Oct 25

WildPhotos, the UK’s largest nature photography symposium, took place at the Royal Geographical Society on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October. Like ARKive, WildPhotos is another of Wildscreen’s initiatives, and of course the team jumped at the chance to head along and hear stories and tips from some of the world’s leading nature photographers. The event was a huge success, and for those of you that couldn’t make it (and those who would just like to relive it!) we thought we would bring you some of our highlights…

Sensational Speakers

Each year WildPhotos attracts a dazzling array of speakers, and this year’s programme was no exception. Top wildlife photographers from around the world were kind enough to share their stories, hints, tips, and even the odd embarrassing anecdote! Every speaker was inspirational, and we particularly enjoyed hearing from Mateusz Piesiak, Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2011. At the tender age of 14, and despite only recently learning English, Mateusz gave a confident talk about his winning image and several other beautiful shots from his portfolio.

Mateusz Piesiak photo

Mateusz Piesiak, the Veolia Environnement Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year


Winning Wildlife Photographers

Mateusz Piesiak wasn’t the only winner from this year’s Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition to take the stage at WildPhotos. Over the course of the event, delegates were treated to talks from Alex Badyaev, Peter Chadwick, Erlend Haarberg, Bence Máté, Thomas P Peschak, Benjam Pöntinen, Cyril Ruoso, Paul Souders and of course Daniel Beltrá, the overall winner. You can check out all the speakers on the WildPhotos website, and their winning and commended photographs can be seen here.

Thomas P Peschak photo

Thomas P Peschak, who was highly commended in the Underwater World category, with compère Mark Carwardine


Editorial Tips from the Top

On Saturday afternoon there was a session focused on what makes a winning picture, with advice and insights from three of the biggest names in the wildlife magazine world, Ruth Eichhorn – Director of Photography for the GEO magazine group, Kathy Moran – National Geographic magazine’s Senior Editor for Natural History Projects, and Sophie Stafford – Editor of BBC Wildlife.

Editorial tips from the top photo

Editorial tips from Kathy Moran, Sophie Stafford and Ruth Eichhorn, with compère Chris Packham


The Power of Social Media

Paul Hassell gave a fascinating talk on the power of social media, something we have really embraced here at Wildscreen. To demonstrate how easily stories and media can be distributed using social networking, and the buzz that it can generate, Paul shot and uploaded a great behind the scenes video from WildPhotos which he shared via YouTube and Facebook.

If you were at WildPhotos and would like to share your thoughts and personal highlights with us we would love to hear from you, please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or join the chat on Twitter (#WildPhotos) or the WildPhotos Facebook page.

If you couldn’t make it along this year then fear not, as WildPhotos will be returning again in 2012. To keep up to date with the latest news, and to be the first to hear when tickets go on sale, make sure to sign up to the WildPhotos e-newsletter. Tickets were a sell out this year so early booking is essential!

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Oct 12

Jack Dykinga photo - Copyright Daniel BeltraYou may have read in our recent blog that WildPhotos, the UK’s largest nature photography symposium, is taking place later this month on the 21st and 22nd October at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Every year WildPhotos draws an outstanding line-up of speakers, and our last blog focused on some of the stunning images that the speakers from this year’s event have contributed to ARKive.

Now we would like to take the chance to shine the spotlight on Jack Dykinga, this year’s keynote speaker. A Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer, Jack Dykinga is one of the world’s most respected landscape photographers. His skill in creating images that are both majestic and factual has made him a favourite of prestigious publications, including National Geographic and Arizona Highways.

Trumpeter swan photo

Jack’s work reflects the merging of a photojournalistic, documentary approach with large-format landscape photography, focusing on environmental issues. His image ‘Stone Canyon’ was selected as one of the 40 best nature photographs of all time by the International League of Conservation Photographers (ILCP), and he received the 2011 Outstanding Photographer of the Year Award from the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA).

Saguaro photoPonderosa pine photo

Jack’s keynote presentation, The Power of Images – Damnation to Celebration, takes place on Friday afternoon and will focus on how photography can change what we value, something which is very important to us here at ARKive.

Saguaro photo

If you’d like to attend WildPhotos, tickets are available here and are on sale now. You can also find a full programme for the event on the WildPhotos website.

You can find out more about Jack’s work and browse more of his beautiful images on his website.

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Oct 5

This October sees the return of WildPhotos, the UK’s largest nature photography symposium. Like ARKive, WildPhotos is an initiative of the charity Wildscreen, and plays host to some of the world’s top wildlife and environmental photographers – including winners of the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.

Every year WildPhotos draws an outstanding line-up of speakers who explore creativity in the world of nature photography, transporting delegates to far flung corners of the world through stunning images of nature and the stories behind them, as well as providing practical advice and techniques for both out in the field and back in the studio. Check out this year’s programme.

We are incredibly fortunate in that many WildPhotos speakers also kindly contribute their images to ARKive, in order to help us with our mission of promoting the conservation of the world’s threatened species through the power of wildlife imagery.

Here’s our pick of some of our favourite images from this year’s speakers:

Andy Rouse

British wildlife photographer Andy Rouse is well-known for his striking images, including this beautiful shot of a mountain gorilla. In 2010 Andy won the Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species at the prestigious Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition – a category which is sponsored by ARKive.

Mountain gorilla photo

Bruno D’Amicis

Italian Bruno D’Amicis trained as a wildlife biologist but wanted to find a way to inspire people about nature conservation rather than just practise it. Photography was his choice, and he specialises in mountain wilderness areas and photographs of animals that give a true feel of the wild. We have a great collection of Bruno’s images on ARKive including this meadow viper.

Meadow viper photo

Jürgen Freund

Jürgen’s work, on land and underwater, has been widely published all over the world. He has had solo exhibitions and has been a prize-winner in international competitions, including Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year. We love this image of a tiny hawksbill turtle hatchling taking shelter amongst some seaweed.

Hawksbill turtle photo

Bence Máté

Veolia Environnement Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2010, Bence Máté is another speaker for WildPhotos 2011 who also contributes images to ARKive. Bence’s photo of leaf-cutter ants in Costa Rica won the main award last year, so we thought we would stick with the invertebrate theme and share this image of a rhinoceros beetle with you.

Rhinoceros beetle photo

Andrew Parkinson

Former press photographer Andrew Parkinson has a passion for wildlife, which is illustrated in his wonderful images on ARKive. Giving up his job to become a full-time nature photographer, Andrew specialises in British subjects. This image of a pied wagtail taking off from the snowy ground is a favourite in the ARKive office.

Pied wagtail photo

Sven Začek

Estonia’s leading nature photographer, Sven Začek is passionate about wetlands and wetland conservation, and as a result he has produced three books featuring the landscapes and wildlife of his homeland Estonia. This Eurasian beaver is a fantastic example of his work and also features on ARKive.

Eurasian beaver photo

Michel Roggo

Michel specialises in photography of freshwater landscapes, animals and plants, and takes most of his pictures under the water, using specialist equipment he has developed himself. We think this image of roach spawning behaviour is particularly stunning.

Roach photo

Thomas P. Peschak

A trained marine biologist, Thomas is now focusing on environmental photojournalism after realising that he could have a bigger impact with photographs than statistics, which is something we can really relate to here at ARKive. Take a look at this amazing shot of an African clawless otter as it dives amongst the rocks.

African clawless otter photo

Cyril Ruoso

A nature photographer who has for many years specialised in the photography of the world’s primates, Cyril Ruoso has travelled to most regions where wild populations still exist. One of our favourites is this shot of a Sumatran orang-utan infant being helped by its mother.

Sumatran orang-utan photo

To hear from these photographers in person, why not attend WildPhotos – taking place on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 October at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

Further information is available on the WildPhotos website, and tickets are available here.

We hope to see you there!

Finally, keep an eye out for a special blog on the WildPhotos’ keynote for 2011, Pulitzer Prize winner Jack Dykinga, coming soon to ARKive.

Claire Lewis, ARKive Media Researcher

Aug 1

2011 is WWF’s 50th anniversary year, as part of the celebrations WWF-UK have produced a short film which can be seen in Odeon Cinemas across the UK. ARKive teamed up with WWF-UK to help with the amazing imagery for the film. For an insight into how the film came together, here is WWF UK’s Head of Campaigns, Colin Butfield explaining all in his guest blog…

In my experience with every great opportunity comes a big ‘oh heck’ moment.  In this case we had the wonderful chance to make a short film for WWF’s 50th birthday to be shown in Odeon Cinemas across the country – brilliant!

  • The acclaimed playwright Stephen Poliakoff was going to write it – fantastic!
  • We had some famous actors interested to be in it – awesome!
  • Stephen had written a magical script about new species discoveries – hooray!
  • We had almost no good footage of newly discovered species – ‘oh heck’

So, in essence we were going to make a five min film to put on massive screens in front of hundreds of thousands of people and most of the footage we had, looked like it was shot on a mobile phone. Call ARKive!

Most people who work in conservation know ARKive as one of the best places to find examples of species and behaviour, we use it all the time, but having worked for Wildscreen a few years back I also knew that the good folk behind ARKive also had amazing knowledge of the people behind the cameras and what images and footage might be out there.

Triton Bay epaulette shark

Triton Bay epaulette shark, first discribed in 2008

Triger's treefrog image

Tiger's treefrog from Colombia, first described in 2008

Stephen Poliakoff had written his script to work around the fact that we knew we wouldn’t have blue-chip HD quality footage. He had used a fictional dramatic narrative to replace the need for purely having wildlife footage BUT this was a WWF film and we would definitely need a good range of wildlife images to make the story work.

There are about 15,000 new species identified and named each year and many more species that are known to science are photographed for the first time. For the purpose of our film we wanted to count ‘discoveries’ as either things that are totally new to science like the worlds longest insect, Chan’s megastick and species that are filmed for the first time, like the barreleye. Whilst scientists had known of the existence of the barreleye from dead specimens, it wasn’t until it was filmed 700m down off the coast of Monterey by the Monterey Bay Research Institute that many of the discoveries about it were made.

Whilst it’s perfectly possible to find a new species in your back garden, it’s often the case that species are found or photographed for the first time by researchers studying an area. In general you find that most of these researchers carry a stills camera but very few a film camera. Also, because of the often challenging circumstances, for example very low light levels in a rainforest, many of the stills that are captured are not going to look great on a big screen. As such, it was a huge task for ARKive and WWF to contact scientists around the world to find the best images of a wide range of newly found and filmed species to feature in the film. ARKive’s expertise in using images of the natural world to inspire conservation made this daunting task a bit more realistic.

Hopefully you’ll agree that the results live up to the film’s title ‘Astonish Me’. By celebrating some of the oddest creatures found at the very edges of discovery the aim of Astonish Me is to show that the real natural world is every bit as magical as anything you find in cinema fiction and to inspire people to work to protect it.

Enter WWF’s Oddest One Out competition to get the amazing chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime experience to find out how new species discoveries are made, see fantastic wildlife and go behind the scenes at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.

Find more newly discovered species highlighted on the ARKive homepage.

Written by Colin Butfield, Head of Campaigns, WWF-UK

Jun 16

Released today, the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species shows that a staggering 19,265 species are currently threatened with extinction.

Over 900 new species have been classified as threatened – that is, considered to be Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable – since the last update in 2010, showing that there is no let up in the extinction crisis threatening the world’s biodiversity.

Although more species are thought to be threatened than ever before, the IUCN are keen to highlight that there have also been major conservation success stories.

A grain of hope in the desert

Photo of Arabian oryx males fighting

The Arabian oryx was nearly hunted to extinction. It is believed that the last wild individual was shot in 1972, but this year, thanks to successful captive breeding and re-introduction efforts, the wild population now stands at more than 1,000 individuals and currently faces a much more secure future.

To have brought the Arabian oryx back from the brink of extinction is a major feat and a true conservation success story, one which we hope will be repeated many times over for other threatened species,” says  H.E. Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary General of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, a principal sponsor of ARKive.

Photo of an Arabian oryx walking down sand dune

As a result of the dedicated drive to ensure the survival of this majestic species in the wild, the Arabian oryx has now been downgraded from Endangered to Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. It also makes history as being the first species once listed as Extinct in the Wild to have improved by three threat categories.

Find out more about the Arabian oryx on ARKive, watch a video by The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) about the conservation programme or visit our Jewels of the UAE pages to discover more of the United Arab Emirates stunning biodiversity.

New to the IUCN Red List in 2011

The trends for amphibians are alarming, with 41% of species thought to be at risk of extinction. Of the 19 amphibian species added to the Red List, 8 have been listed as Critically Endangered, including Atelopus patazensis, a striking harlequin toad from Peru.

Photo of Atelopus patazensis

Atelopus patazensis

The recently discovered Wallace’s tarsier is listed by the IUCN as Data Deficient, while the closely related Siau Island Tarsier is Critically Endangered.

Photo of Wallace’s tarsier

Wallace’s tarsier

The new update also sees an assessment of all 248 lobster species. Around 35% of these have been classified as Data Deficient, including the mysterious Caribbean spiny lobster.

Photo of a large spiny lobster displaying defensive behaviour

Caribbean spiny lobster, Panulirus argus

IUCN Red List – a gateway for conservation

With species extinctions happening at an estimated 100 to 1,000 times the natural rate, it has never been more important to find new ways to tackle the unprecedented loss of the world’s biodiversity.

As the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of plant and animal species, with almost 60,000 species having been assessed, the IUCN Red List is a vital tool in conservation planning.

The key to halting the extinction crisis is to target efforts towards eradicating the major threats faced by species and their environment; only then can their future be secured. The IUCN Red List acts as a gateway to such efforts, by providing decision makers with a goldmine of information not only on the current status of the species, but also on existing threats and the conservation actions required,” says Simon Stuart, Chair of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission and Wildscreen trustee.

ARKive’s role

Wildscreen, the charity behind ARKive, is working with the IUCN to help raise the public profile of the world’s threatened species, through the emotive power of wildlife films and photos.

While the outlook for many species is still alarming, the improvement in status of some species on the IUCN Red List is real testament to the valuable impact conservation work can have” says Richard Edwards, Chief Executive of Wildscreen. “We need to urgently address our disconnection from the natural world, and will only succeed in rescuing species from the brink of extinction, if we successfully communicate their plight, significance, value and importance.”

Explore more threatened species on ARKive.

Find out more about the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and this year’s update:


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