Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rapid Assessment Program - 20 years of discovery

For 20 years, Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) teams have scoured endangered "hot spots" around the world to document rare species and discover new ones. Eighty surveys have yielded some 1,300 new species. A photo presentation at this site introduces some of them. There's the walking shark, the satanic leaf-tailed gecko (really), the "Yoda" bat, the chinchilla tree rat, and the emperor scorpion, just for starters.

The work of these teams is often arduous and rarely safe. In 1993, ornithologists Ted Parker and Al Gentry died when their plane crashed in Ecuador. In 1999, ichthyologist Fonchi Chang and boatman Reynaldo Sandoval were killed in a river accident in Peru.

The entire planet owes a debt to these intrepid scientists and support staff. Thanks to them, we have a much better idea of the species we share the world with and how to preserve the most endangered among them.

No comments: