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To mark 20 years of field study, Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program has just named the Top 20 "RAP" Stars of the program's history. According to CI, these species are "some of the most biologically surprising, unique, or threatened discoveries" from their teams’ surveys.
Alonso, who has coordinated and led surveys for the past 13 years, has also just edited a new book, “Still Counting...” It revisits RAP expeditions that occurred during the past two decades. During that time, the researchers completed 80 surveys in 27 countries. Most turned up incredible, and often bizarre, species that we've frequently informed you about here at Discovery. Many are endangered and in places that are threatened by pollution, habitat loss and other human-related problems.
Russ Mittermeier, CI's president who went on many of the surveys, says that in doing the RAP work: “We have truly laid the groundwork for the future and created constituencies that are already carrying the cause of conservation forward.”
Did you know, for example, that there are approximately 1.9 million documented species of animals, but it's estimated that up to 30 million species of organisms are yet to be discovered and scientifically described? Many disappear before scientists ever have the chance to discover and study them. This unfortunate process is known as Centinelan extinction.