Jan 26

Has marine life captured the heart of this week’s ARKive team member like it did for Lauren Pascoe, or will something more terrestrial be triumphant this week?

Kathryn Pintus – ARKive Species Text Author

Favourite species? West Indian manatee

Why? 

I’m a big fan of marine mammals in general, but I think the manatee just about tops the list for me! Firstly, aren’t they just adorable?! They have such cute little faces, and I love the way they use their front flippers to scoop food into their mouths, or to ‘walk’ along the bottom of the estuaries and rivers in which they live. It’s also rather amazing how such massive animals can survive just on aquatic vegetation! I went on holiday to Florida last year, where I was fortunate enough to see manatees in their natural habitat, and I got the chance to swim with them, which was a truly incredible experience. They are such docile and peaceful creatures, you can’t help but be fascinated by them.

Favourite West Indian manatee picture on ARKive?

West Indian manatee photo

West Indian manatee underwater

The West Indian manatee is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List. This species was hunted for meat, hide and oil, but more recent threats include boat collisions and coastal development causing habitat loss.

See more photos and videos of the West Indian manatee.

Jan 19

With George Bradford previously showing his admiration for the small and mighty side of the animal kingdom, will this week’s ARKive staff member favour fluffiness over ferocity?

Lauren Pascoe – ARKive Media Researcher

Favourite species? Leatherback turtle

Why? The leatherback turtle is one of the ocean giants. Perhaps not the prettiest of species, the leatherback turtle’s elegance comes to form in the water. It can perform swimming feats that I’m in awe of – diving up to 1,000 metres (which, by the way, no other reptile could do – the leatherback can maintain an elevated body temperature at cold depths) and travelling thousands of kilometres across the oceans.

Favourite leatherback turtle image on ARKive?

Leatherback turtle image

Male leatherback turtle in open ocean

The leatherback turtle is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List. Its threats include climate change changing the sex of the embryo throughout the incubation period and rising sea levels decreasing the amount of suitable nesting areas. Ocean currents changing is also a major threat to migrating juveniles of this species as well as habitat loss, boat traffic accidents and ingestion of discarded plastic.

See more pictures and videos of the leatherback turtle.

Jan 12

Mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, plant, coral, insect…the choices are never ending, but will this week’s team member choose a gentle giant like Laura Sutherland or opt for a slightly less substantial species?

George Bradford – ARKive Media Researcher

Favourite Species: Honey badger

Why? I admire the resourcefulness of the honey badger that allows it to exist over a large range and variety of habitats from savannah to rainforest. It can make a meal out of venomous snakes, small mammals and even roots and berries. It has been reported that the honey badger uses its anal gland to fumigate bee hives so it can access the larvae within. That’s street smart.

Favourite honey badger image on ARKive:

Honey badger image

Honey badger with python kill

 

The honey badger is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List. Its threats include being trapped and snared by poachers and small livestock farmers as well as bee farmers. Its claws are used in traditional medicine to confer the patient with the fearlessness and ferocity characteristic of this species.

See more photos of the honey badger.

Jan 5

Like rabbits retreating into their burrows, heads began disappearing underneath desks in the ARKive office as I made a beeline for the next ARKive team mate to pick their favourite species. Will this week’s favourite species be another ferocious feline like it was for Rebecca Sennett, or something slightly more serpentine?

Laura Sutherland – ARKive Education Officer

Favourite Species: African elephant

Why? While I was at University I spent a summer volunteering on a conservation project based in Botswana. Much of our time was spent monitoring the local elephant population, which is where I developed a soft spot for this enormous mammal. Their social structure is based around the ties within family groups; each group is led by an old female known as the ‘matriarch’. They have an amazing capacity to communicate over vast distances using infrasound and are able to recognise other individuals from their vocalisations.

Favourite elephant image on ARKive:

Photo of an African elephant

African elephant calf flapping ears

The African elephant is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List, with threats such as hunting for their ivory tusks, which are actually modified incisors, and conflict with farmers due to habitat fragmentation, posing considerable risks to their continued survival.

See more pictures and videos of the African elephant.

Dec 29

With no one wanting to be a copycat and the number of species to choose from on ARKive gradually getting lower (5 have been selected out of the 14,195 species on ARKive!) the pressure is really beginning to show. Will this week’s team member go for a cuddly critter like Hannah Mulvany or a more beastly being?

Rebecca Sennett - ARKive Media Researcher

Favourite species: African leopard

Why? The African leopard has always been my favourite species mainly because of its exceptional beauty and the fact that it is so elusive. I will never forget how I felt whilst on safari, watching two leopards drag an impala kill up onto the branch of an acacia tree, just as the sun went down below the horizon – a breathtaking and rare sight. The African leopard is a fearsome predator, combining opportunism, stealth and speed. Its distinctive, spotted coat provides excellent camouflage and enables the leopard to conceal itself in the undergrowth. With acute vision and hearing, the leopard is able move slowly and silently, frequently stalking to within metres of its prey without being detected!

Favourite image on ARKive?

Photo of an African leopard

Female African leopard grooming cub

The leopard is classified as Near Threatened (NT) on the IUCN Red List, with threats to the African population including habitat conversion for agriculture, hunting for teeth and fur and human persecution due to this species attacking livestock.

See more photos and videos of the leopard.

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