Wednesday, 29 December 2010

The Lost World Project - Achievements to Date...

First and foremost we hope that you have all had a fantastic Christmas period and may we take this opportunity to wish you all the best for the New Year. We wanted to end 2010 with a quick blog about what Ibex Earth has accomplished to date with The Lost World Project, and what 2011 holds for what we believe is one of the most exciting conservation initiatives that people can get involved in.

2010 saw the first year of the Lost World Project, and Ibex Earth raising and donating US $11,000 to directly support the conservation of the Guiana Highlands and the conservation of Mount Roraima. We aimed funding through three avenues:

1. Through the Lost World Project, we were able to donate US $3,000 to support the Venezuelan National Parks institute (Inparques, La Luepa branch). This money was used to repair the park authority’s patrol vehicles, which had been lying idle due to disrepair. Through this grant, the local authorities will be better prepared to protect the fragile ecosystem of the Guiana Highlands and continue their work safeguarding the Lost Worlds.

2. The Lost World Project also offered the opportunity to build successful relationships with communities in need across the Guiana Highlands. Local communities hold the key to protecting the fragile landscape of the lost worlds, and so are an intrinsic part in securing a sustainable future for Lost Worlds. As such, Ibex Earth donated US $2,000 to support sustainable development projects in the impoverished Amerindian village of Paratepui, located close to the base of the majestic Mount Roraima where the Lost World Project took place.

3. To further our goal of raising awareness of need for the conservation of the Lost Worlds and their wildlife, Ibex Earth engaged thirty Amerindians from the Gran Sabana to be involved in the Lost World Project and participate in developing an understanding of the need for the conservation of Mount Roraima. Through engaging with Lost World Project participants, and through discussion, training and interviews, we aimed to contribute to developing local conservation awareness, and in the process, contributed US $6,000 in wages to support the developing sustainable tourism industry that holds the key to a secure future.

(Furthermore Ibex Earth also used local 'fixers' throughout the first phase of The Lost World Project, which saw an additional US $4,500 added to the local economy.)

Additionally, in order raise awareness of the need to conserve the region, the Lost World Project set out to produce a non-profit conservation documentary to highlight the importance of Mount Roraima and the need for regional protection. In August and September 2010, we sent ten students from across the UK to the Guiana Highlands along with a critically acclaimed film crew.

The group filmed the unique wildlife, landscapes and threats of the Lost World for two weeks, and the resultant footage is currently being edited into a fifty minute, broadcast quality documentary that will then be premiered at two high profile and prestigious events at two of London’s most famous venues - the Royal Geographical Society and the Zoological Society of London in June 2011. The film will then be broadcast to a global television audiences, raising awareness of this unique region to millions of viewers.

You might have already seen some of our footage during BBC 2's documentary 'Decade of Discovery', which aired on Tuesday 14th December 2010.

Happy New Year from all at Ibex Earth

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Journey to the 'Lost World' - Itinerary April 2011...

The Lost World Project – The Adventure of a Lifetime

- Expedition Itinerary -

Please note the first expedition departs London on Saturday April 2nd, and returns on Tuesday April 12th. The second expedition departs London on Saturday April 16th, and returns on Tuesday April 26th and the itinerary for both expeditions are set out below:

Day 1: Expedition members arrive in Caracas, Venezuela and are met at the airport by Ibex Earth staff. Expedition members will then travel to Cuidad Bolivar and transfer to 4x4 vehicles to travel to Santa Elena (the starting point for the expedition). On route, we stop at the National Parks Office to pick up our permits.

Day 2: The group is taken on a 4x4 jeep tour across the Gran Sabana for familiarisation, and receive equipment training and survival skills from the expedition leader. The tour includes visiting the beautiful Kama Waterfall and the world famous Jasper Creek - a riverbed made of scarlet, semi-precious gemstone. Around sunset, we arrive in the remote Amerindian community of Paratepui where we spend the night, and get our first glimpse of the towering “lost world” plateaus of Mount Roraima and Kukenan Tepui looming on the horizon.

Day 3: The third day marks the start of the trek. Expedition members walk to the first camp (Rio Tek), passing lowland savannah wildlife including giant anteaters, and idyllic traditional Amerindian villages. Once we arrive at the Rio Tek camp, we build our tents among the thatched Amerindian settlements and cook dinner before sunset next to the great Kukenan River that flows from the fourth tallest waterfall on earth.

Day 4: Expedition members climb up the lower slopes of Mount Roraima, and into the shadow of the great plateau, through cloud forest stopping at Base Camp for the night. The climb brings us ever closer to the immense ramparts of Mount Roraima, traversing the ancient talus slopes that encircle the mountain – the home to colourful orchids and giant bromeliads. Today is the most strenuous day of the trek – lasting seven hours, but passing much of the most beautiful scenery that we will encounter on the expedition.

Day 5: An early start will see the group ascend the dramatic ledge up the gigantic cliffsides of Mount Roraima, climbing towards the summit and reaching the mountain top by early afternoon. The ascent passes through mossy cloud forest, filled with ancient tree ferns, colourful tree frogs, and hummingbirds.

Expedition members will then explore the spectacular scenery and bizarre wildlife of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘lost world’. This will include searching for ancient toads, Roraima’s rare Coatimundi and carnivorous plants. After one hour of walking, we make camp in a great cave system in the south of the plateau, cooking dinner as flames flicker on the ancient cave walls.

Day 6: The group treks north to explore Mount Roraima’s spectacular labyrinth of towering stone pinnacles and a valley lined with shimmering quartz crystals. We also explore deep fissures in search of primitive oil birds, wind carved sculptures and areas of Roraima’s unique and unearthly vegetation. We set up camp in caves in the north of the great plateau.

Day 7: The expedition leader takes the group to the underground world of Mount Roraima’s ancient cave systems, which represent some of the largest, most spectacular yet least explored quartzite caves in the world. The group will then return to Mount Roraima’s summit and once again spend the night in the caves near the south of the plateau. At sunset, the group treks to the immense cliffsides of Roraima to view the evening sunlight glance across the mountain’s colossal cliffs, returning before darkness falls completely.

Day 8: After four days on the plateau’s summit, the group begins the descent, climbing down the gigantic ledge of Mount Roraima, and camping near the Kukenan river, at Rio Kukenan camp for a hearty dinner and a final night below the towering massif of the ‘lost world’.

Day 9: The expedition members trek from Rio Kukenan camp back to Paratepui, searching the savannah for wildlife along the way – there’s the chance to see a savannah anteater, or rare rainforest-dwelling scarlet macaws of the lowland. In the Amerindian village of Paratepui, the expedition is met by 4x4 vehicles and travel to Santa Elena for a well earned drink and shower.

Day 10: The group is chauffeured from Santa Elena to Cuidad Bolivar, spending the night in the historic city centre on the banks of the mighty Orinoco River.

Day 11: An early start will see the group leave Cuidad Bolivar for Caracas, arriving in time for afternoon and evening flights back to the UK.

The Lost World Project has received endorsement from the Royal Geographical Society and has won the Captain Scott Society ‘Spirit of Adventure’ Award 2010 – if you would like to be part of the adventure of a lifetime then please email and you will be sent a full expedition pack for The Lost World Project.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

The decade's top ten new species

The decade's top ten new species - Courtesy of the BBC Website

As 2010 draws to a close, scientists have been looking back over the array of new species that have been discovered since the beginning of the century.

Some of the weirdest and most scientifically wonderful are featured in a BBC Documentary, Decade of Discovery.

The film-makers collaborated with Conservation International to make the documentary, which has whittled down nature's top ten revelations.

So here is a shortlist of many of the team's favourite new species, listed in reverse order according to how unique, special and surprising they are.

Big red jellyfish (Tiburonia granrojo)

The one-metre-wide jelly was found at a depth of 3,000m

More than 3,000m under the Pacific ocean, researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) used cameras on a remotely operated vehicle to capture the hidden life at that depth.

Out of the darkness emerged a large, one-metre-wide red jellyfish.

Big red, as it has been dubbed, has no tentacles, making it unlike most jellies. Instead, it uses its fleshy arms to capture food. The scientists still do not know what it eats. They say it is a great example of how little we know of the deep sea.

Chan's megastick (Phobaeticus chani)

This is, as its name implies, a huge stick insect.

The largest specimen of Chan's megastick is in London's Natural History Museum

It was found near Gunung Kinabalu Park, Sabah, in the Heart of Borneo and measures more than half a metre in length - the longest insect on the planet.

The largest and one of only a handful of known specimens in the world is held at the Natural History museum in London.

Despite is enormous size virtually nothing is known about it. Scientists believe it lives high up in the rainforest canopy, which has made it hard to find and kept it a secret until now.

Grey-faced sengi (Rhyncocyon udzungwensis)

This sengi or elephant shrew was first discovered in 2006 in Uzungwa National Park, Tanzania. Italian scientist, Francesco Rovero, from the Trento Museum of Natural Sciences caught the tiny mammal on a camera trap.

Elephant shrews share a common ancestor with elephants

The grey-faced sengi is much bigger than any other - roughly the size of a rabbit. It weighs about 700g and has a long, flexible nose which resembles an elephant's trunk.

Strangely, elephant shrews are not related to shrews but they do share a common ancestor with elephants.

Bamboo shark (Hemiscyllium galei)

The bamboo shark, also known as the walking shark, was found in 2006 in Cenderawasih Bay in West Papua, Indonesia.

This area of coral reef habitat has such a high level of biodiversity that some researchers call it a "species factory".

The shark can swim but usually uses its pectoral fins to walk along the reef

Mark Erdmann from Conservation International was the first scientist to lay eyes on this new shark species in 2006.

Although it can swim if it needs to, it usually uses its pectoral fins to walk along the reef and feed amongst the coral.

Scientists raised funds for marine conservation by auctioning the naming rights to the new shark.

Giant slipper orchid (Phragmipedium Kovachii)

This large flamboyant purple flower caused something of a sensation when it was discovered.

It was found in 2001 being sold at the side of the road in the Peruvian Highlands by an orchid hunter and dealer, who illegally imported it to the US.

Giant orchid among the decade's top ten new species

He was duly prosecuted, but the orchid still bears his name. A few legal specimens are now in the hands of a select group of orchid breeders.

With its huge flowers - up to 20cm across - it originates in the Andes mountains of Peru.

Kipunji (Rungwecebus kipunji)

This is the first new genus (or group of monkey species) to be discovered since the 1920s.

It was tracked down in 2003 by Tim Davenport, a biologist from the Wildlife Conservation Society, who was working in the Mount Rungwe region of Tanzania.

He was interviewing local people about the animals they hunted and knew about in the forest. A few mentioned a "kipunji", a large monkey which sounded unlike anything else.

When Dr Davenport saw it he knew it was a new species, but later DNA analysis showed that it was actually an entirely new genus.

There were just 1,117 Kipunji in the wild at the last count, making them critically endangered.

Pitcher plant (Nepenthes palawanensis)

The large pitcher's slippery sides trap its prey

This giant plant was discovered just this year by botanist Stewart Macpherson who has made it his mission to find and photograph every species of these carnivorous plants around the world.

He found it at the very top of a mountain called Sultan's Peak, on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.

Pitcher plants are named after their highly-specialised leaves that form hollow, water-filled "pitchers".

Insects, such as flies, are attracted by nectar in the pitcher, but its sides are slippery so when prey falls in it cannot climb out.

Langkawi bent-toed gecko (Cyrtodactylus macrotuberculatus)

This extraordinary gecko was first discovered in 2008 on an island off North-western Malaysia by Dr Lee Grismer and his team.

It uses its amazing eyesight and grip to catch its forest-dwelling prey at night.

But what made it a discovery of the decade was that this forest gecko has also recently been found in a limestone cave.

The forest-dwelling and cave-dwelling geckos show evolution at work

The cave gecko looks similar to those living in the forest but has some remarkable visible differences.

Dr Grismer believes this could be evolution in the making - a gecko that has evolved to live in a cave.

The lizards may have moved into the caves to avoid predators - specifically pit vipers that live in the forest.

Pygmy three-toed sloth (Bradypus pygmaeus)

This species, discovered on the island on Escudo de Veraguas off the Carribean coast, shows how quickly the process of evolution can happen.

The pygmy sloth, number one on the list, has a surprising talent

The pygmy sloth has been isolated on its tiny island habitat for just 9,000 years - when rising sea levels cut the island off from the mainland.

The sloths are slower and more placid than their mainland relatives and, remarkably, they can swim.

They seem suitably adapted to their Caribbean island lifestyle.

Pygmy sloths are less than half the size of a normal sloth and they only eat mangrove leaves - a low-nutirent diet that explains their diminutive stature.

There are just 200 of them on the island so every mangrove tree counts for these vulnerable creatures.

Decade of Discovery, a collaboration between Conservation International and the BBC's Natural History Unit, will be broadcast at 20.00BST on Tuesday 14 December on BBC Two.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

DECADE OF DISCOVERY - BBC2, Tuesday 14th December...

Ibex Earth is delighted to announce that some of the footage that we shot during The Lost World Project is set to be used during the BBC's 'DECADE OF DISCOVERY' documentary, which airs on BBC TWO on Tuesday 14th December 2010 (8pm) and will then feature on BBC IPlayer until Tuesday 21st December 2010.

It will be the first time that anyone has seen the footage that we have taken and will be broadcast to a global television audience. Obviously we are going to recommend that you watch the show to see our clip, but 'DECADE OF DISCOVERY' looks like it could be one of the best nature documentaries on the BBC for quite some time, and is hosted by presenter Chris Packham...

Below is some additional information that we have received from the BBC about the programme, which starts at 8pm on Tuesday 14th December - well worth a watch! The documentary also features an interview with Stewart McPherson, who led The Lost World Expedition to South America's 'lost world'...

The 21st century is already being hailed as the new Golden Age of Discovery. In the last decade scientists and explorers have discovered a staggering quarter of a million new species, so in a celebratory one-off special, presenter Chris Packham chooses his personal top ten favourites, of the most extraordinary discoveries of the last ten years. These are the creatures no one dreamt even existed, the ones that have got the scientists in a spin and re written the text books! We get up close to the new discoveries and hear the extraordinary stories of how they were found – told by the charismatic world-class scientists and explorers who discovered them, the Indiana Jones’s of the natural world.

Some quotes from the scientists...

‘The fact that this lay undiscovered for all these years is almost beyond belief...’

‘It’s the insect equivalent of finding a blue whale or a redwood tree....’

‘The fact that something of this size lay undiscovered till the 21st century is staggering...’

‘Its like discovering a new species of elephant, its mind blowing...’

DECADE OF DISCOVERY proves the Earth can still surprise us.

Working alongside teams of scientists the BBC’s Natural History Unit filmed the most fantastic new species from around the world - from the jungles of Malaysia to the remotest forests of Madagascar. And there are many more weird, or just plain wonderful species also featured in the programme that don’t quite make it into Chris’s top ten.

In Chris’s top ten:

- The rarest mammal on planet earth - the pygmy three-toed sloth filmed swimming for the first time in the waters of the Caribbean. Only 200 left in the world

- a brand new species of lemur discovered during the making of the programme - a phaner lemur which is nocturnal and with forked markings Discovered by Russ Mittermeier, President of Conservation International and a top lemur scientist ( with two lemurs already named after him)

- anyone remember the Clangers? A sengi looks just like one. Sengi is the Swahili name for an elephant shrew. Weirdly not related to shrews at all, but distantly related to an elephant with a prehensile nose

- a huge Tanzanian monkey - the rarest in Africa – with a Mohican hairstyle, which until now was though to be a “spirit animal”. It turned out to be real, and not only that a new genus, more closely related to a baboon

- witness evolution in action with the discovery of a cave gecko – filmed side by side with a forest gecko. The cave gecko has evolved to stay safely away from pit vipers that live outside the cave in the Malaysian forest. What’s known as speciation in the making – the moment when one animal becomes two

- the walking shark – a nickname for the bamboo shark.. A distant cousin of the great white, it appears to walk along the shallow seabed as it searches for prey

- a carnivorous pitcher plant big enough for a fist to fit right inside and , in the remote and new species-rich Tepui mountains in Venezuela on Mount Ruraira, yet more new pitcher plants - in the Lost World that inspired the feature film UP

- the world’s longest insect – Chan’s Megastick – first found in Borneo, and almost as long as a human arm

- the big red jellyfish – revealed by the deep sea explorers of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

- a giant slipper orchid, three times the size of any orchid seen before with flowers up to 20 centimetres across, which caused a scandal when it was first discovered

Monday, 6 December 2010

Guide to writing an Environmetal Policy

The Ibex Earth Guide to writing an Environmental Policy...

At Ibex Earth we feel that every business should have its own Environmental Policy - for us this is so a business can improve its environmental performance and adopt a more environmentally sustainable business practice. For example, you can ensure that your procurement process takes into account ethical, environmental and sustainable considerations - thus placing pressure on suppliers to ensure that all of their goods are from respectable sources.

An Environmental Policy allows a business to demonstrate its 'green ethos' to the wider world or to show staff that you do actually take your environmental responsibilities seriously - an ever increasing necessity in today's market place, as 'green' issues continue to grow in importance upon the political, business and consumer agendas. Promoting your new 'green' policy can attract publicity and new clientele.

However, if you've opted not to have an Environmental Policy for whatever reason, you really should reconsider because by acting on becoming more sustainable / environmentally responsible you will actually save money e.g. by opting to reduce your carbon emissions you will in the process lower your fuel bill - the same can be said for water reduction and improving the amount of recycling your business can do.

So then, not only does an Environmental Policy help the global and local environment, it also has a great deal of potential to help you reduce your overall costs - surely it is worth considering adopting an Environmental Policy in today's financial market? Below is Ibex Earth's very own Environmental Policy, please feel free to adopt our own policy as yours - you will be surprised how easy it is...

Ibex Earth's Environmental Policy

We recognise the way in which we operate has an impact upon the environment and are committed to ensuring that we run a sustainable and environmentally responsible business practice. We also acknowledge that our environmental performance is important to our staff, clients and other stakeholders and we will look to minimise our impacts and continually improve our environmental performance.

In seeking to improve our environmental performance, we are addressing the following areas, in particular:

Energy Consumption

We will look to reduce our energy consumption and implement energy efficiency measures in our building when economically feasible.

Water Consumption

We will look to reduce our water consumption and implement water saving measures in our buildings when economically feasible.

Waste Management

We have introduced a reduce, reuse and recycle waste management system, in which we will look to minimise the amount of waste that our business produces and improve our recycling rates. We encourage that all correspondence is conducted via email in order to minimise the amount of paper that we use.


We will look to maximise the use of public transport and avoid private car use whenever possible. If there are alternatives to air travel, e.g. travelling by rail, then we will ensure that we choose the alternative travel method. We encourage all staff to travel to work via public transport


We will take into account the environmental credentials of all suppliers when awarding contracts and purchase environmentally responsible products when possible. We will give preference to suppliers who


We will share our environmental policy and objectives by communicating both internally and externally.


We will review our environmental policy on an annual basis and revise accordingly to ensure that we continue to improve our environmental performance.