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: Mountain horned agama

Nominated by: Pro Wildlife e.V.

Conservation status: Endangered

Why do you love it? Pro Wildlife does not only care for “sexy species”, but also for threatened species, which are overseen by the broad public. The bizarre-looking mountain horned agama, a small agamid, is endemic to Sri Lanka and only recently became a target of reptile smugglers. The biological function of the eye-catching horn is still a secret, but it may help males to attract mates.

What are the threats to the mountain horned agama? Deforestation has been the main threat in the past, but in recent times the species – although strictly protected in Sri Lanka – has been intensely plundered for the European pet trade, where individuals are sold for up to 2,200 €/pair.

What are you doing to save it? In 2014, Pro Wildlife noticed the first online advertisements for this rare species in the EU pet market. Being aware of its strict protection status in Sri Lanka, Pro Wildlife started to investigate and document the trade in the mountain horned agama, to identify key traders and to cooperate with field scientists and the Sri Lankan authorities. The mountain horned agama is one of our case studies to illustrate the huge dimension of plundering of rare wildlife for western terrariums. Our goal is to finally strengthen international protection of this threatened species and to stop the trade in wild-caught specimens.

Find out more about Pro Wildlife e.V.

Learn more about agama lizards on Arkive