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Monday
Sep182017

Top 5 underappreciated  species

There are certain species of animal in the world that constantly appear on wildlife documentaries and are known for being cute and charismatic. However there are countless other species that are often ignored and remain under the radar when it comes to awareness. Here we take a look at 5 underappreciated species!

Caracal

The caracal is a wild cat native to parts of Africa and Asia, smaller cats like the caracal often get overshadowed by the likes of lions, tigers and leopards and far fewer people have even heard of them. They grow to only half a metre tall but are capable of jumping 6x their own height, to a whopping 3m and have been observed catching birds mid-flight! They have a striking look with long ear tufts and large eyes, useful as they are mostly nocturnal and need to be able to see well in low light. They are known for being hard to see, as they are generally inactive during the day and secretive in their behaviours. If you’re lucky enough to see one in the wild, they’re an amazing sight and an impressive predator!

Flickr | Tambako The JaguarHoneybee

The honeybee, along with other species of bee is of great importance to ecosystem stability and human productivity, yet these small buzzing insects are often seen as a nuisance. Bees have a bad reputation due to their stings but they only sting when threatened. Many bee species are now under pressure from factors such as pesticide use and climate change and their numbers are in decline. Bees provide humans with many of the crops that we grown through their pollination services and without them food production could significantly decrease. Many wildlife charities are now running campaigns to try to raise awareness of the plight of bees in the hope of increasing their numbers once more.
Flickr | Keith McDuffeeSumatran rhinoceros

When someone mentions rhinos you probably instantly think of the African black or white rhinos, which are the biggest and most well known of all the extant rhino species. However, fewer people will think of the lesser-known Sumatran rhino, which is the smallest of all rhinoceros species standing at a maximum height of around 150cm. This species has two horns on its head, which are both fairly small, usually under 20cm. This rhino is also sometimes known as the hairy rhino, as they grown hair around their ears and stomachs. They are a critically endangered species, with fewer that 100 individuals thought to be remaining in the wild. They face threats such as illegal poaching as well as habitat loss due to logging. Maybe its time for this small and rare rhino to get the attention it deserves!

Flickr | Willem v StrienCommon thresher shark

As with other species on this list, the thresher shark belongs to a family that includes some seriously big names. The great white shark, the tiger shark and the hammerhead are all pretty well known, meaning that other species of shark are sometimes forgotten about. The common thresher shark is one of four species of thresher shark and is the largest of the four, reaching a length of 5.7m. This shark is known for its hugely elongated tail fin, which is often as long as the shark’s body! It is thought that these sharks use their tails to hit and stun their prey, which is usually fish. These sharks are easily as interesting as the heavyweights of the shark world!

Flickr | Klaus StiefelBlue Dragon

Not a real dragon, but still pretty cool, the blue dragon is just one of the names given to this species of sea slug or nudibranch. Only 3cm long this marine creature looks like something out of a mythical tale, with its bright blue colouration and strange, branched appendages. It also has an interesting defense mechanism, which it acquires from feeding on venomous prey! This species of sea slug accumulates the venom of its prey in its own body and in turn uses it as a defense against its own predators! People don’t tend to know much about nudibranchs as they’re small squishy creatures that live in the sea, often seen to be less appealing than something like a cute bear cub for example! This species, however, is a spectacular sight.

Flickr | Sylke Rohrlach So there you have it, some of the species that are often overlooked or dismissed that deserve more appreciation. It’s important to look past the ‘big names’ of the animal kingdom, as there’s so much more out there to discover!

By Gabrielle Brooks - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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