Jun 4

Summer is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere and members of the Arkive Team can often be caught daydreaming at our desks about lemurs in Madagascar or giant tortoise in the Galapagos. This got us wondering what volunteer field opportunities might be out there for quenching both our wanderlust and interest in supporting conservation.

Below is a list of incredible chances to get up close and personal with species and the researchers that have dedicated their lives to them. Talk about a once in a lifetime experience! Which of these are your favorite?

Cheetah Conservation/Administrative (Namibia)

juvenile-cheetah-head-portrait

Juvenile cheetah

We originally mentioned this amazing opportunity with the Cheetah Conservation Fund in the story that kicked off our Arkive’s Conservation Heroes Series. Volunteers are needed to assist with data entry and other office related tasks but they will also help with chopping up meat for feeding the cheetah along with collecting and cataloging scat samples – joy!

Deer Herbivory Study (Seattle, Washington)

Odocoileus-virginianus-clavium-doe

White-tailed deer doe

Wolves are recolonizing northeast Washington state in America and scientists at the University of Washington can use some help discovering how the reintroduction of this species is affecting white-tailed deer grazing. Volunteers joining this study (available in two week increments) may have the opportunity to practice radio telemetry, install trail cameras, review camera footage and more. Talk about a serious resume-booster!

Fairywren Personality Study (Melbourne, Australia)

The white-winged fairy-wren is a close relative of the superb fairy-wren that is part of this study

Calling all bird fans! Volunteers are needed to help the University of Melbourne monitor a color-banded population of superb fairywrens to study their personalities. They will also census the birds as well as search and monitor their nests – amazing. We’re checking our passports for the minimum 6 blank pages as we speak!

Biological program – Habitat Restoration (Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge)

Laysan duck vocalizing

This opportunity has it all: habitat restoration, invasive species removal, bird nest monitoring, and all in a ridiculously beautiful island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Volunteers will join the United States Fish and Wildlife Service with native plant propagation and even helping to remove ocean debris before it pollutes the health of the local animals and environment.  Overall, a total win-win!

Galapagos Turtle Center – Conservation (Galapagos Islands)

Volcan-Alcedo-tortoise-in-habitat

Volcan Alcedo tortoise in habitat

You had us at Galapagos! Volunteers with the Intercultural Outreach Initiative Galapagos will feed and care for tortoises, maintain their enclosures, and measure their shells for growth charts. They will also educate tourists about tortoises and inform them of rules and regulations. Where do we sign up?!

Giraffe and Wildlife Conservation Project (Nairobi, Kenya)

Male-southern-giraffe-drinking-at-waterhole

Male southern giraffe drinking at waterhole

This project has really piqued our interest, not just because it involves working with the amazing species and habitats of Kenya, but because part of the experience involves tracking large mammals alongside young Masai Mara. If you are interested in the intersection of conservation and culture, this is for you! Volunteers with Life Net Nature assist with new studies of Masai giraffe nursery groups and help monitor wildlife. The volunteer dates are scheduled at peak wildebeest migration period – as if we needed any more reason to join!

Monitor Endangered Lemurs (Madagascar)

Black-and-white ruffed lemur resting, close up of head

For all lovers of lemurs, have we got a treat for you. Join the Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium to help gather information on lemur habitat usage, population dynamics, and territorial range, all of which will aid in conservation of these endangered species. Imagine walking the forests of Madagascar with researches tracking and observing radio-collared lemurs. Yep, we’re in!

Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates – Habitat restoration (Uttarakhand, India) 

The forests of the Gadoli and Manda Khal Fee Simple Estates are prime habitat for leopards

Previously highlighted in our Arkive’s Conservation Heroes series, volunteers would assist with The Gadoli and Manda Khal Wildlife Conservation Trust with restoration and reforestation of degraded forest within the estates. They would also help with surveys of the flora and fauna of the area and work with local school children to share the importance of this special place.

To learn more contact Subir Chowfin: thcmchowfin@yahoo.com

Note that, while the Arkive Team is sharing these opportunities with you, we are not responsible or liable for the integrity or safety of the programs or the entities that have organized them. We just think these are pretty amazing opportunities and strive to help spread the word of species and the organizations dedicated to helping them to survive. If you like this feature, let us know in the comments and we’ll bring you more!

 

 William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

May 23

Happy World Turtle Day Everyone!! The first ever World Turtle Day started in 2000 and  was sponsored by the American Tortoise Rescue. This day aims to bring attention to and increase knowledge and respect for turtles and tortoises. It encourages humans to take action to help them survive and thrive in the wild.

Here at Arkive, we decided to celebrate World Turtle Day by having a caption contest on our Arkive Facebook page. We picked three turtle images and asked folks to caption each one. So today, on World Turtle Day, we are happily announcing the winning caption of each image!

 

The first picture we posted, was this picture of an Euphrates softshell turtle.

Euphrates softshell turtle photo

 

And the honorable mentions are …

Emma Cogny caption

Emma Cogny caption

Matt Lodge Photo caption

Matt Lodge Photo caption

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner is …

Ulises Silva caption

Ulises Silva caption

 

 

The second picture we posted was this picture of these two green turtles.

green turtles on the beach photo

And the honorable mentions are …

Karina Porras De Ohep caption

Karina Porras De Ohep caption

Cheryl Miller caption

Cheryl Miller caption

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner is …

Chrys Mason caption

Chrys Mason caption

 

 

The last picture that we posted was of the green turtle hatchlings.

Green turtle hatchlings

And the honorable mentions are …

Terri Leigh Walker-Frankeny caption

Terri Leigh Walker-Frankeny caption

Richard Coupar caption

Richard Coupar caption

 

 

 

 

 

And the winner is …

Mariya Strauss caption

Mariya Strauss caption

 

Congratulations to all of our winners and thanks to everyone who participated.

Happy World Turtles Day!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

 

May 23

The 23rd of May is World Turtle Day – a whole 24 hours dedicated to highlighting the plight of the hundreds of turtle and tortoise species around the world. These incredible reptiles range from the feisty to the downright funky, so here at ARKive we thought we would join in the celebrations by sharing our top turtle facts and some turtley awesome images!

Common snapping turtle image

The common snapping turtle is a rather feisty species, known for being somewhat short-tempered and aggressive

Top Turtle Tidbits

  • Turtles are found on every continent, except for Antarctica
  • Turtles are thought to have lived on Earth for over 200 million years
  • There are more than 330 recognised species of tortoise and turtle, just 7 of which are sea turtles
  • The sex of most turtle hatchlings is dependent on the temperature at which they are incubated – in many species, low incubation temperatures produce males, whereas higher temperatures lead to the production of females
Flatback turtle image

A mysterious species, the flatback turtle is listed as Data Deficient on the IUCN Red List

Turtle Profile: Flatback turtle

  • The distinctive-looking flatback turtle is distinguished by and named for its extremely flat, round or oval upper shell, which characteristically turns upwards at the rim
  • The flatback turtle is the only endemic species of marine turtle, nesting solely along the northern coast of Australia and on off-shore islands
  • This species has one of the smallest ranges of all the marine turtles, being limited to the tropical waters of northern Australia, Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya
  • This enigmatic species is known to produce the largest eggs and hatchlings relative to its adult body size of all the sea turtle species

Fascinating flatback fact – Over much of its nesting range, the flatback turtle is predated upon by the largest reptile of them all – the saltwater crocodile!

Chaco side-necked turtle image

Any guesses as to how the Chaco side-necked turtle got its name?!

Did you know?

  • Although all turtles and tortoises have a shell, not all of them are able to withdraw their head and limbs into it
  • The shell of a turtle or tortoise is actually made up of many different bones, and is an evolutionary modification of the rib cage and a section of the vertebral column
  • The upper part of the shell is known as the ‘carapace’, while the under part is called the ‘plastron’
Burmese starred tortoise image

The Critically Endangered Burmese starred tortoise has a striking shell pattern

Testudines under threat

Turtles and tortoises belong to the taxonomic order ‘Testudines’, and are among the world’s most endangered vertebrates, with about half of these incredible reptilian species being at risk of extinction. They face a whole host of threats, from pollution and habitat destruction to collection for the pet trade, food or for use in traditional medicines.

One of the most threatened species of all is Swinhoe’s soft shell turtle, also known as the Yangtze giant softshell turtle, which can weigh over 120kg. The historic range of this enormous species has diminished considerably as a result of wetland destruction, water pollution and over-collection of the species for consumption, and the global population of this fascinating reptile now numbers just four individuals, two of which are in captivity.

Swinhoe's soft shell turtle image

Unfortunately, only two individuals of Swinhoe’s soft shell turtle remain in the wild, both of which are male

What is being done to help?

Thankfully, various conservation organisations and individuals are working tirelessly to help save turtles and tortoises from the brink of extinction. Here are some actions being taken to ensure the future survival of these fascinating creatures:

  • Shrimp fisheries are now using Turtle Excluder Devices, which only allow shrimp-sized objects to enter the nets, preventing turtles from being caught as bycatch
  • Many species are now listed on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which means that international trade is strictly monitored and controlled – this should hopefully prevent some collection of wild turtles for the international pet trade
  • Some nesting sites are protected during the nesting season to ensure that eggs cannot be collected and subsequently sold
  • Captive breeding programmes and the protection of areas which are known to support turtle populations could ensure the long-term survival of these magnificent reptiles

Are you turtley in awe of sea turtles? Want to learn more about them? Then why not check out our eggshellent new ARKive Education resource – Turtle Life Cycle – and play the turtle-tastic board game!

Find out more about turtles, tortoises and their conservation:

Learn more about reptile conservation:

View photos and videos of turtle and tortoise species on ARKive

 

Kathryn Pintus, ARKive Text Author

About

RSS feedArkive.org is the place for films, photos and facts about endangered species. Subscribe to our blog today to keep up to date!

Email updates

Sign up to receive a regular email digest of Arkive blog posts.
Preferred frequency:

Arkive twitter