Expeditions

Current and future EDGE expeditions.

Attenborough's long-beaked echidna - EDGE mammal #1

Example Img

Aim

Conduct new fieldwork to determine the continued survival of the poorly-understood long-beaked echidna on the north and south slopes of the Cyclops Mountains, Papua New Guinea.
Image | Pygmy Sloth | ZSL, WWF, Conservation International
Date
2007
Team
ZSL: Dr Jonathan Baillie, Dr Samuel Turvey, Carly Waterman, Department Kehutanan and Conservation International
Actions
  • Community interviews – have any local people seen it?
  • Sign surveys – did the animal left any physical marks to show it is there?
  • Visual encounter surveys – can we actually see any individuals?
Achievements / Outcomes
  • Many villagers recognised photographs of the species and could describe its features well; it is locally known as the 'payangko'.
  • Although no actual echidnas were seen, physical feeding marks such as 'nose pokes' were present in soil, leaf litter and termite mounds.
  • Feeding signs were seen as low as 300m but also up to 1,700m elevation, which indicates the echidna exists over a broader range than previously thought.
  • To get a better understanding of the wildlife, a project led by Papuan researchers is being set up to investigate the genetics and ecology of echidnas and other mammals in the Cyclops Mountains.
Location
New Guinea
Map & Range

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Three-toed pygmy sloth - EDGE mammal #16

Example Img

Aim

Carry out a scoping trip to Panama and Escudo to carry out the first extensive population census and genetic survey of pygmy sloths to know their actual numbers, distributions and behaviour.
Image | Escudo Island | David Curnick, ZSL
Date
March 2012
Team
Dr Craig Turner and David Curnick
Actions
  • Identify and map all the mangrove forests using satellite technology – how many are there and what is the total area of sloth habitat?
  • Line-transect surveys – are there any pygmy sloth individuals in any of the mangrove forests?
  • Mapping sloth locations –where are they on the island?
  • Socio-economic surveys – how are locals using the land and what do they know about the pygmy sloth?
Achievements / Outcomes
  • Fourteen mangrove patches were identified, and the total area of habitat available to sloths is 10.27ha in seven isolated patches.
  • In eight days, 61 sloths were seen – 37 during the line-transect surveys and 24 other chance encounters, including four mothers with babies. Data revealed that there are probably fewer than 100 left in the wild.
  • Bigger mangrove patches contained more sloths, which suggests that very small mangroves could not support a pygmy sloth population.
  • Human disturbance on the island persists – there was evidence of mangrove clearance and degradation.
  • Further monitoring of the sloth population is needed, and wider socio-economic surveys amongst islanders may help future conservation efforts and reduce threats to the species.
  • An EDGE campaign raised over £2000 to carry out additional actions necessary to save the sloth from extinction on the island.
Location
Isla Escudo, Panama
Map & Range

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Lungless salamander - EDGE priority amphibian

Example Img

Aim

Screen the ranges of the highest priority EDGE lungless salamanders for chytrid fungus, which is responsible for the lethal chytridiomycosis disease in amphibians.
Image | Lungless salamander | Gean Rovito
Date
Summer 2013
Team
Dr Craig Turner
Actions
  • Amphibian surveying – how many individuals and species are there and where have they been found in their ranges?
  • Disease sampling by 'swabbing' all lungless salamanders found in two key sites in Mexico (Oaxaca and Veracruz) – to get as many samples as possible
  • Threat mapping for each target species – do any other factors contribute to the decline of these amphibians apart from this disease?
  • Interview local people – which amphibians have they seen and what are their plans for land use in the future?
  • Process the disease sampling data in the lab with the help of three Mexican students – what is the extent and spread of chytridiomycosis in lungless salamanders?
Achievements / Outcomes
This expedition has not yet been undertaken.
Map & Range

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