Talking about nature has frequently become talking about extinction, decline and loss. But it does not have to be that way. The digital storytelling project “Lost and Found” works to bring to life the inspirational stories of those animals and plants that were thought extinct for at least one human generation, but were eventually rediscovered.

Our goal is to use the universal language of storytelling to change the conversation around conservation, away from doom and gloom, and towards a more positive and enthusiastic message. That is why we want to share our stories of species rediscoveries with the world, and have made them freely available on our website in both written and cartoon format, with a new video animation format already in the works. We currently have 15 stories, soon to be 20, covering anything from squirrels to toads and salamanders to bower birds, from across Latin America, Oceania and Asia. Have you heard the story of the Woolly Flying Squirrel? The Rainbow Toad? What about the Bermuda Petrel? If you are curious, have a look!

We also have a blog where we hear from those with a story to tell around a species rediscovery. Many of these are scientists that have themselves been involved in rediscovering or searching a species long considered extinct, but we welcome a variety of content around species rediscovery. Drop us a line if you are interested!

Beyond talking about animals and plants we also focus on telling the stories of the incredible people involved in these rediscoveries. Many of our stories of rediscovery are also unique examples of human dedication, passion and optimism. This means that, beyond spreading a message of hope to all those who care about nature, our content can be exciting even to those readers not naturally motivated to read about lizards, bats or snakes. After all, who does not like a good story?

Diogo Veríssimo is a conservation scientist with a passion for great stories and happy endings. His work has taken him beyond his native Portugal to Latin America, South Asia and West Africa where he has applied his knowledge of marketing and conservation to help tackle challenges such as human-wildlife coexistence, wildlife trade or natural resource management.