Mar 12
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What would your science superhero power be?

FloraWe recently launched Team WILD, an exciting new online game in which you have the opportunity to become a science superhero where you must protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction. While the aim of the game is to engage young people with career opportunities in conservation, Team WILD has certainly caught the imaginations of the big kids in the ARKive office too. In between competitive keyboard tapping, drawing up an office leader board and lunch hours spent practising and perfecting those double jumps, the team here started to think about the environmental issues they could tackle if they really did have superpowers. As we all know, ‘with great power comes great responsibility’, and with this in mind, the team have come up with some ingenious ways they could use their ‘powers’ for good.

Kicking things off is Carolyn, our Online Marketing Officer, who took inspiration from our favourite web-slinger and decided that she would like spidey superpowers so that she could create webs to catch poachers. Preventing poaching would be a great step in helping to conserve species such as the Endangered eastern gorilla.

Eastern gorilla photo

Researcher Jemma went for a marine-themed power – the ability to breathe underwater so that she could free turtles trapped in fishing nets, a common cause of sea turtle mortality.

Turtle photo

Online Outreach Manager Ellie decided to think big – literally! She decided that by growing to giant size she would be able to defend habitats and halt the destruction of forests, protecting forest dwelling species like this Barbour’s forest tree frog.

Barbour’s forest tree frog photo

Thinking along similar lines, Text Author Liz decided that she’d like the power to make plants grow instantly just by touching the ground so that she could restore all the areas that humans have destroyed, as well as making towns and a bit greener and nicer!

Forest photo

Our Education Officer Helen thought outside the box, and decided that her superhero power would be time travel, so that she could travel back and save species before they go extinct – clever! First on her list would be the baiji, which although still technically listed as Critically Endangered is now sadly thought to be Extinct.

Baiji photo

Wildscreen Festival Assistant Becky opted for a stealthy power, the ability to be camouflaged and blend in with any habitat to observe animal behaviour and keep an eye out for poachers! The Critically Endangered black rhino would certainly benefit from such protection.

Black rhino photo

Finally, Text Author Kaz opted for a more subtle power, the power of persuasiveness, in order to convince more people to make the necessary changes to fight against climate change and species extinction. This is a vital tool in any campaign to protect the environment, and a power that we hope is both realistic and achievable.

Have your say!

We’ve also been putting this question to our followers on social media and have had some great responses so far. If you haven’t already, join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter:

@clairecjl: I’d be super-fast like The Flash and carry out a speedy vaccination program to protect African wild dogs from rabies #speciespower

@jimmac140: Although Aquaman seems kinda useless he must be good for something, Be warned anyone after sharks fin! Aquaman is on it!

@_Daktari_: I want Cupid’s Power to shoot arrows of LOVE for all living things in every human heart. It would save all species & their habitats.

@WWFHoBGI: Super-forest-defender – all species everywhere RT @ARKive Superpower would you like and which species would you save with it? #teamwildgame

@Owen_Thornton: there aren’t many superpowers that can help. Although, maybe ice control for saving the polar bears could help.

Harry Purple Monkey Dishwasher: Harry would have the superpower to heal all the forests, water, earth & air instantly. :D

Soph Kitty Preston: I would want xray vision to catch ppl smuggling animals and parts across borders.

Demetris Bertzeletos: The power to grant David Attenbourough immortality

Deborah Marland: I’d love the power of being able to make people forget that they are in wars & destroying the planet & make them start to treasure & nurture this world & all living creatures on it. The way it should be… If only……

Jan Hooper: i would like the power to make all weapons not work!

Dominique Hoekman: A bird with gigantic wings to fly whole over planet Earth to protect ‘Wildlife’

Mar 11
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ARKive Geographic: Montserrat

Located in the Caribbean Sea, the island of Montserrat is a fantastic place to observe pristine habitats on and offshore. A walk along the islands’ lush green coastline will make it clear why Montserrat holds the nickname ‘Emerald Isle’. However, the species of Montserrat are at a crossroads with both natural and human-caused environmental disturbances threatening some species with extinction.

Join the ARKive Geographic team as we take a trip to explore the species that make Montserrat so very special. We bet you’ll learn a thing or two about this little green gem that you didn’t know before!

Pigmented plumes

Photo of Montserrat oriole

The national bird of Montserrat, the Montserrat oriole has also become symbolic of the island’s conservation efforts. Recent volcanic eruptions in the country have reduced this species hill forest habitat to one third of its historic size. To safeguard the survival of the Montserrat oriole into the future, researchers and conservationists have embarked on a highly successful captive breeding program in the UK and populations should rebound barring any further volcanic disruptions.

Flashy fish

Photo of a queen triggerfish

Some might argue that a queen can have many moods however, not every queen can change colors to match them! The queen triggerfish has some very unique abilities with one of them being the ability to adjust the vibrancy of its scales depending on its mood. Another clever adaptation is the fish’s  ability to move its  eyes  independently of each other; a very useful skill for spotting danger.

Serene sea cow

Photo of a manatee

Speaking of species with fascinating abilities, the West Indian manatee has evolved to survive in both  freshwater and saltwater environments. If that isn’t interesting enough, recent evidence suggests that the manatees are able to detect pressure changes through a unique sixth sense: highly-tuned sensory hairs.

 Reticent reptile

Photo of a Montserrat galliwasp

While not much is known about this particular species, the Montserrat galliwasp faces threats that are still worth mentioning; the most critical being habitat loss. Environmental destruction (deforestation), fragmentation (splintering environments for development), and degradation (pollution and the introduction of non-native species) are all forms of habitat loss suffered by the species. As more information becomes available, Montserrat’s conservation efforts may help the galliwasp thrive, but until then this reptile’s biology and behavior remain a mystery.

Ambling amphibian

Photo of a mountain chicken frog

The mountain chicken frog may look unimposing but it actually has a carnivorous appetite and is considered the top endemic predator in Montserrat. Despite its place in the food chain, mountain chicken populations have been devastated by the deadly chytrid fungus. The mountain chicken stars in ARKive’s newest online education game, Team WILD, where players are tasked with evacuating non-infected mountain chickens from the island before they succumb to the fungus.

Photo of Team WILD play screen

The Team WILD game is a fun and unique way for students to discover the importance of a career in conservation and science – by turning scientists into superheroes! See if you can beat the current high score for saving the most mountain chicken frogs on Montserrat. Or, if you’re more interested in chytrid conservation news, check out a more in-depth ARKive blog on healthy frog reintroduction efforts.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual visit to Montserrat with us. If you’re not yet ready to return to the mainland, why not explore the 200+ species on ARKive that live on or visit the waters around Montserrat. And don’t forget to test your species-saving skills in Team WILD!

Andrea Small, Education and Outreach Intern, Wildscreen USA

Feb 28
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Do you have what it takes to join Team WILD? Find out in ARKive’s new online game!

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: to protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction. Are you ready for the challenge?

Photo of Team WILD play screen

From jungle to savannah, rainforests to coral reefs, help Team WILD monitor, survey and conserve. Discover the different types of field tasks a conservation scientist or ecologist must do in order to protect the world’s species and habitats, from the replanting of native guapuruvu trees in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil to the rescue and evacuation of non-infected mountain chickens (a frog) from Montserrat, where populations are being decimated by the deadly chytrid fungus.

Test your speed, skill and determination and see whether you’ve got what it takes to join this legion of science superheroes…

The Team WILD missions…

 

 Amphibian conservation Save the mountain chicken from a deadly disease in Montserrat

A deadly fungus is destroying the world’s amphibian populations. Team WILD needs to collect uninfected mountain chickens (a frog) to breed them and ensure the survival of the species.

Captive breeding in bio-secure breeding facilities and re-introduction of the mountain chicken is the best hope for its survival.

Coral reef conservation

Conserving coral reefs in the Chagos Archipelago

Scientists need to monitor coral reefs to make sure climate change and other threats such as overfishing or sedimentation are not having a negative effect on reef health.

Join Team WILD’s elite task force of divers to help survey the health of coral reefs in the Chagos Archipelago.

Reforestation

Reforestation in the Atlantic forest, Brazil

Team WILD needs help combating deforestation in Brazil. No tropical ecosystem has suffered as much loss as the Atlantic Forest, making reforestation projects here very important.

Over 90% of the Atlantic  forest has already been destroyed, so the team must act fast to replant native tree species, such as the guapuruvu tree.

Savannah

Surveying predator-prey relationships in the African savannah

Scientists study predator-prey relationships to help understand what might cause population changes over time.

Team WILD needs you on an important mission to help determine the relationships between predators and prey in the African savannah.

 

Are you a teacher? Find out how you can use Team WILD in the classroom.

Meet Team WILD’s science superheroes…

Flora

Root

 ROOT is a true radical. A research scientist to the core, he is nature’s ultimate guardian warrior. He’s also wildly cool.

A world-leading botanist, FLORA has a bit of a wild streak.She lets nothing stand in her way when solving the murkiest of scientific mysteries.

Play Team WILD!

 

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