New Arks of Life
Below are the collections, or "arks" that we have set up to save species of plants and animals that are already extinct, or nearly extinct, in the wild
We Need Your Help...
Ark of Life is a brand new initiative. Our first Ark of Life (the Rare Nepenthes Collection) has already proved a resounding success, and will serve as a permanent safeguard to ensure several extinct-in-the-wild pitcher plants will be saved from complete extinction worldwide.
Over 2011, we aim to expand the Ark of Life model to protect and preserve other groups of imperilled plant and animals. Of particular focus, we would like to establish collections to conserve all CITES II Sarracenia (S. oreophila, S. rubra ssp. alabamensis and S. rubra ssp. jonesii), Drosera regia, N. bokorensis, N. mirabilis var. echinostoma, the pure black and elongated variants of N. rafflesiana, Roridula dentata and R. gorgonia.
Are you (or is the institution you represent) interested to help as a partner to host ark collections of these plants, or can you help organise the establishment of these arks of life? Or, do you know of further animal or plant groups that are threatened with extinction and need to be conserved through an organised ex-situ approach?
If so, we need you! Please contact the Ark of Life team through the contact page of this website.
Together, we can stop extinction and save life on earth.
Nepenthes are carnivorous pitcher plants found across the world. Approximately 130 species are currently recognised, and at least one third occur on just one or two mountain peaks and no where else in the world. As the populations of Nepenthes are often very small, and since the plants often fetch high prices (above US $100 per plant) in cultivation, many Nepenthes species are in sharp decline in the wild, mainly due to poaching and habitat destruction. Four Nepenthes species are already either extinct, or practically extinct in the wild. Although these four species are grown in cultivation, an organised approach is required if they are to survive, as species, in the long term, because (a) strains in cultivation are scattered and most/all will eventually will be lost from horticulture in the long term, (b) as monoecious plants, a minimum of two specimens (a male and a female) are required for the species to procreate, and (c) multiple strains of plants of each sex must be preserved if significant biodiversity is to be preserved, and survival for the long term to be made viable. The Rare Nepenthes Collection provides the permanent organisation that is required to save the four Nepenthesspecies, to ensure that each survives into the future making the possibility of repopulation efforts in the future an option.
After the immediate success of the first Ark of Life, The Rare Nepenthes Collection, it was time to think about the next ark to be set afloat. The choice for several carnivorous plants from South Africa was an easy one. The southern part of South Africa has a very unique flora; actually it is a separate floral kingdom on its own. Many species of plant occur only here and are not closely related to other species. Still, for a long time all these plants were doing just fine, moving to the rhythm of seasons and fires. However, today South Africa is one of the more modern countries on the African continent, and with that comes the expansion of agriculture, towns and roads. As most species occur in very restricted areas every new neighborhood or turn off has the potential to wipe out a substantial part, if not all, of a population. Add to that expanding cultivation areas that not only actually compete for growing space but also compete for water and the final nail in the coffin, the repression of naturally occurring fires to protect said agricultural land and houses, and you have a rather bleak image of the future of too many species. All this makes the choice for an African Ark a logical and necessary one.