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: Bear cuscus

Nominated by: Rainforest Alliance

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Why do you love it? This arboreal species has a special connection to cocoa, something near and dear to our hearts! Also, while they may look and sound like they’re a cute and cuddly little bear, this is actually one of the few marsupial species found outside of Australia and New Zealand. As the Sulawesi bear cuscus only lives in one part of the world, they are very rare and not well-known.

What are the threats to the bear cuscus? This species of cuscus can only be found in Indonesia, and while technically protected by law, deforestation and hunting are driving them into rapid decline.

What are you doing to save it? Rainforest Alliance Certified farms must adhere to strong protections for biodiversity and wildlife, which Indonesia has in rich abundance. In Bantaeng, Sumatra, there was pervasive misconception amongst farmers that cuscus were consuming cocoa pods, when it was actually rats eating all of the cocoa.  Before achieving Rainforest Alliance certification, many of these farmers had been trapping and hunting the cuscus, but our teams worked with them to implement safe and responsible methods of protecting their cocoa from the rats.  Furthermore, the farmers and workers have learned to take better care of the natural environment and to protect local species.

To further enforce the standards protecting biodiversity and wildlife, the Rainforest Alliance’s team, along with local cocoa farmers, posted ‘No Hunting’ signs among local cocoa farms and in the community forests. Bantaeng’s cuscuses can now roam freely and as a result of the protective measures, the number of Sulawesi bear cuscus found on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms has increased. Some are even choosing to live on the farmers’ roofs! By working with locals rather than against them, and promoting responsible agricultural standards, trainings, and practices, our work is leading to both sustainable livelihoods and strong protections for wildlife and ecosystems.

Find out more about the Rainforest Alliance’s work with the bear cuscus

Discover more marsupial species on Arkive