button below to make a pledge today to take an action like sharing their story socially, helping to spread the word further, to donating to their work to educate others about Florida wildlife and ecosystems! Whichever you choose, your pledge to take action matters to the Kerns, to Arkive, and to the incredible species and habitats of Florida.

Take Action!

Kern wish list button

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