We Need Your Help to Protect the Wildlife of the Sonoran Sky Islands

The 55 Sky Island ranges in the Madrean Archipelago is recognized by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world. However, the ecosystems in Mexico are vastly understudied, endangering the land and species that exist there. This unmatched diversity demands study. We must understand the complexities of the Sky Island ecosystems in order to protect them.’s signature program, Madrean Discovery Expeditions (MDE) dedicates one full year of highly focused planning, research, prepping, and post-trip inventories/classifications around annual expeditions in order to make these, some of the remaining untouched regions of North America, protected lands through detailed biological studies/assessments and the cataloging of wild plants, animals, and insect life in the area, which, more times than not, have never been recorded. These rich habitats are home to a tremendous diversity of local and transient species, including half the bird species of North America, and more than a hundred mammals ranging from elusive jaguars to endangered bats, turtles, butterflies, lizards, and more.

Madrean Discovery Expedition sponsored by, Sierra Elenita, Sonora, Mexico

Madrean Discovery Expedition – Sierra Elenita, Sonora, Mexico

As a result of these biological assessments, led by’s Director of Biodiversity Programs, Tom Van Devender, five Sky Island regions are now protected areas due to thousands of observations provided to the public, online database,, which contains first records of birdlife, plant life, animal life, and insects for the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Sonora, and Chihuahua. Finally, many new species, unknown to science, both plant and animal/insect have been discovered as a result of these expeditions, making these expeditions some of the most exciting and important of our time. Among the many rare discoveries of these expeditions: new species of moth, beetle, butterfly, ant, scorpion, wasp, and fly, to name a few.