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Aug 212009

Sumatran orang-utan

No, he’s not that ugly — actually, he’s pretty impressive. This long-armed tree-top resident of an Indonesian island may look like a big, grumpy old man, but he’s smart and sociable.  Females don’t have babies until they’re 15, and they wait years before conceiving again (That seems smart, eh?) For years they were hunted throughout Southeast Asia, but now habitat destruction and capture for use as pets is their enemy. They face extinction in the wild within the next few years, and the world would be a lesser place without the grumpy old men of Sumatra.

Photo: © Anup Shah –

About ARKive

Studies and statistics can be dry, but photos and film bring the world’s threatened species to life. With increasing threats to their survival, ARKive’s photos and film may soon be all that is left of some animals, plants and even fungi.

The non-profit ARKive initiative (created by Wildscreen in the U.K. and now Wildscreen USA) is always on the hunt for photos and video clips that may be in private hands – valuable documentation that is also endangered. Too often, irreplacable items have been tossed by companies or even from the collections of private individuals.

ARKive profiles almost 5,000 threatened species, with more than 33,000 pictures and 5,500 film clips. Much of the content comes from familiar nature film-makers such as Discovery, National Geographic, ABC Australia, the BBC Natural History Unit and more. ARKive is backed by many conservation groups and natural history organizations.

They hope to increase donations and awareness in the U.S. by connecting with scientists, educators, librarians, museums, zoos, aquariums and others – all aimed at letting young people know about the rich collection of online photos and films.

To achieve that goal, they are raising funds and seeking board members and public relations support. For more information, look on their Web site.

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