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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!

Habitat: Glass sponge reefs

Nominated by: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society BC (CPAWSBC)

Conservation status: Not currently officially designated anything under SARA, but could be considered a vulnerable marine ecosystem or an “Area of Interest”.

Why do you love them? British Columbia’s prehistoric glass sponge reefs are an international treasure. Found in Hecate Strait and the Southern Strait of Georgia, these fragile reefs provide vital habitat to a wide range of marine animals including endangered rockfish, but are very sensitive to disturbances. They’re considered one of the great wonders in Canada’s oceans. Although world oceans have plenty of individual glass sponges, B.C.’s Hecate Strait has the only sizeable reefs.

Thought to have gone extinct for millions of years, the modern-day discovery of these reefs in the late 1980s stunned the scientific community. In fact, they’ve been dubbed “Jurassic Park submerged”.  Scientists calculate these large reefs date back 9,000 years – they’re an incredible living history. But they’re not simply museum relics. These reefs continue to provide huge, safe habitats for all manner of rockfish and other creatures along the north coast.

The sponges attach themselves to each other and nearby rocks, creating reefs eight stories high in some places. Although glass sponges look like plants, they are actually animals. In fact, sponges are the world’s oldest multi-cell organisms. They don’t have lungs or mouths. Instead, sponges pump water through their bodies to breathe, feed and remove waste.

There are more than 7,000 described species of sponges alive today in both fresh and marine waters and many more that remain to be described and named by scientists. Glass sponges make their skeletons out of silica (glass).

What are the threats to the glass sponge reefs? Their unique skeletal structure makes the glass sponge reefs extremely sensitive to sedimentation and to physical disturbances from bottom trawling activity. In fact, over half of the large reefs in Hecate Strait were destroyed by trawlers before fishing closures were put in place by the federal government in 2002. While these reefs are now headed for permanent protection in the form of an MPA, the government has not sufficiently addressed the impacts of sedimentation to the reefs. The smaller glass sponge reefs, found in the Georgia Basin closer to human populations, are vulnerable with no current level of protection.

What are you doing to save them? Nine small glass sponge reefs, discovered close to communities on the Sunshine Coast, West Vancouver and Galiano Island, were recently granted some protection through fishing closures above and around the reefs to protect these fragile ecosystems from fishing gear, as of June 2015. However, B.C.’s largest reef located in Hecate Strait, near Haida Gwaii, remains unprotected, though they are headed for permanent protection through CPAW’s work. In June 2010, Canada declared these dinosaur-era reefs an “Area of Interest” for an Oceans Act marine protected area (MPA) – the final stage before their protection can be legally established.

  • Hecate Strait and the glass sponge reefs are part of CPAWS’ national campaign for Canada to create new Marine Protected Area, covering at least 10 percent of our oceans by 2020.
  • CPAWS continues to work with the government and stakeholders on the management planning of the future MPA to ensure that the glass sponge reefs are protected from the direct impacts of trawling and indirect impacts from sedimentation.
  • C.’s massive reefs are also eminently suitable for World Heritage Status – they’re that precious on a global scale. When Canada takes the next step in the process and formally creates a Marine Protected Area for the reefs, CPAWS will nominate them for World Heritage status.

Find out more about the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

 

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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: Stag beetle

Conservation organisation: People’s Trust for Endangered Species (PTES)

Conservation status: UK BAP Priority Species (we are at the edge of the range and are a stronghold for the beetle), IUCN Near Threatened. Unfavourable status in many European countries.

Why do you love it? The stag beetle is such a striking creature with its distinctive antler-like jaws. It is the largest terrestrial beetle in the UK and has an amazing life cycle. It spends years underground as a larva feeding on dead wood and then emerges for only a few weeks during the summer to reproduce. It is then we see them (most often the males) on warm summer evenings; flying through our parks and gardens, fighting with rivals and looking for a mate. They perform an important role by helping to break down dead wood and returning nutrients into the soil.

What are the threats to the stag beetle? Habitat loss and fragmentation. Stag beetles are reliant on dead wood for such a long period of their life cycle that the impacts of tidy gardens, parks and woodlands have been devastating. Although they only live for a few weeks as an adult, in the short time that they live above ground they are at risk from humans, cars, cats, magpies and other predators.

What are you doing to save it? PTES collects your stag beetle records every year and gives advice on how best to help them in gardens and green spaces. We have funded long-term research into their biology and behaviour and are working with European partners to improve our knowledge about their conservation status.

Find out more about PTES and their work with the stag beetle

Discover more stag beetle 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: Short-snouted seahorse

Nominated by: Marine Conservation Society UK (MCS UK)

Conservation status: It is lack of knowledge that gives this species of seahorse its listing on Appendix 11 of CITES, where its status is given as Data Deficient. The species is surprisingly widely distributed around the UK, with records as far north as Shetland, though sightings are very sporadic and widely dispersed. We know it tends to prefer shallow habitats, especially seagrass meadows which only grow in sheltered, sunlit areas. Divers do encounter them at depths of more than 20 metres and sightings are very occasional – they are hard to pigeon hole!

Why do you love it? They’re beautiful, delicate, and pair up together for a long time, but they’re elusive. Lots of people aren’t even aware that they’re found in UK seas. The fact that they are fish comes as a surprise to many. The male carries developing babies prior to birth.

What are the threats to the short-snouted seahorse? It is the enigmatic nature of the seahorse, and the curiosity it arouses that is perhaps its biggest threat. Seahorses are prized for their alleged medicinal properties, and hard to protect in the habitats they dwell in because they are so cryptic and hard to find in the first place.

What are you doing to save it? With all of this uncertainty, it is clear that the sites where they are known to live, and especially where breeding is confirmed, need to be well protected. The Marine Conservation Society is championing the protection of habitats around the UK to protect our wealth of wildlife, and has teamed up with the Seahorse Trust with the Adopt-A-Seahorse scheme to help fund the protection of seahorses in UK seas.

Find out more about MCS UK and their conservation work

Discover more ray-finned fishes 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: Magellanic plover

Nominated by: Wader Quest

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Why do you love it? The Magellanic plover is a beautiful and subtle bird which is unique among waders. The mysteries surrounding this enigmatic bird are enticing and the fact that it lives in one of the remotest areas of the world just add to its appeal.

What are the threats to the Magellanic plover: Very little is known about the bird and there isn’t an accurate estimate of its population size. This has never been a common bird but there is a perception among local people who live in this species’ range (Chile and Argentina) that it is rarer now than it has been at any time in the past. Until we are able to show that there is a downward trend in the population we cannot realistically look into the causes and therefore it follows that we can do nothing to halt or turn around any decline that may be happening.

What are you doing to save it? Wader Quest is working with local scientists who have started ringing and flagging Magellanic Plovers so that individual birds can be identified. The purpose of this is to find out if the birds are site faithful, their longevity and also calculate survival rates. From this data it may be possible to assess the population size and in time once that is established see if there is a trend. Should the trend be downward, then the reasons for that decline will be researched and once the problem has been isolated we may be in a position to do something about it. In the meantime we are also attempting to fit Geolocators to birds to see how far they move outside the breeding season and also maybe get a rough idea of where they go. In that way we will be able to see where any conservation or species management is needed should it prove to be necessary.

Find out more about Wader Quest’s Magellanic plover project

Discover more lapwing and plover 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: Heath tiger beetle

Nominated by: Surrey Wildlife Trust

Conservation status: Nationally Scarce; UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species; Species of Principle Importance. The species group is currently being reviewed under IUCN criteria; the provisional status assigned to C.sylvatica for the UK is ‘Endangered’ due to recent and historic decline and severe habitat fragmentation in the core range

Why do you love it? Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) love this species because it is a flagship species for the creation of bare sandy ground patches on our heathlands; a habitat used by an inordinate number of extremely restricted species that are generally overlooked due to their small size and/or complexity of their life-cycles. Under this banner stand rank upon rank of highly specialised heathland denizens; such as ants, bees, wasps, spiders, ground bugs and other beetles. It is often forgotten that heather does not make the heathland; it is the underlying geology, soil conditions and structure that define the associated assemblages of plants, fungi and invertebrates.

The heath tiger beetle’s entire life cycle is dependent upon these bare ground and early-successional patch habitats. The larva dwells in a subterranean burrow in dry, bare, sandy patches; opportunistically predating upon unsuspecting invertebrates traversing the surface above. The boldly marked adult is a surface dweller that lives up to its ferocious moniker of ‘tiger’; with striped wing cases and astonishing predatory prowess. The Heath tiger beetle’s large eyes, long legs and powerful jaws make it all the better to see you with, chase you with and eat you with (if you’re an insect!).

Heath tiger beetles are red in tooth and claw; hardy inhabitants of a harsh heathland habitat; and declining rapidly as their habitat becomes more and more fragmented by the way we use the land. That is why Surrey Wildlife Trust loves this species and wants to give it a helping hand. If we can help this one – we help many more besides.

What are the threats to the heath tiger beetle? Many populations are small, isolated by considerable distances and separated by land which is highly unsuitable for dispersal (urban areas, major roads, conifer plantations, secondary woodland). Even within heathland sites, a maximum dispersal distance of only under 200 metres is recorded. Furthermore, the chronology of extinctions of C. sylvatica from former localities is clearly correlated with urban expansions and major road construction.

What are you doing to save it? SWT and a group of concerned local entomologists began working on this species in 2006 with initial site surveys to ascertain presence and absence at historic sites in Surrey, West Sussex and North Hampshire. The findings of these surveys and associated desk studies was worrying; heath tiger beetles were apparently extinct in West Sussex, reduced to a single locality on the Surrey border in North Hampshire and a massive range decline was detected in Surrey with local site extinctions from heathlands at Chobham, Esher, Oxshott, Wisley and Blackheath amongst others. Extinctions were also noted along the Berkshire and Surrey border.

SWT and the entomology group, with NE consents, trialled the translocation of gravid females from healthy populations to two receptor sites in Surrey and Sussex between 2007 and 2009. These initial releases proved to be successful with progeny recorded over the coming years.

Hence, SWT, with various partner organisations, embarked upon a three year habitat creation project (2009-2012) across heathland sites in Surrey and Sussex; this work was funded by SITA Trust. This work created bare ground mosaics, linked existing populations via scrub and tree removal and paved the way for future translocations.

In 2011 SWT invertebrate ecologist Scotty Dodd undertook a capture-mark-release-recapture study of a large meta-population of Heath Tiger Beetles at Thursley Common NNR to ascertain dispersal capabilities. The maximum distance travelled was under 200 metres; confirming that heath tiger beetles were poor dispersers. In the same year DEFRA funded Dodd to document the historic and current status of heath tiger beetles in the UK; this information is currently being used in the IUCN review of the group.

In 2014 and 2015 SWT secured further SITA Trust funding for further habitat works at key sites in Surrey and Sussex. There was also a pot for additional translocations in summer 2015. However, due to poor weather conditions affecting population numbers at the proposed donor sites these translocations never took place and the funding for this aspect of the project was returned.

In 2016 SWT hopes to attract funding for these vital translocations to take place. Top-up translocations will take place at the two previous receptor sites and a further two sites within the historic range will be targeted for translocation at specially prepared areas. Funding is also sought for further survey and monitoring of extant populations and ‘on the brink’ sites in Surrey and hopefully Hampshire.

Find out more about the work of the Surrey Wildlife Trust

Discover more ground beetle species on Arkive

 

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