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: Harbour porpoise

Nominated by: Sea Watch Foundation

Conservation status: Least Concern

Why do you love it? We love it because more than any other, it is the one cetacean species most associated with the coasts of the British Isles. It is our smallest species, often taken for granted because it goes about its life in an undemonstrative, relatively retiring, manner and yet more than almost any other British sea mammal, it is vulnerable to a wide variety of threats posed by human activities in the seas around us.

What are the threats to the harbour porpoise? Although common and not threatened globally, in northern Europe it faces several major pressures from human activities. Large numbers suffer a terrible slow death every year, entangled in fishing nets; porpoises in Britain have been shown to have dangerously high levels of pollutants (PCBs in particular); and in many parts it experiences disturbance from water sports and other recreational activities.

What are you doing to save it? We monitor harbour porpoises around the British Isles to assess their status and identify conservation threats. In the 1980s we drew attention to widespread declines in the species in Europe and were actively involved in the establishment of Europe’s first international legislative agreement for the conservation of small cetaceans, ASCOBANS, under UNEP’s Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species. The particular vulnerability of this species being confined more or less to shelf seas has resulted in it receiving special focus from ASCOBANS, and led to it being placed in a special Annex under the EU Habitats & Species Directive that requires the establishment of a network of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). However, Britain is the only northern European country with porpoises that has not formally proposed SACs despite the fact that we have some of the most significant population of the species. We have been campaigning for many years for the UK to fulfil those legal obligations, and at last this is up for debate with public consultations announced in January 2016.

Find out more about the work of the Sea Watch Foundation

Discover more porpoise species on Arkive