We are passionate about conservation and actively donate to a number of conservation projects. These galleries illustrate endangered species, the threats faced by wildlife and wild places, current conservation initiatives and the work of conservation organisations worldwide, including those we have supported.
Nature Picture Library has extensive coverage on extinct species, including museum specimens, contemporary and historical illustrations and photographs of species declared extinct in the 21st century. It is thought that nearly 500 animal species have gone extinct since 1900. The current anthropocene era is considered by many to be at risk of a further wave of mass extinctions.
*Sumatran Orangutan Conservation
The Sumatran and Tapanuli orangutans are endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Both are critically endangered, with the largest threat coming from destruction of their rainforest habitat for agriculure (especially palm oil plantations), mining and other developments. Sumatran Orangutan Society works to protect Sumatran orangutans, their forests and their future. They work in collaboration with other NGOs and partners in Sumatra to deliver appropriate and science-based conservation initiatives and carry out advocacy work to create a global movement of people and organisations who act to prevent Sumatra’s orangutans and other wildlife going extinct. We will supporting them from April to June 2019 and our donation will contribute to their campaign to protect the habitat of the Tapanuli orangutan, which is threatened by a proposed hydro-electric dam project.
Asian Big Cat Conservation
Asia's big cats are all threatened, due to habitat loss, decline in prey numbers and illegal trade in skins and body parts. NPL is supporting the EIA campaign, in conjunction with the Wildlife Conservation Society of India, to expose the trans-Himalayan trade in the skins of tigers and other Asian big cats. This gallery illustrates some of the threats faced by tigers and other Asian big cats and some of the work being undertaken to protect them. It depicts the key subspecies of tigers and Asian leopards, including rare images of Amur leopard and Siberian tigers in the wild.
Bengal tiger - conservation success story
The latest 2019 census of tiger numbers in India reveals a wild population of almost 3000 animals, representing an increase of more than 30% in the last four years. The increase is thought to be largely due to the effectiveness of conservation measures and especially anti-poaching patrols in India's national parks.
BirdLife Malta - Campaign against Spring Hunting
Nature Picture Library is pleased to support the work of BirdLife Malta, the largest and oldest conservation organisation in Malta. David Tipling travelled to Malta to document their work in campaigning against the controversial spring hunting of migrant songbirds and raptors. David was shocked by the density of hunters on Malta, which left birds with little hope of survival. He
described the scene as reminiscent of a battle zone (with 9000 shots recorded in 3 hours, equating to 1.3 shots per second!) and was shocked to see turtle doves being both trapped and shot. He photographed a number of birds of prey which had been shot, including the extremely rare pallid harrier, and also gave evidence at the trial of a hunter who was apprehended for shooting birds in a protected area. For more information or to support the work of BirdLife Malta, go to www.birdlifemalta.org.
Buglife B-Lines Project
Buglife aims to achieve sustainable populations of invertebrates and halt extinctions, supporting conservation initiatives by other organisations in the UK, Europe and worldwide. Buglife's West of England B-Lines project aims to create a network of wildflower habitat linking existing wildlife areas from the west to the east, and from the north to the south, linking the Cotswolds with the Mendips, cities to the countryside, and the coast to the hills.
CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between 183 nations, which aims to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants doesn't threaten their survival.
~The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP17) took place in Johannesburg, South Africa between 24 September - 5th October 2016, resulting in several victories for conservation.
~• The Parties of CITES voted to give all eight species of pangolin, the most illegally trafficked mammals in the world, the highest level of protection (known as Appendix I). The complete ban on international trade in pangolins and pangolin parts (such as meat and scales, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine) is a crucial step in saving these animals from the brink of extinction.
~• African grey parrots - which have dwindled due to their popularity as pets and destruction of their habitat - were also moved to Appendix I, alongside the endangered Barbary macaque, which is poached illegally for circuses, pets, and sometimes zoos.
~• By a consensus decision, the CITES Parties placed all 300 species of rosewood under international trade restrictions. The demand for rosewood, driven by a booming luxury furniture market in China, has made it the world's most trafficked wild product, with an annual market value of $2.2bn. Rampant logging has devastated forests in Southeast Asia, but traffickers will no longer be able to pass off illegally felled rosewood timber as legitimate.
~• Thresher sharks, silky sharks and devil rays also won new protections at the global wildlife summit. Around 100 million sharks are caught every year, mostly for their fins which are used to make soup. Devil rays are targeted because their gill plates are in high demand for their supposed medicinal properties. Shark fins and ray gills are among the world's most profitable fish commodities (the annual trade in shark fins is worth $1bn alone) but the new trade restrictions on these species is a big step in the right direction.
~• Elephants and rhinos were hotly debated by the CITES nations, who agreed unanimously that all domestic ivory markets should be closed and denied a proposal by Swaziland to allow a regulated trade in white rhino horn (which is sought after due to the misplaced belief it can increase fertility).
Once part of the native British fauna, beavers were hunted to extinction some centuries ago but are now once again living wild and breeding in the UK. The Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) is involved in two separate beaver conservation projects. The first is on a securely-fenced enclosure where a pair of beavers were introduced in 2011, and have since successfully bred. Studies of this group of animals show that beavers are effective at reducing woodland encroachment and the numerous ponds they create slow the rate of water flow, helping to reduce flooding downstream. ~~In 2014, DWT got involved with the population of beavers living in the wild in the river Otter. There had been sightings of these animals for a few years but once it was confirmed that the beavers were breeding in the wild, Defra proposed that they should be removed from the river, citing the risk of non-native diseases. DWT opposed this plan and proposed a solution: testing the beavers to prove they were free of non-native infectious disease, then re-releasing them on the river Otter as part of a five-year monitoring study. The River Otter Beaver Trial is England’s first beaver re-introduction project in the wild. In January 2015, Natural England granted DWT a licence to release beavers into the wild as part of this project. After the beavers had been screened for disease, they had ear-tags fitted for monitoring purposes and were re-released on the river Otter in late March, where subsequently one of the female beavers gave birth to at least two young. In May 2016 two new beavers were introduced into the river in an effort to increase genetic diversity in the population. In June 2016 five kits were born to the newly released beaver pair, an unprecedented number of young for a single female. ~~The River Otter Beaver Trial is led by Devon Wildlife Trust, working in partnership with the University of Exeter, Clinton Devon Estates and the Derek Gow Consultancy. It aims to to monitor the impacts of these wild-living beavers on the River Otter, and investigate how they colonise the river and impact the ecology and existing users of the valley.~~NPL photographer Nick Upton has had privileged access to shoot both stills and footage of the veterinary checks and release of these wild beavers. He has also taken images at different times of the captive beavers in their enclosure and their effects on the landscape, and of the beaver kits born in the wild after the release.
32% of amphibian species are threatened or extinct. The highest levels of threat are in the Caribbean, where for example 92% of Haiti's species are threatened.
12% of bird species are threatened with extinction. Parrots, albatrosses, cranes and species endemic to remote islands feature high on the danger list.
Endangered Fish & Reptiles
Almost a third of reptiles are threatened, including most of the marine turtles. Many sharks are endangered and the world's two largest fish are both considered vulnerable.
22% of the world's mammals are under threat. We have amazing new polar bear images and rare pictures from Mongolia of snow leopards in the wild.
According to a report published in January 2017, 60% of the world's primate species are threatened with extinction. The IUCN Red Data List shows that a total of 184 primates are either endangered or critically endangered. The main threats to primates are habitat destruction, hunting for bushmeat, and illegal trade. It is vital that awareness of the plight of primates is urgently raised to prevent an extinction crisis, which would be at great cost both to biodiversity and human society.~~For the full report in Science Advances go to http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1600946.full
Endangered Species 2019
A United Nations report published in May 2019 warns that a staggering one million species of plants and animals are at risk of going extinct. The landmark global assessment, compiled by more than 145 scientists in 50 countries, highlights the losses biodiversity has suffered in the last half century and which species will become extinct – many within decades – if human pressures such as deforestation, overfishing, and pollution of the planet’s air and water are not curbed.~~Collectively, our planet’s living species provide us with food, air, clean water and more. When nature suffers, people suffer. At a time when species are being lost tens or even hundreds of times faster than ever before, the report provides a clarion call for reversing the trend of biodiversity decline.~~According to the report, the drivers of this rapid deterioration in ecosystem health are changes in land and sea use, direct exploitation of animals and plants, climate change, pollution, and invasive alien species, in that order. The report stresses the urgent need for transformative change to protect the planet and sets out possible pathways for building a global sustainable economy.
EU votes to ban Neonicitinoid pesticides
The EU voted on 29th April 2013 in favour of a partial ban on neonicitinoid pesticides, which have been linked by some studies to the worrying decline in honeybee populations. 15 member states voted for a ban, 4 abstained and 8 countries (including the UK) voted against. The European Commission may be able to implement restrictions before the end of 2013. Honeybees are a vital pollinator of both wild and cultivated plants and some commercial crops depend on honeybees for one third of their pollinators.
Habitat restoration projects are taking place all over the world, and whether they are run by small communities surveying their local area, or international organisations replanting entire forests, every project is aiming to make changes for the better.
Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust
The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust has been leading the way for the conservation of whales, dolphins and porpoises in the Hebrides for over two decades. HWDT research has critically advanced the understanding of the whale and dolphin populations that visit seasonally or are resident within Scotland’s west coast seas. Based on the Isle of Mull, in the heart of the Hebrides, HDWT works directly with local communities to ensure whales, dolphins and porpoises are protected and valued throughout Scotland’s west coast. Each year their specialist research vessel, Silurian, travels thousands of nautical miles, monitoring Hebridean seas, to increase our understanding of cetaceans and the threats they face, and bringing marine education to life through their unique floating classroom.~~Nature Picture Library is delighted to support the work of the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust as our nominated conservation charity for July - September 2017. We will make a donation from our sales revenue which will contribute towards the purchase of computer equipment to support HWDT's vital education work.
Kenya Ivory Burn April 2016
The largest ivory burn ever has recently taken place in Kenya, more than 7 times the size of the previous largest and involving the tusks of more than 8000 African elephants. Piles of African elephant ivory and rhino horn were set on fire in Nairobi National Park, Kenya, 30th April 2016. The Kenya Wildlife Authority (KWS) and other officials burnt over 105 tons of elephant ivory and one ton of rhino horn (estimated to be 5% of the current world stockpile) in a display intended to combat the growing threat of wildlife poaching in a ceremony officiated by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The photographs were taken by Bruce Davidson, who specialises in documenting Africa's willdife and conservation issues. Burning large quantities of ivory is logistically difficult because of the high temperatures required in a process that will take days to reduce the ivory and horn staked in 11 pyres to ash. The ivory and horn bonfire on the edge of the Nairobi National Park, Kenya, is the largest stockpile ever destroyed. The ivory comes from about 8,000 animals and it is estimated to be worth more than $150 million. One kg of ivory is currently worth between $1,000 - $1,500 on the Asian market, and just one tusk can be worth around $60,000 once it is fashioned into a decorative ornament. Kenya plans to push for a world ban on ivory sales at the 17th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in South Africa in late 2016.
Marine Conservation Areas
On 31st May 2019 the total of Marine Conservation Zones declared in the UK increased by 41 to 91, ten years on from the passing of the Marine Act in 2009. 39 of the new areas are in England and 2 in Northern Ireland offshore waters. There are different systems for designating and naming these areas in Scoltand and Wales. Amongst the newly protected areas are the Purbeck Coast, Selsey Bill, a number of estuaries in Devon and Cornwall, a large stretch of the Northumberland coast and the south shore of the Solway Firth. Already established Marine Conservation Zones included Lundy, the Scilly Isles, the Cromer coast of Norfolk and sections of the Cumbria and Kent coasts. This gallery includes coverage on both the recently declared Marine Protection Areas in England and the existing network throughout the UK. ~~You can see more information on the new zones in our blog post.
Mendip Pond Project
During the quarter April-June 2017, NPL supported Reptile and Amphibian Group for Somerset, a small grassroots group dedicated to the conservation of reptiles and amphibians in the county. RAGS works closely with the Somerset Wildilfe Trust on various projects. Most of their work involves surveying for reptiles and amphibians, keeping a database of records to map their distribution across Somerset and monitoring important populations regularly to react swiftly to emerging threats. They also provide advice to land owners and managers on the conservation of these animals and undertake practical conservation tasks such as scrub clearance and pond restoration.~~Our donation will contribute towards the restoration of a pond in the Mendip Hills. The Mendip Ponds Project aims to restore at least 14 Mendip ponds over the coming year, enabling crested newts to return to parts of the hills from which they have disappeared
Migrant birds in the Mediterranean
David Tipling has travelled to various destinations in the Mediterranean to photograph the threats faced by migrant birds passing through this region, from Cyprus to Malta and Italy, in contravention of EU bird protection laws. David is fascinated by the relationships between people and birds and is working on a magnum opus on the subject, due to be published by Random House in August 2013.
Olympic Forest Appeal
From July to September 2016 we are supporting the World Land Trust’s Olympic Forest Appeal, which aims to raise £40,000 to protect a vital parcel of Atlantic Forest in the year of the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games in Brazil. This land will form the Olympic Forest Reserve and will be incorporated into the reserve areas owned and protected by WLT’s Brazilian conservation partner, Reserva Ecologica de Guapiacu (REGUA). The Atlantic Forest is a global conservation hotspot as one of the world’s most diverse, but most threatened ecosystems, with just seven per cent of the original forest remaining. This gallery illustrates the biodiversity of the wider Atlantic Forest region.
In quarter January-March 2012 we supported the work of the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation and the Orangutan Land Trust, and our donation contributed towards TB testing of 50 Borneo orangutans before their release into the wild. BOS Foundation is the largest orangutan organisation in the world, caring for over 800 rescued orangutans in its 2 rescue centres in Indonesia as well as managing the Mawas Project which is home to 3000 wild orangutans. The orangutan is the largest tree-dwelling mammal on earth. The Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are now recognised as two separate species. The Bornean orangutan is endangered, while the Sumatran is critically endangered. The main threat to both species is from habitat destruction, and their survival is linked to the preservation of large tracts of undeveloped rainforest. Our gallery focuses on the threats to both species and active rehabilitation projects.
Pangolins under threat
Pangolins, or Scaly anteaters, are native to Southern Africa and South East Asia. There are 8 species, all of which are threatened, while the 4 Asian speices are all endangered or critically endangered, according to the IUCN Red Data List. The main threat to pangolins comes from illegal hunting for their meat, prized as a delicacy in China and Vietnam, and their scales, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. The pangolin is now considered to be the world most illegally traficked mammal.
Project Seahorse Danajon Bank
NPL photographer Claudio Contreras was part of the team commissioned by Project Seahorse and International League of Conservation Photographers to make a photographic survey of the Danajon Bank double coral reef in the Philippines, one of the richest areas for marine life in the Pacific Ocean. Project Seahorse has been involved in the creation of 35 marine protected areas and is the charity we are supporting for the second quarter of 2013.~
~Project Seahorse has gathered one of the world's most comprehensive, long-term datasets on any marine ecosystem in the world. Using this data to study how reef habitats, fish species, and seahorse populations fare with and without pr
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