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: Yellow-shouldered parrot

Nominated by: Provita

 

Conservation status: Vulnerable (IUCN Red List), Endangered (Venezuelan Red Book)

Why do you love it? This is the first species that we actively worked on, and whose population has recovered due to our work. Our first population surveys in the late 80s showed that 650 to 700 birds lived on Margarita Island, the site of Provita’s hand-on conservation projects during the last 3 decades. At present, numbers have reached 1600 to 1700 birds. We feel a great sense of accomplishment and responsibility.

Poaching pressure is still very high and habitat conversion has not ceased, but through a combination of nest monitoring, habitat restoration and conservation education, risk of extinction has decreased. A major alliance has been built around the parrot on Margarita. From the police and military, to universities, state and municipal government, the private sector, civil society and local communities, numerous people and institutions work together every year. Our work on behalf of the yellow-shouldered parrot symbolises Provita’s conservation model and shows that long-term, participatory engagement works to recover threatened species. This is the species for which we are better-known.

What are the threats to the yellow-shouldered parrot? Primarily the poaching of nestlings for the pet trade, and habitat conversion by open-sky sand-mining (which removes all the vegetation, including nesting trees).

What are you doing to save it? We have been working on behalf of the yellow-shouldered parrots since the late 80s. We protect nests from poachers during the breeding season (between April and August), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We engage with local schools in environmental education and development of greenhouses to raise native trees for habitat restoration. We engage with land owners that run mining operations and assist them in ecological restoration of degraded lands. We organise a major parrot conservation festival every year that celebrates the breeding season’s success and engages schools and cultural organisations throughout the island. We are present on the mass media regularly, to share our work and encourage participation in the parrot festival and in habitat restoration campaigns. We also own 730 hectares of dry forests and have established the Characacual Community Conservation Area (CCCA), which we manage in collaboration with the EcoGuardians Cooperative (ex-poachers that now offer their professional services to field projects) and the people of the town El Horcón, the nearest settlement to CCCA.

Find out more about Provita

Discover more parrot and parakeet species 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!

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: Giant devilray

Nominated by: Project AWARE

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? Found predominately in the Mediterranean Sea, the giant devil ray is a close cousin of the manta and other devil rays. Like sharks, mantas are at the top of every diver’s must-see list. But the giant devil ray doesn’t quite get the same ‘bucket list’ attention, nor is as well-known as our shark and manta friends. However this ray is huge – reaching six metres in length. And it’s impressive. Its large pectoral fins help it cross great stretches of ocean with gentle wing-like beats.

With the word “Devil” in its name, it’s certainly a very intriguing and unique species. Devil rays are the only vertebrates that have three pairs of working limbs: pectoral fins, pelvic fins and cephalic fins. The latter is where they get their name from. When they are not feeding, their cephalic fins are curled and point forward and down, giving the appearance of devil horns.

But there is nothing devilish about this ray. It belongs to a family of 11 species that desperately needs a lot of love.  Fishing, bycatch and marine debris are all threatening ray populations – many of which are on the decline. So Project AWARE is excited to bring some much needed attention to the magnificent giant devil ray and its entire family who really do need a “Whole Lotta Love”.

What are the threats to the giant devilray? Although there is no directed fishery for the giant devil ray, incidental catch and mortality rates are high. When caught as bycatch the species is usually discarded but occasionally it is landed and sold to market. Giant devil rays produce only one large offspring every two to five years so its natural reproductive system adds to the species survival struggles.

The demand for gill rackers – the feathery structures these filter feeders use to strain food as they glide through the water – is on the increase leaving conservationists concerned. And although there have been some conservation measures placed – the General Fisheries Commission for the Meditterean (GFCM) has agreed protection for the giant devil ray based on species listing under the Barcelona Convention – compliance reporting for these measures is sadly lacking.

Secondary threats to the devils include marine debris – ingestion of microplastics – boat strikes and oil spills.

What are you doing to save it? Shark and ray overexploitation – overfishing, bycatch and finning – remains largely unregulated globally. Project AWARE is a global movement of scuba divers protecting our ocean planet – one dive at a time.  It is the scuba divers’ voice and support that fuels our science-based advocacy to advance conservation of sharks and ray in peril, like the majestic giant devil ray.

We fight for limiting catches, protecting the most vulnerable species, reducing bycatch, and implementing effective finning bans at national, regional, and international levels.

And, in the case of this underloved family of devils, we do so by advocating for safeguards in international trade under CITES (Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and national protections under CMS (Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals).

Find out more about Project AWARE

Learn more about manta and devilrays by downloading Project AWARE’s Mantas at Risk Infographic

Discover more ray and skate 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: 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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