The USA Multilateral Office in Washington D.C. is proud to announce that one of its young interns, Niyang Shen, has been awarded the prestigious Youth's Explorer Grant from the National Geographic.
Whilst at IUCN, Niyang has continued to develop his interest in the management of protected areas and sustainable tourism. His internship at IUCN has allowed him develop his own personal project, the Tibet Conservation Society, a non for profit organization which aims to develop sustainable solution models between conservation and development in Tibet.
Shen's particular area of interest is Motuo, an isolated homeland in the Eastern Himalayas that is only accessible during certain times of the year, weather permitting. Motuo is listed as one of WWF's 19 priority protected areas and is one of the last untouched biodiversity hotspots in the world with over a hundred species listed on IUCN's Red List.
With plans to build a road through Motuo scheduled for 2010, the future of this Himalayan homeland and its biodiversity is uncertain. But with the National Geographic Youth's Explorer Grant, Niyang and his team can commence their journey into Motuo to start recording the area's unique ecosystem and begin surveying its fauna and flora - the first step towards developing sustainable management initiatives for Tibet and its protected areas.
"I am delighted to receive the Youth's Explorer Grant on behalf of the Tibet Conservation Society," says Niyang on the eve of his departure. "A special thank you goes to IUCN as it is through this vital conservation network that I was able to initiate dialogue between environmentalists working in and around Tibet. It was also a great honor to be given the opportunity to meet George Schaller, a conservation hero of mine, and I look forward to his visit to Motou in the near future."
IUCN wishes Niyang luck with his first expedition to Motou and looks forward to his safe return.