The EDGE team is getting ready to put theory into practice, with our forthcoming research and conservation expeditions. Thanks to your generous donations we are now able to embark upon the first of our planned expeditions within the next few months.
Sam and Helen plan to travel to Haiti within the next few months to search for the Hispaniolan solenodon, the lonely creature whose face adorned last month’s Valentine’s e-card. The solenodon – an ancient insectivore with the unique ability to inject venom into its prey through specialised grooves in its teeth – is one of the few native mammal species to survive European colonisation of the West Indies. Sam and Helen’s work will constitute the first assessment of the status of this peculiar animal for over fifteen years, and will involve surveying, paleontological research, community work and animal sampling.
Uuganbadrakh, our Mongolian EDGE Fellow, is aiming to begin fieldwork on the long-eared jerboa in May. He is currently planning a four month expedition to the Gobi desert to learn how to monitor the status of this mysterious jumping rodent. An important part of Uuganbadrakh’s project will involve assessing the threats facing the species and its habitat, and working with local communities to develop a strategic plan to address them.
The EDGE team are also planning the first of two expeditions to the Cyclops Mountains to search for Attenborough’s long-beaked echidna, an egg-laying mammal that is known from a single specimen found in the mountains in 1961. The site has remained unexplored by scientists for more than 45 years. Who knows what other species we will find there? This essential fact finding mission will enable us to develop a relationship with the local people living within the reserve, identify a potential EDGE Fellow and find out the best way of surveying for echidnas and other mammals in the remote mountain peaks.
We are currently also planning to interview fishermen along the Yangtze River to find out if any Yangtze River dolphins survive. This is a really high priority – if any individuals were missed by last year’s survey then it is imperative that we find them as soon as possible, as they will not survive for much longer in the river. The Yangtze River dolphin has been one of our most popular focal species, and we are just £5,000 short of our target to make this important trip happen.
The Bactrian camel, pygmy hippopotamus, slender loris, hirola and golden-rumped elephant-shrew are all only a small step away from receiving conservation attention from the EDGE team and its collaborators. Once we have secured sufficient funding we will begin to implement the actions needed to help secure their future. We are aiming to raise £8,000 to train an EDGE Fellow for each focal species, so if you can help we really need to hear from you! Your support can make all the difference.