The Himalayas is the highest mountain range in the world, and has 9 out of 10 of the world’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest. These mountains, referred to as the Third Pole, are the source of some of Asia’s major rivers and also help to regulate our planet’s climate. For centuries people here have developed a unique culture that weaves nature and people together into the same fabric of life. The region is the birthplace of the Buddha, and is full of sacred natural sites such as secret valleys and high mountain lakes that predate ancient Hinduism.

The Himalayas face many challenges, and governments are under pressure to provide for their people and secure their natural heritage. Forests are strained as demand continues to grow for timber and food crops. Protected areas are becoming isolated pockets, and international criminal networks are emptying forests of rare wildlife to feed the voracious illegal market. The impact of global climate change is melting the once mighty Himalayas at a rate faster than ever recorded in human history, jeopardizing a vital source of freshwater for billions of people in Asia.