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From saddle cover to media sensation: the story of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey

During his famous 5 year-long expedition to Latin America (1799-1804), Alexander von Humboldt collected,  together with his naturalist partner, Aimé Bonpland, around 60,000 plant specimens and an unknown number of animal specimens that we can safely assume to be in the thousands. Some of these specimens were being shown and described to the scientific world for the first time, including the peculiar yellow-tailed woolly monkey. However, the monkey specimens weren’t caught by Humboldt or Bonpland. They were the flat skins…

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Un-masking the true identity of the Tasman Booby

Remote volcanic islands, ancient bones, scientists and a species brought back from the dead. It might sound like a Jurassic Park rip-off but this is the story of how a diverse team of researchers un-covered the fate of the Tasman Booby. Unearthing history On Lord Howe Island, the husk of an old volcano 1600km east of Australia, a storm thrashed against the coast. The wild weather gouged chunks out of the cliff face, tearing off layer after layer of history.…

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Now you see it, now you don’t: the troubled tale of the estuarine pipefish

The estuarine pipefish, has been playing a frightening game of hide-and-seek for decades.  Not only was this pipefish thought to be extinct once, it was feared to have disappeared from the world a second time… only to be discovered yet again by scientists. You may wonder, just as we did, why this species has been lost and found so many times. What is it about this fish that makes it so vulnerable to extinction and why is it struggling to…

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Finding inspiration in rediscovery

I love what I do. I’ve been a naturalist since childhood, and I was lucky enough to grow up in the wilds of west Dorset where the woodlands, coastlines and hills gave me everything I needed to explore my fascination with wildlife and the natural world. In school, the only subject which interested me was art, so that is all I studied up to university, which is where I started to combine these two passions. Since then, I’ve been incredibly…

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On the path of the Spreadwing

We were threading on a narrow foot path, running across a rainforest leading to the Adam’s Peak mountain, the most sacred mountain in Sri Lanka and the fourth highest in the country. Our team of five naturalists was ascending the mountain slowly as we were frequently held by interesting animals, beautiful sceneries of forests, mountains and streams or by occasional heavy rains. The Peak Wilderness Mountain range has always amazed me. The vast forest ranges covering the misty mountains reaching…

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Searching for the Santa Marta Toro: A tale of a Roach & a Rat

Off the coast of northern Colombia lies a formidable mountain, which towers over the small Caribbean city of Santa Marta. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta (SNSM) is the tallest coastal mountain range in the world, rising from sea level to over 5,700 m. Older than the Andes, the Sierra Nevada’s dramatic topography has made this mountain the crown jewel of the Colombian coastline. Aside from its majestic beauty, the SNSM boasts high levels of cultural and biological diversity. There…

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Meet the Lost & Found team: Sam Needs

Sam Needs is a Welsh writer with a Master’s in Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University. He is currently based in Perth, Australia, where he works with the Said Poets Society, a non-profit who help young people to express themselves through storytelling and performance poetry. What interested in the Lost and Found project? I was most enthusiastic about its alternative approach to raising awareness of conservation issues, as I’d never encountered a project like this that used narrative fiction. In a…

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Searching for the Southern Sea Otter

This is an oldie but goodie for the Lost and Found archives. In a letter dated February 2nd, 1915 to the California Department of Fish and Game, lighthouse keeper John W. Astrom reported on a small southern sea otter (Enhydra lutris nereis) population of the coast of Big Sur. Little did Mr. Astrom know that his observations would help launch one of the greatest and most iconic conservation success stories in history. A few decades later, in the June 1938…

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Worth losing a finger for: the Anatolian meadow viper

The Anatolian meadow viper was always an enigmatic species. It belongs to the same group as many widespread vipers, such  as the common adder. However, unlike the common adder, which is distributed across Europe and Northern Asia, the Anatolian meadow viper lives only at the top of the Ciglikara mountain plateau, in south-west Turkey. Since the species discovery, in 1969, only five individuals have ever been found. Its discovery triggered the curiosity of researchers as this species is one of…

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Meet the Lost & Found team: Amy Gallagher

Amy Gallagher (also known as Amiluu) is a UK based freelance illustrator, greeting card designer, and comic artist. Her style is playful and charming; often using themes of humour and cheekiness to create engaging imagery. ¬Her other interests lie in food (and lots of it) Tove Jansson, fitness, animation and games. She loves her dog Finn. What interested you in the Lost and Found project? I’m an animal lover and comic artist, so when I was approached by Diogo to…

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