IMAGES: Virtual Noah's Ark

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Science  23 May 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5623, pp. 1211
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5623.1211d

Once a widespread dune-dweller, the sand lizard, Lacerta agilis, now hangs on in a few patches of habitat on Britain's south and east coasts. The last known thylacine, a marsupial carnivore, died in the Hobart, Australia, zoo in 1936. Film and recordings are often among the only evidence of rare and extinct species. The ARKive project, sponsored by the Wildscreen Trust in Bristol, U.K., has been gathering, digitizing, and storing media of endangered species from around the world. The project's Web site, where you can browse much of the collection, premiered on 20 May.

ARKive's goal is not just to document vanishing species and promote their conservation, but to save media from being lost, discarded, or destroyed. The ARKive staff stocked their multimedia ark with donations from natural history filmmakers such as Discovery Channel and Oxford Scientific Films, scientists, and wildlife photographers. The archive boasts roughly 5000 images, along with background on about 1100 species, such as habitat, diet, and reproduction. Two subsites are aimed at teachers and children. If you've got photos or movies to contribute, see if your species is on the site's “Most Wanted” list.

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