Read Andrew’s account below as he speaks about a trip to Brazil followed by a trip to the African Congo. Don’t forget that you too can have a Live Map by starting up a www.SPOTAdventures.com account.
“I type this email as I sit in the Miami airport on my way to Manaus, Brazil to begin a 3 week National Geographic expedition to the Rio Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt first explored the river, originally named the River of Doubt, in 1914. We're heading back this month with a team of fish experts and local tribesmen to descend a 100 mile section of the river and complete the area's first biodiversity inventory study. As proposed dam projects loom on the horizon, our team will figure out what species would be affected if migration corridors are blocked and the river channels flooded and diverted. National Geographic will produce an hour-long episode for the series Monster Fish from this expedition that will air in about 6 months.
During the expedition, we're going to try something new and exciting called Expedition Live. We've set up a webpage with a SPOT map and our Twitter feed that will let you track our expedition in real time and read the Twitter updates that we send out from our satellite phone. At the end of the expedition, we'll go back and answer any questions that folks might have "tweeted" back at us. The goal is to increase the level of interactivity of our expeditions and create a way for folks at home to join in on the adventure. We expect to be on the river from November 27-December 8th and the website is: http://www.riversindemand.com/expeditionlive
If you've been active on Facebook lately, you've likely heard of Expedition: Granted, the National Geographic contest that pitted Trip Jennings and "Team Elephant" against fellow National Geographic Explorer Ben Horton and "Team Shark." The contest called upon folks to surf over to the National Geographic website and vote for their favorite explorer/expedition--the winner would receive a $10,000 grant towards their next expedition. And thanks to everyone that voted, we won with almost 70% of the total votes! So this fall, we're heading back to the Democratic Republic of Congo for our project, titled The Elephant Ivory Project.
Between 2008 and 2009, illegal ivory seizures doubled as the price for ivory climbs past the price for cocaine and elephant populations decline steadily at 10% a year. As long as demand for ivory continues to grow, elephant populations will disappear at an increasing rate. It's a problem that the US needs to take responsibility for--our country is the second largest consumer of illegal ivory in the world. There's a disconnect between consumption of ivory and the steady disappearance of elephants that needs to be resolved. So our team will head into Congo's interior to one of Africa's poaching hotspots next fall. Our mission will be to collect elephant scat samples for Conservation Biologist Dr. Sam Wasser. Wasser is creating a continent-wide genetic map of elephant populations, which he then compares DNA from ivory seizures to in order to pinpoint where the poaching in occurring. Congo is the last blank space in Dr Wasser's map, and our plan is to collect the genetic samples he needs (scat), then use the story of our adventure to launch an international multimedia campaign aimed at reducing the demand for ivory.
www.elephantivoryproject.org is the source for the latest news on the Elephant Ivory Project.
More projects on the schedule:
National Geographic expedition/TV shoot on the Mekong River in Laos--March 2010
Producing segments for the National Geographic Channel show WOW--ongoing
Print media articles from all expeditions--ongoing
Social media/web campaigns for all projects and activities--ongoing
Production of a climate change documentary film--ongoing
We invite you to stay connected to us through our new blog, our Facebook accounts and our Twitter feeds in the coming weeks while we launch Expedition Live from the Rio Roosevelt in Brazil!
Facebook: "Epicocity Crew"