Mar 17

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  We’ve got our shamrocks at the ready, but before we get too carried away with the celebrations, we thought we could learn a lesson from today’s colour scheme. After all, you don’t only have to be green on Saint Patrick’s Day. Here our some of our top tips for living a greener life:

Reduce

Reducing consumption is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint. We could learn a lesson from the Arctic fox – this species is able to reduce its metabolic rate by half, while remaining active, thereby conserving energy and allowing more time to find food before starvation occurs.

Arctic fox walking across ice

Arctic fox walking across ice

Reuse

Before throwing anything out, consider its potential for reuse. Some species of bird, like the stilt sandpiper will often reuse the same nesting site for more than one year, saving time and energy that can be spent on egg production and provisioning instead. Need some inspiration? National Geographic has a great guide to reusing plastic bags.

Stilt sandpiper on nest, camouflaged

Stilt sandpiper on nest, camouflaged

Recycle

Recycling is a great way to avoid landfill. Perhaps don’t take this advice as far as some species do though! Gorillas, rabbits and chinchillas all exhibit a behaviour known as coprophagia, where faeces are re-injested to allow further extraction of vital minerals and vitamins from food. Waste not!

Male mountain gorilla feeding on plant stalk

Male mountain gorilla feeding on plant stalk

For more information on how to recycle, check out this recycling guide.

Save water 

Water is a surprisingly sparse resource. It’s the middle of winter here in the UK, yet we’re experiencing drought. Treating, transporting and heating water also uses a lot of energy, all contributing to climate change. Many species like the Bactrian camel and baobab trees effectively conserve water. Help reduce your water use by turning off taps, taking shorter showers, fixing leaks and reusing water. Here are some top tips on saving water from the National Geographic.

Grandidier's baobab

Grandidier's baobab

Wild Bactrian camel with newborn calf

Wild Bactrian camel with newborn calf

 

Wrap up!

Follow the style of the fashionable mouflon and dress for the season – when it’s cold, wrap up with extra layers and pile on the coats! 

Mouflon shedding coat

Mouflon shedding coat

 

Turn things off

Don’t leave electrical items on standby or ‘sleep’. You’ve probably heard it all before, but this uses as much energy as if it was fully on, so switch appliances off at the mains!

Honey bee asleep during cold weather

Honey bee asleep during cold weather

 

Compost

Composting is an easy way to use up kitchen and garden waste and is great for your garden! Earthworms will love you for it too, as they feed on the organic waste! Not sure how to compost? RecycleNow have a great guide.

Earthworm exiting burrow

Earthworm exiting burrow

 

Grow your own

What better way to reduce the distance food travels to your plate. A vegetable grown from scratch by you will taste better than any from the shop shelf, so if you have a garden put it to good use!

Leaf-cutter ant carrying leaf with guard ant 'rider', thought to ward off parasitic flies

Leaf-cutter ant carrying leaf with guard ant 'rider'

 

Creative Climate Change Challenge

Living a greener lifestyle will help reduce your impact on the environment. One of the biggest problems facing the global environment today are the impacts of climate change. In an effort to raise awareness of this problem, we are currently holding a Creative Climate Change Challenge – so get involved!

Have a happy, green Saint Patrick’s Day!

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

Mar 13

Twitter is one of our favourite online hangouts as it allows us to connect with over 225 million users from all over the world to learn about endangered species and of course share ARKive’s awesome photos, videos and facts.

In just 140 characters, ARKive can take you to the best wildlife images, introduce you to some of the most obscure species out there, as well bringing you the latest conservation stories. It’s a great way to find out what the ARKive project is all about and it’s the perfect place to connect with us!

Tweet, Tweet

We always have something to tweet about!  Below are some recent ARKive tweets:

 Check out @world_wildlife’s species of the day http://ow.ly/9sORQ

 “Some birds can’t take the heat! New study learning what avian species are the most vulnerable to climate change  http://ow.ly/9svHj

 “Take a break and find out if you’re a #climatechange champ! http://t.co/kHkcQPjh  #climateweek”

As you can see, we like making a noise about all things wildlife, but let’s not forget about the original tweeters – our feathered friends. So why not explore the birds on ARKive and tune your ears into the twittering of the charismatic robin in Europe, the tui in New Zealand or the prothonotary warbler in the US.

Robin singing on branch

Robin singing on branch

Retweet (RT)

Like a tweet? Want to share it with your friends? Get in on the action by simply retweeting your favourite ARKive tweets!

Repeating information is not uncommon in the animal kingdom. Many Passeriformes pick up, or imitate vocalisations of other species – a behaviour the European starling is famed for. Another famous example of reiterating information can be found in the grey wolf. Within a pack, when one wolf starts to howl, others will rapidly respond with howls of varying lengths and pitch in to form a ‘chorus howl’. This may reinforce social bonds, bring the wolves together and communicate with other packs. Perhaps rather than ‘retweet’ an ARKive tweet, you can ‘rehowl’ one instead!

Eurasian wolf pack howling

Eurasian wolf pack howling

Follow us!

African elephants are famed for their ability to follow a leader – an old female known as the matriarch leads a family of closely related females, taking on the role of protecting the group and sourcing food and water.

If you follow us on Twitter you can not only keep up to date with latest news from the ARKive team but you can also get involved by responding to our tweets.

African elephant herd walking in line

African elephant herd walking in line

African elephants walking

African elephants walking

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s the most social species on ARKive?

Join our search to find the most social species on ARKive. Visit the species you think is the most social and press ‘tweet’. The species with the most new tweets will win the title of ‘Chirpiest Species’ in our Social Species Contest. Who will win? Tweet to ensure your favourite is a contender!

Get involved

ARKive is active on Twitter so why not join our community of followers and keep up to date with the world of ARKive! We tweet about everything from the ARKive team’s favourite species to what cakes we’re eating in the office, from the latest conservation news to fun games and contests. Follow us and then tweet @arkive to say hello!

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

Jan 1

It’s that time of year again, the turkey supply has been exhausted, the sales have been ransacked and the festive celebrations are nearly over! But fear not, we are here to inspire some New Year cheer and get you in the mood to tackle 2012 head on, starting with planning those New Year’s resolutions!

Photo of American black bear scratching head

In need of some help with your New Year's resolutions?

 

Work on that waistline

After all the overindulgence of the festive period, one of the most popular resolutions has got to be to lose a little weight. This can be hard to master on cold winter nights, so we suggest you look to the dedicated emperor penguin for a little guidance. Emperor penguins are the only bird species to brave the bitter Antarctic winter, with males enduring the constant darkness of the winter months in order to incubate their egg.

Photo of emperor penguin adult and chick walking along ice

Emperor penguin males lose up to 50% of their body weight while incubating their egg

This often results in the males losing as much as half of their body weight – more through necessity than choice, but still a stunning example of how hard work and endurance pay off!

Get fighting fit

If dieting is not your thing, why not knock lethargy on its head this New Year and get fit. Take a leaf out of the spinner dolphin’s book, this acrobatic mammal can be seen leaping from the water and spinning through the air in tropical seas worldwide. If spinning isn’t your idea of a good time, why not try your hand at some of the other activities enjoyed by our animal assembly including sprinting, long distance running, diving or boxing?

Photo of spinner dolphin leaping and spinning

Spinner dolphins are certainly not lacking in energy!

 

Break down your language barrier

¿Por qué no aprender un nuevo idioma? Or for those not familiar with Spanish – why not learn a new language? This is a resolution that I think would be endorsed by the Albert’s lyrebird, who has a spectacular array of sounds in its arsenal, developed due to the awesome ability to accurately mimic other species.

Photo of Albert's lyrebird male displaying and calling

Why not learn a new language?

 

Looking for love?

If the festive spirit has left you feeling romantic then why not look for love in 2012, but do spare a thought for the animals that put their life on the line to do the same. Male ladybird spiders have to tread carefully when approaching the burrow of a prospective female in order to correctly pluck the trip wires surrounding the burrow entrance. One wrong move and the female may mistake him for her next meal!

Photo of male and female ladybird spiders with egg sac

The male ladybird spider (right) has to be careful not to end up as dinner!

 

Give a helping hand

As social beings we tend to gain satisfaction from helping others, whether by volunteering our time or donating our resources. In biological terms this is known as a mutualistic relationship and there are plenty of examples of this in nature. The fanged pitcher plant has a mutualistic relationship with a particular species of ant which forms nests in the hollow tendrils of the plant. The ant is able to traverse the inner walls of the pitcher plant without falling in and being digested by the plant and is even able to safely hunt in the pitcher fluid.

Close up photo of a pitcher of the fanged pitcher plant

The fanged pitcher plant happily houses ants in return for a favour

In return the ant removes large prey items from the pitcher fluid. If left they would begin to decay before they were digested, which could be detrimental to the pitcher plant – win win I’d say!

Out with the old and in with the new!

What better time of year to embark on a spring clean; delve through those drawers and finally get to the back of that wardrobe. Everyone feels better after a good tidy up and it seems that this is not restricted to just us humans, the Vogelkop bowerbird also likes to maintain a tidy living space. The males pay meticulous attention to the position of each of the decorations within their conical bower, as after all, no self-respecting female bowerbird is going to choose a male with an unkempt bower.

Photo of male Vogelkop bowerbird in bower arranging ornaments

The male Vogelkop bowerbird likes to keep his bower neat and tidy

 

Got itchy feet?

The world is a fascinating place with scores of spectacular sights to see, meaning travel is an increasingly popular aspiration. There are many epic journeys occurring in the animal kingdom annually, and it’s not only birds and mammals that migrate. The monarch butterfly makes one of the largest invertebrate migrations, covering distances as great as 3,000 miles to their wintering grounds.

Photo of large numbers of monarch butterflies in flight

Monarch butterflies undertake massive annual migrations - where will you go?

This doesn’t mean you have to travel hundreds of miles to discover something new of course. Why not uncover some hidden treasures closer to home, see what can be found near you using Search by Geography.

 

Good luck with any resolutions made, from all here at ARKive we wish you a very Happy New Year!

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Education Officer

Dec 28

This weeks A-Z blog has been inspired by a couple of recent school visits where the classes were looking specifically at endangered species and the responsibilities humans have to the environment. As the aim of ARKive is to raise awareness of threatened species worldwide it seems particularly fitting for the ‘E’ edition of A-Z to be endangered-themed, so please join me on my exploration of the endangered species of ARKive.

Photo of southern bluefin tuna swimming next to fish farm net

Southern bluefin tuna are endangered due to overfishing

Life on the EDGE

We work closely with lots of other global conservation organisations including our friends at the EDGE of Existence programme, who are working to promote and conserve the most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered species. They are the only global conservation initiative to focus specifically on threatened species that represent a significant amount of unique evolutionary history, including weird and wonderful creatures such as the purple frog, the platypus and the shoebill.

Photo of Shoebill showing detail of head

The shoebill is a potential EDGE species

See where the golden-rumped sengi, pygmy three-toed sloth and Chinese giant salamander come on the blog of ARKive’s Top 10 EDGE species.

Extinction

The word that strikes fear into the hearts of all conservationists, which is hardly surprising considering that at present it is believed that 1/4 of all mammals and 1/3 of amphibians are at risk of extinction. It might sound rather odd but there are actually varying degrees of ‘extinct’ according to the IUCN Red List. Species can either be Extinct in the Wild (EW), which means the only remaining populations are captive, such as the scimitar-horned oryx, or Extinct (EX), such as the golden toad which was last seen alive in 1989.

Photo of a male golden toad

The golden toad is classed as Extinct (EX)

 

Ethiopian wolf

Living high in the Bale Mountains of Ethiopia this wolf is the most threatened canid in the world. Human encroachment on their habitat and its subsequent conversion to agricultural land is reducing their available habitat. With humans come their dogs, which carry diseases such as rabies and canine distemper to which the Ethiopian wolves have no resistance.

Photo of the Ethiopian wolf hunting

The Ethiopian wolf is the most endangered canid in the world

 

Ecuador

The South American country of Ecuador, nestled between Colombia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean, is host to a huge variety of species including the giant otter, the boto and the giant antpitta many of which are endangered. The Galapagos Islands are also part of Ecuador which means much of the Ecuadorian biodiversity is endemic. Species from the Galapagos, such as the Galapagos marine iguana, face a plethora of threats including the introduction of domestic pets, marine pollution and the effects of environmental fluctuations such as El Nino.

Photo of a male Galapagos marine iguana

The Galapagos marine iguana faces a number of threats

 

Watch out for our new Endangered Species education module and activity coming soon to our education pages. For more information why not check out our Endangered Species page.

What is your favourite ARKive E?  Perhaps you’re a fan of elephants or the echidna, how about the eastern sandfish or the earthworm? Let us know…

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Education Officer

Dec 7

Picture of the Eye on Earth Summit logoNext week, the United Arab Emirates and ARKive’s principal sponsor, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) will welcome global leaders, innovators and decision-makers from across the world to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), where they will address the issue of providing greater access to environmental and social data to all of those who need it.

What is Eye on Earth?

A global meeting held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition will act to draw attention to the gap that exists between the need for better information about the environment and the efforts that are being made to address this issue.

Ensuring effective access to environmental and societal data is critical in making informed environmental decisions; however, much of this data is currently absent, inaccessible or hidden. This is particularly evident in developing countries that do not have the means to acquire or generate data to make informed decisions.

Delegates at the Summit will therefore ‘convene, converge and collaborate’ to strengthen existing efforts and inspire a search for unified, global solutions to the issues that are preventing this important data from being readily accessible.

Who will be attending?

The Summit will host approximately 750 invited delegates ranging from current and former heads of state to international academic organisations and scientists. A dynamic blend of prominent speakers from the worlds of business, government and environmental protection will be present, including Dr. Sylvia A. Earle, Dr. Jane Goodall DBE, Julia Marton-Lefèvre and President Bill Clinton.

Photo of Arabian oryx males fighting

Abu Dhabi hosts between 450 and 500 terrestrial plant species and close to half the world’s Arabian Oryx population

Running alongside the Summit will be the Eye on Earth Exhibition, which is open to the general public and will showcase the very best from around the world in the field of data access and analysis. Wildscreen’s ARKive project will be among the multi-media mix of informational and educational products on show at the Exhibition.

The Abu Dhabi Pavilion at the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Exhibition will showcase themes such as the Capital’s progress towards sustainable urban development

The Abu Dhabi Pavilion at the Eye on Earth Abu Dhabi 2011 Exhibition will showcase themes such as the Capital’s progress towards sustainable urban development

What will be the outcome of the Summit?

A key outcome of the Summit will be the adoption of the Eye on Earth Summit Declaration, which will provide input to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development being held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012 (Rio+20). Through this Declaration, attending ministers, representatives of government and other participants will commit to facilitate the work required to make quality data and information available to those who need it, especially in emerging economies. The public is invited to sign the declaration at the Exhibition.

The Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition is taking place in Abu Dhabi, 12th – 15th December 2011.

The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) is supporting ARKive to audio-visually profile the great diversity of UAE wildlife, as well as the world’s most endangered species. We look forward to working with them next week at the Eye on Earth Summit and Exhibition.

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