Nov 29

Wildscreen’s mission is to convene the best filmmakers and photographers with the most committed conservationists to create compelling stories about the natural world; that inspire the wider public to experience it, feel part of it and protect it.

Films and photographs have an amazing power – they are able to transcend boundaries of language and knowledge – and are one of the most important tools that conservation organisations have to communicate with the public. This is why we are creating our own films and photographs, working with the best filmmakers and photographers to tell the amazing stories of the world’s conservation organisations and the species they work with.

Pangolins

Our most recent film was made with award-winning production company Five Films and kindly narrated by stand-up comedian Sarah Millican. It tells the story of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, an amazing conservation organisation who rescue and rehabilitate wildlife. In the film, a group of pangolins that have been rescued from wildlife traffickers are cared for by the SVT staff, before being taken back to the forest to be released. Watch it here:

pango copy

Pangolins are in trouble. They are the world’s most trafficked mammal, and are also an animal that most people haven’t heard of. If people don’t know about an issue, they are won’t care about it, so sharing this film and your knowledge of these amazing animals is one of the best things you can do to help save them.

Gannets

Earlier in the year we worked with wildlife photographer Sam Hobson to tell the story of the gannet nesting colony on Grassholm Island. Due to the position of the island and the currents surrounding it, the island has become extremely polluted with washed-up plastic. Gannets are frequently caught in the fishing line, packaging and other plastic items that they nest on, often leading to their demise. Due to gannets having nest fidelity, clearing the litter is not an option as this would disturb the breeding habits of the colony, which could affect the entire population.

Our recent photo story with Sam Hobson. telling the story of a polluted gannet nesting islandFortunately, the gannets have some superheroes in the shape of a team of RSPB volunteers who visit the island during the breeding season and attempt to cut as many individuals free as they can. Risking life and limb, the dedication of these volunteers is extremely admirable and the telling of their story generated conversation and raised awareness throughout the UK, hopefully leading to people thinking twice before disposing of their plastic litter irresponsibly.

 

We would love to help even more conservation organisations and endangered species get their stories heard by creating more films and photographs that reach as many people as possible. Please help us to do this by donating to Wildscreen this #GivingTuesday.

Thank you!

Oct 9

Wildscreen is one of three organisations to be honoured with a World Tourism Award during a ceremony on November 2, 2015 at the World Travel Market, ExCel Centre, London.

Tusk Trust and the TreadRight Foundation will also receive this prestigious award, with all of the organisations being recognised for their commitment to conservation, sustainable tourism development, creating unique initiatives to bring the travel experience to people with special needs as well as assisting local communities in overcoming challenging times.

Wildscreen has won this award: in recognition of its mission to encourage everyone to experience the natural world and help to protect it.  Wildscreen convenes the world’s best photographers and filmmakers with conservationists, creating the most compelling stories about the natural world.”

The Award itself, Inspire, was specially designed and handcrafted on the Mediterranean Island of Malta by Mdina Glass, and celebrates the qualities of leadership and vision that inspire others to reach new heights.  The Award will be accepted by Wildscreen patron, zoologist and broadcaster, Dr. George McGavin and the ceremony will be attended by the Wildscreen team and VIP guests.

Wildscreen team with patron Dr George McGavin

Wildscreen team with patron Dr George McGavin

A big thank you from the Wildscreen team!

Apr 30

Disneynature’s latest film Chimpanzee,  which was exclusively previewed on the opening night of Wildscreen Festival 2012, is coming to cinemas across the UK on May 3rd.  Chimpanzee follows the remarkable story of Oscar, a baby chimp whose life takes a surprising turn after he is left all alone following a confrontation with a rival band of chimps. Here at the ARKive office to celebrate the release of this film we thought we would take a closer look at chimpanzees, our closest living relative.

A young chimpanzee

Along with the pygmy chimp and bonobo, the chimpanzee is the closest living relative to humans, and is estimated to share 98 percent of our genes. Chimpanzees are very social animals living in stable communities which range in size from 15 to 150 members. Male chimpanzees stay in the same community for their entire lives where a strict linear hierarchy is employed. 

Group of sleeping chimpanzees

Chimpanzees feed mainly on fruit, but when this is scarce they supplement their diet with leaves, seeds and insects. Another favourite food of chimpanzees is meat, with groups cooperating together to hunt and kill monkeys. Chimpanzees are highly intelligent animals and are one of few species known to use tools. They use sticks to remove ants or termites from their nests and stones to crack open nuts. Chimpanzees are also known to use leaves as sponges to absorb drinking water.

Chimpanzee using a rock to crack a palm nut

Female chimpanzees normally give birth to one infant which develops slowly. Young chimpanzees ride on their mothers back, gripping on to her fur, until the age of two and are not weaned until around four years old, although they retain strong ties with their mother after this. 

Female chimpanzee with her baby

Chimpanzees will often spend hours grooming each other, removing dirt, insects and seeds from each others fur. This not only keeps individuals dirt free and healthy, but it also helps to strengthen and maintain bonds between group members.

Chimpanzees grooming each other

To find out more visit ARKive’s chimpanzee species profile. 

Jemma Pealing
Media Researcher

May 18

ARKive has been going for 9 years now, and our quest to profile every threatened species is still going strong. But the list of species seems to be ever growing – there have been some incredible species discovered during ARKive’s lifetime. It’s a privilege to be able to showcase some of these on the ARKive website. So just what has been found over the last 9 years?  

2003: Kipunji discovered

Kipunji  (Rungwecebus kipunji)

Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)

A remarkable find in 2003, the kipunji was Africa’s first new monkey discovery in 20 years. Originally named the highland mangabey, the kipunji actually belongs to a whole new genus and is far more closely related to baboons than to mangabeys. The kipunji is endemic to southern Tanzania, and its population is thought to number a mere 1,117 individuals.

 2004: Hawaiian cyanea tree discovered

Hawaiian cyanea tree (Cyanea magnicalyx)

Hawaiian cyanea tree (Cyanea magnicalyx)

This large, tree-like shrub is endemic to Hawaiian island of Maui. Sadly, there were fewer than ten Hawaiian cyanea trees remaining by 2008. In Hawaii it is listed as a “Species of Greatest Conservation Need”, and significant efforts are being made to preserve the remaining individuals.

 2005: Goodman’s mouse lemur discovered

Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)

Goodman's mouse lemur (Microcebus lehilahytsara)

While ARKive was just getting off its feet, another primate was being added to the species tally. Goodman’s mouse lemur, named after primatologist Steve Goodman, can be found in Madagascan rainforests. Its arboreal and nocturnal nature along with its remote location may explain how this primate managed to keep out of the scientists spotlight for so long.

2006: Kaempfer’s woodpecker rediscovered

Kaempfer’s woodpecker (Celeus obrieni)

Kaempfer’s woodpecker (Celeus obrieni)

Originally known from a specimen collected in 1926, Kaempfer’s woodpecker was rediscovered 80 years later. One of Brazil’s most enigmatic birds, Kaempfer’s woodpecker is only found in Cerrado, a unique tropical woodland-savanna ecosystem. Kaempfer’s woodpecker is suspected to have a highly patchy distribution and a small population size. Its habitat is under threat as around three million hectares of Cerrado are destroyed each year.

2007:  Banggai crow rediscovered

Banggai crow  (Corvus unicolor)

Banggai crow (Corvus unicolor)

Known from only two specimens collected in the 19th Century and with numerous expeditions failing to find it in the 1990’s, the Banggai crow was long presumed extinct. Unconfirmed sightings of the crow gave hope to its continued survival, and in 2007 two Banggai crows were recorded, bringing this species ‘back’ from extinction. However, it remains Critically Endangered – the small numbers recorded indicate a very small population in an area experiencing high rates of habitat loss.

2008: Ayres black uakari discovered

Ayres black uakari  (Cacajao ayresi)

Ayres black uakari (Cacajao ayresi)

Another primate discovered in the 21st Century and our second hidden gem of Brazil is Ayres black uakari. It has been seen only twice in the wild and so very little is known about this elusive species. Its short tail has baffled scientists, as long tails normally help arboreal species like the uakari to keep balance in the treetops.

2009: The David Bowie spider discovered

David Bowie spider  (Heteropoda davidbowie)

David Bowie spider (Heteropoda davidbowie)

The David Bowie spider is a large spider with yellow hair, and is found only in Malaysia. It was discovered and named by German spider expert Peter Jäger. Its celebrity common name has helped draw attention to the spider and the often-overlooked threats to this and many other species of invertebrate.

2010: Beaked toad discovered

Beaked toad  (Rhinella sp. nov.)

Beaked toad (Rhinella sp. nov.)

The beaked toad was one of 3 new discoveries on an expedition to find amphibians in Colombia. Its beaked nose gained this species the name ‘Mr. Burns toad” after the notorious villain from The Simpsons. This species has an unusual lifecycle as it bypasses the tadpole stage, with fully formed toadlets hatching from eggs.

More information on the Search for Lost Frogs campaign can be found on the Conservation International website.

2011: Chalazodes bubble-nest frog rediscovered

Chalazodes bubble-nest frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)

Chalazodes bubble-nest frog (Raorchestes chalazodes)

The Chalazodes bubble-nest frog was last seen in India in 1874. An expedition to find the Lost Amphibians of India uncovered 5 species not seen for decades, including Ramanella anamalaiensis and Micrixalus thampii. Many of these species live in highly degraded habitats and remain at risk of extinction.

2012: Leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra) discovered

Leaf chameleon  (Brookesia micra)

Leaf chameleon (Brookesia micra)

One of the most recent additions to ARKive is the leaf chameleon Brookesia micra. This tiny chameleon is one of the world’s smallest lizards, measuring in at just 29mm. This was one of four new species found during an expedition to northern Madagascar. During the day these minute reptiles disappear into the leaf litter, while they can be spotted at night as they climb up to the branches to sleep. Restricted to a tiny range of one square kilometre, Brookesia micra is an example of extreme island dwarfism. Read more about these tiny discoveries on the BBC Nature website.  

These recent discoveries highlight how much of life on Earth remains unknown. The last 9 years have offered a plethora of new and exciting finds: with so much still to uncover, the next 9 years look to be equally as exciting!

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

Apr 24

If you’ve been paying close attention to the ARKive Education pages recently you may well have noticed that a new logo has appeared beside a couple of the modules in the 7-11 age group.

This new icon signals that ‘Adaptation: Design a Species’ and ‘Marvellous Mini-beasts’ are now both CREST Star accredited. This means they have been assessed and found to meet all of the required criteria for accreditation so can now count towards a recognised award here in the UK, the CREST SuperStar Award.

Super Star logo

During the accreditation process we have been working closely with the CREST Star Investigators National Programme Coordinator, Dylan O’Sullivan, so who better to help us explain the ins and outs of CREST Star Investigators.

ARKive: So what is CREST Star Investigators?

Dylan: CREST Star Investigators is a UK-wide award scheme that enables primary school children to solve science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) problems through practical investigation. The activities focus on a mixture of practical activities and discussion, and encourage children to work independently of adults; it’s all about hands-on fun investigation. They are designed to be used primarily outside of lessons and you don’t need a science background to run them which means they are great for clubs and home schooling; they do also have clear curriculum links and many teachers use them for practical lessons.

CREST Star Investigators logo

ARKive: What does your role involve?

Dylan: As National Programme Coordinator my role is to develop the programme to reach as many schools and children as possible. The main focus has been a move towards an online membership resource which will allow us to deliver more activities at an affordable cost to schools, and to provide other benefits to member schools; this will happen in September 2012. The other area we have been developing is our strategic partnerships; these fall into 2 main categories: sponsorship of new activities, and our rapidly expanding activity accreditation partnership programme which has grown to include some of the UK’s top science learning centres and online providers.

ARKive is one of a number of organisations that have accredited activities – including the Science Museum, Planet Science and @Bristol.

ARKive: What do you look for in potential partner organisations?

Dylan: Our main criteria for accrediting activities is that they must fit our guiding principles for CREST Star. Activities must offer the children the opportunity to:

  • solve a relevant, science-based problem, set within a context
  • work in pairs or small groups, independently of adults
  • take part in practical, hands-on science activities
  • think and talk about science, during the activity and when sharing their ideas.

We want to encourage children and educators to take science learning beyond the classroom, and to develop a love for the science that is all around us.

ARKive education pages with CREST logos

 

ARKive: What was it about Wildscreen’s resources that led you to contact us about becoming a partner?

Dylan: We love Wildscreen’s resources. The ARKive website is a great interactive source of wildlife and conservation information, and its strong visual focus makes it ideal for younger learners. The education resources are well thought out and very engaging, as well as a lot of fun. The accredited adaptation activities really get learners involved and thinking about how life evolves and adapts, and what could be a more fun way to learn about evolution and adaptation than designing your own species! We also firmly believe in the aims of Wildscreen and the ARKive project, so we are very happy to give our support to the organisation.

Our accredited resources can be found on our education page, along with our three newest modules – Nocturnal Animals, What is an Endangered Species? and Sizing Up Species.

For more information on the CREST Star Investigators visit the British Science Association website.

Laura Sutherland, ARKive Education Officer

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