Lost Land of the Volcano
Well, heck, the BBC's gone and done it again: it's created one of those programmes that makes you rejoice the very fact that the corporation exists.
Lost Land of the Volcano is a three-part nature documentary that follows an international team of scientists, film-makers and cavers as they explore the jungle islands of Papua New Guinea hoping to find and document rare and endangered animals, and perhaps even discover some new species.
The film-making is breathtaking, but it's the sense of discovery, of pure scientific awe, that really blows you away. In the final episode, in the extinct volcano Mount Bosavi (on the island of New Guinea), they even discover two new species of mammal.
And, brilliantly, the BBC has even seen fit to upload the PDF of the final report made by Dr George McGavin (the show's bug expert) about the trip - here's its summary:
"An international team of scientists and filmmakers spent six weeks in the forests in and around Mount Bosavi in the Southern Highland Province of Papua New Guinea. In the course of the expedition, it is estimated that at least forty new species were collected. These include at least sixteen new species of frog, two new species of lizards, three new species of fish, one new species of bat and an undescribed, endemic subspecies of the Silky Cuscus were documented. Another mammal and the largest new species of animal discovered during the trip, was a Woolly Giant-rat, found in the forest inside the crater of Mount Bosavi. In addition there are undoubtedly many new species of insects and spiders represented in the material collected. Our findings show that Mount Bosavi and the surrounding area is unusually rich, especially in local and regional endemic species. It is therefore vitally important for conservation organisations and the government of Papua New Guinea to work in partnership with local landowners to ensure that the forests of Mount Bosavi are incorporated into Papua New Guinea’s protected area network as soon as possible."
Great stuff eh? Makes you glad to pay the licence fee.