<p><strong>Back for an encore after a round of Web stardom as "Yoda bat" last fall, <a href="http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/papua-new-guinea-guide/">Papua New Guinea</a>'s tube-nosed fruit bat has now been named one of the top <a href="http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/pressreleases/Pages/20_Years_of_RAP_Still_Counting.aspx">20 new or rarely seen species encountered during the first 20 years of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program</a> (RAP), which launched in 1990. </strong></p><p>(Read<a href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/10/photogalleries/101006-papua-new-guinea-species-tube-nosed-bat-science-animal-pictures/"> more about the tube-nosed fruit bat</a>.)</p><p>The RAP expeditions typically send large teams of scientists into remote habitats for intense, monthlong surveys.</p><p>"We go out and explore so that we can bring a wide range of new species—1,300 so far—and thousands of other rare and really interesting species to the public and policy makers," explained RAP director<br> <a href="http://www.conservation.org/newsroom/experts/Pages/alonso.aspx">Leeanne Alonso</a>.</p><p>"Showing people what's there helps us make the best decisions about how to manage areas to keep these species around, while continuing the benefits that humans get from these places."</p><p>In other words: Help us, they will.</p><p><em>—Brian Handwerk</em></p>

Return of the Jedi

Back for an encore after a round of Web stardom as "Yoda bat" last fall, Papua New Guinea's tube-nosed fruit bat has now been named one of the top 20 new or rarely seen species encountered during the first 20 years of Conservation International's Rapid Assessment Program (RAP), which launched in 1990.

(Read more about the tube-nosed fruit bat.)

The RAP expeditions typically send large teams of scientists into remote habitats for intense, monthlong surveys.

"We go out and explore so that we can bring a wide range of new species—1,300 so far—and thousands of other rare and really interesting species to the public and policy makers," explained RAP director
Leeanne Alonso.

"Showing people what's there helps us make the best decisions about how to manage areas to keep these species around, while continuing the benefits that humans get from these places."

In other words: Help us, they will.

—Brian Handwerk

Photograph courtesy Piotr Naskrecki, Conservation International

Pictures: 20 Surprising Species of the Past 20 Years

From the "Yoda bat" to a "walking" shark—see 20 new and rare species spotted during two decades of "ecological SWAT team" expeditions.

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