Writing guidelines

  • To begin with, we discuss conservation! Especially current trends. General, physical, and behavioral information can be found elsewhere. No need for us.
  • Other than conservation info, I’d refrain from just posting raw information there. Instead, I will try to write a story about the animal’s activity, physicality, and routine to point out what is unique about it.
  • For species: avoid raw data – it’s all going to be on the species page anyway (length, height, speed, wingspan, lifespan, etc. + all taxonomy – so no need to mention its genus, family etc.).
  • For higher taxa: focus on it, not the species beneath it. Example: if writing about a genus, what makes it different from other genera in its family?
  • Feel free to make it personalized: “I’m not sure how…”, “If you were a badger…” etc… 
  • It’s ok to be smart and witty.



  • Length: 1-2 sentences = 20 words max.
  • No period (“.”) at the end.
  • Plz note that some data is already presented on the website’s design for each item and not have to be repeated.
  • Species:
    • Name
    • Conservation status
    • Population size & trend (optional)
  • Higher taxa:
    • Name
    • Meaning of taxa (Herpestidae- Mongooses)
    • # of species in taxa

Example: while you can write something like “Rodents are the largest order…” (including the Order name on your text), it’s better to write “The mammalian largest order is…without mentioning the word “Rodents”.


  • Length: max 110 words.
  • Please split it into 2 or 3 paragraphs for ease of reading.
  • Can use links.

Writing tone

  • In short: make an emotional connection.
  • Be realistic, down-to-earth:  it’s VERY hard to grab people’s attention to our cause. To any cause. Three’s just too much noise. This means that…
  • We have to meet our audience where they are now, not where I hope they would be in a perfect world. I want to talk to them in a way they will connect, understand and appreciate. I would rather be impactful and make a difference than preach & blame. This means that….
  • The text should be easy to read and straightforward. Unlike Wikipedia, please refrain from using jargon understood only by a few. You can use jargon (“omnivore,” for example) – and explain its meaning.
  • BioDB is not an academic/professional resource. It is intended for the general public, where change can be made. Both adults and teens. Kids and teens should feel 100% comfortable here, too.
  •  I like the idea of making text easy to consume. Like an “executive summary.” Tagline should capture the essence of the species/taxon, a nugget that makes you want to read more.
  • Remember, 99% of people can’t tell a Cheetah from Tiger!


  • Scientific names are always italicized.
  • In all cases, plz use both metric and also imperial measures, with these formats:
    • Weight: 14 kg (30 pounds)
    • Length: 1.5 meters (5 ft) … // please round the number, or mention to 1-2 numbers after period
    • Length: 5 cm (2 in)
    • Speed: 320 km/h (200 mph)


  1. There are even fewer giraffes left in Africa than there are elephants // genus giraffa
  2. With 4,000 in nature and 10,000 in captivity in the US, tigers are increasingly becoming Selfie props rather than wildlife // species Tiger
  3. The primary threat to seals is global warming, which melts the sea ice they depend on and depletes their prey // family Phocidae
  4. Elephants mourn their dead: touching the dear its whole body with its trunk, smelling and caressing it // order Proboscidea 
  5. Live in dens that can be centuries old, used by generations of foxes // species Arctic fox
  6. Most common species of Orangutan (out of 3)! How common? Critically endangered- common // Species Bornean orangutan