Media Release: Following dramatic rescue by Madagascar Military, Adventure Science team discovers new dinosaur tracks, 1.6km cave system, and ancient archaeological site in the Tsingy de Bemaraha

From October 1 -17, 2014, the Adventure Science team, combining the backcountry skill of endurance athletes with
academic research experts, traveled deep into the Strict Nature Reserve of Madagascar’s Great Tsingy a UNESCO
World Heritage site, and dangerous limestone labyrinth that can only be accessed by teams of qualified academic researchers. The expedition also had the honour of carrying flag #112 of The Explorers Club, of which several participants are members. This was Adventure Science’s third flag expedition for The Explorers Club.

You can download a full copy of the post-expedition media release for the 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar’s Limestone Labyrinth Expedition, here: http://bit.ly/1rVD3Zn

NR1

MISSION COMPLETED: The Adventure Science team has returned from Madagascar!

    twit-post1

By mid afternoon on Saturday October 18th, all 9 Adventure Science team members were reported home and accounted for. The Adventure Science team is proud to announce that they were able to complete their objectives for the 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar’s Limestone Labyrinth Expedition, despite a rocky start in the first few couples days involving a helicopter rescue.

On October 3rd, the first day the field scouting team went out into the field, three explorers from the Adventure Science team travelled deep into the Strict Nature Reserve of Madagascar’s Great Tsingy, and due to treacherous conditions, were rescued more than 24 hours later by the Malagasy Army.

lost

Photo taken by Simon whilst waiting evacuation

Simon, Travis, and Jim were all attended to by the Adventure Science team Paramedic, Tyler Leblanc. All three team members were able to make a quick recovery to due quick action on behalf of the Malagasy Army, and their Minister of Defense, General Dominque.

55

Travis receiving an IV from Adventure Science team Paramedic, Tyler LeBlanc

The team would like to thank the General for his help, and also thank the Ed Holder, MP for London West, and Minister of Science and Technology for Canada, whose office was able to quickly put us in touch with General Dominque for an immediate evacuation.

56

Over the next nine days, the team mapped an area of the Tsingy de Behamara, as well as an enormous cave system below the labyrinth. In addition, they were able to due diurnal and nocturnal surveys daily, and were able to make it farther south to search for dinosaur tracks.

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.45.58 AM

Adventure Science will put out a full report outlining all findings from the expedition, photographs, and other content will be broadcast through the Adventure Science Facebook Page. In addition, as with any Adventure Science expedition, all findings will be documented and made available – free of charge – to groups interested in learning more about this incredible part of the work at adventurescience.ca.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AdventureScience

Final Day in the Field

Today is the Adventure Science team’s final day in the field. Tomorrow, they will pack up their base camp and head to Antsolava.

The past couple days have been filled with discoveries and explorations that have reached the goals of the expeditions and we are excited to share them all in a full report. Our tech team began E-W transects and circled back to base camp every 2-3 days to resupply and share information and findings.

base

Life at base camp

life

inreach

Tyler LeBlanc with an InReach unit.

Day 9: Dinosaur Findings

Yesterday, the team continued with their explorations of dinosaur tracks with the endurance athletes on the team headed out to the field.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.39.55 AM

Kensington Tours Travis Steffens, Jim Mandelli and Simon Donato

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.41.56 AM

One of the many species endemic to Madagascar.

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 11.49.52 AM

Antananarivo

Early this morning,  the team left for the southern section of the Tsingy de Bemaraha.

Day 9: Tracking Dinosaurs

The team was in high spirits yesterday as they began a new portion of the expedition and turned their focus towards tracking dinosaur footprints in the Tsingy. Check in tomorrow for an update on an exciting and unusual discovery!

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.45.58 AM

The Adventure Science team mapping the Tsingy. Photo by: Melissa Rae Stewart

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.49.09 AM

Adventure Science team in the cave below the Tsingy. Photo by: Melissa Rae Stewart

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.50.40 AM

The Adventure Science team in the hub. Photo by: Melissa Rae Stewart

Screen Shot 2014-10-12 at 9.51.54 AM

The Adventure Science team with the Explorer’s Flag.

Day 8: Pottery Artifacts

The team had a fantastic day in the field on Thursday, stumbling across an ancient pottery artifact.

pottery

caves

George Kourounis in a cave with stalactites

It was Kensington Tour’s Travis Steffen’s last day in the field with the team before heading on another assignment and he shared some pictures from his memorable time in the field.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 11.06.08 AM

Opening to a massive cave system.

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 11.08.49 AM

Leaf tailed Gecko

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.27.57 PM

Madagascar Traffic

Screen Shot 2014-10-11 at 1.35.36 PM

Mamy from Planet Mada helping to build a road to base camp.

The team is now turning their attention to tracking dinosaur footprints for the next 5 days.

Day 7: Underground Rivers and Sifaka Lemurs

The team has been mapping a cave they discovered in the Tsingy for the last two days. It is quite large with over 500 M in passages and yesterday morning, the team followed an underground river inside the cave. It was a unique river as it left the cave and looped back in and they completed yesterday with the cave system entirely mapped.

mpa

Adventure Science team members, Jim Mandelli and Ian MacNairn mapping the cave system.

The team is also conducting diurnal and nocturnal lemurs studies and have largely been observing sifaka lemurs. The research has been going well.

Photo cred: Kensington Tours

Photo cred: Kensington Tours

Tomorrow is Kensington Tours Explorer in Residence, Travis Steffen’s last day with the team and they are turning their efforts from cave mapping to dinosaur tracks.

Adventure Science founder and Kensington Tours Explorer in Residence, Simon Donato remarked that the team is in high spirits although the Tsingy is gnarly and unforgiving.

If you want to follow the team on their expedition, see the Live Tracking provided by InReach Canada. 

Special Update: Rescue Press Release and Photos

AdvSciLogo_long_noTag

For Immediate Release

Three Adventure Science Team Members Rescued by the Malagasy Army Following 24 Hours with No Food or Water

October 6, 2014 – Three explorers from the Adventure Science team travelled deep into the Strict Nature Reserve of Madagascar’s Great Tsingy on Oct 3 and due to treacherous conditions, were rescued more than 24 hours later by the Malagasy Army.

The explorers were Kensington Tour Explorers in Residence, Dr Simon Donato, Adventure Science Founder and Travis Steffens, Primatologist and Lemur expert joined by Jim Mandelli. Upon completing their eight hour trek to their destination, it was realized that the dangerous landscape prevented them from directly returning to base camp, leaving them without adequate hydration and food supplies. The communications team was able to notify the Malagasy Army to complete a full rescue with the assistance of Ed Holder, MP – London West and Minister of Science and Technology for Canada and Major General Dominque Jean Oliver Rakotozafy, Minister of National Defense for Madagascar. Once returned safely to base camp, the team was examined by the medical team members and Travis Steffens was treated for dehydration.

QUOTE:

The Madagascar wilderness is proving to be every bit as dangerous as promised. I am grateful to have such a qualified team of athletes, academic researchers, sponsors and professionals to support the project and ensure its success.

  • Simon Donato, Adventure Science Founder and Kensington Tours Explorer in Residence

The expedition, 100 Miles of Wild: Madagascar’s Limestone Labyrinth, requires the team to maneuver 100 miles of dangerous and unknown terrain to accomplish the expedition goals which include providing the first detailed map of the region, identify Lemur species native to the region, observe and record the locations of caves and caverns, and to identify geologically significant features.

The team is on track with the expedition goals, performing observations in local caves and on native Lemur species this week. Stories, photographs, and a daily log will be broadcast through the Adventure Science Facebook Page throughout the expedition, and as with any Adventure Science undertakings, all findings will be documented and made available – free of charge – to groups interested in learning more about this incredible part of the work at adventurescience.ca.

###

Media Contact:

Jessica Kuepfer
(519) 505-1545

The team slept out in the open without a tent and supplies for two nights.

The team slept out in the open without a tent and supplies for two nights.

Photos are taken the morning of their rescue.

Photos are taken the morning of their rescue.

Photo of Adventure Science team member, Jim Mandelli by Kensington Tours Explorer in Residence and Adventure Science Founder Simon Donato.

Photo of Adventure Science team member, Jim Mandelli by Simon Donato.

Day 7: Discovering Caves

Yesterday, the team focused on cave systems, specifically an especially large system that they found. Within the caves, they discovered some cultural material and sherds, a prehistoric fragment of pottery.

Team member, Tim Puetz, inside the cave.

Team member, Tim Puetz, inside the cave.

The cave system has become the main focus of the team and they plan on spending the next number of days mapping it and exploring for artifacts. Within the caves, they have discovered several dry and submerged passageways which they are planning on following further.

Team member, Tyler in the “Elephant’s Trunk” chamber of the new cave being mapped by Adventure Science.

Team member, Tyler in the “Elephant’s Trunk” chamber of the new cave being mapped by Adventure Science.

They have also been studying the local lemur population and identifying and observing the species through diurnal and nocturnal studies.

All team members are strong and healthy and well supported by the local Malagasy team. They began explorations at 6:30 AM this morning.

If you want to follow the team on their expedition, see the Live Tracking provided by InReach Canada. 

Day 6 of the Expedition: Caving

Yesterday, the team moved forward on explorations of the local area, despite the excitement of the previous days. You can read the account from Breathe Magazine here. They began exploring the local caves in the area and were able to make some significant discoveries such as ancient pottery in caves.

Later in the day, they came across a large cave system, unlike they had ever seen before and were returning today to make a map.

madagascar-anjohibe-caves-22

The team is adjusting well to the climate and terrain of Madagascar. One team member, Kensington Tours Explorer in Residence, George Kourounis, made a comment on how camping in Madagascar provides sounds of lemur calls and insects at night.

If you want to follow the team on their expedition, see the Live Tracking provided by InReach Canada.