In late 2020, while Covid-19 had shut down most of the globe, a small research team entered the rugged wilderness of the remote island of Tasmania to search for a Critically Endangered species now believed to be Extinct. This wasn’t the long-lost Tasmanian Tiger, but an IUCN Red-Listed burrowing crayfish filling an important ecological role.

Through heavy rain, cold and mud, cameras captured the very moment of rediscovery of these enigmatic animals, while also showcasing the dedication of the environmental scientists undertaking their gritty, hard work without fanfare or sensationalism.

SURVIVORS was the only Australian selection as part of the UN’s 2022 International World Wildlife Day Showcase in partnership with Jackson Wild, the United Nations Development Program and CITES. These specially selected films highlighted the restoration of key species supporting the pillars of humanity’s social and economic well-being, as well as key elements of the planet’s environmental health and biological diversity. It has now been nominated for a 2022 Panda Award.

Sometimes Big Impact comes from the smallest stories and species. While a crayfish species is not necessarily among the bigger and more charismatic animals, they are workhorses of biodiversity and ecosystem function. Celebrating the survival of these animals sends a powerful global message about the importance of even the tiniest ecological cogs that keep our world turning.

At a time when the world needs good news, these small but determined survivors deliver a big dose of real-life environmental hope from down under ‘Down Under’.

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