Environment Minister Richard Benyon will tonight launch a new website featuring images of some of the unique plants and animals that live in UK Overseas Territories habitats that most people have no idea the UK has responsibility for protecting.
The ARKive Overseas Territories website, run by Wildscreen, will help raise awareness of wildlife in the 14 UK Overseas Territories and will be launched at the Big Nature Party event at London’s Natural History Museum. The website will host a unique collection of wildlife images from species and habitats found within our Overseas Territories.
Launching the ARKive picture gallery Environment Minister Richard Benyon said:
“Many plants and animals that live in our Overseas Territories are found nowhere else in the world. The Montserrat mountain chicken, which is actually a frog, is only found in Montserrat and if it becomes extinct here it will be lost forever.
“This important project is an innovative way to increase knowledge and understanding of the importance of the unique wildlife in our Overseas Territories. Film and photos of wildlife are vital tools in educating everyone about the battle to save the world's most endangered species from the brink of extinction. It is crucial we do all we can to preserve species if we are to achieve the new targets that will be set in Nagoya later this month.”
Harriet Nimmo, Wildscreen Chief Executive said:
“These new species profiles will join ARKive’s rapidly growing collection of more than 9,500 species and 60,000 films and photographs. Utilising the world’s very best wildlife films and photographs, we hope to help increase knowledge and understanding of the Territories’ threatened and endemic biodiversity, and highlight its value in terms of the ecosystem services it provides.”
The Wildscreen project has received Government funding and the photographs and videos it collects will help to keep track of wildlife and increase global conservation efforts. The collection will eventually consist of over 200 audio visual profiles that will be available online and on a free DVD for use by people all over the world.
Notes to Editors
1. The Big Nature Debate is part of the world-wide celebrations of 2010 and is supported by the International Year of Biodiversity 2010 UK Partnership, The Zoological Society of London and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The partnership has come together to celebrate biological diversity during 2010. From charities to farmers, councils to wildlife rangers, schools and colleges to zoos, museums and botanic gardens, the UK has one of the strongest programmes in the world to celebrate IYB.
2. The NHM has coordinated a UK partnership with Defra funding, of more than 450 organisations from a range of sectors who are committed to raising public awareness of the importance of biodiversity (www.biodiversityislife.net). The partnership has been supported by DCMS, BIS and DfE.
3. The Wildscreen project is jointly backed by Defra, DFID and the Foreign Office and can be found at www.arkive.org/. The Wildscreen/Arkive UK Overseas Territories stand will be situated in Dinosaur Way at the Natural History Museum.
4. Defra have provided £30,000 funding towards the project.
5. Wildscreen is a Bristol-based charity working globally to promote an appreciation of biodiversity and nature through the power of wildlife imagery www.wildscreen.org.uk
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