We are delighted to report that – after exactly two years (!) – we are back on with expeditions. The Azores expedition 2020 was the first one that could not take place as planned and is now the first one to get us back in the saddle.
Thank you very much to all Azores expeditioners who will make this possible and to everyone else who supported us through this very difficult period. We are very grateful for all types of support we have received over the last two years: from donations to words of encouragement to everyone’s patience when expeditions had to be deferred. All this was and is much appreciated and has allowed us to get through the pandemic so far up to this point of being able to re-start expeditions. Thank you!
On the Azores, infection rates on the expedition island of Faial are very low with new cases and recoveries roughly balancing out. Caseloads are on a downward trend and are now below 200 and decreasing further. Hospitalisation and death rates are very low. Life for those with a booster vaccination (which all expeditioners are required to have to take part in the expedition) is approaching normal, with very few restrictions left. These include mask-wearing in public enclosed spaces. For the expedition, we will form a bubble as much as is possible, wear masks and observe social distancing inside, and all test for the first three days. If everyone is still negative after three days, we will drop the mask-wearing and social distancing requirement.
This, we believe, is a good indication of how other expeditions will run over the next few months, perhaps more. At the same time it looks like 2022/23 may bounce back strongly (and we certainly hope so), with extra groups already open for our Tien Shan snow leoard project 2022, the Germany 2022 wolf expedition and the Kenya Masai Mara project in 2023, with the Sweden bear volunteer work 2022 about to open up an extra group too – all to cope with demand (see dates and vacancy levels for all expeditions on www.biosphere-expeditions.org/portfolio). So if you are thinking about daring to go on expedition again with us, then please let us know soon!
And wish us luck for the Azores expedition starting 21 March (watch this space for the first diary for two years to appear).