Feb 15

The race to become crowned as the World’s Most Unloved Species was hotly contested, once again, this year with 19 nominated species in the running.  After 12 days of fierce competition, impassioned pitches and over 4,500 votes, the top 10 was announced on Valentine’s Day.

But slithering into first place… it’s the Galapagos racer!

Often demonised, the Galapagos racer shot to fame during the BBC’s 2016 series Planet Earth II.  They are one of a few endemic snakes found in the Galapagos and can grow to a maximum of 125 centimetres.  However, little is known about the Galapagos racer and there is even confusion over the number of species or subspecies of racer snakes found in the Galapagos.  The Galapagos racer is already locally extinct on Floreana Island and are threatened following the introduction of cats and pigs onto neighbouring islands which forage for their eggs.

All the nominated species are worthy winners, and were chosen as they are often overshadowed and overlooked by the more cute, handsome and (supposedly) interesting members of the natural world.  But which species pulled at the public’s heartstrings the most and made it into the top 10?  Here’s a quick rundown:

Wombling into second place, it’s the bare-nosed wombat.  Also known as the ‘common wombat’ this furry marsupial may no longer be as ‘common’ as its namesake suggests, as the population battles an increasing number of fatal road strikes and the deadly skin condition mange.

Flying into third, and in the highest place a bird has had in this contest, it’s the lappet-faced vulture.  Definitely not noted for their cuddly nature, these birds have been known to take on jackals to defend a carcass!

In fourth place we dive underneath the waves with the first shark to enter the top 10!  The shortfin mako is a speed machine, capable of reaching 35 kilometres an hour and even having the power to launch itself clear out of the water.

At number five we have the Asian elephant.  Despite having had a close relationship with man over the centuries these giants are facing a number of threats including poaching and habitat loss, and are often overlooked by their larger African relatives.

Hopping into the top 10 at number six is the common toad.  Firmly rooted in English folklore and culture this gardener’s friend is another species with an unfortunate name as populations have taken a dramatic downturn declining by 68% over the last 30 years.

The ‘lucky number seven’ spot is taken by the red squirrel.  However this iconic species is not so lucky, facing habitat fragmentations, disease and competition with the grey squirrel, introduced into the UK in the 1870s.

Coming up in eighth place is the aye-aye.  Not known for its dashing good looks, this primate has been considered an omen of bad luck resulting in persecution by the Malagasy people!

Looking fine at nine is the Copan brook frog.  The second amphibian in the top 10, this tiny frog could be easily hidden if it wasn’t for its bright, lime green colouration.

And last but by no means least, it’s the blue shark.  This sleek apex predator is instantly recognisable as it moves gracefully through the water however it is one of the most heavily fished sharks in the world, with an estimated 15-20 million caught every year.

To find out more about these species and the work being done to research and conserve them, visit the results page here.

Jan 27

#LoveSpecies nominee: Macaya breast-spot frog

Nominated by: Durrell Wildlife Trust

Why do you love it?

Good things come in small packages and the diminutive Macaya breast-spot frog, one of the smallest frogs in the world, is definitely one. These beautiful red frogs inhabit the high altitude (1,700 – 2,340 masl) montane pine and cloud forests of Pic Macaya and Pic Formond in the Massif de la Hotte, Haiti. The males call can be heard throughout the day but are most prominent at night when it provides a background chorus of tinkling glass to the atmospheric forest. Importantly, the Macaya breast-spot frog is just one of 17 Critically Endangered and Endangered species endemic to the Massif de la Hotte making it arguably the most important site for amphibian conservation in the world.

Top facts

  • – Adults measure less than 15mm from snout to vent
  • – Females only lay around 3 eggs each which hatch directly into miniature versions of the miniature adults
  • – It was only rediscovered in 2010 having not been seen in nearly 20 years

What are the threats to the Macaya breast-spot frog?

It has a highly restricted range which is being threatened by habitat loss primarily for charcoal production and agriculture.

What are you doing to save it?

Yes, Durrell, along with Philadelphia Zoo is supporting local partner Société Audubon Haiti to undertake a series of amphibian surveys across the Macaya National Park as part of the National Parks Management Plan. These aim to better understand the diverse and highly threatened amphibian fauna found there and assess how habitat loss is impacting the various species. This information can then be used to improve the management of the National Park to both protect its endemic fauna and provide local people with the resources they require.

For more information on the work Durrell is doing to Save Amphibians From Extinction visit their website.

VOTE NOW!

 

Jun 19

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Jun 12, 2015

U.S. grants new protections for captive chimpanzees

Young-Eastern-chimpanzee-

Young eastern chimpanzee

On June 12th the US Fish and Wildlife Service declared that all chimpanzees both in the wild and captive are endangered. Poaching and habitat degradation are the main factors affecting wild populations.

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Article originally published on Saturday, Jun 13, 2015

Questions about black rhino sent to Botswana

Black-rhinoceros-drinking

Black rhinoceros drinking

Botswana asked Zimbabwe to supply it with 10 black rhinos for its Moremi Game Reserve. Botswana received 5 black rhinos that apparently originated from South Africa not Zimbabwe. Some experts are against mixing Zimbabwean rhinos with the South African ones, since they are genetically distinct.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Jun 14, 2015

“Critically endangered” dusky gopher frogs released into wildlife refuge in Mississippi

Dusky-gopher-frog-metamorph

Dusky gopher frog metamorph

Wildlife officials have release 1,074 dusky gopher frogs since May. Every frog, which is released, has a tracking device attached to its leg so their progress can be monitored. The dusky gopher frog has been on the list of endangered species since 2001.

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Article originally published on Monday, Jun 15, 2015

France bans the world’s leading herbicide from garden stores

Monarch-butterfly-resting-on-a-flowering-plant

Monarch butterfly resting on a flowering plant

France has banned Roundup, a herbicide since it contains glyphosate, which is potentially a carcinogen. Glyphosate has been linked to the decline in monarch butterflies. The chemical kills milkweed which is the monarch caterpillar’s only food source.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015

Mind meld: Social wasps share brainpower

Close-up-of-common-wasp-feeding

Common wasp feeding

Researchers found that as wasps become more social, the brain regions responsible for complex cognition decreases in size. Researchers hypothesize that wasps make up for this decrease by working together and “sharing brain power”.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015

Finding more ammo than animals in huge African rain forest

Forest-elephant-bull

Forest elephant bull

Scientists undertook an expedition into Cameroon’s Dja Faunal Reserve hoping to find chimpanzees, western lowland gorillas, and forest elephants. Instead however, they found poaching camps and gun cartridges and few signs of animals.

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Male-western-lowland-gorilla-portrait (1)

Male western lowland gorilla

Article originally published on Thursday, Jun 18, 2015

All kangaroos are left-handed

Red-kangaroo-hopping

Red kangaroo photo

It was previously thought that “true” handedness, which is predictably using one hand over another, was unique to primates.  However,  researchers found that kangaroos show a natural preference for their left hands when performing daily tasks. This feature was especially apparent in eastern grey kangaroos and red kangaroos.

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Male-female-and-young-eastern-grey-kangaroo

Male, female and young eastern grey kangaroo

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA

Jun 5

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, May 29, 2015

Invasive predators, deforestation driving Tasmanian parrot over the edge

Swift-parrot-in-branches

Swift parrot in branches

Research shows that 50.9 percent of female swift parrots nesting on the main island of Tasmania were killed by sugar gliders while incubating eggs. In addition, industrial logging is the principle cause of habitat loss in the swift parrot’s breeding range.

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Sugar-glider-on-branch-preparing-to-leap

Sugar glider on branch preparing to leap

Article originally published on Saturday, May 30, 2015

Wildlife agencies urge US to curb illegal ivory trade

African-elephant-calf-covered-in-mud

African elephant calf covered in mud

The World Wildlife Fund and African Wildlife Foundation both expressed that the United States should emulate China’s destruction of confiscated ivory. “Major ivory consuming countries hold the key to saving Africa’s elephants,” said Ginette Hemley, WWF senior vice president of wildlife conservation. Every year 25,000-30,000 African elephants are poached to supply the ivory trade.

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Article originally published on Sunday, May 31, 2015

Don’t try to “adopt” lost bear cubs, Oregon Wildlife officials warn

Yearling-American-black-bear-playing

Yearling American black bear playing

Oregon Wildlife officials urged the public to not take bear cubs home after an incident in which a bear cub was spotted begging for food and showed no fear of humans. Cubs, which have been “adopted” and then released into the wild never learn to care for themselves and become easy prey for hunters.

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Article originally published on Monday, Jun 1, 2015

“Purring” wolf spiders softly serenade mates

female-two-coloured-wolf-spider

Female two-coloured wolf spider

Male wolf spiders use vibrations to serenade females, but it only works if female wolf spiders can feel the vibrations. The courtship must occur on conductive surfaces such as dead leaves. Their sensitivity to vibrations might also help them avoid predators.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 

Pollution and climate change are deforming and killing Alaska’s frogs

wood-frog-tadpole

Wood frog tadpole

A recent study found that even a small amount of copper can have big consequences for amphibians such as the wood frog. The presence of copper in the environment altered the behavior of tadpoles so they spent more time near the surface of the water, which made them easier prey.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Jun 3, 2015

Trainers banned from performing with ‘world’s loneliest orca’

Three-orcas-spyhopping

Three orcas spyhopping

Lolita, a wild-caught orca will no longer perform with her trainers. This move by the Miami Seaquarium comes after a decision by NOAA in February that determined that Lolita deserved the same protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as her wild kin.

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Article originally published on Thursday, Jun 4, 2015

Seven tiny frog species found on seven mountains

Shield-toad

Shield toad (Brachycephalus pernix)

The seven frog species discovered in southeastern Brazil are all less than 1 cm long and belong to the genus Brachycephalus. The sensitivity of these frogs to their environment accounts for different species being found on different mountains. The most visible difference between these new species is the texture and color of their skin.

View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

May 1

Arkive’s Week in Review — Wildlife News

ICYMI: Arkive has compiled some of the biggest and most interesting headlines from this week.

Article originally published on Friday, Apr 24, 2015

Fracas over Costa Rican shark-fin exports leads American Airlines to stop shipping fins

Smooth-hammerhead-swimming

Smooth hammerhead photo

An American Airlines plane traveling from Costa Rica to Hong Kong was carrying 904 lbs. of dried hammerhead shark fins when it touched down in Miami. The ensuing outcry caused by the incident led to American Airlines announcing that it has ceased to ship shark fins. The species’ fins found on the plane were from the vulnerable smooth hammerheads and the endangered scalloped hammerheads.

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Scalloped-hammerheads-swimming-with-shoal-of-fish

Scalloped hammerheads swimming with fish

Article originally published on Saturday, Apr 25, 2015

Wildlife officials move forward to lift wolf protections

Mackenzie-Valley-wolf-in-winter-side-view

Mackenzie Valley wolf

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to move forward with the process of delisting the grey wolf from their endangered species list. The two options they are considering are: delisting the wolves statewide or partially, in eastern Oregon only.

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Article originally published on Sunday, Apr 26, 2015

New England amphibian migration endangered by late spring

wood-frog-on-mossy-log

Wood frog on mossy log

Every spring salamanders and frogs use vernal pools to mate and lay eggs. With the delayed spring, the time available for offspring to grow is reduced, which could affect their development. Among the affected species is the wood frog.

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Article originally published on Monday, Apr 27, 2015

Bumblebees use nicotine to fight off parasites

Vestal-cuckoo-bee-on-flower

Vestal cuckoo bee on flower

Parasite-infected bumblebees that consume nicotine-laced nectar delay the progress of the infection. However, the life expectancy of these bumblebees is not increased. On the other hand, healthy bees that consume nicotine appear to shorten their lifespans.

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Article originally published on Tuesday, Apr 28, 2015

Five tons of frozen pangolin: Indonesian authorities make massive bust

Sunda-pangolin-side-view

Sunda pangolin

Officials in Medan, Sumatra confiscated 169 lbs. of pangolin scales and 96 live Sunda pangolins from a smuggler. The pangolins were destined for China, where their scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Article originally published on Wednesday, Apr 29, 2015

Jane Goodall wants SeaWorld shut down

Orca-pair-underwater

Orca pair underwater

Jane Goodall believes the marine park giant should be shut down because the tanks for dolphins and whales create an “acoustical hell”. Goodall also noted that she hoped the awareness generated by documentaries like “Blackfish” led to greater understanding of how amazing these animals are.

View original article

Beluga-whale-swimming-underwater

Beluga whale swimming

Article originally published on Thursday, Apr 30, 2015

Can assisted reproduction save the cheetah?

juvenile-cheetah-head-portrait

Juvenile cheetah

Today’s cheetah population suffers from low genetic diversity with most living cheetahs being between 5 percent and 10 percent genetically alike. Cheetah experts agree that assisted reproduction is only a stop gap with the real progress involving restoring habitat and preventing their hunting and killing.

 View original article

Enjoy your weekend!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

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