INFORMING THE WORLD ABOUT THREATENED NON-CHARISMATIC FAUNA
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FORGOTTEN SPECIES: DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?
We all know about the fight to save the world’s fading tigers, besieged elephants and last great apes. But what about the fight to save the last slow loris, the struggle for survival of the anoa, or the tragedy of the beleaguered currasow? And who’s defending endangered pangolins, civets, and lesser-known lemurs?
If these are animals you can’t picture, with names that send you running to Google, Wikipedia or spellchecker, you’re not alone. But it’s well past time that the world knew about these Almost Famous mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and large freshwater fish, as well as the wildlife scientists diligently working to protect them.
The purpose of the Almost Famous Mongabay Reporting Network (MRN) initiative is to publicize the plight of little known, threatened tropical animals before they’ve gone the way of the dodo, and to rally people to help conserve them.
We’re looking for inspired, creative, capable journalists who can make people care passionately about the bearded pig, Mindoro hornbill, radiated tortoise or any major threatened, near threatened, or status unknown, tropical terrestrial animal you think will appeal to the public imagination. (Sorry, no invertebrates or plants in this round!).
What you’ll need to tell people in your Almost Famous article:
• Where does this animal live: On what continent, in what tropical countries, what biome, ecosystem, habitat, tree, wallow or burrow?
• What’s fascinating about this creature’s lifestyle and lifecycle: Does it possess unusual survival strategies, weird eating habits, unusual sexual behaviors? Is it incredibly cute, or maybe ugly? Does it run fast, jump high, or sleep really a lot?
• Why is this animal endangered: Is it delicious, decorative, a purported aphrodisiac, threatened by climate change, or just in the way of the next bulldozer, hydroelectric dam, pipeline or subdivision?
• Why should people care about this species: Think ecology, evolutionary history, ecosystem services, its remarkable potential for cancer research. Or can you make an utterly non-utilitarian case as to why this species is simply awesome!
• Who is trying to save this animal? Contact, quote, and profile the unsung wildlife experts that have made this critter their life’s work. How did they first encounter the species? Why are they impassioned to save it, and what are they doing to conserve it? What conservation groups are trying to protect it? Is anyone spending conservation funds on this species now? If so, how much? And, just as importantly, how much is needed?
• What’s the outlook? Are their innovative programs underway to save this animal, or merely plans? Who needs to be mobilized? What are the chances for survival, and how can individuals contribute to the effort? Where can they learn more?
Each article will be 1,000 to 2,000 words in length, and pays per word after publication. Authors will be expected to hunt down publishable pictures of their animal (likely provided by the researchers), as well as their habitats, including captions and photo credits. If photos aren’t available, connect with us about other options.
Send us your Almost Famous query by submitting this short APPLICATION FORM. You will be asked to submit a couple paragraphs telling us why this animal matters and why you want to write about it – along with your journalism resume.
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