Apr 2
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ARKive Celebrates Dr. Jane Goodall’s 80th Birthday!

Dr. Jane Goodall photo


Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE, Founder, the Jane Goodall Institute &, UN Messenger of Peace © Stuart Clarke

Few people have inspired the world to treasure and protect nature and all living things like Dr. Jane Goodall. Sometimes affectionately referred to as “the chimp lady”, Jane has dedicated her life to inspiring people to take action in support of conservation with an emphasis, of course, on chimpanzees.

Dr. Jane has always been a tireless supporter of Wildscreen and ARKive. As recently as the last Wildscreen Festival – the world’s largest and most influential wildlife filmmaking festival – Jane spoke to a packed house about her conservation journey that started back in 1960 when she first began studying chimpanzees.

Fifty-four years later, Jane is still spreading her message of hope for animals around the world, and now there is an opportunity for the world to share a message of appreciation for Jane right back!

Jane turns 80 on April 3, 2014, and her wish is to share her birthday celebration with the world via a Google Hangout that day at 11 a.m. PDT / 2 p.m. EDT / 6 p.m. UTC. Joining Dr. Jane will be a number of young people sharing projects they are dedicating to her for her birthday. If you can’t make the virtual party, no worries! You can sign Dr. Jane’s birthday card with your sentiments and well wishes.

Dr. Jane and Freud photo

Dr. Jane Goodall with Gombe chimpanzee Freud © Michael Neugebauer

To celebrate in our own ARKive way, we’ve organized a MyARKive Scrapbook of our favourite chimpanzee images and videos on ARKive including this sweet face and this family of playful youngsters. We hope you enjoy it!

From all of us at Wildscreen & ARKive, Happy Birthday Dr. Jane!

Liana Vitali, Education & Outreach Manager, Wildscreen USA

Jan 26
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Happy Australia Day!

Australia Day is an annual celebration held on the 26th January every year to mark the first arrival of ships in Sydney Cove from Great Britain in 1788. Every year on the eve of Australia Day, the Australian of the Year awards are given out. To celebrate, we thought we would give out some of our own awards to the animals found in Australia.
 

Most unique appearance

There are some very unusual looking animals in Australia, making this a tough category. Strong contenders included the Javanese cownose ray and the narrow-breasted snake-necked turtle. However the award went to the platypus; a creature so unusual looking that the first specimens brought back to England were though to be the work of a fraudulent taxidermist! With its duck-like bill, webbed feet and broad flattened tail, the platypus certainly has a very distinctive and unusual appearance.

Platypus photo

The platypus has a very unique appearance with its duck-like bill, webbed feet and broad flattened tail

 

Best camouflage

The winner of this award, the pygmy seahorse, is so well camouflaged in its coral reef habitat it was not discovered until the coral in which it lives in was being examined in a lab! The pygmy seahorse is found in the coral reefs around Australia, and it is not only the same colour as the coral in which it lives, it is also covered in small swellings which resemble the polyps of the coral. This results in the seahorse being very well camouflaged. Can you see the pygmy seahorse in the picture below?

Pygmy seahorse photo

Can you spot the pygmy seahorse?

Most dangerous

Australia is renowned for having some of the world’s most dangerous animals! There are poisonous snakes, spiders, jellyfish, sharks, crocodiles even the platypus has a venomous spur on the back of its rear ankles! However this award goes to one of Australia’s less well known venomous animals – the southern blue ringed octopus. This octopus may be small in size, but it has enough venom in its saliva to kill 26 adults! Its venom, which contains tetrodotoxin, causes neurological problems such as breathing troubles and paralysis. Normally brown in appearance, when threatened it develops blue ringed shape markings. There is currently no antivenom available for the blue ringed octopus.

Southern blue ringed octopus

Southern blue ringed octopus displaying its blue ringed shape markings

Best dressed

Colouration in animals has a wide range of functions. Whether for defence or for attracting a mate, Australia has some beautifully coloured animals including the sunset frog with its bright orange belly, and the multicoloured superb parrot. However the winner of this award is the Gouldian finch. This multicoloured finch, endemic to northern Australia, has a green body, a blue rump, a purple breast, a yellow belly and a red, black or yellow head. The very colourful adults are however upstaged by the chicks with their elaborate and colourful blue, yellow, black and white gape.

Gouldian finch chick

Gouldian finch chick gape

Life time contribution award

This category was very difficult with Australia having so many iconic animals. In the end, the winner was the koala. Koalas, endemic to Australia, are one of Australia’s best known animals. Though bear like in appearance the koala is actually a marsupial. The koala is mainly nocturnal, spending most of its time up in the trees where it can feed and rest, whilst gaining some protection. Koalas have fairly sedentary lifestyles with their diet mainly consisting of eucalyptus leaves. Koalas vary depending on where about in Australia they are found, and those found in south Australia are larger and have thicker fur than those in the north.

Photo of a koala relaxing in a tree

This koala is relaxing after its big win!

 

The Auzzie award

Like the Oscars have the Razzies, we have our own Auzzie award to give out.

Most unusual faeces

This result was unanimous - it had to go the wombat for having cubic poo!

Photo of a northern hairy-nosed wombat

This northern hairy-nosed wombat does not seem to want to collect its award!

Happy Australia day!

Let us know of any other awards you would like to give out to other Australian species.

Jemma Pealing, ARKive Media Researcher

May 20
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The ARKive Birthday Bash

Welcome to the party! It’s ARKive’s 8th birthday and today we’re celebrating in style with our best contributors – the species themselves. We asked you to use the Like buttons on each species profile to show us which you think should be invited to the celebration. We’ve had a great response – the following all had at least 50 Likes and have made our special species guestlist…

The Red (List) Carpet

Tiger – Panthera tigris

ARKive Bengal tiger photo

Who better to start the line-up of guests than the tiger? Padding up the catwalk is the true king of the jungle. As well as looking handsome, the cryptic coat of the largest of big cats makes it an excellent “stalk and ambush” predator in tall grass and forest.

Satanic leaf-tailed gecko – Uroplatus phantasticus

ARKive satanic leaf-tailed gecko photo

With amazing camouflage, you would be forgiven for mistaking the satanic leaf-tailed gecko for some crispy old foliage if you saw it in the wild. Despite the sinister name it is actually quite harmless – must be the red eyes!

Aye-aye – Daubentonia madagascariensis

ARKive aye-aye photo

Definitely a guest that would only come to an evening party, the aye-aye is as utterly charming as it is bizarre! This Madagascan primate has almost cult status in biology classes for its spidery fingers, perfectly adapted for extracting grubs from trees.

Purple frog – Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis

ARKive purple frog photo

Although not the prettiest of amphibians, the purple frog’s bloated anatomy is perfect for its subterranean habit; it snuffles for termites using its conical head and sensitive snout. It is also the sole surviving member of a group of amphibians that evolved 130 million years ago, so we’re privileged to have it with us!

Giant panda – Ailuropoda melanoleuca

ARKive giant panda photo

This monochrome mammal hardly needs an introduction – it is probably the most famous threatened species on the planet, mainly for eating shoots and leaves! Make way for the giant panda!

Komodo dragon – Varanus komodoensis

ARKive Komodo dragon photo

The world’s largest, most powerful land lizard. Known for its voracious appetite, scientists also recently discovered that the Komodo dragon is poisonous, subduing its prey with slow-acting venom. Better not get in this one’s way at the buffet.

Pygmy three-toed sloth

ARKive pygmy three-toed sloth photo

The pygmy three-toed sloth is the most endangered of sloths, confined to one island off the coast of Panama. Perhaps more a fan of a pool party, this species is as happy in the water as it is in the trees of its mangrove habitat!

Kakapo – Strigops habroptila

ARKive kakapo photo

The world’s only flightless parrot, the kakapo, has suffered heavily for its defenseless nature and now only survives on a few isolated, predator free islands off New Zealand. It also has reason to celebrate – since its relocation, Kakapo populations have been steadily increasing.

Polar bear – Ursus maritimus

ARKive polar bear photo

Perhaps more whale than bear, the polar bear can swim for miles at a time and is more of a marine than a terrestrial species. Its preferred habitat is the annual ice of arctic coastlines, where it mostly hunts mammals such as seal, narwhal and beluga. I think the polar bear might have to make do with cake at our party, though!

So that was our glamorous guestlist for the ARKive 8th birthday party! It’s sure to be a great shindig – now all we have to do is keep the guests from eating each other…

Don’t forget to keep Liking and sharing the species you find most interesting on the ARKive website.

If you know any other species you think should have been on the guestlist, please let us know by leaving a comment below or posting on our Facebook page!

Charlie Whittaker,  ARKive Media Researcher

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