Status update March 2021 – No expeditions in 2021, concentrating on restarting in 2022

We have taken the decision to defer all 2021 expeditions to 2022 and to concentrate on restarting in 2022.

Here are our reasons:

  • We, as an organisation, want to be a responsible global citizen. We do not  want to contribute to spreading the virus and prolonging the pandemic.
  • When we conducted a straw poll amongst some of our 2021 expeditioners, the results were clear. A majority did not feel comfortable with going on expedition in 2021 and were keen to defer to 2022.
  • Keeping expeditioners and local partners guessing and hoping about 2021 is neither a good, nor a fair, nor a professional strategy. Our partners and many expeditioners agree that concentrating on 2022 instead is preferable.
  • Many expeditioners and staff from around the world are unlikely to be vaccinated until mid to late 2021 or even (much) later and we do not want to expose them to unnecessary risk. In addition, more research needs to be done on whether those vaccinated can still pass on the virus. Early research suggests that virus transmission is much reduced, but we want to be sure before exposing local people to international expedition teams and vice versa.
  • Social distancing within an expedition setting is very difficult and sometimes simply impossible (for example on research boats, in 4×4 vehicles, mess tents, expedition base accommodation, etc.).
  • Even if expedition teams could be vaccinated, large and unpredictable vagaries around travel remain. Participants could be required to quarantine on arrival in the expedition country as well as on their return back home. This makes travelling to/from an expedition an unreasonable proposition for most.
  • If only one person tested positive on expedition, quarantine regulations of the host country would apply, which is likely to result in missed flights and significant extra costs for all participants, let alone health implications.
  • Finally – and entirely unsurprisingly – there has been next to zero interest in 2021 expeditions this January/February, a period which usually sees a peak in interest and signups. Any interest there has been, was in expeditions in early 2022, already on our portfolio. With no new signups and those already signed up for 2021 deferring to 2022 in large numbers, 2021 expeditions are becoming increasingly unviable, whatever the pandemic will do over the next few months.
  • Our conclusion is therefore that expeditions with involvement of international citizen scientists are well-nigh impossible in 2021. Our local conservation partners and a large majority of our expeditioners agree.
  • Therefore, we have deferred all expeditions to 2022 with immediate effect. Dates for all 2022 expeditions are now online. Please join us now and support our work!

Having said all this, no expeditions in 2021 – and therefore next to no income – means that our survival is at stake. At the time of writing, we still have €5,165 to raise for our survival appeal to ensure we make it to 2022.

Please contribute, if you can!

Status update February 2021

The following conversation with expeditioners for our Sweden, Germany and Armenia expeditions, planned for June/July, will give you a good indication of where things are headed at the moment. We do not think this will change until at least autumn 2021, probably even later.

In a nutshell, a majority of expeditioners do not feel comfortable with the idea of being on expedition in June/July. Social distancing on expedition is an issue, as are questions over travel to/from the host country and what happens when returning home. Many expeditioners have already opted to defer to 2022 because of these issues.

As a result, Sweden and Armenia are now extremely likely to be deferred and we are working with partners on 2022 dates now. Germany may be consolidated into one team only in June 2021, or it may be postponed to the autumn of 2021. We are working on these options now.

Full details of the conversation and straw poll results below:

—————————————-

From: Biosphere Expeditions [mailto:info@biosphere-expeditions.org]
Sent: 16 February 2021 06:32
Subject: June/July expeditions Sweden/Germany/Armenia IV

Dear expeditioners for Sweden/Germany/Armenia

All but a couple of you have now replied, thank you, and the results are clear:

A two-thirds majority of you support making vaccination a requirement. A majority of those who are not sure also tend towards vaccination. Only 7% are against.

Close to half of you are tending towards deferment to 2022 or have deferred already. Those unsure also tend towards deferment by about 70%. Less than a quarter of you are still keen to come on expedition this June/July.

Your opinions about and actions towards deferment mean that Sweden and Armenia are now extremely unlikely to run in 2021 as too many of you have deferred to 2022 already to make the 2021 expeditions viable (and because we are expecting zero recruitment to those expeditions for 2021 under the current circumstances). We are working with our partners on 2022 dates and will keep everyone informed.

For Germany, the ranks are thinning too for 2021 and as such we are looking at two options: (1) Consolidating into one team in July 2021 or (2) in autumn 2021. We will let the Germany team know about these options and their dates soon and then take it from there.

Thank you for working with us on this. We will now communicate with each expedition team individually about options and dates.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director
Biosphere Expeditions

—–Original Message—–
From: Biosphere Expeditions [mailto:info@biosphere-expeditions.org]
Sent: 14 February 2021 11:22
Subject: June/July expeditions Sweden/Germany/Armenia III

Dear expeditioners for Sweden/Germany/Armenia

Most of you have now responded, thank you (latest results are attached). We’re still missing answers from quite a lot of the Sweden expeditioners and a smattering of the other expeditions, so if you can, please write to us with your thoughts.

Quite a few of you have also taken these updates to think about their participation and have opted to defer to 2022 already.

YOUR biggest concern seems to be travel / quarantine restrictions to get to the host country and back. Of course, it is unknowable today what the situation will be like in June/July. Needless to say that we will keep monitoring this.

WE share this concern and also two others. Firstly, whether social distancing will be possible and realistic on some expeditions (for example Sweden and Germany, where we have people share rooms and there are not enough to put everyone in singles). Secondly, whether – given the deferrals we have had already – there will be enough people left to run a particular expedition.

We’ll keep you updated about developments and will also send you final straw poll results in due course.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director
Biosphere Expeditions

—–Original Message—–
From: Biosphere Expeditions [mailto:info@biosphere-expeditions.org]
Sent: 13 February 2021 08:53
Subject: June/July expeditions Sweden/Germany/Armenia II

Dear expeditioners for Sweden/Germany/Armenia

Thank you to those who have written back. Preliminary results of 24 out of 62 possible responses to date are attached and contain a clear message thus far.

Those who are undecided about 2021 or 2022 cite various reasons, the main ones being restrictions inside the host country as well as travel restrictions there and back. Many are unsure whether they are allowed to leave their home country or whether they will be required to quarantine on arrival in the host country or indeed when they return back home. This is a good reflection of the uncertainty around travel that prevails at the moment and is something that is unlikely to change for a while as various virus mutations make their way around the globe with countries racing to curb their spread and to vaccinate as quickly as possible in parallel.

For Armenia, the recent war is a worry also. Our response to that is that (1) the latest round of fighting is over and (2) there is now a ceasefire agreement akin to the one in 1994, which provided a generation of relative stability and (3) that whatever hostilities there have been since the 1980s, our proposed expedition study site has never been in dispute or affected by any hostilities.

Interestingly, fear of infection does not seem to play any role at all.

If you have not replied yet, please do let us have your thoughts.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director
Biosphere Expeditions

—–Original Message—–
From: Biosphere Expeditions [mailto:info@biosphere-expeditions.org]
Sent: 11 February 2021 08:42
Subject: June/July expeditions Sweden/Germany/Armenia

Dear expeditioners for Sweden/Germany/Armenia

As you might have seen on https://t1p.de/ec2z, we have now deferred all 2021 expeditions until June. In June/July, we have our expeditions to Sweden, Germany & Armenia scheduled.

Whilst our strategy to decide about the feasibility of each expedition 6-8 weeks in advance only still stands (also see https://t1p.de/ec2z), we would like to ask your opinion on future strategies in this e-mail.

Early indications that vaccinations also significantly hamper virus transmission are good and encouraging (see https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-55913913). So one option could be to require proof of vaccination as a prerequisite for taking part in an expedition.

Now, we are all of different ages, have different ailments, backgrounds and jobs and will therefore be in different risk groups. We also all hail from different countries with varying speeds of vaccination and priority groups.

So today we have three questions for you:

1. What do you think of requiring a vaccination in order to take part?

2. Are you likely to have had two vaccination doses by the time your expedition group starts?

3. Are you minded to defer to a later expedition if a vaccination is required or are you minded to defer anyway, because you don’t feel comfortable with going on expedition in June/July (or don’t think it will be possible)?

Please just press reply to share your thoughts on all this with us. Replying is of course optional and will help us to come up with a suitable strategy going forward. No decisions have been made yet and this e-mail is meant to involve you and make sure your voice is heard as we move forward and make further decision.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director
Biosphere Expeditions

Things that have come out of our Altai snow leopard expedition

Biosphere Expeditions ran a snow leopard expedition to the Saylyugem area of the Altai Republic (Russia) from 2003-2012. We would have continued, had it not been for Russia introducing its ‘foreign agents’ law in November 2012, which made continuing expeditions with international citizen scientists impossible.

However, the expedition and its publications helped to provide the scientific base and impetus for authorities to act. All this has, in recent years, come to fruition in an impressive success story for conservation.

Shortly after the end of the expedition, the Saylyugemsky National Park was established, with its Saylyugem Mountain section roughly corresponding to the expedition study area. One of the aims of the park was to protect vulnerable argali mountain sheep and the endangered snow leopard, which is exactly what our scientific reports argued for. Needless to say that we were very pleased with that outcome.

Since then, the snow leopard population in the park has bounced back and there are now regular camera trap records of snow leopards, including females with cubs and resident males. Most of these records are made by the park authorities, Russian researchers and WWF Russia, who are permitted to work in the area.

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There has also been a rare live sighting on a mountainside, recorded in this video:

The argali population remains precarious and vulnerable to poaching, as does the Siberian ibex population. This lack of prey is a challenge to the snow leopards, as evidenced by recent findings that resident males cover distances of more than 100 km without tracking back on themselves – a very high and unusual distance for snow leopards to cover in this way. The inference is that they are forced to do this in search of large ungulate prey, which continues to be rare in the area.

In another development, also initiated by the expedition and argued for in our expedition reports, the involvement of local people in nature protection continues successfully.

There is now a joint snow leopard conservation project between WWF Russia, the National Park and local people. Local people are involved in – and paid for – camera-trapping, enforcement of environmental legislation and other conservation activities. These activities provide alternative means of income based on conservation and intact nature, and through this local poachers are, little by little, converted to conservationists who by 2020 had installed, checked and maintained 30+ cameras traps over an area of more than 300,000 hectares. These camera traps in 2020 alone recorded 74 incidences of snow leopards in the Kosh-Agach region of the Altai Republic.

All this is good news for snow leopards in particular and nature conservation in general. Biosphere Expeditions is proud to have played its part in getting this success story up and running.

Status update February 2021

Our assessment of the situation has not changed since the January update.  In a nutshell:

  • Because of the time it will take to roll out vaccines, we expect it will still take some significant time until expeditions are up and running again, let alone back to something approaching normal.
  • In fact, we do not expect operations to approach anything near normal until early 2022, perhaps even later.
  • With all this in mind, our strategy is now to take things (and expeditions) as they come and assess the feasibility of each expedition six to eight weeks before it is due to start. This, by the way, also meshes with scientific data on when it is best to purchase flights (70 days before departure).
  • If we decide an expedition can happen – and if there is enough interest – then we will announce under what measures and circumstances the expedition will take place (for example social distancing rules, vaccination requirement, negative test result, etc.) .
  • Anything else, we believe, would be unrealistic and unprofessional at this point.

We know that this makes forward planning very difficult, but we hope you can understand our reasoning behind this. If you would like to sign up to an expedition now and support us this way, then rest assured that deferment to another expedition or the same expedition in 2022 will be handled very flexibly (see our explanation on this topic here).

The Azores expedition, which was planned for March/April 2021, has been deferred to March/April 2022, because of the pandemic.

Costa Rica,  has been deferred from May 2021 to May 2022, because our local partners are struggling financially and will only run their research station with a skeleton crew in 2021.

Finally, and if you can, please help us get through this very challenging time by contributing to our survival appeal.

The Azores expedition March/April 2021 has been deferred to March/April 2022.
Costa Rica has been deferred from May 2021 to May 2022.

Is Biosphere Expeditions the most decorated volunteer organisation on the planet?

We reckon this must be so. Just look at the list of awards & accolades below!

Let us know if you know of another volunteer non-profit with that many awards.

 


 

Biosphere Expeditions has won the following awards (our definition of “award” is a process that requires an entry via an application form and where a winner is chosen on a competitive basis by a judging panel).

 

World Travel and Tourism Council

World Travel and Tourism Council Tourism For Tomorrow Awards: Finalist in the “Environment” category (international award scheme)  

 

First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards

First Choice Responsible Tourism Awards: Winner of the “Best Volunteering Organisation” award (international award scheme based in the UK)  

 

Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards

Skål International Sustainable Tourism Awards: Winner of the category “Countryside and wildlife” (international award scheme)

 

  UIAA Mountain Protection Award

UIAA Mountain Protection Award: Winner of the category “Best Initiative” (international award scheme)  

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards

Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards: Highly commended in the categories “Best for Protection of Endangered Species” and “Best Volunteering Organisation” (international award scheme based in the UK)  

 

ecotrophea

EcoTrophea: Finalist in the category “environmental protection and social responsibility in tourism” (international award scheme based in Germany)  

 

Reef Check

Reef Check Awards: Our executive director is made a “Hero of the Reef” for services to coral reef conservation worldwide (international award scheme based in the USA)  

 

Tripbase

Best Volunteering Holidays Award: Award by Tripbase.com (international award scheme based in the USA)  

 

Future50

Future 50 Award: Our Executive Director, Dr. Matthias Hammer, is named in the Future 50 class of “ones to watch” (UK award scheme based in Norfolk)  

 

Greenstop

Best Practice and Environmental Excellence Award: From Greenstop.Net, who assess eco-friendly practices and responsible tourism (international award scheme based in the UK)  

 

SealSkinz Extreme Award

SealSkinz X-treme Award: Winner (UK award scheme)  

 

Britannica

Website Award from the publishers of the Encyclopedia Britannica  

 


 

Biosphere Expeditions has also won the following accolades (our definition of “accolade” is a listing, usually through an editorial process, which does not require an application).

 

National Geographic

National Geographic “100 places that will change your life” accolade for Costa Rica expedition; National Geographic Adventurer “Best New Trip” accolade for Slovakia expedition.

 

BBC Wildlife

“Top Wildlife Conservation Holiday” for Sumatra expedition; “Top Ten Conservation Holiday” for Altai expedition.

 

Conde Nast Gold List

Our Tien Shan expedition is honoured on Condé Nast Traveller’s “Gold List” of “the world’s most extraordinary travel experiences”

 

Condé Nast

Our Armenia expedition is honoured on Condé Nast Traveller’s list of “Ten of the world’s most admirable voluntourism trips that will actually make a difference”

 

Travel + Leisure

“Best Adventure Outfitter” and “Best Save-the-Earth Trip” listings

 

Wall Street Journal

“Best Volunteer Travel” for Namibia expedition

 

Merian

“Unforgettable Travel Adventure (Unvergessliches Reiseabenteuer)” for taster days and Honduras expedition

 

responsibletravel.com

“Top Responsible Holiday” for Amazonia expedition

 

Travel with a mate

“Best Volunteer Dive Organisation” (international online magazine)

 

Outside

Biosphere Expeditions makes it on “The Go List” for “novel vacations”; “Trip of the Year” for Maldives expedition

 

Endless Vacation

“Best Trip that Offers a Way Back” for Malaysia expedition

 

Skyscanner

“Great Humanitarian Travel Option” for Amazonia expedition

 

FeedSpot

“Top 25 Wildlife Conservation Blogs” for our blog

 

Get Lost!

“30 Great Escapes / Best Adventure Trips on the Planet” for Slovakia expedition; “Top Trips: Great small group adventure across the globe” for Arabia expedition.

 

The Independent

“Best Holiday for Green-Minded Travellers” for experience days; “Top Ten Outdoor Pursuits” for Altai & Azores expeditions; “Best Desert Adventure Holiday” for Arabia expedition; “Best Activity and Adventure Break” for Musandam expedition; “Best Volunteer Career Break” for Brazil expedition; “Best for the Wild at Heart” for Slovakia expedition.

 

Wildlifeextra.com

“Life-changing volunteering trip” for Tien Shan expedition

 

The Guardian

“Ten Best Wildlife Volunteering Holidays” for Oman expedition; “Ten Best Wildlife Holidays in Europe” for Azores expedition.

 

sundaytimes

“Most satisfying trip of the year” for Altai expedition

 

P.M.

“Top Holiday For Nature” listing in the category “Where can I do something for nature during my holidays?” (Wo kann man im Urlaub etwas für die Natur tun?)

 

Telegraph

“The 50 greatest wildlife holidays on Earth” for South Africa expedition; “Twenty of the world’s greatest adventures” for Brazil expedition; “50 amazing wildlife adventures” for Musandam expedition; “Top 10 rare wildlife encounters” for Azores expedition

 

Business Insider

“Best Volunteer Vacation” for Namibia expedition

 

World Travel Guide

“Ethical experience” for Sumatra expedition, “10 of the best conservation holidays” for Slovakia and Malaysia expeditions

 

de Volkskrant

“Top Ten Ethical Operators” listing for Biosphere Expeditions

 

The National

 “World’s most interesting (and conservation-focused) wildlife trips” listing for Arabia expedition

 

GreatNonprofits

“Top Rated Noprofit” listing for Biosphere Expeditions by GreatNonprofits.org

 

Status update January 2021 – Our expeditions strategy for 2021

There is now light at the end of the pandemic tunnel with vaccines being rolled out across the (mainly industrialised) world. However, restrictions are likely to be with us well into 2021 and beyond, and travel will only be possible gradually. This is mainly because vaccine rollout across industrialised countries will take over a year – and much longer in the developing world, for example an estimated two to three years in Africa. This means that we now expect it will still take some significant time until expeditions are up and running again, let alone back to something approaching normal. In fact, we do not expect operations to approach anything near normal until well into 2022, perhaps even later.

With all this in mind our strategy is now to take things (and expeditions) as they come and assess the feasibility of each expedition six to eight weeks before it is due to start. This, by the way, also meshes with scientific data on when it is best to purchase flights (70 days before departure). Anything else, we believe, would be unrealistic and unprofessional at this point. If this assessment changes, we will of course let you know. For the moment, however, it’s obvious that we are all in this same unpredictable boat together, albeit hopefully sailing into a brighter future and calmer waters.

Our next scheduled expedition is to the Azores, starting on 21 March. Our current strategy means that we will assess the feasibility of this expedition towards the end of January and let everyone know, including signed up expeditioners of course, whether it will run or be deferred.

On a side note, we of course realise that forward planning is very difficult at the moment. This is why we are handling signups and deferment very flexibly so that nobody misses or loses out. What this means in practice is described in detail here.

Finally, and if you can, please help us get through this very challenging time of make or break, boom or bust, live or die, by contributing to our survival appeal.

The next expedition, maybe, will be to the Azores.

Status update December 2020 – First we helped our local conservation partners. Now it’s time to think about our own survival.

After the coronavirus appeal to support our local partners, please also now consider the Biosphere Expeditions survival appeal to help us make it through the crisis too

Our coronavirus appeal from 1 April to 1 December 2020 was all about getting our local conservation partners through this crisis. This appeal raised close to €50,000 and enabled community expeditions and projects in 2020.

Although there is now light at the end of the pandemic tunnel with several vaccines about to be rolled out, restrictions are likely to be with us well into 2021 and beyond, mainly because vaccine rollout across the world is going to take well over a year, perhaps even two or three.

This means that on top of the near total loss of income in 2020, it will still take some significant time until expeditions are up and running again, let alone back to something approaching normal. In fact, we do not expect operations to approach anything near normal until well into 2022, perhaps even later.

All this means that after the coronavirus appeal for our local conservation partners, it is now time to think about Biosphere Expeditions’ survival in these very testing times. So please help us survive the crisis, whilst also avoiding redundancies, by giving to our survival appeal. All donations, large or small, are very welcome and highly appreciated.

There is light appearing over the horizon, but for Biosphere Expeditions it is still far away

Community expeditions update December 2020

The coronavirus crisis affects us all. All citizen science for 2020 had to be deferred from March onwards and only two out of a dozen expeditions had a citizen science element to them. Therefore, our partners were and are hard hit by lack of funding and citizen scientist helpers. Yet we were determined that conservation efforts continued despite, and even because of, the very difficult circumstances. This is why we ran a coronavirus appeal from 1 April to 1 December 2020 – to help get our local conservation partners through this crisis. The appeal raised close to €50,000 from 162 donors.

Here is a summary of what the funding has achieved so far:

In the Azores (whales & dolphins) our scientist Lisa Steiner was able to be out on and off the water from April to the end of the season in November. She has a written a detailed blog of what she saw and the data she could collect through the support of the coronavirus appeal.

“The funding from Biosphere Expeditions allowed me to get to sea and document that, for a second year in a row, the number of baleen whales passing by in the spring was lower than it had previously been. I only documented a few blue whales, one humpback and one fin whale, during April/May. There were also fewer Risso’s dolphins, one of the resident species. Sei whales, however, were regularly present throughout July, August, September and even into October. 2020 was a very good year for sperm whales. I was able to document several of the ‘regular’ groups of sperm whales and take over 100 different sperm whale ID photos. I also logged the resident bottlenose dolphins several times – in September with a couple of new calves – as well as false killer whales. Finally there were lots of spotted, common and striped dolphin, sometimes displaying incredible aerial activity. It’s all in the blog. My sincerest thanks to Biosphere Expeditions and those who supported their coronavirus appeal!”
Lisa Steiner
Expedition scientist, Azores

Lisa Steiner

 

In Germany (wolf), a small community expedition took place in July and there is also a blog. The community expedition walked about 250 km, covering 15 cells of the pan-European 10 x 10 km grid and collecting 163 wolf signs. From this they were able to glean evidence of seven wolves, amongst them one known breeding female. Three individuals were new to science, which is exciting.

“Thank you so much to Biosphere Expeditions, its coronavirus appeal and all donors towards our community expedition in Germany. Without the funding provided by the appeal, and in the absence of a citizen science expedition in the summer of 2020, there would have been no data collection and we would have had a big gap in our knowledge about wolves in our study area. Instead we were able to get out into the field, producing some exciting results. Thank you for making this possible despite the challenging circumstances.”
Peter Schütte
Expedition scientist, Germany

Scientist Peter Schütte (left) with a Germany community expeditioner

 

In the Tien Shan (snow leopard), our community camera trapping team have done very well to capture more snow leopard photos and to run a community expedition in September, collecting valuable data in the absence of our annual citizen science expedition. This meant we could produce a combined 2019/2020 research report showing snow leopard presence and making conservation recommendations.

“On behalf of Ilbirs Foundation and myself, I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to Biosphere Expeditions for providing financial support for wildlife monitoring and environmental protection in collaboration with local communities, despite the fact that the pandemic is growing worldwide and the world is facing a very difficult situation. I express my solidarity with the fact that Biosphere Expeditions is continuing its work this way, providing opportunities to all worldwide conservationists in protecting wildlife around the globe.”
Askat Dabyrovich
Ilbirs Foundation, Kyrgyzstan

The Tien Shan community expedition team (with Askat Dabyrovich on the left)

 

In Costa Rica (sea turtles), the project continued with just the local leaders, one research assistant and the biologist. The nesting season finished in October and the research station is closed until next year, when our partners are hoping to reopen it again in time for next season, pandemic permitting. The green turtle season in 2020 was slow (just 34 nests), for reasons that are not known, but not because of the pandemic. Because of this, the success rate of saving nests from poachers was almost 100%! For leatherbacks, there were 150 nests with hatchling numbers similar to previous seasons. There were also five hawksbill nests. The eventual poaching rate was around 40-50%, depending on the month. The percentage of nests saved at the end of the season and across three species was 59%. The poaching rate was of course higher than in years with citizen science support and therefore the percentage of nests saved was lower. But is still very good, given the very difficult circumstances.

In another positive development, a reusable hatchery was constructed for the first time in 2020. Hatcheries are built each season to translocate and protect nests to ensure maximum hatchling survival. We now have reusable fence and other structures that should last many years and make for a much better hatchery.

The 2020 hatchery with its reusable fence and other structures

 

In Thailand (elephant), our partners are working hard, and are succeeding, to get their local study herd of elephants through the crisis, plus those animals that are returning to the forest with their mahouts because they cannot make a living during lockdown. There are now 50+ elephants around the mountain villages or deep in the forest with their mahouts and food is running low, but fundraising has helped to buy extra fodder to sustain the animals through the crisis.

“Your tireless efforts for fundraising have helped us to continue to provide for our elephants. Our community has also assisted us to care for the many elephants that have had to return to our area for the crisis period. Every donation has contributed to this and has ensured our survival over these difficult times. Thank you to everyone who has contributed.”
Kerri McCrea
Expedition scientist, Thailand

Elephants in Thailand

 

In the Maldives (coral reefs), our local partner has instigated a new coral reef conservation project using coral nurseries to grow baby corals.

Coral nursery table

 

In Kenya (African biodiversity), we empowered local communities through technology with great success during the last international expedition that ran just before the pandemic hit and have published the report of this already. “Enonkishu is thriving as far as the wildlife goes. There were eleven lions, four wild dogs, and Kisaru, the cheetah, just on one walk last Sunday. It looks like Kisaru is pregnant again and sticking around to have her cubs in Enonkishu for a second year in a row,  which will be fantastic”, says conservancy manager Rebekah Karimi.

Kisaru cubs (c) C Flechtner

 

In Armenia (leopard, bear, wolf), the community expedition was planned for November, but had to be cancelled when the war in Nagorno-Karabagh, which is too close for comfort to our study site, broke out. With winter approaching, plans have been postponed to 2021.

Autumn in the Armenia study site

Status update November 2020 – Will there be expeditions in 2021?

Since our last status update and interview with our founder in October and his interview with “natur” magazine, light has appeared at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are in sight and our community expeditions and coronavirus appeal to support our local partners are going well.

But what does that mean for expeditions in 2021 and will Biosphere Expeditions survive this crisis?

With no expeditions since February 2020 and therefore the almost total loss of income, survival still hangs by a thread, but we are fighting hard and are rising to the challenge. In a few months, we will be able to see whether we can pull through. Chances are looking increasingly positive and we will soon start another campaign to get us over the line.

As to expeditions, we are now hopeful that at least some European expeditions will run in 2021. The first one, the Azores, is scheduled for March/April 2021. This may be too soon. The next few weeks will reveal this and we will keep you updated on here. Thereafter it’s Sweden in June and Germany in June/July. For those, things are definitely looking up, especially because experts think we may be able to get back to some sort of normal by late spring / early summer.

As to other expeditions around the world, it’s too early to make predictions now. Much will depend on vaccine rollout across the planet, as well as on how confident people will be to travel again to remote, far-flung places, and of course whether they will have the funds to do so. We expect to be able to make some more confident predictions by January, so watch this space. in any case, the expeditions to Arabia and Kenya, scheduled for January and February respectively, were deferred to 2022 quite a few weeks ago.

What you can do to help in all this and make sure it comes true is give to our appeal, join the Friends, join an expedition (Germany and Sweden are your best bet), get vaccinated and make sure people around you get vaccinated too.

See you on the other side!

Expedition diaries up to 2011

Diaries between 2002 and 2011 were mainly text-based and are archived below as PDFs.

Diaries were not kept for the early period from Biosphere Expeditions’ foundation in 1999 until 2001.

Research output for all expeditions and years is on Research Gate.

pdf Altai 2003
pdf Altai 2004
pdf Altai 2005
pdf Altai 2006
pdf Altai 2007
pdf Altai 2008
pdf Altai 2009
pdf Altai 2010
pdf Altai 2011

pdf Azores 2004
pdf Azores 2005
pdf Azores 2006
pdf Azores 2007
pdf Azores 2008
pdf Azores 2009
pdf Azores 2010
pdf Azores 2011

pdf Brazil 2006
pdf Brazil 2007
pdf Brazil 2008
pdf Brazil 2010
pdf Brazil 2011

pdf Caprivi 2008
pdf Caprivi 2009

pdf Honduras 2006
pdf Honduras 2007
pdf Honduras 2008
pdf Honduras 2009
pdf Honduras 2011

pdf Maldives 2011

pdf Musandam 2009
pdf Musandam 2010
pdf Musandam 2011

pdf Namibia 2002
pdf Namibia 2003
pdf Namibia 2004
pdf Namibia 2005 (spring)
pdf Namibia 2005 (autumn)
pdf Namibia 2006
pdf Namibia 2007
pdf Namibia 2008 (Caprivi)
pdf Namibia 2009 (Caprivi)
pdf Namibia 2010
pdf Namibia 2011 (rotation 1)
pdf Namibia 2011 (rotation 2)

pdf Oman 2006
pdf Oman 2007

pdf Oman 2008
pdf Oman 2009
pdf Oman 2010
pdf Oman 2011

pdf Peru 2003
pdf Peru 2005
pdf Peru 2006
pdf Peru 2008
pdf Peru 2009
pdf Peru 2011

pdf Slovakia 2004
pdf Slovakia 2005
pdf Slovakia 2006
pdf Slovakia 2007
pdf Slovakia 2008
pdf Slovakia 2010

pdf Spain 2008

pdf Sri Lanka 2005

pdf Ukraine 2003

pdf Western Australia 2010
pdf Western Australia 2011