SKY ISLANDS

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The mozambican quest for the unknown

On our planet, there are still places where the unknown is real and tangible, where no one has gone before and species as yet unnamed roam. They are the montane rainforests of northern Mozambique, part of the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot of Biodiversity, pristine and magnificent, that have endured for over 30 million years. Imagine three scientists slowly moving on the ground of a forest that existed long before man came along on the planet. Imagine the endeavour looking for new species of snakes, chameleons, frogs that no one has seen before, while opening a path between ferns and shrubs as tall as a man and a canopy that reaches 50 m high. Imagine the silence of dawn and waiting, the anxiety and the joy for a new discovery.

It will be 6 weeks of fieldwork into the forest of Ribauè, Injese and Mecula, the 3 mountains yet to be biologically fully explored.

Imagine a film crew going along, recording everything and working on making a documentary of this journey.

You will see one of the last explorations ever.

The expedition is promoted by the MUSE- The Science Museum of Trento, in Italy, the Institute of Biogeography of the University of Basel, and SANBI, with the support of the National Geographic. The documentary is a Prospekt Agency production.

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The Impact

What we are embarking on feels extraordinary. We will document a scientific expedition in an area of the planet that is still biologically almost unknown, and give you the chance of experiencing that adventure and the privilege of discovery.The scientific aim of the program is to define the biological importance of the Mozambican part of the Eastern Afromontane, to identify species unique to the area (and the experience tells that many them are probably new to science) and to assess their evolutionary relationships with those inhabiting the other forests of Africa.Thanks to you we will be able to film all of this, to produce an independent movie, which will not try to sell you the Indiana Jones or Lara Croft type of experience, but will rather look at and question men and women who set off on explorations for real reasons.

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The eastern Afromontane

It is one of the most biologically rich area in the world, listed amongst the 34  hotspots for biodiversity by Conservation International

After many expeditions in Tanzania, DRC, Rwanda and Ethiopia, the researchers want to move south, where there are mountains still biologically unexplored in the Inselbergs in the northern regions of Mozambique.  They are made of Precambrian rocks that are 3 billion years old and constitute the bedrock of our planet. They are among the oldest mountains of Africa, places where biological evolution has continued for millions of years without interruption. This is indeed a rare occurrence in nature, if you think of the dramatical environmental changes that happened at our latitudes, such as glacial and interglacial period and the resulting animal extinctions. In the Eastern Afromontane this has not happened, due to the effect of the Indian Ocean and East Africa Great Lakes that have kept the mountains wetter than the surrounding lowlands. The forest lying on these mountains are both cradles and museums of life, where in the deep time organisms have originated and persisted for million of years, with little disturbance, till now.

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November 2013 to January 2014

This is when the rainy season starts and the cycle of life rolls around  the clock. Most amphibians wake up right into the reproductive period, males sing their love songs to females, hunt and fight for them until they finally mate. Females look around for the right spot where to deposit their eggs, they need rivers, streams, wetland or just deep, wet leaf litter. But amphibians are also prey and the their reproductive period, coincides with the hunting season for a number of forest inhabitants as snakes, huge spiders and small carnivores. Bio-explorers look for both predators and prey in order to document the complexity of the forest ecosystem. The forest is swarming with life, and for us, the researchers, this is the best possible time to dive into it and discover new species.

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The reason

From a scientific point of view the aim of the program is to define the biological importance of the Mozambican part of the Eastern Afromontane, to identify species unique to the area (and the experience tells that many them are probably new to science) and to assess their evolutionary relationships with those inhabiting the other forests of Africa. All these information will finally serve to highlight the richness and uniqueness of the Mozambican forests and to call for their conservation.

What we are embarking on feels extraordinary. We will document a scientific expedition in an area of the planet that is still biologically almost unknown, and give you the chance of experiencing that adventure and the privilege of discovery. Accompanying a team of scientists we will delve deep into the heartland of Northern Mozambique, to identify and record the secretive forest life, and the people that seek it.

The leading figures of our story are the scientists and the forest, the relationship between the human hunger for knowledge and the mystery of nature that is more ancient than mankind. In between there will be the journey, Africa, the people we will meet, rain, fatigue, an overwhelming green and the heat of the fire.

Together with the scientists, we will discover as we go along where the exploration will take us. We will always be ready with cameras, microphones and gears.

Thanks to you we will be able to produce an independent movie, which will not try to sell you the Indiana Jones or Lara Croft type of experience, but will rather look at and question men and women who set off on explorations for real reasons, discovering new forests, animals and nature that has been enduring for over 30 million years.

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Support us

Indiegogo is a crowd-funding platform where people who want to raise money can create fundraising campaigns to tell their story and get the word out. Indiegogo is also a place to discover what people all over the world are passionate about and how to get involved.

We chose Indiegogo because we want to make an INDEPENDENT documentary and we want to people to be involved with it.

You contribute to the campaign by buying a perk. It is all done online.

Pictures by Michele Menegon e Fabio Pupin

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