Community expeditions update: Tien Shan community camera trappers

Here’s another example of what funding by many generous donors has achieved on the ground with community staff, whilst expeditions with international citizen scientists were impossible during the coronavirus pandemic:

The coronavirus pandemic has made our expeditions to the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgyzstan with international citizen scientists impossible in 2020 and 2021. But our community camera-trapping group stayed active throughout, thanks to generous support via our coronavirus community appeal. This video shows some of their successes in capturing snow leopards. Well done and thank you for keeping the Biosphere Expeditions flag flying and research work going! Thank you to Amadeus DeKastle for coordinating it all.

Status update January 2022 – Kenya expedition deferred for another year; hopefully this will be the last deferral of 2022

In the end, the decision made itself, because most citizen scientists were not comfortable with coming on the expedition, despite and perhaps because of stringent hygiene procedures. So we will defer the expedition for another year. The 2023 dates are very likely to be 12 – 24 February | 26 February – 10 March and we will confirm this within the next month or so

Hopefully this will be the last deferral of 2022, before we can run expeditions again. If not, things will get difficult for us again and we will have to start another survival fundraiser to make it through. More than two years of no expeditions have really had an impact, to put it mildly.

On the bright side, the WHO chief thinks 2022 will be the year we beat the pandemic, as does clinical epidemiologist Dr. Rhagib Ali. There are certainly encouraging signs that the virus is moving towards the less virulent, endemic stage, to take its place alongside the flu and other endemic viral diseases.

We certainly think that we cannot let Covid rule our lives forever and that we should develop procedures that allow us to live – and run expeditions – with the virus around, because it will not go away. We tried with this Kenya expedition and failed. May the next try with the Azores, starting at the end of March, be successful!

Illustration by Ana Kova

Status update December 2021 – Kenya expedition hangs in the balance

E-mail to the team:

Dear Kenya expeditioners and partners,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. 19 (out of 24) have replied. 9 do not want to defer (4 do), 3 want to defer if there is any quarantine at either end, 2 are undecided and 1 does not mind either way. Nobody has deferred already.

In some encouraging news, there are early indications that three Biontech vaccine shots provide ‘significant’ protection against omicron and that boosters are the way out of variant trouble. Further clarity should emerge in the next two to three weeks.

My decision for now is therefore to wait for another 3.5 weeks until Friday, 7 January at the latest to make a final decision on whether to run the expedition or not. Please do not make any balance payments until that decision is made and ignore the 3 January deadline on your invoices. Please also make sure you obtain adequate insurance cover.

It is extremely likely that we will require everyone to have had three vaccine shots, with the last not older than six months by the time your expedition ends and at least 14 days before your expedition starts. This should give you plenty of time to sort out your booster vaccinations between now and when you start your expedition.

Please feel free to continue to engage, ask further questions and share your news and opinions. We will also provide updates as necessary and will get back to you by 7 January at the latest, if not before.

Have a great Christmas and all the best for 2022. Stay healthy and hopefully we will see you all in Kenya.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director

Hartebeest (c) Chris Taylor

Status update December 2021 – Arabia expedition deferred for another year

We have just deferred our 2022 Arabia expedition for another year. Here’s why (from an e-mail to the team):

—–Original Message—–
From: Biosphere Expeditions
Sent: 04 December 2021 12:40
Subject: Arabia expedition deferred

Dear Arabia expeditioners,

thank for your patience and kind words of support and encouragement over the last 10 days or so.

We now have three people who have already deferred to the expedition 2023 and three more who are strongly in favour of deferring / about to defer.

This means that it is now well-nigh impossible to run the expedition, whatever happens with the pandemic or the omicron variant.

I have therefore taken the decision to defer the expedition for another year and hope you will understand and support this decision. 

The dates of the 2023 expedition are 7 – 14 January 2023. If you would like to defer to that expedition, then please just e-mail back and we will do the rest for you. You can also defer to any other expedition on our portfolio within the next 30 months. You can tell us now or later which expedition and we will handle everything else for you. Details of how deferment works are on https://www.biosphere-expeditions.org/faq#coronavirus.

If you require any confirmation letters for insurance purposes, then please also let us know. 

Thank you again for your support and understanding. Thank you for your patience. I am sorry for the disappointment and the inconvenience this decision will cause you.

Stay health, stay safe and we will see you on the other side of this in a year, if not before.

Regards

Dr. Matthias Hammer
Executive Director

Thank you!

Thank you to you, our Friends and all donors of our coronavirus appeals. Through your support and generosity, we managed to raise over € 85,000 across three appeals! Thank you very much for this. This has given us a good chance of survival, even if the pandemic is coming back with an omicron vengeance and we are likely to have to defer expeditions early in 2022 yet again.

But for now, let’s celebrate this success and give you the thanks and honour you deserve for supporting us. You can see details of the appeals and an honour roll of donors here

So thank you again from all of us at Biosphere Expeditions. We really appreciate your support and we probably would not be around today without it.

All of us at Biosphere Expeditions

Status update December 2021 – Restarting 2022?

We were poised to re-start expeditions in 2022, but as we write this, Omicron is upon us.

We have just (in late November) placed our first two expeditions of 2022 (Arabia and Kenya) on a warning. This means that we now believe that there is a higher than 50% chance that we will have to defer these expeditions again.

Like everyone else on the planet, we can but wait, plan, react and adapt. So here is our plan:

1. We will keep monitoring the situation and re-open expeditions as soon as it is reasonable to do so.

2. We will start another survival fundraiser if this new wave of the pandemic threatens our survival.

3. Once we restart expeditions, we will take all reasonable precautions necessary to protect our citizen scientists, staff, helpers and the wildlife we are honour-bound to protect. This means that

(A) only fully vaccinated people (with certifications proving their vaccination status) will be allowed on the expeditions. All available vaccines will be accepted. The last vaccination must not be older than six months.

(B) Those that are not fully vaccinated may be allowed to take part if (i) there is a certified medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated – in that case they must provide a negative rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test immediately prior to the expedition commencing and will need to be re-tested at regular intervals during the expedition, or (ii) if their country of origin has not offered vaccinations to them – for local staff we will try to compensate for this via private vaccinations where they are available; where this is not possible, the testing scheme as above will apply.

(C) We will also require a rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test from each expedition member immediately prior to the expedition commencing and may repeat this test at regular intervals, as needed.

(D) Expedition leaders will also be fully vaccinated. As far as possible, we require all others (scientists, rangers, cooks, all other support staff who will come in contact with our citizen scientists) to be fully vaccinated too. For countries where this is an issue, we will have testing regimes and/or a vaccination programme for our local partners, where necessary, via private healthcare.

(E) Although there will be common threads (vaccinations, tests, hygiene procedures) on all expeditions, the exact procedures will vary from country to country. We will publish what the exact procedures are about six to seven weeks before the expedition starts, alongside your reminder to start preparing and settle your balance.

At the time of writing, only three people have complained about this and have been removed from the expeditions until such time that they see sense or that anti-vaxxers no longer present a danger to others.

Stay healthy, stay safe, keep up your spirits and wish us good fortune to get through this, as we do all readers.

All of us at Biosphere Expeditions

Status update November 2021 II – Here we go again, perhaps

Here we go again, perhaps.

A new and perhaps very virulent new strain of the virus is emerging from southern Africa, the UK and other countries are shutting down entries from that region and an increasing number of countries in Europe are going back into lockdowns as the known Delta variant wreaks havoc, mainly amongst the unvaccinated.

We are expecting the new variant to spread rapidly around Africa and then the rest of the world. What measures countries will take to contain the spread is unkown and at the moment unknowable.

We are therefore placing our first two expeditions of 2022 (Arabia and Kenya) on a warning. This means that we now believe that there is a higher than 50% chance that we will have to defer these expeditions again. The outlook for Kenya is particularly bleak, because Kenya is in Africa, our expedition scientist comes from South Africa and is there at the moment.

Our recommendation is not to book any flights or make further arrangements for now (flights and other services already booked should have been booked with a cancellation insurance, as recommended in the dossier). If we have to defer, information on how deferment works is here.

We will keep monitoring the situation and keep you informed. We will make a decision about whether to defer or not at least four weeks in advance of the first day of the expedition (so for Arabia scheduled to start on 8 January, we will tell you by 8 December at the latest).

Please bear with us. We realise this is disappointing, inconvenient and annoying for everyone, but we are also sure you understand why we have to take this action.

Overview of 2022 expeditions.

Status update November 2021 – Looking forward to 2022

The winter wave of coronavirus is in full swing over much of the northern hemisphere. However, lockdowns are few and far between and on the whole the world remains accessible and open, especially for fully vaccinated people.  A good overview of worldwide entry regulations, flight bans, test requirements and quarantine regulations is here

Expeditions 2022

With this in mind, we fully intend to start expeditions again in 2022, commencing with Arabia in January – have a look at our portfolio for all other expeditions throughout 2022.  Many expeditions are already almost full (Kenya is already full), so please join us early, if you can.

Most countries only allow fully vaccinated people to enter. This meshes well with our policy for the 2022 expeditions (see below).

Policy for 2022 expeditions

Our policy for expeditions in 2022, at least at the beginning of the year, will be:

  1. Only fully vaccinated people (with certifications proving their vaccination status and the last booster vaccination not older than six months) will be allowed on the expedition. All vaccines that have been approved by at least one national or international approval body will be accepted (see list).
  2. Those that are not fully vaccinated may be allowed to take part if (a) there is a certified medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated – in that case they must provide a negative rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test immediately prior to the expedition commencing and will need to be re-tested at regular intervals during the expedition, or (b) if their country of origin has not offered vaccinations to them – for local staff we will try to compensate for this via private vaccinations where they are available; where this is not possible, the testing scheme as above will apply. This also applies to cases where people are unable to receive booster shots in their country of origin and therefore fall foul of the six months rule in rule 1.
  3. We will also require a rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test from each expedition member immediately prior to the expedition commencing and may repeat this test at regular intervals, as needed. The initial test will be provided by Biosphere Expeditions. 
  4. Expedition participants must bring at least four lateral flow home test kits with them for any additional testing we may require. Those whose last booster vaccination is older than six months and who are unable to get a booster vaccination in their country of origin, must in addition bring enough tests to test themselves every second day whilst on the expedition.
  5. Our end goal is to run expeditions in a safe and reasonable environment, and empower all those who are not anti-vaxxers to be able to attend wherever possible.

Although there will be common threads (vaccinations, tests, hygiene procedures) on all expeditions, the exact procedures will vary from country to country. We will publish what the exact procedures are about six to seven weeks before the expedition starts, alongside your reminder to start preparing and settle your balance. 

At the time of writing, only three anti-vaxxers have complained about our procedures and have been removed from the expeditions until such time that they see sense or that anti-vaxxers no longer present a danger to others.

Expedition leaders will also be fully vaccinated. As far as possible, we require all others (scientists, rangers, cooks, all other support staff who will come in contact with our citizen scientists) to be fully vaccinated too. For countries where this might be an issue, we are working on testing regimes and/or a vaccination fundraiser for our local partners to acquire vaccinations via private healthcare, where this is possible. Also see our fundraiser for this below.

Third and final fundraiser under way

Our third and final fundraiser connected to the coronavirus pandemic is all about vaccinations for our local partners: In some of our expedition countries, vaccines are an expensive luxury. We want to make sure that all our local support staff and helpers (and their immediate family) are vaccinated. We need € 4,500 to achieve this and have raised over half of it to date (54% today). Please help us achieve our funding goal via www.biosphere-expeditions.org/appeal


ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS POSED IN RESPONSE TO THIS BLOG

The following questions have been asked in response to this blog and we are providing answers for everyone to see.

What constitutes “fully vaccinated”?

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you get your second dose of a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine, such as Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, or two weeks after a single dose of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Currently, there is no time limit after vaccination on your fully vaccinated status, but this is likely to change soon in most countries. We, in any case, require your last vaccination to be no older than six months by the time you leave the expedition.

What vaccines do you accept?

We will accept all vaccines that have been approved by at least one national or international approval body. A list of such vaccines is here.

What type of proof of vaccination do you accept?

Any reasonable type. This may be a vaccination certificate on a national app, a letter by a doctor or vaccination facility, an entry in a vaccination booklet or on a vaccination card. All proofs must show your full name, the date of the vaccination and which vaccine you have been given. If your proof is a hardcopy, please bring the original with you, not copies or photos. If you are in any doubt, please send us a scan or photo of the proof for verification first.

My expedition ends on 4 May and my next booster vaccination will be on 10 December. Is that ok?

Yes, it is. We require your last vaccination to be no older than six months by the time you leave the expedition and count this in full months from the date that your expedition group ends. For example, if your booster vaccination is on 1 January, you can stay with us on expedition up to and including 1 July.

Boosters are not available in my country of origin – what do I do now?

In that case you fall under rule 2(b) of vaccines not available in your country of origin. You can therefore still attend the expedition, but you must bring enough lateral flow home test kits with you to test yourself every second day on the expedition (rule 4), plus four more tests in addition. Home test kits are cheap and easily available online or via pharmacies, supermarkets etc.

I will need to provide a negative test to get into the expedition host country. Do I still have to perform a lateral flow test immediately before the expedition departs?

Yes, you do. Everyone will have to undergo a lateral flow test before departure. The reason is that travelling will have exposed you to an increased risk of infection and we want to make sure – as much as this is possible – that we start the expedition infection-free.

Who provides the lateral flow test at the beginning of the expedition?

We do.

Do I need to bring additional flow tests?

Yes, you do. Please bring at least four more lateral flow home test kits with you from home. They are easily available from pharmacies, supermarkets etc. and not expensive. Please make sure you bring at least four kits for any further testing we may require you to do during the expedition. If your last booster vaccination is older than six months and you are unable to get a booster vaccination in your country of origin, you must – in addition to the four tests everyone must bring anyway – bring enough tests to test yourself every second day whilst on the expedition.

What happens when I or someone else on the expedition tests positive?

This will depend on the regulations of the country we are in. It may be enough to isolate the person who has tested positive and the rest of the expedition team can continue under a strict and frequent testing regime (this is where the home test kits you will bring with you will come into play, for example). Where isolation within the expedition base is possible, we will offer you the option of doing this. This is at the easy end of the scale. At the other end of the scale is stopping and disbanding the expedition with de-central isolation of the whole expedition team, if local regulations require this or if this is the prudent thing to do. We will always try our best to help you avoid additional costs and hassle, but you must come prepared, adequately financed and/or insured for eventualities and additional costs. For example, as soon as an expedition is stopped or when you are leaving an expedition (voluntarily or because you are required by local regulations to do so), then you must cover all costs yourself. This may include hotel or hospital stays for quarantine periods required by local laws, additional Covid tests, health care costs, missed flights due to quarantining etc. It is impossible for us to predict what the regulations in each expedition host country will be in the future. Suffice it to say that we will have a plan before each expedition starts (and communicate this to you), but you must also think about eventualities yourself and make sure you come on the expedition adequately financed/covered/insured for the example situations described above, as well as any others that may arise. In this context, insurances vary widely and it is up to you to decide what cover, if any, you want to purchase. Because policies vary widely and change frequently, we have no partner insurers or recommendations.

What about getting into the expedition host country?

This is your responsibility. The host country requirements for entry (there is a good worldwide overview here) will differ from our requirements for expedition participation. It is your responsibility to make sure you fulfil both so that you can firstly get into the expedition host country and secondly take part in the expedition once you have arrived in-country.

Why do you require a booster / what is the reason behind the six months rule?

There is very strong evidence, recently underscored by an Australian study, that protection decreases with time and that booster vaccinations are therefore necessary.

Why are you creating all these rules?

The end goal is to run expeditions in a safe and responsible environment, especially whilst the pandemic is still with us, and empower all those who are not anti-vaxxers to be able to attend. Therefore, if you are already vaccinated and if local conditions prevent you from having a booster within six months of your expedition group ending, then we will be reasonable about this (see explanations of rule 2(b) above).

Overview of 2022 expeditions.

Status update October 2021 – Review 2021

Thank you so much for successful fundraisers that ensured Biosphere Expeditions’ survival and helped our partners around the world. This is why we can write about 2022 expeditions here now.

The coronavirus epidemic was declared a pandemic in March 2020. From then on, no more expeditions ran. Almost immediately, in April 2020, we started to run a fundraiser that was all about getting our local conservation partners through the crisis. This ran until the end of 2020 and raised € 50,000 thanks to the generosity of many donors (see their honour roll below). Examples of what this money achieved include

  • our Azores whale & dolphin scientist Lisa Steiner being able to be out on and off the water from April to the end of the season in November
  • community expeditions to keep the science and conservation efforts going in Costa Rica (sea turtles), the Tien Shan (snow leopard) and Germany (wolf)
  • instigating a new coral reef conservation project in the Maldives, using coral nurseries to grow baby corals

A full overview is on this blog and in the 2021 Magazine.

In February 2021 we announced that there would be no expeditions in that year either. This meant that there was to be next to no income for us for close to two years. With this, our survival was at stake, so we started our own survival appeal, which ran until October 2021. Once again, many generous donors (many of them repeat donors from the coronavirus fundraiser – see the honour roll below) stepped up and we were able to raise € 30,000 to ensure our survival through the crisis. 

HONOUR ROLL

It is thanks to the people below that we were able to help our partners and ourselves weather the storm. All of us at Biosphere Expeditions cannot thank these generous donors enough. It is our pleasure to honour them publicly via this honour roll.
Dr Matthias Hammer, Executive Director.

The following contributed to our fundraiser for local partners (€ 50,000 raised)

H Agner (Germany)
S Amos (UK)
N Barber (UK)
C Beisel (Germany)
H Below (Germany)
M Benner (Germany)
J Benz (Germany)
S Birkholz (Germany)
K Blecker (Germany)
J Blomgren (USA)
S Bollinger (Switzerland)
S Bordier (UK)
D Bownan (Australia)
K Bunting (UK)
R Charters (UK)
A Collins (UK)
H Coogan (UK)
J Craven (UK)
S Dittmann (Germany)
A Down (France)
S Dräger (Germany)
U Dräger (Germany)
J Dutz (Germany)
V Ellenrieder (Germany)
J England (UK)
J Evans (China)
U F (Germany)
I Fritz (Germany)
A Geimer (Germany)
M Gilbert (USA)
A Giles (Germany)
T Gillon (UK)
J Gödecke (Germany)
N Goodall (UK)
P Goodman (UK)
J Graser (Germany)
A Guth (Germany)
K Haan (USA)
I Hellwig (Germany)
M Herold (Germany)
J Hill (USA)
G Hodgson (UK)
D Hofmeister (Germany)
G Hogben (UK)
S Hughes (USA)
G Humphreys (UK)
C Hurfar (Germany)
B Hussey (UK)
J Ignorek
T John (Germany)
A Kasseckert (Germany)
L Kennedy (USA)
K Klatt (Germany)
G Koßmann (Germany)
S Lahtinen (Finland)
T Lanigan (Ireland)
D Lansch (Germany)
C Lee (South Africa)
P Löbel (Germany)
J Long (USA)
A Mätzig (Germany)
M Mannaert (Germany)
R Meloni (Switzerland)
K Melrose (UK)
T Merrie (UK)
A Morris (UK)
A Munkel (Germany)
U Pamler (Germany)
C Peffer (Luxembourg)
H Pekkarinen Rieppo (Sweden)
P Pilbeam (UK)
P Poley (Germany)
J Polson (UK)
A Prelle (Germany)
P Ransome (UK)
J Rawnsley (UK)
B Rees (UK)
N Rice (UK)
G Risbirdger (UK)
M Roberts (UK)
F Rohart (Germany)
A Rohlf (Germany)
S Rowling (UK)
J Rüdenauer (Germany)
M Sax (Germany)
C Schneid (China)
S Schöttle (Germany)
J Schweitzer (USA)
P Serail (Netherlands)
N Seshadri JAPAN
M Shepstone (USA)
K Silverthorne (UK)
M Simpson (UK)
J Skinner (UK)
P Smith BELGIUM
O Soubreyand (France)
M ten Veldhuis (Netherlands)
N Thobois (France)
P Thoem (Canada)
V Thürey (Germany)
J Tondu (USA)
G Treherne THE (Netherlands)
L Trudel (USA)
R Tunstall (UK)
R Vlak (Netherlands)
E Westbrook (USA)
T Whaley (Germany)
S White (China)
L Wiedemann (Germany)
A Wienhöfer (Germany)
M Zuckert (Germany)
and anonymous donors

The following contributed to our Biosphere Expeditions survival appeal (€ 30,000 raised)

H Agner (Germany)
L Bailey (Canada)
C Beisel (Germany)
H Below (Germany)
A Berendts (Netherlands)
S Berger (Austria)
S Birkholz (Germany)
J Biekehör (Germany)
R Boughton (Hong Kong)
D Bownan (Australia)
K Bradley UAE
R Bunce (UK)
K Bunting (UK)
U Burkhardt (Germany)
C Cockburn (UK)
J Collins (UK)
A Coogan (UK)
S Daugherty (USA)
A Dean (UK)
A Deegan (USA)
J Dhawal (UK)
U Dräger (Germany)
E Durell (Germany)
V Ellenrieder (Germany)
K Engelhardt (Germany)
J Evans (China)
M Fink-Schneider (Germany)
A Geimer (Germany)
V George (Germany)
M Gilbert (USA)
N Goodall (UK)
B Gowdy (USA)
D Gunz (Switzerland)
D Hahn (Germany)
B Henning (Germany)
M Herold (Germany)
E Hess (USA)
M Hiklemeier (Germany)
J Hill (USA)
D Hofmeister (Germany)
B Hussey (UK)
P Joiner (USA)
U Klingner (Germany)
K Klatt (Germany)
G Koßmann (Germany)
A Krimmel (Germany)
U Kürsten (Germany)
D Lansch (Germany)
L Lynch (USA)
S Macharg (UK)
S Mehnert (Germany)
R Meloni (Switzerland)
M Mucke (Germany)
K Penkuhn (Germany)
P Pilbeam (UK)
S Pinson (Australia)
A Prelle (Germany)
C Ramirez (USA)
P Ransome (UK)
B Rees (UK)
M Roberts (UK)
S Salih (France)
H Scharpff (Germany)
R Schauls (Luxembourg)
J Schweitzer (USA)
C Scroope (Australia)
K Silverthorne (UK)
B Singer (Canada)
R Skybey (Australia)
H Stecher (Austria)
S Strohschein (Germany)
B Styner (Canada)
S Sultanova (USA)
M ten Veldhuis (Netherlands)
S Thiede (Germany)
P T (Canada)
A Tilekeev (USA)
G Treherne (Netherlands)
A van Eck (Netherlands)
R Vlak (Netherlands)
T Volk (Germany)
C Wates (UK)
Ormskirk Clocktower Rotary (UK)
and anonymous donors

Third and final fundraiser under way

Our third and final fundraiser connected to the coronavirus pandemic is all about vaccinations for our local partners: In some of our expedition countries, vaccines are an expensive luxury. We want to make sure that all our local support staff and helpers (and their immediate family) are vaccinated. We need € 4,500 to achieve this. All donations – large or small – are very welcome and highly appreciated.

Please help via www.biosphere-expeditions.org/appeal

Restarting 2022

We are preparing to re-start expeditions in 2022, commencing with Arabia in January – have a look at our portfolio for all other expeditions throughout 2022.

Vaccinations required

Our procedures for expeditions in 2022, at least at the beginning of the year, will be:

  1. Only fully vaccinated people (with certifications proving their vaccination status) will be allowed on the expedition. All available vaccines will be accepted.
  2. Those that are not fully vaccinated may be allowed to take part if (a) there is a certified medical reason why they cannot be vaccinated – in that case they must provide a negative rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test immediately prior to the expedition commencing and will need to be re-tested at regular intervals during the expedition, or (b) if their country of origin has not offered vaccinations to them – for local staff we will try to compensate for this via private vaccinations where they are available; where this is not possible, the testing scheme as above will apply.
  3. We will also require a rapid / lateral flow / antigen Covid test from each expedition member immediately prior to the expedition commencing and may repeat this test at regular intervals, as needed.

At the time of writing, only three people have complained about this and have been removed from the expeditions until such time that they see sense or that anti-vaxxers no longer present a danger to others.

Numbers

Numbers for expeditions are looking good. There are lots of deferrers from 2020/2021 now scheduled to go in 2022 and people are daring to sign up to expeditions again in greater numbers. You can see the traffic light status of each expedition on our portfolio.

Staff & vaccinations

Expedition leaders will also be fully vaccinated. As far as possible, we require all others (scientists, rangers, cooks, all other support staff who will come in contact with our citizen scientists) to be fully vaccinated too. For countries where this might be an issue, we are working on testing regimes and/or a vaccination fundraiser for our local partners to acquire vaccinations via private healthcare, where this is possible. Also see our fundraiser for this purpose.

Expedition-specific procedures

Although there will be common threads (vaccinations, tests, hygiene procedures) on all expeditions, the exact procedures will vary from country to country. We will publish what the exact procedures are about six to seven weeks before the expedition starts, alongside your reminder to start preparing and settle your balance. 

The good news is that the pandemic is predicted to end sometime in 2022. We will of course keep monitoring the situation and adapt our procedures accordingly, and keep everyone updated.

Status update September 2021 – Getting ready for 2022 expeditions

As we are entering Q4 2021, we are preparing to re-start expeditions in 2022, commencing with Arabia in January – have a look at our full portfolio for other expeditions throughout 2022.

VACCINATIONS REQUIRED

Our thoughts on what we will require from our citizen scientists were laid out in the August update and have not changed. Only two people have complained about this so far and have been removed from the expeditions until such time that they see sense or that anti-vaxxers no longer present a danger to others.

NUMBERS

Numbers for expeditions are looking good. There are lots of deferrers from 2020/2021 now scheduled to go in 2022 and people are daring to sign up to expeditions again in greater numbers. You can see the traffic light status of each expedition on our portfolio

STAFF & VACCINATIONS

Expedition leaders will also be fully vaccinated. As far as possible, we require all others (scientists, rangers, cooks, all other support staff who will come in contact with our citizen scientists) to be fully vaccinated too. For countries where this might be an issue, we are working on testing regimes and/or a vaccination fundraiser for our local partners to acquire vaccinations via private healthcare, where this is possible.

EXPEDITION-SPECIFIC PROCEDURES

Although there will be common threads (vaccinations, tests, hygiene procedures) on all expeditions, the exact procedures will vary from country to country. We will publish what the exact procedures are about six to seven weeks before the expedition starts, alongside your reminder to start preparing and settle your balance. 

Finally, the good news is that the pandemic is predicted to end sometime in 2022. We will of course keep monitoring the situation and adapt our procedures accordingly.

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