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. Steve is the Scientific Director of the Wild Bird Trust.
Wildlife biologist and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Luke Dollar first came to Madagascar as an undergraduate field assistant in 1994, and went on to conduct more than a decade’s research there on the island’s fossa—a catlike nocturnal mammal—and the lemurs on which it preys. The rate of habitat loss he witnessed convinced him that scientists must find effective ways to inform and influence public policy, and quickly, if wildlife conservation is to succeed. Luke now manages the Society’s Big Cats Initiative, and will join the expedition in Madagascar.
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 reported on wildlife issues for more than a decade. As a correspondent on National Geographic’s Ultimate Explorer television series, she went underwater with six-foot-long Humboldt squid, 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. Mireya has worked extensively with the gorillas of central and eastern Africa and was featured in the Nat Geo Wild program Mystery Gorilla. 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 Rwanda.
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.