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: Magellanic plover

Nominated by: Wader Quest

Conservation status: Near Threatened

Why do you love it? The Magellanic plover is a beautiful and subtle bird which is unique among waders. The mysteries surrounding this enigmatic bird are enticing and the fact that it lives in one of the remotest areas of the world just add to its appeal.

What are the threats to the Magellanic plover: Very little is known about the bird and there isn’t an accurate estimate of its population size. This has never been a common bird but there is a perception among local people who live in this species’ range (Chile and Argentina) that it is rarer now than it has been at any time in the past. Until we are able to show that there is a downward trend in the population we cannot realistically look into the causes and therefore it follows that we can do nothing to halt or turn around any decline that may be happening.

What are you doing to save it? Wader Quest is working with local scientists who have started ringing and flagging Magellanic Plovers so that individual birds can be identified. The purpose of this is to find out if the birds are site faithful, their longevity and also calculate survival rates. From this data it may be possible to assess the population size and in time once that is established see if there is a trend. Should the trend be downward, then the reasons for that decline will be researched and once the problem has been isolated we may be in a position to do something about it. In the meantime we are also attempting to fit Geolocators to birds to see how far they move outside the breeding season and also maybe get a rough idea of where they go. In that way we will be able to see where any conservation or species management is needed should it prove to be necessary.

Find out more about Wader Quest’s Magellanic plover project

Discover more lapwing and plover 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!

Species: Heath tiger beetle

Nominated by: Surrey Wildlife Trust

Conservation status: Nationally Scarce; UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species; Species of Principle Importance. The species group is currently being reviewed under IUCN criteria; the provisional status assigned to C.sylvatica for the UK is ‘Endangered’ due to recent and historic decline and severe habitat fragmentation in the core range

Why do you love it? Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) love this species because it is a flagship species for the creation of bare sandy ground patches on our heathlands; a habitat used by an inordinate number of extremely restricted species that are generally overlooked due to their small size and/or complexity of their life-cycles. Under this banner stand rank upon rank of highly specialised heathland denizens; such as ants, bees, wasps, spiders, ground bugs and other beetles. It is often forgotten that heather does not make the heathland; it is the underlying geology, soil conditions and structure that define the associated assemblages of plants, fungi and invertebrates.

The heath tiger beetle’s entire life cycle is dependent upon these bare ground and early-successional patch habitats. The larva dwells in a subterranean burrow in dry, bare, sandy patches; opportunistically predating upon unsuspecting invertebrates traversing the surface above. The boldly marked adult is a surface dweller that lives up to its ferocious moniker of ‘tiger’; with striped wing cases and astonishing predatory prowess. The Heath tiger beetle’s large eyes, long legs and powerful jaws make it all the better to see you with, chase you with and eat you with (if you’re an insect!).

Heath tiger beetles are red in tooth and claw; hardy inhabitants of a harsh heathland habitat; and declining rapidly as their habitat becomes more and more fragmented by the way we use the land. That is why Surrey Wildlife Trust loves this species and wants to give it a helping hand. If we can help this one – we help many more besides.

What are the threats to the heath tiger beetle? Many populations are small, isolated by considerable distances and separated by land which is highly unsuitable for dispersal (urban areas, major roads, conifer plantations, secondary woodland). Even within heathland sites, a maximum dispersal distance of only under 200 metres is recorded. Furthermore, the chronology of extinctions of C. sylvatica from former localities is clearly correlated with urban expansions and major road construction.

What are you doing to save it? SWT and a group of concerned local entomologists began working on this species in 2006 with initial site surveys to ascertain presence and absence at historic sites in Surrey, West Sussex and North Hampshire. The findings of these surveys and associated desk studies was worrying; heath tiger beetles were apparently extinct in West Sussex, reduced to a single locality on the Surrey border in North Hampshire and a massive range decline was detected in Surrey with local site extinctions from heathlands at Chobham, Esher, Oxshott, Wisley and Blackheath amongst others. Extinctions were also noted along the Berkshire and Surrey border.

SWT and the entomology group, with NE consents, trialled the translocation of gravid females from healthy populations to two receptor sites in Surrey and Sussex between 2007 and 2009. These initial releases proved to be successful with progeny recorded over the coming years.

Hence, SWT, with various partner organisations, embarked upon a three year habitat creation project (2009-2012) across heathland sites in Surrey and Sussex; this work was funded by SITA Trust. This work created bare ground mosaics, linked existing populations via scrub and tree removal and paved the way for future translocations.

In 2011 SWT invertebrate ecologist Scotty Dodd undertook a capture-mark-release-recapture study of a large meta-population of Heath Tiger Beetles at Thursley Common NNR to ascertain dispersal capabilities. The maximum distance travelled was under 200 metres; confirming that heath tiger beetles were poor dispersers. In the same year DEFRA funded Dodd to document the historic and current status of heath tiger beetles in the UK; this information is currently being used in the IUCN review of the group.

In 2014 and 2015 SWT secured further SITA Trust funding for further habitat works at key sites in Surrey and Sussex. There was also a pot for additional translocations in summer 2015. However, due to poor weather conditions affecting population numbers at the proposed donor sites these translocations never took place and the funding for this aspect of the project was returned.

In 2016 SWT hopes to attract funding for these vital translocations to take place. Top-up translocations will take place at the two previous receptor sites and a further two sites within the historic range will be targeted for translocation at specially prepared areas. Funding is also sought for further survey and monitoring of extant populations and ‘on the brink’ sites in Surrey and hopefully Hampshire.

Find out more about the work of the Surrey Wildlife Trust

Discover more ground beetle 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!

Name of species: Winter skate

Nominated by: IKANAWTIKET Environmental Inc

Conservation status: Endangered

Why IKANAWTIKET love the winter skate: The winter skate with its cape like body tapering into a long tail is a member of the shark family of fish which have survived the cataclysmic geological events of the formation of new oceans and new continents.  When we consider the survivor odds then with the survivor odds of our world today, the conservation status of “Endangered” for the winter skate speaks to the pillage, plunder and devastating character of the animal “homo sapiens”. It is an example of the unique evolution of a still present prehistoric creation that has adapted to the shores of different continents and different oceans.  We love the winter skate because it takes time to mature and it takes time to lay twenty to fifty embryo within a special anchored “purse” where the embryo slowly forms to begin life on its own after evolving for twenty-two months within a protective purse.

Threats to the winter skate’s survival: Of the 58 known extinctions of fish worldwide, 13 have been extinctions of skates. In the Atlantic, the biggest threat to winter skates is dragging for clams and scallops and bottom trawling for groundfish. The sandy and gravelly areas where winter skate purses are attached are also the preferred areas for scallops and clams. Over 90% of all winter skate bycatch and discards are from dragging and bottom trawling gear. The fishing gear destroys winter skate purses and habitat.

Information on IKANAWTIKET’s work with the winter skate: We at IKANAWTIKET Environmental Inc. are constantly advocating for our species to open their eyes, turn their heads to hear, open their mouth and nose to take in the air, sights and sounds of life on Mother Earth.  We try to influence government agencies, non-government organisations and educational institutions to foremost accept the fact that we are a part of creation, that there is a price to pay for our trespass and transgression on the life of other creatures. We would like to see a ban on destructive fishing practices, legal protection and more awareness of the winter skate, especially when celebrating Oceans Day in June.

Find out more about IKANAWTIKET and their campaign to save the winter skate

Discover more true ray and skate 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!

Species: Hedgehog

Nominated by: Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust

Conservation status UK priority species. According to the latest report in 2015 by Peoples Trust for Endangered Species & British Hedgehog Preservation Society there has been a continuing decline of the hedgehog across the UK, in both rural and urban landscapes. Since 2000, rural populations have declined by at least a half and urban populations by up to a third in the same period.

Why do you love it? It’s iconic, it’s enigmatic, it’s humble, it’s the gardener’s best friend and it’s quietly shuffling off this mortal coil with barely a squeak. In the past, the hedgehog has been a species which everyone has seen in their gardens or bumbling along down the streets in the evenings.

Despite the hedgehog’s spiky exterior, it has become embedded in British culture and is positively welcomed into gardens as a pest-controlling friend, it is much loved by everyone we talk to – everyone has a hedgehog tale to tell. Unfortunately it’s polite and secretive little character has seen its rapid decline go relatively unnoticed until recently – and more and more the answer we get when we ask ‘have you seen a hedgehog recently?’ is, ‘Actually, when I think about it – not for a years!’. We think it’s a long time overdue to show a little love to the humble hedgehog!

What are the threats to the hedgehog? There are many reasons for the decline in the UK hedgehog population, although the main reason is thought to be habitat fragmentation. As hedgerows have declined and roads have carved up the countryside, the foraging pathways for hedgehogs have disappeared and small pockets of populations which can’t travel between each other are formed. These populations can’t move or adjust to local pressures, whether that be disease, predation, flooding, starvation or the building of a new estate.

Intensive farming means the countryside no longer offers the comfort of many pastures to forage and hedgerows to shelter in. Pasture land which previously provided a varied habitat with plenty of insects have been turned into arable fields and ploughed for production; hedgerows have been removed to create larger, easier to plough fields; and pesticides have reduced the number of insects) available to be foraged.

In urban areas the story isn’t much better. Previously ‘leaky’ gardens are being made impenetrable with 6ft solid fencing and walls preventing our hedgehogs moving around and finding food and shelter; our gardens are becoming just too tidy – paving, concrete and gravel really doesn’t provide many spaces for insects to live and it really isn’t conducive to hibernation or shelter (well except for those lovely wood piles we built in the Autumn ready for bonfire night!). Pesticides are also a major factor, not only reducing hedgehog food sources, but also by direct poisoning – sadly they can’t tell the difference between a juicy fresh slug and one full of poison!

The largest and most dangerous ‘predator’ to the hedgehog is the car. Tens of thousands of hedgehogs are killed on roads every year, after all spines are little defence against a huge metal vehicle.

What are you doing to save it? In 2015 we launched a campaign to raise awareness of the plight of the hedgehog within Gloucestershire. Not only do we want to raise awareness and promote positive action from the public in their own gardens, but we are also desperate to gather local data to enable us to direct and focus our own conservation efforts to the areas where it is most needed.

We wanted to get across that although we know that hedgehogs are struggling, that their populations are declining – fast – it is very difficult to tell much more than that at this point. Both nationally and within Gloucestershire we know relatively little about the current population status of hedgehogs – and with limited data it is difficult to tell exactly what we can do and where we should focus our conservation efforts.

The most important thing we can do now is to find out more – the more we know the more we can do. So we need sightings. We need to know when you see a hedgehog (alive or dead) and equally important, we need know if you HAVEN’T SEEN a hedgehog in your garden or your local area. By gathering this information we can work out where they are, and over several years, how healthy the population is and where we need to focus our future conservation efforts.

If you live inGloucestershire, get involved with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s hedgehog project

Find out more about Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s work

Discover more hedgehog 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!

Species: Cownose ray

Nominated by: Shark Advocates International

Conservation status: The IUCN classifies the cownose ray as Near Threatened, and warns that the establishment of unregulated fisheries for this species “could be devastating.” A similar species found off Brazil has been seriously overfished and is now categorized as Endangered.

Why do you love it? The cownose ray is a true stand out in terms of high susceptibility to overfishing, inadequate protection, misperceptions, and potential to help related species. Without sound scientific basis, cownose rays have been used as scapegoats for all manner of ecological problems. For too long, people have been encouraged to hunt, eat, and deplete rather than appreciate and conserve this vulnerable species. On the other hand, few animals bring more joy to aquarium visitors than this seemingly smiley and friendly ray. At a time when rays are more threatened and less protected than sharks, the cownose ray could serve as an excellent and urgently needed ambassador for this remarkable group of fishes.

What are the threats to the cownose ray? Cownose rays are exceptionally susceptible to overexploitation largely because females produce very few young – usually just one pup per year after age seven. Among the most vulnerable of all sharks and rays, they are simply not biologically equipped to withstand heavy fishing. Despite this, cownose rays have long been persecuted based on a perception that they are a nuisance. In Central and South American parts of their range, there are few if any controls on the fisheries that take them. Even in the US, where catches of most sharks and rays are limited, cownose rays are completely unprotected in the face of increased recreational bow-hunting and commercial seafood marketing campaigns.

What are you doing to save it? Shark Advocates International has been working for several years to publicize the exceptional vulnerability of cownose rays, and elevate their conservation priority. We collaborate with leading scientists to promote research into the species’ biology and ecology, while actively urging fishery managers to set precautionary limits on catch and assess population status. Increased support from the public is critical to the conservation of this often-demonized species.

Find out more about Shark Advocates and their conservation work

Discover more ray and skate species on Arkive

 

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