The Project Toggle

The Lost Mountain is a project about discovery, adventure, and ultimately survival in one of the world’s least explored and most threatened habitats. Mt. Namuli, a 7,936-foot granite monolith, is the largest of a group of isolated peaks that tower over the ancient valleys of northern Mozambique. Here, plants and animals have evolved as if on dispersed oceanic islands, so that individual mountains have become refuge to their own unique species of life, many of which have yet to be discovered or described by science. Biologists and conservationists from around the world have identified Mt. Namuli as a global hotspot: a place of critical biodiversity and an opportunity to model a new vision for wildlife preservation that integrates the wishes and needs of local people.

Mt Namuli is one of the most significant, exposed, and understudied massifs in the Eastern Afromontane. In 2012, the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund (CEPF)—a joint initiative of l’Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the European Union, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank—designated Namuli as a Level 1 Priority Key Biodiversity Area. The Lost Mountain project is poised to act on this designation and our conservation initiative is supported, in part, by a grant from the CEPF.

In May 2014, the Lost Mountain team launched a pioneering biological study of the cliffside habitat of Namuli’s 2,000-foot granite face in an effort to fill the glaring “Namuli Gap” in Eastern Afromontane species distribution. In concert with this expedition, our conservation team conducted a phase I field assessment to determine the first steps of a viable and actionable integrated conservation plan predicated on involvement of multi-sector stakeholders: from local community members and businesses to NGOs, to local and national governments.

The Lost Mountain is about working locally to create locally-generated change and possibility.  It is also about sharing that story with the world.Today’s information driven world demands effective and impactful messaging. The Lost Mountain project includes a team of writers and filmmakers to  enable long-term success via local buy-in and sustained global support. Media includes a documentary film, web video shorts, and in-country radio broadcasts to reach Mozambican, Malawian, and global audiences.

The Lost Mountain Project and film are produced by Ukalene Productions: a company formed by Majka Burhardt, Sarah Garlick, and Paul Yoo in 2011 to facilitate cross-discipline collaboration between science, exploration, conservation, and media.