In 2021 Bagheera.com celebrates 25 years of providing conservation and endangered species information to learners around the world. The Bagheera Endangered Species Education website was launched with the support of Microsoft in September 1996. It was part of the “Global Schoolhouse” initiative Microsoft was supporting. Over the last 25 years, Bagheera.com has been visited by millions of people from around the world who have requested millions upon millions of pages of information on conservation and endangered species issues.
Original Concept for Bagheera.com
The idea for using the name Bagheera as a name for a conservation site came from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book. In the book Bagheera, the black panther, befriended Mowgli, who was the boy-cub lost in the jungle. The Jungle Book tells the story of how Bagheera helped him find his way back home and the challenges he faced along the way.
The concept for the Bagheera.com website was to reverse that idea. The Bagheera.com website was built on the concept of providing information to learners, or anyone else who cared, how to help those species that had become lost in the “human” jungle find their way home. Home being a safe environment to live in.
Awards and Recognitions
Along with being visited by millions of people over the years and all around the world, the Bagheera.com website has also received many web awards and recognition for excellence. This includes the Environmental News Network’s “Site of the Week;” Progressive Network’s “Cool Site of the Week;” Microsoft Network’s “Best of the Web;” and many others.
Designs, Redesigns and Yet Another Redesign in 2021-22
Over the last 25 years, Bagheera.com has gone through a number of website designs. These updates were designed to update the information about conservation and endangered species issues on the site and to stay abreast of the changes in technology and education. In the 21st century, changes in technology, education and in the status of endangered species is changing at an increasingly fast pace. One day a species is listed a “vulnerable” and a few months later it is listed as “endangered.” So in 2021 the Bagheera.com website is once again undergoing an update.
This update was originally scheduled for 2018, but the pursuit of a master’s degree in Learning Design and Technologies and the pandemic altered the schedule a bit.
The 2021-22 update will focus on updating all the conservation and endangered species content throughout the site and by adding recent technologies that support best learner outcomes. Another focus of this update is to make the content on the website more “mobile” friendly. This includes limiting the length of the text provided in species case studies and other content areas. It also means including more video content that will help learners have a better understanding of a specific issue.
And still another key goals for this update is to add a book and curriculum to the many resources already available on the website.
Since an update like this usually requires hundreds of hours of work, the changes will therefore roll out gradually over the course of the next year. However, many changes have already been incorporated into the site as of this writing in September 2021.
The Time to Protect the Future is Now
The timing for the update to the Bagheera.com website is important. With the growing awareness of the threat climate change poses to the planet, and with the IUCN 2021 Red List showing the increasing numbers of species threatened with global extinction, the world is seeing the continued impacts of human activities on the planet we live on. The reality is the efforts to protect both the planet and other species is becoming increasingly challenging. The question is whether we as a species, or we as individuals will meet those challenges. Or not.
If there is going to be a change which reverses the negative impacts of human’s activities on the planet then that change is going to come from those individuals who care enough to learn about the issues, and then act on what they have learned.
Another 25 years
For the last 25 years, Bagheera.com has provided information about conservation and endangered species issues to the world. The website has also provided information on how individuals -especially learners- can act on these issues should they care enough to do so.
To face the challenges ahead, Bagheera.com plans to continue doing this for the next 25 years as well.
Endangered Species Journalist Craig Kasnoff
Creator of the Bagheera Endangered Species Education Resource Website
MEd Learning Design and Technologies