ARKive.org: Promoting Island (and Mainland!) Endangered Species Conservation with Stunning Wildlife Imagery
Today's blog is a guest post by Seacology's partner Arkive, a multimedia source for information and images of endangered species.
Islands around the world are home to some of the most unique, bizarre-looking and biologically important species on Earth. Most people won't ever come face-to-face with these plants and animals and alarmingly, the majority of the world's species extinctions have taken place on islands over the past 400 years.
However, there is a way to come virtually face-to-face with the enormous Coconut crab, the stunning Fiji banded iguana and the playful Hawaiian Monk Seal. ARKive.org, considered the Noah's Ark of the internet era, is leading the "virtual" conservation movement by utilizing the worldwide web to create a free, online resource of images, films, sound recordings and biological fact files for the 18,000+ species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Visitors to ARKive can learn about what each of the over 12,000 species in the collection looks like, where it lives, how it behaves and why it is special. If a visitor to ARKive aimed to learn about one species every day in the collection, it would take nearly 2 years for a visitor to learn about each species currently on ARKive!
So what are some of ARKive's favorite images and films of endangered island species? First, there's the vibrantly colored Iiwi, one of the most spectacular of Hawaiian honeycreepers. When feeding on the favored lobelioid flower, the iiwi uses a peculiar technique, perching above the flower before quickly swinging upside down, twisting the body, and probing its unique beak upwards where it fits well into the long, down-curved flower.
The green turtle calls many islands its home throughout the oceans and is one of the most widespread of all the marine turtles. One of the most interesting facts about this species is that males and females do not reach sexual maturity until the ages of 26-40 years old. Once the time comes to lay eggs, a turtle may travel over 1000 miles to its original nesting grounds and can lay up to 150 eggs per clutch.
Finally, the star-shaped Fluorescence grass coral is arguably one of the most beautiful of the coral species and is a prolific grower with the ability to produce massive colonies over 15 feet across. Although a widespread coral, the aquarium trade is a valid threat to the species which exported 20,000 pieces of fluorescence grass coral in 2005 alone.
By working together, ARKive and Seacology are helping to shine the spotlight on endangered species conservation. Media researchers at ARKive are always on the lookout for new and beautiful images and film. Anyone wishing to contribute wildlife imagery can email ARKive's media research team - firstname.lastname@example.org, or upload images directly to www.flickr.com/groups/arkive.