ARKive is a global initiative to locate and gather films, photographs and audio recordings of the world's species into one centralised digital library for the benefit of present and future generations. As such, it is sometimes described as the new Noah’s Ark, or the Noah’s Ark of the online era.

The project was launched in May 2003 by its patron, the UK-based natural history presenter, Sir David Attenborough, [cite web|url=,,969572,00.html|publisher="The Guardian"|title=Arkive sets sail on the web|accessdate=2007-07-02] a long-standing colleague and friend of its chief instigator, the late Christopher Parsons, a former Head of the BBC Natural History Unit.

Parsons identified a need to provide a centralised safe haven for wildlife films and photographs after discovering that many such records are held in scattered, non-indexed, collections, often with little or no public access, and sometimes in conditions that could lead to loss or damage. [cite web|url=,,839405,00.html|publisher="The Guardian"|title=Christopher Parsons|accessdate=2007-07-02] He believed the records could be a powerful force in building environmental awareness by bringing scientific names to life. He also saw their preservation as an important educational resource and conservation tool, not least because extinction rates and habitat destruction could mean that images and sounds might be the only legacy of some species’ existence.

His vision of a permanent, accessible, refuge for audio-visual wildlife material won almost immediate support from many of the world’s major broadcasters; leading film and photographic libraries, international conservation organisations and academic institutes.

Work on building ARKive began as part of the UK’s Millennium 2000 celebrations, using advanced computerised storage and retrieval technology devised for the project by Hewlett Packard Laboratories Europe. By the launch date, the project team had researched, catalogued, copied, described and authenticated image, sound and fact files of 1,000 animals, plants and fungi, many of them critically endangered. More multi-media profiles are added every month, starting with British flora and fauna and with species included on the Red List – that is, species that are believed to be closest to extinction, according to research by the World Conservation Union. By January 2006, the database had grown to 2,000 species, 15,000 still images and more than 50 hours of video. [cite web|url=|publisher="ARKive"|title=ARKive named as Sunday Times website of the year|accessdate=2007-07-02]

The ARKive project is an initiative of Wildscreen, a UK-registered educational charity, based in Bristol, and working globally to increase the public’s understanding and appreciation of biodiversity, through the power of wildlife imagery.


ee also

* Catalogue of Life
* Encyclopedia of Life
* CultureSheet Project
* List of online encyclopedias
* Nature documentary

External links

* [ Official ARKive site.]
* [ Official Wildscreen site.]

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