Monday, April 10, 2006

Everest Expedition Uncovers Exotic Species

Everest Expedition Uncovers Exotic Species

Mount Everest and the Himalaya mountain range conjure images of llamas and Sherpas loaded with heavy packs. But tucked into the cold shadows of the world's tallest mountain are biologically diverse hotspots filled with poorly known plants and animals found nowhere else on the globe.

Scientists from Conservation International and Disney's Animal Kingdom recently launched a two-month scientific expedition into six regions of the Tibetan "Sacred Lands" in the mountains of Southwest China and Nepal.

Today they announced the discovery of a pocket of the world rich in extraordinary flora and fauna.
Here's a sampling of the outlandish critters:
Giant hornets so deadly locals call them "Yak Killers"

Jumping "Yeti" mice

A new grasshopper species in which the males hitch piggy-back rides on the females

Baby blue-faced golden monkeys, the region's largest primates

Hamster-like pikas that eat their own feces

A couple of new frog species, eight new insect species, and ten new species of ants to add the more than 11,000 already known.
More critters can be viewed here.

The full results of the expedition will be shared with numerous governments, scientists, and environmental and conservation organizations to develop strategies to protect the many unique species of the region.

Disney's film crew was rolling tape during the mission for a 2-hour documentary that will premiere April 15th at 8:00 PM (ET) on Discovery's Animal Planet

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