A world-class team of National Geographic explorers, wildlife biologists, naturalists, and conservationists will accompany this unique expedition to share their knowledge and insights with you and bring each destination to life. Listed below are experts joining this trip.
Conservationist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Steve Boyes has dedicated his life to preserving Africa’s wilderness areas and the species that depend upon them. A native of South Africa, Steve spent more than five years in the Okavango Delta while doing fieldwork for his doctorate in zoology. He currently runs the Cape Parrot Project with support from the Society’s Conservation Trust. His work takes him all over Africa, studying wildlife rehabilitation and biodiversity, fighting the wild-caught bird trade, and planting thousands of trees in forest restoration projects. He is also the scientific director of the Wild Bird Trust. Steve will join the expedition in Cape Town and Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.
Wildlife biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Luke Dollar coordinates conservation and research programs focusing on carnivore ecology, habitats, and preservation. While most of his own research is focused in Madagascar, he also manages the Society’s Big Cats Initiative, which has funded more than 65 fieldbased programs worldwide, nearly two dozen of which are in southern Africa. Much of Luke’s efforts are concentrated on facilitating grassroots education and sustainable employment programs seeking to empower local people in predator range areas, creating new-found wildlife caretakers rather than killers of carnivores. He is a professor of biology at Pfeiffer University and an adjunct professor at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment. Luke will join the expedition in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa.
Marine biologist Sylvia Earle is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. Named one of Time magazine's "Heroes for the Planet" in 1998, Sylvia has pioneered research on marine ecosystems. She is former chief scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and author of more than 125 scientific and popular publications. Sylvia led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions, documenting life in the U.S. National Marine Sanctuaries. Today, Sylvia and her SEAlliance have partnered with the Geographic on Mission Blue, a global initiative aimed at restoring health and productivity to the ocean by inspiring people to care and act, reducing the impact of fishing, and promoting the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs). Sylvia will join the expedition in the Maldives.
Zoologist Kristofer Helgen is a National Geographic Emerging Explorer who has led research expeditions to remote areas on almost every continent to search for undiscovered species. From the jungles of Papua New Guinea to the slopes of the Andes, Kris has identified some 100 new mammal species and documented viable populations of animals previously thought to be in major decline or even extinct. Kris currently serves as curator of mammals at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Kris will accompany the entire expedition.
Author, photographer, filmmaker, and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Sandesh Kadur uses images, both still and video, to expose the need for conservation and encourage protection of the world’s biodiversity. With subjects ranging from king cobras to clouded leopards, his documentary films have appeared worldwide on National Geographic, the BBC, the Discovery Channel, and elsewhere. His photographs have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Sandesh’s many awards include CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year, the Nature’s Best award, the International Conservation Photographer award, two Green Oscar nominations at the Wildscreen film festival, and the 2013 North American Nature Photographers Vision Award. Sandesh will join the expedition in India.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Elizabeth Lonsdorf began researching primates as an undergraduate student at Duke University. Later, while completing a Ph.D. at the Jane Goodall Institute's Center for Primate Studies at the University of Minnesota, she spent several months each year studying wild chimpanzees at Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park. She returns annually to Gombe to maintain a research program focused on chimpanzee health and infant development. In addition to serving on the faculty of Franklin & Marshall College, Elizabeth is the Vice President for Education and Outreach for the International Primatological Society. Elizabeth will join the expedition in Rwanda.
National Geographic Emerging Explorer Mireya Mayor is a primatologist and conservationist who has been reporting on wildlife issues for more than a decade. As a correspondent on the National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Explorer television series, she has gone underwater with six-foot-long Humboldt squids, tracked gorillas in central Africa, and worked with leopards in Namibia. In 2000, Mireya co-discovered a new species of mouse lemur in Madagascar, and convinced the nation’s leaders to declare the species’ habitat a national park. A Fulbright scholar and National Science Foundation Fellow, Mireya has appeared in numerous publications and on MSNBC, CNN, and NBC’s Today Show. Mireya will join the expedition in Madagascar.
Ami Vitale’s journey as a photographer and filmmaker has taken her to more than 85 countries. She is a Nikon Ambassador and a contract photographer for National Geographic magazine. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. For most of her career, Ami has covered topics related to nature and wildlife and their intersection with human poverty, health, and security. She has covered human elephant conflict in India, the poaching of snow leopards in India and Bhutan, and man-eating lions in East Africa for National Geographic Adventure. Ami is currently working on a story about wildlife in Africa and the indigenous communities on the front lines of the poaching wars. Ami will accompany the entire expedition.
Field biologist and wildlife photographer Tim Laman earned his Ph.D. in biology from Harvard University, where he is a Research Associate in the Ornithology Department. Multiple grants from the National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration and its Expeditions Council have supported his fieldwork, which includes a long-term comprehensive study of the exquisitely ornamented birds of paradise. Tim photographs and writes for National Geographic and other popular magazines to promote the conservation of endangered species and habitats. His photographs have received numerous awards, and he has been named both BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the North American Nature Photography Association’s Outstanding Nature Photographer. Tim will join the expedition in Malaysian Borneo.