In 2000, the Bristol, U.K.-based Wildscreen Trust launched an ambitious project to establish an archive of film clips, stills and sound recordings of the world’s vanishing flora and fauna. Two years and US$3 million later, the one-person operation has grown to include a staff of 16 and a sizeable collection. Donations have poured in from sources around the globe, including the BBC, Oxford Scientific Films, ABC Australia and National Geographic. If all goes according to plan, ARKive will debut its website in spring 2003, making available all of the material it has collected (for educational use – all images are watermarked and encoded). Anyone who has rare or interesting materials to donate can contact Harriet Nimmo at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright remains with the image owner.
A frenzy of filmmakers
Most people know that a group of geese is a gaggle and a collection of cattle is a herd. Perhaps less well known is that a gathering of sharks form a shiver and a bunch of hippos make a bloat. Here are some other collective nouns to work into conversation: a dazzle of zebra, a shrewdness of apes, a business of ferrets, a tower of giraffes, a cackle of hyenas, a prickle of porcupines, a crash of rhinos, a murder of crows, a convocation of eagles, a parliament of owls, an exultation of larks and an intrusion of cockroaches.
Life is like a manatee?
Copy Chief Jenny Hazan insists these are words to live by. She explains: ‘After a particularly messy break-up with a boyfriend several years ago my father reassured me with the following, now legendary sentiment: ‘Life is like a manatee. You swim around in the ocean and little fish bite you, and you get cut by ship rudders, and scratchy plants scratch you, and octopi try to strangle you.’ I’m not sure about his factual source, but his point was well-taken: your scars are what define you.’ (Who knew manatees had such layers?)
If you believe in reincarnation…
We asked a few industry folks to tell us what animal most closely describes their character. Filmmaker/author Piers Warren offers wombat, while conservationist Chris Palmer says beaver or manatee. But, ABC Australia commissioning editor Dione Gilmour topped them all with her response. She says: ‘The animal that leaps to mind is the Australian dung beetle. I evolved to slowly consume hard little pellets produced by Australian native animals, but after the big imported cattle arrived, I was found to be wanting. Oz scientists had to import o’seas dung beetles to slurp through the massive liquid cow pats. So here I sit, small and brown, eating little pellets, while my overseas brethren perform all sorts of miracles around me. And, of course, I would have to be an alpine dung beetle – I push shit up hill.’
Thank you, thank you very much
The next time you’re stuck for something to say at a gathering of wildlife types, try one of these little gems:
What is the difference between beer nuts and deer nuts?
Beer nuts are $1.49 while deer nuts are under a buck.
What do you get when you cross a centipede and a parrot?
What did the mama buffalo say to her son when he went away?
Why don’t anteaters ever get sick?
Because they’re full of anty bodies.