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ARKive: Images of Life on Earth

Designed in house with help from HP

What is ARKive?

ARKive is a unique global initiative, gathering together films, photographs and audio recordings of the world’s animals, plants and fungi into one centralized digital library.  ARKive is leading the ‘virtual’ conservation effort creating comprehensive and enduring multi-media species profiles; complementing other species information datasets, and making a key resource available for scientists, conservationists, educators and the general public. These important audio-visual records are being preserved and maintained for the benefit of future generations and are being made freely available via the ARKive website,

Why is there a need for ARKive?

Films and photographs are an emotive, powerful and effective means of building environmental awareness – they can bring a scientific name to life, show what a species looks like and why it is special. As such, they are a valuable educational resource and conservation communications tool.

Continued habitat destruction and the rise in extinction rates also mean that for many species, films, photographs and audio recordings may soon be all that remains. They are, therefore, important historical and scientific records of the species they depict.

This material is, however, scattered around the world, held in a variety of commercial, specialist and private collections, much of it inaccessible to the general public and unavailable for scientific and educational use. Like the wildlife they depict, the images of these rare species are themselves endangered, with no guarantee that they will survive for future generations. Many records have already been lost forever, with companies basing storage decisions on commercial, rather than scientific, cultural or historical values. Privately owned materials, sometimes of considerable significance, may also be lost or discarded following the death of their owner. ARKive is bringing these important records together in one place for safe-keeping.

To date, ARKive has profiled nearly 6,000 threatened species with 40,000+ images and 6,000+ film clips.

Who is creating ARKive?

ARKive is a not-for-profit initiative of Wildscreen (, a UK-based charity, and Wildscreen USA (, a 501(c)3 organization based in Washington DC. The mission of Wildscreen is to use the power of wildlife images to inspire the people of the world to value and conserve our natural environment and its biodiversity.


Since 1982, Wildscreen has run the Wildscreen Festival in Bristol, England, the world's largest and most prestigious wildlife film and television festival. Held in association with the World Wildlife Fund in the UK, it attracts over 800 delegates from more than 45 countries.

Wildscreen’s patrons are:

  • HRH Prince Philip
  • Sir David Attenborough
  • Professor E. O. Wilson
  • Dr Sylvia Earle

The visionary behind ARKive was the late Christopher Parsons OBE, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit, IMAX film producer and founder of Wildscreen.

Who is supporting ARKive?

Many of the most famous names in natural history film-making are contributing to ARKive, including ABC Australia, the BBC Natural History Unit, Discovery, Granada Wild, National Geographic, NHNZ, OSF, as well as specialist photographic agencies such as Ardea, Auscape, FLPA, Nature Picture Library, NHPA, and OSF. ARKive currently has over 3,000 media donors.

The project is also being backed by a broad range of conservation organizations and natural history institutions, including: BirdLife International, Conservation International, English Nature, Fauna & Flora International, The World Conservation Union (IUCN), London Natural History Museum London, RSPB, Smithsonian Institution, World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), World Conservation Society, WWF-UK, and the Zoological Society of London.

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