"Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas" is a scientific and cultural journey to explore one of the planet's richest and most biologically diverse regions. The expedition begins today with a month-long exploration in China where scientists, conservationists, Imagineers from Disney and filmmakers from Discovery Networks will join renowned biologists, botanists and other technical experts from Conservation International's (CI) Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) as they search for new plant and animal species not yet known to science.
"There is still so much that we don't know about our planet and especially in this area of China that waits to be discovered and explored," said Leeanne Alonso, Ph.D., vice president of field assessment research and monitoring at Conservation International. "The information we collect during the RAP expedition will help the region's decision-makers develop plans and strategies to conserve the diversity of life in this unique region."
Since 1990, RAP scientists have discovered hundreds of new plant and animal species, and RAP data have contributed to the creation of several national parks throughout the world.
CI's RAP program deploys expert teams of international and host-country scientists to conduct rapid inventories of the species of animals and plants in areas that are poorly known but potentially important biodiversity conservation sites. Taking part in this RAP are Polish scientist Piotr Naskrecki, Ph.D., director of the Invertebrate Diversity Initiative at CI and specialist in orthoptera (insects); Rebecca Pradham, a botanist from Bhutan with extensive knowledge about the plants of the Himalayas; and U.S. scientist Jim Sanderson, Ph.D., a specialist known for his work