currently classed as `Most Wanted' appears
continues, a story from Dr Galen Rathbun,
a Wildlife Research Biologist (Emeritus) at
California Academy of Sciences, encapsu-
lates the urgency of the effort.
To date, only one other short sequence of
the shrew has been located.
n June this year ARKive was assessed by
the National Grid for Learning, founded
by the UK Government in 1997 to pro-
mote excellence in educational Websites.
The project became the 1000th Website to
be accepted into their learning portal
recognises not only the standard of content
and research which forms the heart of this
Website but the educational value and
importance of the project as a whole.
he launch is only the beginning with
around 600 species (half British) on
board.This will rise to 1500 by the end of
the year, with work continuing to include
the 11,000 animals and plant species
threatened with extinction.This will
ensure that ARKive not only has its work
cut out over the coming months and years,
but that there will always be a comprehen-
sive and permanent digital record of our
life on Earth.
without ARKive, there is no easy-to-reach
centralised repository for the information.
The source material is scattered all around
the world, sometimes in places where
access is restricted, or where its value is
not fully appreciated."
RKive is endorsed by many leading
scientists, among them Sylvia Earle,
Richard Leakey,Tom Lovejoy, Robert
May, and Professor E.O.Wilson. Andrew P.
Dobson, the professor of ecology and evo-
lutionary biology at Princeton University,
USA, spoke for many when he gave his
reasons for wanting ARKive to happen:
"ARKive provides a unique and crucial
opportunity to create a virtual museum of
natural history. It will document for the
world the vast range of inhabitants who
have shared the planet with us, and the
habitats in which they once lived. In many
cases it will provide the only documentary
evidence of how these species moved, ate,
reproduced, and interacted with each
other.They are images we should conserve
with an intensity equal to that devoted to
our greatest works of art.They are images
that will haunt our grandchildren."
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE
RKive's manager, Harriet Nimmo, is
the first to admit ARKive is only just
beginning to become what Chris Parsons
envisaged. "We need to add many more
portraits to the Website, and we need to
carry on building our complementary
physical library of films, photographs,
books and oral memories, and find the
funding to make more of the collection
available to the public. But it's a magnifi-
cent start and we believe Chris would be
proud of how far we've come."
o help with the rest of the journey,
the team is keen to hear about any
specialist collections of wildlife films, pho-
tographs or sound recordings, especially of
rare or less studied species. A list of what is
lifestyle, habitat, reproduction, survival
strategies, threats and more.The download-
able information is layered, so users can
choose the format which best suits their
level of expertise and research needs, and is
linked to sources of further information.
here is a separate zone for teachers,
offering worksheets, project ideas and
lesson plans. For children, there is Planet
ARKive, where interactive games convey
learning points about habitats, predation,
and life-cycles, making learning an enjoy-
roject Manager, Harriet Nimmo, says:
"The Website is a monumental under-
taking, but it's important to stress that
ARKive is much more than an online
wildlife reference library. Essentially, the
Website is a window into a vast and
expanding vault of vital wildlife records.
The films, photographs, sound recordings,
books, facts and memories we are collect-
ing are not just powerful tools, which help
people to understand nature and why it
needs conserving.The value of what they
reveal increases every time another depict-
ed species is threatened or disappears.Yet,
"In the late 1970s I deposited my footage of
the golden rumped elephant shrew with
Byron Motion Pictures in Washington, DC.
They had a film vault where the National
Zoo also kept much of their valued footage.
In the late 1980s I wanted the footage, and
tried to make contact with Byron, only to find
that my material (along with the entire zoo
collection) had totally disappeared. Apparently
Byron went out of business and everyone's
cine footage was lost..."