Traveler Bio

HI, I'm Mai! I am a scientist working to protect endangered animals in tropical rainforests. I use blood-sucking leeches to track endangered animals in Madagascar where I spend hours hiking and collecting hundreds of leeches. Once the leeches are collected, I can analyze the DNA in their guts to learn which animals they’ve fed on. This tells me which animals live in these forests.

In my upcoming expedition, I will be collecting leeches from a small, mysterious forest in Madagascar which scientists recently discovered contains animals from throughout the island. This is unusual because Madagascar is one of the largest islands in the world, and each region is home to unique wildlife. In this mysterious “Lost Forest” as it's been called, villagers and scientists have discovered animals which we would not expect to find in south-central Madagascar.

Using leeches will help us determine which animals exactly are found in this forest because leeches can detect and feed off small, shy, and rare animals that are difficult for humans to see. It is important for us to know which animals live in the forest, so we can work to protect them!

I'm so happy to welcome you on this expedition!