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: Lion

Nominated by: Panthera

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Why do you love it? The lion is an iconic creature and synonymous with wild Africa – but it might not be forever. Tragically, few people realise that the species has undergone a catastrophic decline. A century ago, there were as many as 200,000 wild lions in Africa; today, there are only about 20,000. Lions are extinct in 26 African countries and absent from over 90 percent of their historic range.

What are the threats to the lion? Lions face many threats, including the illegal bushmeat trade, habitat loss and fragmentation, unsustainable trophy hunting, and conflict with local people due to the real or perceived threat lions pose to livestock.

What are you doing to save it? Through Project Leonardo, Panthera seeks to ensure the long-term survival of lions across the African continent by increasing the total lion population by 50 percent over the next 15 years, to at least 30,000 lions. With a particular focus on large national parks, Panthera is currently leading or supporting efforts in 15 of the 27 lion range states in Africa to protect and connect core lion populations. With the help of statutory authorities, local governments and communities, and NGOs, Panthera identifies Lion Conflict Landscapes, or areas where lions are under the greatest threat, and then introduces tools and techniques tailored to specific lion populations and surrounding communities. These measures include mitigating human-lion conflict by working with villagers to implement better animal husbandry techniques, supporting local law enforcement in their efforts to reduce illegal hunting, and sustainably managing legal hunting.

Find out more about Panthera’s Project Leonardo

Discover more felidae species on Arkive