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: Livingstone’s flying fox

Nominated by: Dahari Comores

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? Livingstone’s flying fox is the fourth largest bat in the world. It’s an endemic species from the Comoros. They are large, black and majestic.

What are the threats to Livingstone’s flying fox? The species suffers from wide ranging habitat loss and degradation. The deforestation rate in the Comoros is among the highest rates in the world, therefore its roosting sites are threatened.

What are you doing to save it? Dahari works with Comorian communities to protect the roost sites. We adopted a payment for ecosystem service approach, with the aim of working with landowners in the vicinity of roost sites to promote agricultural practices that are compatible with safeguarding roosts.

Find out more about Dahari Comores

Discover more bat species on Arkive



Jun 27

Fed up of the lack of sun? In need of a holiday? Let ARKive transport you off to the wonderful islands of the Indian Ocean with our new topic page.  From the coral reefs of the Maldives to the unique wildlife of Madagascar, the islands of the Indian Ocean boast a wide range of beautiful habitats and fascinating species.  To get you started, here is a taster of a few of the unusual endemic species which call the islands of the Indian Ocean home.

The Maldives is just one of the island nations featured on the Indian Ocean islands topic page

A hedgehog? A shrew?

Madagascar, made popular by the hit DreamWorks film of the same name, is the fourth biggest island in the world and boasts a wide range of endemic species. The ring-tailed lemur, the fossa and the aye-aye are among the more well-known species which inhabit this island, but there are also many other less well known but interesting critters. An example of such a species is the lowland streaked tenrec, an insectivore which looks like a cross between a shrew and a hedgehog. It is not just the appearance of tenrecs which is unusual – they are also the only mammal to communicate using a technique called stridulation. Stridulation is when animals communicate by rubbing two body parts together. In the case of the tenrec, it produces a high-pitched ultrasound by rubbing together specialised quills on its back.

Tenrecs only exist in Madagascar

A tree that bleeds?

The most distinctive plant on Socotra, an island located in the north-western Indian Ocean, is probably the dragon’s blood tree.  This species gets its name from the dark red resin it naturally exudes, known as ‘dragon’s blood’, a substance which has been highly prized since ancient times. This resin has been used to colour wool, decorate houses and pottery, and for many medicinal purposes.

The bizarre shape of the dragon’s blood tree helps it to survive in often arid conditions

From the brink of extinction

A bird from Mauritius which seemed to be following the same fate as the dodo was the Mauritius kestrel. However, a world-renowned conservation programme rescued it from the brink of extinction. Once widespread across Mauritius, by 1974 the population of this species only numbered six individuals, two of which were in captivity. An extremely successful reintroduction programme, supported by the Government of Mauritius, the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust International (now known as the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust), the Mauritian Wildlife Foundation and the Peregrine Fund, led to a spectacular recovery, with the bird being downgraded from Endangered to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.

Released Mauritius kestrel individuals show a greater tolerance for degraded habitats and open areas

Pollinating bat

Endemic to the islands of Anjouan and Moheli in the Comoros archipelago, Livingstone’s flying fox is one of the largest bats in existence, with an average wingspan of 1.4 m! This species does not use echolocation, but instead locates fruit with its well-developed vision and sense of smell. Due to the Livingstone’s flying fox’s diet of fruit and flowers, it plays an important role as a pollinator and seed dispersal agent.

The Livingstone’s flying fox is one of the most threatened bat species

Minute marvel

From one of the largest to one of the smallest, the Gardiner’s tree frog is one of the tiniest frogs in the world, growing to a maximum length of only 11 mm. Endemic to the Seychelles, the nocturnal Gardiner’s tree frog forages for small invertebrates at night. Unlike most frogs, which lay their eggs in water, this frog lays its eggs in small clumps on moist ground. The young then hatch from these eggs as fully formed froglets, not tadpoles.

The Seychelles has the highest number of endemic amphibians in the world

If you want to find out more about the different islands these species inhabit, or if you just fancy a quick trip to paradise, don’t forget to check out our Indian Ocean islands page.

The Seychelles are composed of 115 islands

Jemma Pealing, ARKive Researcher


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