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: Leatherback turtle

Nominated by: Sea Turtle Conservancy

Conservation status: Vulnerable

Why do you love it? Leatherbacks are very unique as they are the only sea turtle species without a hard shell. They also grow the largest, swim the farthest, and dive the deepest, all while existing on a diet of jellyfish! They are the most widely distributed of all sea turtles and have been found as far north as Alaska and as far south as the southern tip of Africa. They are known to be active in water below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the only reptile known to remain active at such a low temperature. One of our favourite features on a leatherback is their amazing mouth!

What are the threats to the leatherback turtle? The greatest threat to leatherback sea turtles is from incidental take in commercial fisheries. Each year hundreds of thousands of turtles are accidentally captured in fisheries ranging from highly mechanised operations to small-scale fishermen around the world. Global estimates of annual capture, injury and mortality are staggering — 150,000 sea turtles (all species) are killed in shrimp trawls and large numbers of all species are drowned in gill nets. The extent of gill net mortality is unknown, but sea turtle capture is significant where studied, and the drowning of sea turtles in gill nets may be comparable to trawl and longline mortality. Deaths in gill nets are particularly hard to quantify because these nets are set by uncounted numbers of local fishermen in tropical waters around the world. Another major threat to leatherbacks is marine pollution such as balloons and plastic bags floating in the water, which are mistaken for jellyfish and eaten.

What are you doing to save it? STC works to conserve leatherback turtle populations at multiple project sites including: Tortuguero, Costa Rica; Soropta Beach, Panama and Chiriqui Beach, Panama. Leatherback nests at Chiriqui Beach are on the rise and in 2015, STC researchers counted over 5,000 nests. On Soropta Beach, leatherback nesting was double that of 2014! In 2014 we had 379 nests and in 2015 we had 781 on the stretch of beach we monitor.

Poaching of nests and turtles has also been significantly reduced in all areas where STC researchers are present. We also have a program where we equip leatherback turtles from Panama with satellite transmitters so that we can study their migration patterns. So far, we have tracked the migrations of 30 leatherbacks. Their live satellite maps can be viewed on our website’s Turtle Tracker, along with dozens of other species of turtles we are tracking.

Find out more about STC’s Turtle Tracker project

Discover more turtle species on Arkive

 

VOTE NOW!

 

Apr 22

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

The theme for Earth Day this year is, “It’s Our Turn To Lead”. Our friends at Earth Day Network are urging people to learn more about the topic of climate change which generally refers to man-made changes to the environment that have contributed to the steady rise in the earth’s temperature, rising sea levels, ice melting at the poles, and extreme weather events.

Not only does climate change affect the weather but it also impacts the well-being of several species around the world. We’re supporting Earth Day this year by showing five wild faces that have been affected by climate change.

As Arkive patron Sylvia Earle has said, “With knowing comes caring, and with caring comes hope”.  Let’s learn about the following five species and spread a little hope for their survival on Earth.

Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus

Female-koala-with-joey

This wonderful marsupial is one of the most iconic Australian animals. Rising carbon dioxide levels cause plants to grow faster which lowers protein levels. Nutritionally poor eucalyptus leaves might cause the koala to migrate exposing them to predation. They are also particularly vulnerable to bush fires and drought due to their lack of mobility and dependence on trees.

Dlinza pinwheel (Trachycystis clifdeni)

Dlinza-pinwheel

The Dlinza pinwheel  is one of the most visually striking snails with its translucent shell and beautiful whorls. This snail is known from only the Dlinza forest and due to its limited habitat is quite vulnerable to extreme weather conditions.

Golden toad (Incilius periglenes)

Male-golden-toad

The magnificently colored macaroni yellow golden toad was last seen in 1989 and is unfortunately believed to be extinct. Climate change is one of the contributing factors that led to the decline of golden toad populations.

Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma)

Quiver-trees

The quiver tree has been named the national tree of Namibia. This tree is an important nesting site for large numbers of sociable weavers. Changing climates are causing quiver trees to slowly shift their distribution toward higher latitudes and altitudes.

Leatherback turtle (Dermochelys coriacea)

Leatherback-turtle-swimming

The magical leatherback turtle is the largest turtle in the world and lacks the typical bony plates on its carapace. Its shell is flexible and covered in a thin layer of leathery skin. Changing ocean currents due to climate change might affect the migrations of juvenile leatherbacks as well as cause them to lose some of their prey.

The Earth Day Network is capturing more than a billion “Acts of Green” as part of the annual Earth Day celebration. By clicking on the link below, you can log your time spent reading this blog as an “Act of Green” and take part in this historic event.

Log reading this blog as an “Act of Green” for Earth Day today!

William Lazaro, Arkive Social Media Intern, Wildscreen USA 

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