Mar 8

This week we have crossed the Atlantic to see if the Wildscreen USA team have a different approach to the amazing species ARKive has to offer. Will a seasonal visitor be favoured by this week’s team member like it was for Susan Russell, or something slightly more stationary?

Liana Vitali – ARKive Science, Education and Outreach Officer, Wildscreen USA

Favourite species? Bristlecone pine

Why? It’s my favorite species because it’s one of, if not the oldest living organisms on the planet. It has amazingly twisted branches and although at first glance it appears to have withered away, it’s really thriving underneath; a kind of diamond in the rough. Finally, the tree ring growths are used to study climate change since these trees date back over 4,000 years ago. It’s mind-boggling to think that you can touch a living tree that was on Earth well before the pyramids were built!

Favourite bristlecone pine image on ARKive:

Bristlecone pine image

Bristlecone pines are thought to be one of the world's oldest living organisms

The bristlecone pine is classified as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List. As a slowly regenerating plant, future climate and environmental conditions could pose a future threat to future populations of this species. Diseases and insect pests are injurious to the bristlecone pine, as well as fires and vandalism. The location of ‘Methuselah’, thought to be the oldest living tree at around 4,789 years old, is kept secret to avoid vandalism.

 See more photos and videos of the bristlecone pine.

Mar 1

A personal experience lead to the indri becoming Michelle’s favourite species, but will this week’s team member’s choice be admiration from afar or another astounding encounter?

Susan Russell – Wildscreen Finance Manager

Favourite species? Barn swallow

Why? I just love to hear them chattering in the sky above on a summers day. They’re really beautiful to watch and the story of their migration is amazing. I think they’re just as special as any rare or exotic species! I have chosen this image as it reminds me of a week I spent at a campsite in Yorkshire. The swallows were nesting in the laundry and in the ladies loo block. When I first arrived I went to wash my hands and on the shelf above the wash basin was a beautiful model of a swallow, just 6 inches from my face. At least I thought it was a model until it flew away!

Favourite barn swallow image on ARKive:

Barn swallow image

Barn swallow chicks being fed at nest

The barn swallow is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List. An abundant species, the barn swallow has modified its nesting tendencies to complement the changing landscape throughout its range. Previously exploited in the hat trade in the 1800s, the barn swallow is now mostly threatened by the reduction in prey availability due to elevated pesticide use.

See more photos and videos of the barn swallow.

Feb 26

The mischievous kea won over Eleanor Sans last week, but will this week’s species be just as rebellious or slightly more reserved?

Michelle Lindley – ARKive Research Manager

Favourite species: Indri

Why? Madagascar was always on my list of places I wanted to visit and last year I was lucky enough to go. Watching Madagascar’s largest lemur, the indri, in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park was fantastic. Listening to the family groups calling to each other in the mornings was one of the best wildlife experiences. The eerie sounds they make are amazing, and watching them leap from branch to branch was unbelievable.

Favourite indri image on ARKive:

Indri image

The indri is one of the world's most threatened primates

The indri is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List. Threats to this species include habitat fragmentation due to slash-and-burn agriculture and forests being cut down for fuel and timber. The indri is also killed for food in certain areas of Madagascar.

See more photos and videos of the indri.

Feb 16

Last week Helen Roddis was blown away by the extreme endurance of the emperor penguin. Will this weeks team member choose a sturdy species or something slightly more sensitive?

Eleanor Sans – ARKive Media Researcher

Favourite Species: Kea

Why? The kea has achieved notoriety in its New Zealand mountain habitat for being a mischief maker. Highly curious and quick to explore its environment the kea has been known to strip parked cars of all their rubber trimmings, de-sealing windows and ruining wiper blades. Even though it can be a nuisance the kea is intelligent and fascinating to watch with its playful behaviour being accompanied by calls that sound like weird parrot laughter.

Favourite kea image on ARKive:

Kea image

Kea in flight

The kea is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List. It is under threat due to its reputation for attacking sheep, as well as cars and property around ski resorts. Many individuals were shot to try and control population numbers, leading to the species becoming threatened.

See more photos and videos of the kea.

Feb 9

Unique biological abilities captured the heart of Rebecca Goatman last week, will this week’s ARKive team member favour evolutionary aptitude over adorableness?

Helen Roddis – ARKive species text author

Favourite species: Emperor penguin

Why? I’ve had an obsession with penguins since I was little – at one point I could count more than 30 items of penguin-related paraphernalia in my room as I was growing up! My admiration for the penguin stems from the sheer amount of grit and determination it demonstrates – this steely bird breeds during the Antarctic’s harsh winter, when temperatures drop as low as -60°C and wind speeds reach up to 200 kilometres per hour. The male penguin is responsible for the incubation of the egg while the female feeds at sea, and so to survive the Antarctic’s extreme conditions, thousands of males will huddle together for protection against the cold. Amazingly, penguins in these huge formations are able to coordinate their movements to give all members of the huddle a chance to warm up!

Favourite image: 

Emperor penguin image

Adult and chick emperor penguins sleeping

The emperor penguin is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List. The large population size and wide range, it is not considered under threat. Global warming poses a future threat due to the reduction of sea ice, an important breeding ground for the emperor penguin. Increasing tourism and the disturbance it causes could also have a negative effect on this highly unique bird species.

See more emperor penguin photos and videos.

Get involved


What’s your favourite species? Spread the love for species this Valentine’s Day by tweeting about your favourite awesome animal or peculiar plant using the #LoveSpecies hashtag!



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