ARKive was a global initiative with the mission of "promoting the conservation of the world's threatened species, through the power of wildlife imagery",[2][3] which it did by locating and gathering films, photographs and audio recordings of the world's species into a centralised digital archive.[2] Its priority was the completion of audio-visual profiles for the c. 17,000 species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.[2]

The project was an initiative of Wildscreen, a UK-registered educational charity,[4] based in Bristol.[5] The technical platform was created by Hewlett-Packard, as part of the HP Labs' Digital Media Systems research programme.[6]

ARKive had the backing of leading conservation organisations, including BirdLife International, Conservation International, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the United Nations' World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF),[2] as well as leading academic and research institutions, such as the Natural History Museum; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the Smithsonian Institution.[2] It was a member of the Institutional Council of the Encyclopedia of Life.[2]

Two ARKive layers for Google Earth, featuring endangered species[7] and species in the Gulf of Mexico[7] were produced by Google Earth Outreach. The first of these was launched in April 2008 by Wildscreen's Patron, Sir David Attenborough.[8]

The website closed on 15 February 2019; its collection of images and videos remains securely stored for future generations.

ARKive - Images of Life on Earth
Type of site
Available inEnglish
Created byWildscreen
Alexa rankNegative increase 46,220 (August 2016)[1]
Launched20 May 2003
Current statusArchived


David Attenborough
Sir David Attenborough and the ARKive

The project formally was launched on 20 May 2003[9][10][11][12] by its patron, the UK-based natural history presenter, Sir David Attenborough,[13][14] a long-standing colleague and friend of its chief instigator, the late Christopher Parsons, a former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit. Parsons never lived to see the fruition of the project, succumbing to cancer in November 2002 at the age of 70.[15]

Parsons identified a need to provide a centralised safe haven for wildlife films and photographs after discovering that many such records are held in scattered, non-indexed, collections, often with little or no public access, and sometimes in conditions that could lead to loss or damage.[15] He believed the records could be a powerful force in building environmental awareness by bringing scientific names to life. He also saw their preservation as an important educational resource and conservation tool, not least because extinction rates and habitat destruction could mean that images and sounds might be the only legacy of some species’ existence.

His vision of a permanent, accessible, refuge for audio-visual wildlife material won almost immediate support from many of the world’s major broadcasters, including the BBC,[9] Granada,[9] international state broadcasting corporations[9] and National Geographic magazine;[9] leading film and photographic libraries, international conservation organisations and academic institutes such as Cornell University.[9]

The initial feasibility study for creating ARKive was carried out in the late 1980s by conservationist John Burton,[16] but at the time the costs of the technology needed were too far too high,[17] and so it was over a decade later, after the technology had caught up with Christopher Parson's vision (and the costs dropped), that the project was able to get off the ground.

After capital development funds of £2m were secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund in 1997[18] and New Opportunities Fund in 2000,[18] work on building ARKive began as part of the UK's Millennium celebrations, using advanced computerised storage and retrieval technology devised for the project by Hewlett-Packard,[17] with an initial capacity of up to 74 terabytes of data,[17] using redundant hardware and multiple copies of media stored at multiple sites.[17] Media was digitised to the highest available quality without compression and encoded to open standards.[6]

A prototype site was online as early as April 1999.[19] There were several design iterations before the formal launch.[14][20][21][22]

By the launch date, the project team had researched, cataloged, copied, described and authenticated image, sound and fact files of 1,000 animals, plants and fungi, many of them critically endangered. More multi-media profiles are added every month, starting with British flora and fauna and with species included on the Red List – that is, species that are believed to be closest to extinction, according to research by the World Conservation Union. By January 2006, the database had grown to 2,000 species, 15,000 still images and more than 50 hours of video.[23] By 2010, over 5,500 donors had contributed 70,000 film clips and photos of more than 12,000 species.[24]

In February 2019, Wildscreen announced that they "...have had to make the very hard decision to close the Arkive website on 15 February 2019", due to funding issues.[25] On that date the website was replaced with a short statement, concluding:[26]

The complete Arkive collection of over 100,000 images and videos is now being stored securely offline for future generations.


The site was Sunday Times website of the year for 2005.[23] It was a 2010 Webby Award honoree for its outstanding calibre of work,[24] in the 'Education' category,[27] and a 2010 Association of Educational Publishers 'Distinguished Achievement Award' winner, in the category for websites for 9-12 year olds.[24][28]

See also


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "About ARKive". ARKive. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  3. ^ "About Arkive". Arkive. Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 13 July 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  4. ^ Charity Commission. Wildscreen, registered charity no. 299450.
  5. ^ "Wildscreen - About". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  6. ^ a b "HP Labs : Solutions and Services Research : Technology for Services : Services for Digital Publishing : ARKive". Hewlett-Packard. Archived from the original on 20 January 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Google Earth Outreach". Google Search. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Attenborough launches Wildscreen's Google Earth Layer - Press release 10 Apr 08 - ARKive". Wildscreen. 10 April 2008. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Gilchrist, Jim (17 May 2003). "The animals came in bit by byte". The Scotsman.
  10. ^ "Digital Noah's Ark launched". BBC News. 20 May 2003.
  11. ^ "About ARKive: Wildscreen". Archived from the original on 14 February 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2009.
  12. ^ "ARKive 2011-2015 (brochure)". ARKive.
  13. ^ Davies, Ashley (20 May 2003). "Arkive sets sail on the web". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
  14. ^ a b "December 2002 version". Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 1 December 2002. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  15. ^ a b Paine, Barry (14 November 2002). "Obituary: Christopher Parsons". The Guardian.
  16. ^ "About the World Land Trust: Staff Biographies". World Land Trust. Archived from the original on 13 September 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  17. ^ a b c d "HP Helps The Wildscreen Trust Create ARKive: ARKive Provides Digital Safe Haven for Records of Endangered Species". Business Wire. 20 May 2003.
  18. ^ a b "Wildscreen - History". Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  19. ^ "April 1999 version". Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 22 April 1999. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  20. ^ "June 2000 version". Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 19 June 2000. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  21. ^ "September 2001 version". Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 23 September 2001. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  22. ^ "April 2003 version". Wildscreen. Archived from the original on 10 April 2003. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  23. ^ a b "ARKive named as Sunday Times website of the year". ARKive. 1 January 2006. Archived from the original on 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2 July 2007.
  24. ^ a b c WildScreen Annual Review 2010 (PDF). Wildscreen. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  25. ^ "A sad announcement from Arkive". ARKive blog. 25 January 2019. Archived from the original on 14 February 2019. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Arkive closure". Wildscreen. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  27. ^ "Webby Honorees". Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  28. ^ "AEP Awards - Distinguished Achievement Award Winners - Technology and New Media". Archived from the original on 30 September 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.

External links


arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Greek letter chi [χ]) is a repository of electronic preprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not full peer review. It consists of scientific papers in the fields of mathematics, physics, astronomy, electrical engineering, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, mathematical finance and economics, which can be accessed online. In many fields of mathematics and physics, almost all scientific papers are self-archived on the arXiv repository. Begun on August 14, 1991, passed the half-million-article milestone on October 3, 2008, and had hit a million by the end of 2014. By October 2016 the submission rate had grown to more than 10,000 per month.

Black-headed gull

The black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is a small gull that breeds in much of Europe and Asia, and also in coastal eastern Canada. Most of the population is migratory and winters further south, but some birds reside in the milder westernmost areas of Europe. Some black-headed gulls also spend the winter in northeastern North America, where it was formerly known as the common black-headed gull. As is the case with many gulls, it was previously placed in the genus Larus.

The genus name Chroicocephalus is from Ancient Greek khroizo, "to colour", and kephale, "head". The specific ridibundus is Latin for "laughing", from ridere "to laugh".

Caspian tern

The Caspian tern (Hydroprogne caspia) is a species of tern, with a subcosmopolitan but scattered distribution. Despite its extensive range, it is monotypic of its genus, and has no accepted subspecies. The genus name is from Ancient Greek hudros, "water", and Latin progne, "swallow". The specific caspia is from Latin and, like the English name, refers to the Caspian Sea.

Common greenshank

The common greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a wader in the large family Scolopacidae, the typical waders. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific nebularia is from Latin nebula "mist". Like the Norwegian Skoddefoll, this refers to the greenshank's damp marshy habitat.

Common moorhen

The common moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) (also known as the waterhen, the swamp chicken, and as the common gallinule) is a bird species in the family Rallidae. It is distributed across many parts of the Old World.The common moorhen lives around well-vegetated marshes, ponds, canals and other wetlands. The species is not found in the polar regions or many tropical rainforests. Elsewhere it is likely the most common rail species, except for the Eurasian coot in some regions.

The closely related common gallinule of the New World has been recognized as a separate species by most authorities, starting with the American Ornithologists' Union and the International Ornithological Committee in 2011.

Common redshank

The common redshank or simply redshank (Tringa totanus) is a Eurasian wader in the large family Scolopacidae. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific totanus is from Tótano, the Italian name for this bird.

Common sandpiper

The common sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos) is a small Palearctic wader. This bird and its American sister species, the spotted sandpiper (A. macularia), make up the genus Actitis. They are parapatric and replace each other geographically; stray birds of either species may settle down with breeders of the other and hybridize. Hybridization has also been reported between the common sandpiper and the green sandpiper, a basal species of the closely related shank genus Tringa.

Curlew sandpiper

The curlew sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) is a small wader that breeds on the tundra of Arctic Siberia. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific ferruginea is from Latin ferrugo, ferruginis, "iron rust" referring to its colour in breeding plumage.It is strongly migratory, wintering mainly in Africa, but also in south and southeast Asia and in Australia and New Zealand. It is a vagrant to North America.


The dunlin (Calidris alpina) is a small wader, sometimes separated with the other "stints" in Erolia. The English name is a dialect form of "dunling", first recorded in 1531–2. It derives from dun, "dull brown", with the suffix -ling, meaning a person or thing with the given quality. The genus name is from Ancient Greek kalidris or skalidris, a term used by Aristotle for some grey-coloured waterside birds. The specific alpina is from Latin and means "of high mountains", in this case referring to the Alps.It is a circumpolar breeder in Arctic or subarctic regions. Birds that breed in northern Europe and Asia are long-distance migrants, wintering south to Africa, southeast Asia and the Middle East. Birds that breed in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic migrate short distances to the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, although those nesting in northern Alaska overwinter in Asia. Many dunlins winter along the Iberian south coast.

Eurasian jay

The Eurasian jay (Garrulus glandarius) is a species of bird occurring over a vast region from Western Europe and north-west Africa to the Indian Subcontinent and further to the eastern seaboard of Asia and down into south-east Asia. Across its vast range, several very distinct racial forms have evolved to look very different from each other, especially when forms at the extremes of its range are compared.

The bird is called jay, without any epithets, by English speakers in Great Britain and Ireland. It is the original 'jay' after which all others are named.

Fire coral

Fire corals (Millepora) are a genus of colonial marine organisms that exhibit physical characteristics similar to that of coral. The name coral is somewhat misleading, as fire corals are not true corals but are instead more closely related to Hydra and other hydrozoans, making them hydrocorals. They make up the only genus in the monotypic family Milleporidae.

Gentoo penguin

The gentoo penguin ( JEN-too) (Pygoscelis papua) is a penguin species in the genus Pygoscelis, most closely related to the Adélie penguin (P. adeliae) and the chinstrap penguin (P. antarcticus). The earliest scientific description was made in 1781 by Johann Reinhold Forster with a reference point of the Falkland Islands. They call in a variety of ways, but the most frequently heard is a loud trumpeting which the bird emits with its head thrown back.


Geochelone is a genus of tortoises.

Geochelone tortoises, which are also known as typical tortoises or terrestrial turtles, can be found in southern Asia. They primarily eat plants.

The genus consists of two extant species:

Indian star tortoise (G. elegans)

Burmese star tortoise (G. platynota)A number of tortoise species have been recently removed from the genus. This taxon as formerly defined was "polyphyletic, representing at least five independent clades". Tortoises removed include members of Aldabrachelys (from the Seychelles and Madagascar), Astrochelys (Madagascar), Chelonoidis (South America and the Galápagos Islands), Stigmochelys and Centrochelys (Africa), and the extinct Megalochelys (southern Asia).

Gull-billed tern

The gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica), formerly Sterna nilotica, is a tern in the family Laridae. It is now considered to be in its own genus. The genus name is from Ancient Greek gelao, "to laugh", and khelidon, "swallow". The specific niloticus is from Latin and means of the Nile.

Little gull

The little gull (Hydrocoloeus minutus or Larus minutus), is a small gull that breeds in northern Europe and Asia. The genus name Hydrocoloeus is from Ancient Greek hydro, "water", and koloios, a sort of web-footed bird. The specific minutuscode: lat promoted to code: la is Latin for "small".It also has small colonies in parts of southern Canada. It is migratory, wintering on coasts in western Europe, the Mediterranean and (in small numbers) the northeast United States; in recent years non-breeding birds have summered in western Europe in increasing numbers and in 2016 they successfully nested for the first time in Great Britain at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds reserve at Loch of Strathbeg reserve in Aberdeenshire. As is the case with many gulls, it has traditionally been placed in the genus Larus. It is the only member of the genus Hydrocoloeus, although it has been suggested that Ross's gull also should be included in this genus.

This species breeds colonially on freshwater marshes, making a lined nest on the ground amongst vegetation. Normally 2–6 eggs are laid.

This is the smallest gull species, with a length of 25–30 cm (9.8–11.8 in), a wingspan of 61–78 cm (24–31 in), and a mass of 68–162 g (2.4–5.7 oz). It is pale grey in breeding plumage with a black hood, dark underwings and often a pinkish flush on the breast. In winter, the head goes white apart from a darker cap and eye-spot. The bill is thin and black and the legs dark red. The flight on rounded wings is somewhat tern-like.

Young birds have black markings on the head and upperparts, and "W" pattern across the wings. They take three years to reach maturity.

These gulls pick food off the water surface, and will also catch insects in the air like a black tern.

Marsh sandpiper

The marsh sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis) is a small wader. It is a rather small shank, and breeds in open grassy steppe and taiga wetlands from easternmost Europe to central Asia. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific stagnatilis is from Latin stagnum, "swamp".

Pancake tortoise

The pancake tortoise (Malacochersus tornieri) is a species of flat-shelled tortoise in the family Testudinidae. The species is native to Tanzania and Kenya. Its common name refers to the flat shape of its shell.


The takin (; Budorcas taxicolor; Tibetan: ར་རྒྱ་, Wylie: ra rgya), also called cattle chamois or gnu goat, is a large species of ungulate of the subfamily Caprinae found in the eastern Himalayas. The four subspecies are the Mishmi takin (B. t. taxicolor), the golden takin (B. t. bedfordi), the Tibetan (or Sichuan) takin (B. t. tibetana), and the Bhutan takin (B. t. whitei).

Whilst the takin has in the past been placed together with the muskox in the tribe Ovibovini, more recent mitochondrial research shows a closer relationship to Ovis (sheep). Its physical similarity to the muskox is therefore an example of convergent evolution. The takin is the national animal of Bhutan.

Wood sandpiper

The wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) is a small wader. This Eurasian species is the smallest of the shanks, which are mid-sized long-legged waders of the family Scolopacidae. The genus name Tringa is the New Latin name given to the green sandpiper by Aldrovandus in 1599 based on Ancient Greek trungas, a thrush-sized, white-rumped, tail-bobbing wading bird mentioned by Aristotle. The specific glareola is from Latin glarea, " gravel".

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