In our efforts to better understand and conserve our planet's biodiversity, ZSL scientists often work in remote and understudied areas. They make new discoveries that highlight our planet's biodiversity and increase our understanding of threatened ecosystems. Using the knowledge gained from these dicoveries, we are able to form more comprehensive conservation strategies.
© C Mahanayakage The extremely rare and threatened Horton Plain slender loris, so mysterious it was once thought to be extinct, has been has been caught on camera for the first time as part of ZSL’s EDGE of Existence programme. The Horton Plains slender loris had previously only been encountered four times in the past 72 years.
New Saharan Conservation Hotspots
© Tim Wacher ZSL has assisted with protected area development and an array of conservation management, training and research activities in six different Saharan countries. In 2009, ZSL researchers were involved in research that confirmed the continuity and extent of the slender-horned gazelle populations surveyed in the previous year in Tunisia.
Purple Frog Discovered
The Purple Frog is the sole representative of an ancient lineage of frogs that has been evolving independently for over 130 million years.
Found in India, the species is threatened by ongoing forest loss for coffee, cardamom and ginger plantations, and ZSL has included the Purple Frog into its EDGE programme.
New Deep-Sea Vent Ecosystems
© Alex Rogers A remotely operated vehicle, Isis (left), was used to explore a ridge in the Southern Ocean at depths of up to 2,600 metres. At these depths the team discovered, mapped and sampled new high temperature hydrothermal vent ecosystems in 3 locations. These vents were unique, hosting animals that had never before been documented by scientists.
New Species Found
© Michelle Taylor Coral - Careful new methods of analysis have led to the discovery of SIX new species of coral. The work has enhanced current understanding of the biodiversity of marine ecosystems.
Elephant Shrew - On an expedition to Kenya, scientists observed brief glimpses of a potential new species of Elephant Shrew.
© ZSL/Farid Belbachir Saharan cheetahs are critically endangered and being incredibly elusive, this makes it difficult for scientists to estimate populations.
A systematic camera trap survey has for the first time identified four different cheetahs. "This new evidence...[is] hugely significant" says Dr Sarah Durant, Zoological Society of London Senior Research Fellow.
New Areas of Biodiversity
© Rob Pickles The Rewa Head in Guyana had never been explored scientifically to assess its conservation significance.
When a ZSL scientist and his team travelled there to collect DNA rom the giant otter, they ended up observing 50% of Guyana's threatened species! This included the giant armadillo, giant anteater, Brazilian tapir and more.
Biodiversity in Conflict Zones
© ZSL/ICCN ZSL has been working in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2001 to restore the integrity of Virunga National Park following prolonged conflict in the region. ZSLs help in the area, with camera trapping, surveys and patrols, new images of wild species, including the Okapi, is evidence that Virunga’s unique forest biodiversity is still persisting despite the conflict.