Scientists from Conservation International (CI) and Disney's Animal Kingdom found a vast array of exotic wildlifeincluding plant and animal species previously unknown to scienceduring a two-month expedition to little-known regions in the shadow of Mount Everest. The discoveries and observations announced today, coincident with opening of the Expedition Everest attraction at Walt Disney World Resort, included:
- a giant hornet so deadly, locals call it the 'Yak Killer';
- a beetle that buries birds and small rodents in subterranean crypts to feed its offspring;
- an endangered jumping mouse;
- and several new species of amphibians, insects and ants.
The scientific journey into the mountains of Southwest China and Nepal also included Walt Disney Imagineering representatives who researched cultural beliefs related to the legend of the Yeti, a creature whose traditional role as "protector of the sacred" has been integral to conservation in the region. Those beliefs inspired the story of Expedition Everest which includes selected findings from the two-month expedition included as part of the experience. Additionally, Jeff Corwin, host of Corwin's Quest, documented the Nepal expedition for broadcast on a special edition of his show Corwin's Quest: Realm of the Yeti, premiering Saturday, April 15, from 8-10 PM (ET/PT) on Discovery's Animal Planet.
"By weaving the scientific discoveries and cultural research into the storyline of Expedition Everest, park visitors are provided with a unique opportunity to learn about the environmental heritage of this region. The experience created by Disney is much more than just the physical thrills of a high-speed journey through the domain of the world's tallest mountain," said Dr. Russ Mittermeier, president of CI. "We are thrilled with Disney's dedication to conservation through their scientific and financial contributions to the expedition."
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Contact: Jason Anderson
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