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: Great crested newt

Nominated by: Avon Wildlife Trust

Conservation status: Legally protected in the UK – endangered in Europe and rare and threatened in the UK

Why do you love it? They are Britain’s largest newt and they are spectacularly beautiful.  They have an interesting lifecycle and mating ritual, which fascinates school children and inspires them to care about nature. Children are the environmentalists of the future so capturing their imagination is key. Great crested newts are important for healthy and functioning ecosystems and the south-west of England is a stronghold for them so we’re in a strong position to make a real difference!

What are the threats to the great crested newt? Great crested newts have specific habitat requirements during their reproductive cycle – they need several ponds within a short distance of each other which need to be clean (e.g. on land that isn’t heavily fertilised or treated with pesticide) and have a large area of open water.  Since the Second World War and the introduction of troughs for livestock, farm ponds have declined by a massive amount, possibly as much as 70 to 75 percent.  Great crested newts have declined by at least 50 percent since the mid 1960’s and that decline is continuing.

What are you doing to save it? We have a number of important great crested newt (GCN) ponds on many of our 37 nature reserves and we monitor them annually to check population size and strength. We try to create as many suitable ponds on our land as we can to try and improve habitat for this precious species.  We annually improve our existing GCN ponds to maximise their value for the species and educate and inform children and the public about newts, their lifecycles and habitat requirements as part of our award-winning learning programme. In addition, through our consultancy work, we advise landowners and developers on mitigation strategies to avoid adverse impacts on GCNs.

Find out more about the great crested newt and Avon Wildlife Trust’s work with this endangered amphibian

Discover more newt species on Arkive




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