The Andean mountains of the Zongo Valley in Bolivia where the RAP expedition took place are steep and rugged, with numerous waterfalls and cascades. Trond Larsen / Conservation International In the Bolivian Andes , scientists found 20 new species and rediscovered plants and animals not seen for decades. The findings were made on a 14-day scientific expedition in March 2017 led by non-profit environmental group Conservation International (CI) high into the cloud forests of the Andean mountains. As part of CI’s Rapid Assessment Program, which assembles "ecological SWAT teams" to quickly and efficiently assess the health of ecosystems around the world, the team identified a total of 1,204 species in the Zongo Valley, 20 of which were completely new to science, Conservation News reported. Near the capital city of La Paz, Zongo Valley is known as the heart of a rich, biodiverse region, a CI press release stated. The cloud forests are well-preserved atop high, steep, rugged mountains more than 10,000 feet above sea level, perhaps explaining how so many species have remained undetected and unfound until now. Biologists and expedition team members hiked for more than two weeks through the valley to access the ecosystem, Business Insider reported. […]

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