FAQs - Frequently asked questions

Below are some of the most common questions we are asked. Have a look through the list to see if you can find what you’re looking for. If you can’t find the answer here please contact the ARKive team.

About ARKive

ARKive species profiles

ARKive and education

ARKive technical questions

About ARKive

What is ARKive? Top

ARKive's mission is to promote a greater understanding of global biodiversity, and the conservation of the world's most threatened species, using the power of wildlife imagery.

ARKive is leading the 'virtual' conservation effort - gathering together films, photographs and audio recordings of the world's species, prioritising those most at risk of extinction, and building them into comprehensive multimedia digital profiles.

Using these films, photographs and audio recordings, ARKive is creating a unique record of the world's increasingly threatened biodiversity – complementing other species information datasets and making this key resource available for scientists, conservationists, educators and the general public.

Why is there a need for ARKive? Top

Films and photographs are an emotive, powerful and effective means of building environmental awareness. They can show what a species looks like and why it is special. As such, they are a valuable educational resource and conservation 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.

Who is creating ARKive? Top

ARKive is a not-for-profit initiative of Wildscreen (www.wildscreen.org.uk), a UK-based charity, whose mission is to promote conservation through wildlife imagery.

Wildscreen's principal initiatives are the Wildscreen Festival (www.wildscreenfestival.org), the world's largest and most prestigious wildlife and environmental film festival, WildPhotos (www.wildphotos.org.uk), the UK's leading nature photography symposium, WildFilmHistory (www.wildfilmhistory.org), an online guide to the pioneering people and landmark productions behind one hundred years of wildlife filmmaking, and Wildscreen Outreach, a touring programme of award-winning film screenings and master classes to reach, engage and inspire new audiences.

The ARKive project is also supported by Wildscreen USA, Inc., a non-profit organisation based in Washington, DC.

Wildscreen USA is spearheading US efforts in support of the global ARKive project - coordinating work with leading media and environmental groups located in the US, developing strategic partnerships with US-based technology providers, and working to continue to grow ARKive's substantial US audience.

Who had the idea for ARKive? Top

The visionary behind ARKive was the late Christopher Parsons OBE, founder of Wildscreen, former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit and IMAX film producer. Through the activities of the Wildscreen Festival, Chris realised the scientific and historical importance of creating a centralised collection of natural history films and images, preserved and maintained for future generations. The original feasibility study was undertaken in the early 1990s but it wasn't until ten years later, with the advent of digital technology and the UK lottery funding opportunities, that his idea could become a reality.

Who is supporting ARKive? Top

ARKive is supported by a wide range of organisations and individuals and this support takes a variety of different forms.

Major broadcasters, the biggest film and photo libraries, conservation organisations and leading academic institutions have all been quick to recognise the importance of ARKive and the value of creating a central safe-haven for their material. They have been generous in their co-operation and donation of their most important records.

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

The project is also financially supported by a range of different supporters.

Who is funding ARKive? Top

To help set ARKive up initially Hewlett-Packard contributed $2 million of hardware, software, professional and technical services. The project continues to develop with help from a range of supporters.

ARKive's principal supporter is now the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi.

For a more detailed list of ARKive funders please see our supporter pages.

How can I help ARKive? Top

If you have any photos, footage or species information that you think we should add into ARKive please let us know. There are many ways to get involved with ARKive, from contributing your photos to just spreading the word about us – every little helps!

ARKive species profiles

How are the species selected? Top

ARKive's aim is to compile audio-visual profiles, where such media exists, for all species that are considered rare or threatened. ARKive has therefore prioritised work on the animals, plants and fungi currently threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species.

Please see ARKive's most wanted lists for details of the species that are still eluding us.

If you know of films or photographs that exist for any threatened species, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Please see: ARKive contacts.

ARKive also holds profiles for around 740 species that occur in the UK. This work was carried out in collaboration with Natural England, the Government agency that champions the conservation of wildlife, geology and wild places in England. The first 360 species were taken from Natural England's Species Recovery Programme (SRP). The next group of species covered by ARKive included those listed as Priority Species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Then, in order to produce a comprehensive audio-visual record of Britain's rich natural history heritage, a selection of more common and familiar species were also chosen, in consultation with relevant wildlife and conservation organisations and species experts.

Who writes the species fact-files? Top

The species fact-files have been researched and written in-house by a team of qualified biologists.

We also run the ARKive and Universities scheme, where students studying relevant subjects at university can research and write ARKive species profiles as part of their assessed coursework, or voluntarily to gain valuable experience. All of these texts are reviewed and edited by our in-house team before being published on the website.

Our aim is to have all species information authenticated by relevant species experts. This authentication information is published on the website.

We would also like to thank Natural England, who contributed a number of the species information texts for the British species.

If you are a species expert and would like to help with the authentication of the ARKive species information, we would be pleased to hear from you. Authenticators are acknowledged on-screen, with links through to relevant web activities.

Please see: ARKive contacts.

How are the images and footage selected? Top

ARKive has an Accessions Advisory Panel, made up of eminent scientists and biologists. They helped set the recommendations for the quantity and type of images that should be selected for each ARKive species. For each species, our aim is to build up a complete audio-visual profile of its life-history, its appearance, habitat and characteristic behaviours. For some species there are huge amounts of material to catalogue and select from, whilst for others there may only be one or two images in existence.

Research, review and selection of the available media is undertaken in-house by a team of qualified biologists, with the highest quality media being sought for each species.

How can I contribute to ARKive? Top

We are always open to suggestions of species that should be included in ARKive. If you have media, or know of some that exists, for threatened species that we have not yet covered in ARKive, or can add to the collections already in ARKive, then please do contact us.

What can I do with ARKive's still and moving images? Top

Please see: ARKive 'terms of use'.

In summary:

  • Visitors to the ARKive website may view and download the materials for their own personal research and educational use.
  • Teachers, educators, researchers and students may incorporate these materials into their lesson plans, presentations, work sheets, projects etc in hard copy and digital format for internal educational use.
  • Other websites may link directly to the ARKive web pages, but they may not incorporate ARKive images, sound recordings or film clips into their own website.
  • No organisation or person (whether an educational body or not) may incorporate ARKive material into CDs, DVDs, intranets, extranets, websites, digital communications or on printed materials for external distribution or for any promotional or commercial purpose whatsoever.
  • Please contact the copyright owners directly (copyright and contact details shown under each image) to negotiate terms and conditions for any use other than those expressly permitted above. Please note that many of the contributors to the ARKive project are commercial operators and may request a fee for such use.

How can I purchase images / footage from ARKive? Top

The ARKive website acts as a showcase for image providers, showing full copyright details on-screen, contact details and links to each media donor's own web activities.

For any commercial use of materials, please contact the copyright owners directly and tell them that you saw the image on ARKive.

Any requests for images received by ARKive will be redirected to the relevant copyright owner.

ARKive and education

Are there any resources for teachers or parents? Top

ARKive’s many thousands of videos, images and fact files can be used freely by educators to engage their students in key biology topics, or used as creative inspiration for art & design projects.

ARKive also offers a wide range of free fun-packed teaching resources, for 5 to 18 year olds, that cover a range of key science and biology subjects including: adaptation, endangered species, food chains, Darwin and natural selection, classification, identification, conservation and biodiversity. These teaching resources include classroom presentations, activities and handouts and teachers' notes as well as links to ARKive species profiles and scrapbooks.

ARKive also has a number of interactive games designed to encourage children to learn about plants, animals and conservation in a fun way.

Visit ARKive's education pages at: www.arkive.org/education.

Can I use the images for study and/or teaching? Top

All ARKive images remain the copyright of the owner, and cannot be published or used for commercial purposes without prior agreement by the relevant copyright owner. However, they are available for internal private educational use by educators and students (for example they may be used in lessons, presentations, school projects etc).

Please see: ARKive website 'terms and use'.

ARKive technical questions

How do I play the ARKive videos? Top

The ARKive website plays video in H.264/MPEG 4 format.

Most web browsers support Flash video and therefore will be using a Flash video player, but you may need to install a Flash plug-in specific to your browser. If you see a black screen or message about a missing video, please install Flash.

Visit the Adobe Flash download page for further instructions and help.

The ARKive videos require at least version 9.0.115 of the Adobe Flash plug-in.

Mobile devices should use the built-in video player for the device and therefore no further software is required to watch the videos.

Do I need a fast broadband connection to view ARKive videos? Top

A broadband connection speed of at least 768Kb/s is recommended to play the ARKive videos at their highest quality. However, if you have a slower connection speed you will still be able to play the ARKive videos, but you may experience longer delays before video playback begins and video quality will be reduced.

What is the minimum specification of computer
required to play ARKive videos? Top

Computers purchased new within the last 4 years should be able to play the ARKive videos. Many earlier machines should also be able to play the ARKive videos satisfactorily.

How can I make the videos play more smoothly? Top

ARKive videos are encoded for web playback at a variety of data rates. The data rate streamed to your computer should dynamically adapt to the speed of your internet connection, in order to reduce the chance of the video skipping or stuttering.

However, if you experience problems, check that you are not downloading other content from the internet while you browse the ARKive website. Some hidden background processes such as Windows update or anti-virus updates may also cause your internet connection to slow down during video playback. If you are unable to play the videos at all please contact arkive@wildscreen.org.uk.

How do I link to the ARKive website? Top

For information on the different ways to link to the ARKive website please see:

Linking to the ARKive website.