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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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: Malagasy jumping rat

Nominated by: IUCN Small Mammal Specialist Group

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? Lemurs often steal the limelight when it comes to talking about wildlife in Madagascar, but there are a lot of other weird and wonderful animals there, including one from our Specialist Group- the giant jumping rat! This rabbit-like mammal has long pointed ears and elongated hindlegs and large hind feet that allow it to leap almost a metre into the air. It bears little resemblance to its better known rodent cousins, having been isolated on the island of Madagascar for much of its evolutionary history: indeed, it is ranked number 80 on the EDGE mammals list because of its quirkiness and Endangered status. Unusually for rodents, they form monogamous lifelong pair bonds….what could be more romantic for St. Valentine’s Day?

What are the threats to the jumping rat?Unlike most rodents, this species has a slow pace of life, with females having just one or two offspring per year. This extremely low reproductive rate means that it is not able to recover quickly if affected by threats. It is particularly vulnerable to predation by dogs, and to habitat loss and fragmentation caused by logging activity, slash-and-burn agriculture, and charcoal production that is occurring throughout its range. There are currently two subpopulations which are confined to small forest fragments on the west coast of Madagascar.

What are you doing to save it? The key role of the Small Mammal SG for this species is to undertake the Red List reassessment. We are looking for research which has taken place since 2008, which was the last time it was assessed and listed as Endangered. In addition to this information gathering we are contacting experts on the giant jumping rat in Madagascar and internationally to assist us with deciding on the most appropriate Red List category and criteria.

Conservation actions on the ground include using sustainable forestry techniques to enable the species’ survival in the Kirindy Forest, a government-owned forest concession. Research into the behavioural ecology of this species has been carried out for a number of years at the research station of the German Primate Centre in the Kirindy Forest. The Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust (DWCT) is working with the local Malagasy to conduct detailed surveys into the status and threats facing the wild population. It is also involved in a community education programme which aims to raise awareness of conserving the species’ forest habitat, and is working to get a part of the species’ remaining habitat declared an official protected reserve. In 1990, DWCT established a captive breeding programme which has proved successful. The coordinated international efforts of DWCT plus 16 other institutions has resulted in an established ‘safety net’ population.

Find out more about the work of the Small Mammal SG

Discover more rodent species on Arkive

 

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Feb 1

We asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be 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: Mona Island iguana

Nominated by: Island Conservation

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? Dinosaurs may have gone extinct, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the impressive Mona Island iguana found solely on Mona Island.

Described as one of the last bastions of biodiversity within Puerto Rico, Mona Island’s isolation and limited human access have allowed a high diversity of rare plant and animal communities to persist on Mona, literally making the island a treasure trove for biodiversity. Situated midway between the islands of Puerto Rico and La Hispañiola, this 13,590 acre limestone island remains a stronghold for numerous species unique to the island, including the Mona Island iguana. The Mona Island iguana has a large body, strong legs, vertically flattened tail, and a crest of pointed, horned scales runs from the nape of its neck to the tip of its tail. Reaching up to 1.22 metres (4 feet) in length, the Mona Island iguana is the largest land invertebrate and herbivore on the island, making them essential to maintaining a healthy island ecosystem.

What are the threats to the Mona Island iguana: Population numbers for the Endangered Mona Island iguana are estimated at around 5,000. Juveniles are scarce and represent only five to ten percent of the population, resulting in an aging and declining population. Feral cats and pigs present on Mona Island are the main cause of this species decline; both invasive species directly prey on young iguanas and eggs. With considerable impacts to their nesting habitat due to pig predation, habitat modification and sometimes, limited availability of suitable nesting areas (large depression forest patches comprise only about three percent of total land area), it is essential we remove invasive species from Mona to protect this threatened species from extinction.

What are you doing to save it? Island Conservation is working with the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove invasive species from Mona Island, Puerto Rico. A restored Mona will provide safe habitat for species found only on the island, such as the Mona Island iguana. Our work will also protect the endemic Mona yellow-shouldered blackbird and the Mona boa, increase populations of hawksbill sea turtles, and protect a significant population of higo chumbo cactus.

Find out more about Island Conservation’s work on Mona Island

Discover more lizard and snake 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: Leatherback turtle

Nominated by: Sea Turtle Conservancy

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Why do you love it? Leatherbacks are very unique as they are the only sea turtle species without a hard shell. They also grow the largest, swim the farthest, and dive the deepest, all while existing on a diet of jellyfish! They are the most widely distributed of all sea turtles and have been found as far north as Alaska and as far south as the southern tip of Africa. They are known to be active in water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the only reptile known to remain active at such a low temperature. One of our favourite features on a leatherback is their amazing mouth!

What are the threats to the leatherback turtle? The greatest threat to leatherback sea turtles is from incidental take in commercial fisheries. Each year hundreds of thousands of turtles are accidentally captured in fisheries ranging from highly mechanised operations to small-scale fishermen around the world. Global estimates of annual capture, injury and mortality are staggering — 150,000 sea turtles (all species) are killed in shrimp trawls and large numbers of all species are drowned in gill nets. The extent of gill net mortality is unknown, but sea turtle capture is significant where studied, and the drowning of sea turtles in gill nets may be comparable to trawl and longline mortality. Deaths in gill nets are particularly hard to quantify because these nets are set by uncounted numbers of local fishermen in tropical waters around the world. Another major threat to leatherbacks is marine pollution such as balloons and plastic bags floating in the water, which are mistaken for jellyfish and eaten.

What are you doing to save it? STC works to conserve leatherback turtle populations at multiple project sites including: Tortuguero, Costa Rica; Soropta Beach, Panama and Chiriqui Beach, Panama. Leatherback nests at Chiriqui Beach are on the rise and in 2015, STC researchers counted over 5,000 nests. On Soropta Beach, leatherback nesting was double that of 2014! In 2014 we had 379 nests and in 2015 we had 781 on the stretch of beach we monitor.

Poaching of nests and turtles has also been significantly reduced in all areas where STC researchers are present. We also have a program where we equip leatherback turtles from Panama with satellite transmitters so that we can study their migration patterns. So far, we have tracked the migrations of 30 leatherbacks. Their live satellite maps can be viewed on our website’s Turtle Tracker, along with dozens of other species of turtles we are tracking.

Find out more about STC’s Turtle Tracker project

Discover more turtle 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: Harbour porpoise

Nominated by: Sea Watch Foundation

Conservation status: Least Concern

Why do you love it? We love it because more than any other, it is the one cetacean species most associated with the coasts of the British Isles. It is our smallest species, often taken for granted because it goes about its life in an undemonstrative, relatively retiring, manner and yet more than almost any other British sea mammal, it is vulnerable to a wide variety of threats posed by human activities in the seas around us.

What are the threats to the harbour porpoise? Although common and not threatened globally, in northern Europe it faces several major pressures from human activities. Large numbers suffer a terrible slow death every year, entangled in fishing nets; porpoises in Britain have been shown to have dangerously high levels of pollutants (PCBs in particular); and in many parts it experiences disturbance from water sports and other recreational activities.

What are you doing to save it? We monitor harbour porpoises around the British Isles to assess their status and identify conservation threats. In the 1980s we drew attention to widespread declines in the species in Europe and were actively involved in the establishment of Europe’s first international legislative agreement for the conservation of small cetaceans, ASCOBANS, under UNEP’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. The particular vulnerability of this species being confined more or less to shelf seas has resulted in it receiving special focus from ASCOBANS, and led to it being placed in a special Annex under the EU Habitats & Species Directive that requires the establishment of a network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). However, Britain is the only northern European country with porpoises that has not formally proposed SACs despite the fact that we have some of the most significant population of the species. We have been campaigning for many years for the UK to fulfil those legal obligations, and at last this is up for debate with public consultations announced in January 2016.

Find out more about the work of the Sea Watch Foundation

Discover more porpoise species on Arkive

 

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