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Monday 1st May 2003

The Ark, Circa 2003

Sir David Attenborough, chronicling the natural world for posterity

Described as the "Noah's Ark for the internet era", the creators of the ambitious ARKive project hope it will become a worldwide resource, providing an audio-visual record of the planet's natural wildlife.

The ability to watch and listen to video and audio on the internet has developed in leaps and bounds over recent years. ARKive aims to display around 10 minutes of moving footage and up to 10 stills pictures and sound recordings of each species documented on the website.

"For years and years natural history film-makers and scientists have been accumulating images, sounds and facts, and yet it's always been disorganised", Sir David told Today. "And now, for the very first time, all these will be brought together under the same roof. Animals on the verge of extinction ... their vital statistics will be preserved forever."

Harriet Nimmo, ARKive's project manager, says the technology simply wasn't sophisticated enough to realise the website before now.

"The Wildscreen Trust first had the idea more than 10 years ago ... but at that time the project just wasn't technically possible", she said. "Since the mid-1990s with the advent of digital technology, all of a sudden you could store this material, you could make it accessible over the internet."

CLICK HERE to visit ARKive, and click on the link in the right-hand column to hear Sir David Attenborough and Harriet Nimmo speaking to Sarah Montague about the project

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