A former NFL cheerleader and daughter of Cuban immigrants who grew up in Miami, Mireya Mayor followed her unlikely dreams. In short order, she became a respected primatologist, audacious explorer, and Emmy Award-nominated wildlife correspondent for the National Geographic Channel. Mayor’s adventures have taken her⎯armed with little more than a backpack, notebooks, and hiking boots⎯to some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. She’s survived poisonous insect bites, been charged by gorillas and chased by elephants⎯and keeps going back for more.
On a National Geographic-supported expedition in Madagascar in 2000, Mayor discovered a rare new species of mouse lemur, then believed to be the world’s smallest primate. Her discovery inspired the prime minister of Madagascar to establish a national park to help protect the new species, conserving the 10 percent that remains of the African island nation’s once vast forest.
Currently hosting the Nat Geo WILD series Wild Nights With Mireya Mayor, Mayor has been hailed as a “female Indiana Jones,” and an inspiration to young women interested in science and exploration. She’ll share stories, images, and film clips of her adventures, offering a behind- the-scenes look at the hardships and danger of life in the field, along with the moments of discovery that make it all worthwhile.
After paddling the canoes as far upriver as they could go, the team had struck out into a swamp filled with snakes and crocodiles. She was struggling through waist-high water when her bad ankle gave out, sending her face first into the mud. Cutting her bare feet on razor-sharp swamp grasses, she thought the expedition was going to come to a sudden halt just short of their destination.
But then, moments later, they found themselves on dry ground at the outskirts of a small Tanzanian village. Mireya Mayor’s expedition had finally reached the place where Stanley had discovered Livingstone.