Lost and Found
As a passionate natural historian and intrepid crypto-zoologist one of the topics I follow with the upmost interest is the dynamic world of species lost and species found. It is well documented how we are on the verge of, or in the middle of the sixth global mass extinction.
With the loss of such animals as the Yangtze River Dolphin and Pyrenean Ibex (in the last 10 years) it is easy to get depressed about the current state of things. It is with some irony then that we also find our selves in one of the richest periods in history for the discovering of new species!
Personally I would always consider myself an eternal optimist and so it comes with great relief that I find two different sides to our current predicament. If loss were all we had to inspire ourselves with then these would be difficult times indeed. Instead we have the almost daily relief of new and wonderful creatures being discovered and re-discovered. Now if this doesn't get you out of bed in the morning and on the conservation trail then nothing will.
After all, what these Flora and Fauna represent is not just the ebb and flow of species known to humans but also the mystery and wilderness that still exists on this planet. With an estimated 8.7 million species on the planet and only 1.9 million discovered it is thought we will be on the path of discovery for hundreds if not thousands of years to come. This is of course dependant on the health of our ecosystems and the biodiversity they sustain. In that respect conservation is not just the protection of species but also the protection of human discovery and inspiration.
So in the spirit of discovery and inspiration here are a few of the critters that have kept me inspired and positive over the last couple of years.
Yoda Bat (Tube nosed fruit bat) - just one of 200 species that were encountered in two scientific expeditions in 2009 to Papua New Guines. It had been seen flying beofre but this was the first time it had actually been documented.
Giant Slipper Orchid (Phragmipedium Kovachii) - with orchid hunters all over the world who would have thought the the largest ever known would avoid detection from science for so long. What's more it was discovered being the sold on a roadside in Peru, near by where it originates in the Peruvian highlands in the Andes.
Rainbow toad (Ansonia latidisca) - this had actualy been spotted before. The only record of this however was an illustration made back in the 1920's. It was then with great suprise that explorers found it again in Borneo. The original sketch was in black and white so imagine the pleasure of finding it in it's full techno-colour glory :-)