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Breakfast Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 07:50 GMT 08:50 UK
A Noah's Ark for the 21st Century
David Attenborough
David Attenborough is supporting the ARKive website
As conservationists do their best to prevent some species of animal from becoming extinct, a new website has been launched that will at least preserve images and sounds for posterity.

ARKive will provide access to thousands of images of animals through its digital library and because it's available on the world wide web it will mean potentially millions of people will have access to it.

It's being hailed as a virtual Noah's Ark, and if species do become extinct, there will be a permanent record on the website.

  • Sir David Attenborough will be launching the website later today, and was live on Breakfast

    If you want to go straight to the ARKive website, click on the link below.

    But the site is not meant as a "Doomsday book" of extinct animals - Harriet Nimmo who is involved with the site explained on Breakfast that it should actively help with conservation :

    The whole point of Arkive is that ...its a really powerful way of getting people interested

    And David Attenborough says that people are more interested in conservation than ever before :

    The conservation movement has grown within my lifetime, 50 years ago there was no conservation movement ..the more we know about it, the more people know about it, the better chance we have of doing something about it

    While the website may not rescue wildlife directly, it will help by providing a digital safe haven in the form of a detailed record of their existence.

    It's 150 years now since the first wildlife photo was taken, and wildlife has been a subject for cinematographers for almost a century.

    But the surviving images are scattered all over the world, in many different collections and locations, often where access is limited, or where their value to science and learning is not yet fully appreciated.

    Sometimes film and photos are even destroyed as people run out of space to store them.

    ARKive will provide future generations with a window on to the Earth's biodiversity, helping to ignite the very first spark of interest in natural history.

    These images are often one of the most emotive tools environmentalists can use to educate the public about the need to safeguard species.

    The website already has a thousand images of endangered species from Britain and the rest of the world.

    There's even a special section for children aged seven to eleven with wildlife facts games and activities.

    Eventually ARKive hopes to have information on file for all 11'000 animals and plants threatened with extinction.

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    arkive
    David Attenborough spoke to Natasha and Dermot about Arkive
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