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Cheap ranch loans may be driving jump in Amazon deforestation

(02/12/2008) Surging deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon may be partly the result of new financial incentives given by state banks such as the Bank of Amazon (BASA), reports Agencia de Noticias da Amazonia, a Brazilian newspaper, and the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO).


Lake Mead could be dry up by 2021

(02/12/2008) There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern U.S., will be dry by 2021 if climate changes as expected and future water usage is not curtailed, a new study finds.


First photos of face-to-face mating by gorillas in the wild

(02/12/2008) Scientists have taken the first photos of face-to-face copulation by wild gorillas. The images were captured in Nouabalé-Ndoki National Park in the Republic of Congo.


New duck-billed dinosaur discovered in Mexico

(02/12/2008) A previously unknown species of dinosaur has been discovered in Mexico, shadding new light on the history of western North America, report researchers from the Utah Museum of Natural History at the University of Utah.


Sumatran tiger faces extinction due to wildlife trade

(02/12/2008) The critically endangered Sumatran Tiger faces extinction due to the tiger parts trade in Indonesia, reports a new report from TRAFFIC, the wildlife trade monitoring network run by IUCN and WWF.


Two strange carnivorous dinosaurs discovered in the Sahara

(02/12/2008) Two previously unknown species of dinosaur discovered in the Sahara were unusual meat-eaters, report scientists from the University of Chicago and the University of Bristol.


How activists and scientists saved a rainforest island from destruction for palm oil

(02/12/2008) In mid-January, Mongabay learned that the government of Papua New Guinea had changed its mind: it would no longer allow Vitroplant Ltd. to deforest 70% of Woodlark Island for palm oil plantations. This change came about after one hundred Woodlark Islanders (out of a population of 6,000) traveled to Alotau, the capital of Milne Bay Province, to deliver a protest letter to the local government; after several articles in Mongabay and Pacific Magazine highlighted the plight of the island; after Eco-Internet held a campaign in which approximately three thousand individuals worldwide sent nearly 50,000 letters to local officials; and after an article appeared in the London Telegraph stating that due to deforestation on New Britain Island and planned deforestation on Woodlark Island, Papua New Guinea had gone from being an eco-hero to an 'eco-zero'.


Steel production drives deforestation in Brazil's Pantanal

(02/11/2008) A steel mill in Corumbá, in the heart of Brazil's Pantanal wetland, is fueling destruction of forests for charcoal and undermining the rights of Amazonian forest dwellers, reports the Inter Press Service.


10% of China's forests destroyed in recent storms

(02/11/2008) Winter snow storms in China have destroyed 10 percent of the country's forest resources according to Chinese state media.


Mini-pterodactyl discovered in China

(02/11/2008) Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of pterodactyl in northeastern China.


Global warming puts penguins at risk of extinction

(02/11/2008) Climate change could put the long-term survival of sub-Antarctic King Penguins at risk by reducing the availability of prey, reports a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Global warming to increase insect attacks on plants

(02/11/2008) Global warming will increase attacks on plant leaves by insects, reports a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Photo: Litter of naked mole rats born in time for Chinese New Year

(02/10/2008) The Bronx Zoo introduces some of its favorite little herbivore critters — a new litter of naked mole rat "pups" arriving just in time to celebrate the Lunar New Year — Year of the Golden Rat. Naked mole rats can be seen everyday at their World of Darkness exhibit. Native to the tropical grasslands of Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, the Zoo's habitat gives a visual "slice of life" in a naked mole rat colony. Literally, the exhibit was designed to go deep underground to provide Zoo-goers with a view of this complex tunneling-system. Naked mole rats have a social system similar to bees with a queen (the only reproductive female), workers, and breeders.


Paper packaging devours south-eastern forests in the US

(02/10/2008) The Dogwood Alliance has released a report highlighting the damage done by paper pulp mills and their corporate customers to America's Mid-Atlantic Coastal Forests. The forests, which span from Delaware through the Carolinas to Georgia, are extremely rich in biodiversity; scientists have catalogued over two-thousand terrestrial species, including thirty-two endemic species. Probably the most famous endemic species is the Venus flytrap; this strange carnivorous plant is native to an area only 10 by 100 square miles in North Carolina. A study by WWF determined that both species richness and endemism is even higher for freshwater aquatic species.


Natural ocean thermostat may protect some coral reefs

(02/07/2008) Natural processes may prevent oceans from warming beyond a certain point, helping protect some coral reefs from the impacts of climate change, new research finds. The study provides evidence that an ocean "thermostat" may be helping regulate sea-surface temperatures in a biologically diverse region of the western Pacific.


Madagascar's tortoises at high risk of extinction

(02/07/2008) Madagascar's rare and unique turtles and tortoises face high risk of extinction in the wild if conservation measures are not rapidly put into place, warned a group of scientists meeting to discuss the fate of Madagascar's most threatened repitles.


First rainforest-for-carbon-credits deal becomes a reality

(02/07/2008) Villagers in Aceh, the Indonesian province that suffered through three decades of civil war and lost some 170,000 people to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, could soon see $26 million in carbon credits for protecting rainforests from logging under a deal announced today between conservationists, carbon traders, and the Aceh government.


Biofuels are worsening global warming

(02/07/2008) Converting native ecosystems for production of biofuel feed stocks is worsening the greenhouse gas emissions they are intended to mitigate, reports a pair of studies published in the journal Science. The studies follow a series of reports that have linked ethanol and biodiesel production to increased carbon dioxide emissions, destruction of biodiverse forest and savanna habitats, and water and air pollution.


Carbon tax would make China greener and reduce warming risks

(02/07/2008) Driven by booming economic growth and rapid urbanization, China's carbon dioxide emissions are surging. At the same time, forecasts suggest climate change will have an immense impact on the country, with rising sea levels projected to swamp key industrial areas and diminished rainfall reducing agricultural output. Given this outlook, a new policy paper published in Science argues that China will need to embark on a cleaner path to growth, one that is less dependent on coal. The authors say that international assistance in the form of carbon funds could help persuade Chinese leadership to move towards more environmentally-friendly energy technologies.


Staples dumps Asia Pulp & Paper over its destruction of virgin rainforests

(02/07/2008) Office supply giant Staples Inc. dropped Asia Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd. (APP), one of the world's largest paper companies, as a supplier due to concerns over its environmental performance, reports Tom Wright of the Wall Street Journal.


Sea turtle makes record migration - 12,774 miles

(02/07/2008) Satellite-tagging has revealed that a leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) swam a total distance of 20,558 kilometers (12,774 miles) over 647 days from Jamursba-Medi, Indonesia to the coast of Oregon. The results are published in The State of the World's Sea Turtles magazine, a publication launched by conservation International and the IUCN Marine Turtle Specialist Group.


France blocks controversial rainforest gold mine in French Guiana

(02/06/2008) Environmentalists declared victory after the French government blocked approval of a controversial gold mine bordering the Kaw wetland, an ecologically rich site in French Guiana. The decision was handed down last week following an environmental assessment by the Ministry of Ecology and Sustainable Development based on work by local scientists.


Is California fish catch linked to wind patterns?

(02/06/2008) Are fluctuations in fish catch off the coast of California linked to wind patterns? A new study by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests yes


Overfishing may hurt Amazon forest trees

(02/05/2008) Overfishing is reducing the effectiveness of seed dispersal by fish in the Brazilian Pantanal, reports Nature. The research suggests that fishing practices can affect forest health.


New uakari monkey discovered in the Amazon rainforest

(02/05/2008) A previously unknown species of uakari monkey was discovered in the Brazilian Amazon, reports National Geographic News. The primate was identified after it was killed by Yanomamo Indians near the Brazil-Venezuela border.


Values and Sustainability

(02/05/2008) Intentions matter. This simple wisdom becomes quite apparent the older we become. Though we don't always have control on the outcome of our effort, our intentions often dictate how happy or upset we are with any of life's results (a.k.a. the quality of our lives). For instance, if we are committed to become healthy in all aspect of our lives we are less likely to become fat, more likely to eat quality food, and more likely to exercise in ways that bring us joy. If our intentions are to be thin the road we take may be unhealthy, filled with inconsistent weight, and bring us no pleasure. When it comes to living green intentions matter more than we realize because how we define our values towards nature, conservation, and sustainability can greatly impact not only the quality of our own lives, but the quality of life for all living species.


The Panamanian golden frog declared extinct by BBC Natural History crew

(02/04/2008) A national symbol of Panama has been declared extinct by BBC filmmakers. The crew was in Panama to film the unique frog for David Attenborough's most recent series on reptiles and amphibians, entitled Life in Cold Blood. The filmmakers achieved their objective and captured the golden frog on film, including rarely seen behvaior.


Borneo's Sabah state will see $32B in investment

(02/04/2008) Malaysia put forth a $32.4 billion development plan for Sabah, a rainforest state on the island of Borneo, reports Reuters.


NASA: Rain falls more often during the week than weekends

(02/04/2008) Storms in the southeastern United States generate more rainfall during the work week than on weekends, report NASA scientists. The pattern can be attributed to lower atmospheric pollution from humans on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Atmospheric particulates have been linked to rainfall.


Papua New Guinea's Environment Minister says foreign firms attempted to bribe him

(02/04/2008) The Environment and conservation minister of Papua New Guinea, Benny Allen, has stated that three different foreign firms attempted to bribe him.


Climate system approaching 9 critical tipping points

(02/04/2008) Earth is approaching and may pass nine important climate tipping points this century, according to research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).


People spending less time outdoors

(02/04/2008) People worldwide are spending less time out in nature, according to research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). The development, warn the authors, could have implications for future conservation policy issues.


Photo: Palawan peacock pheasant

(02/04/2008) NYC's Fashion Week extravaganza has nothing on some amazing colors that are on the "runway" models at the Wildlife conservation Society's Bronx Zoo headquarters. "Palooka", the Bronx Zoo's male Palawan peacock pheasant is showing off his most brilliant blue feathers this season - a sure ringer for the forecasted fall color line-up.


Giant shrew discovered in Tanzania

(02/01/2008) More than a quarter larger than all of its relations, the Grey-faced sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis) was first discovered on a roll of film from camera traps set-up in the Udzungwa Mountains of Tanzania. The photos of this mysterious giant elephant-shrew were sent to expert Dr. Galen Rathbun, who has studied the sengi (or elephant-shrew) for over thirty years; after examiining the photos he believed that the animal's unique coloring proved it was an unknown species.


Globl warming worsening U.S. water crisis

(01/31/2008) Human-induced climate change is accelerating a water crisis in the American West, reports a study published this week in the journal Science.


Global warming to hurt agriculture in world's poorest regions

(01/31/2008) Global warming wil cause severe crop losses in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Asia by 2030, reports a study published in tomorrow's issue of the journal Science.


Sunscreen damages coral reefs

(01/31/2008) Sunscreen can damage reefs by worsening viral infections in symbiotic algae that provide corals with sustenance, reports Nature News


Arctic wolves caught on tape displaying new hunting behvaior

(01/31/2008) The BBC Natural History unit has captured footage of the Artic wolf swimming for its meal. The camera crew were filming a documentary entitled White Falcon, White Wolf on Ellesmere Island, a part of the Canadian territory of Nunavut, when they spotted this never-before-seen behvaior.


New research refutes global warming's influence on amphibians' worst enemy

(01/30/2008) There is no doubt that global warming is having a negative effect on amphibians, but it is yet unclear whether or not a direct causal relationship exists between global warming and the spread of a specific fungal epidemic wreaking havoc on amphibian populations worldwide.


Forests Finally Emerging as Climate Issue

(01/30/2008) The representatives of more than 100 countries in attendance at December's U.N. climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, finally focused on the important role tropical forests play in global warming.


Scientists suggest new geological epoch: ours

(01/30/2008) It would be called the Anthropocene. The word was coined by chemist and Nobel Prize winner Paul Crutzen at a conference in 2000. It denotes a new geological epoch, beginning about 200 years ago at the time of the Industrial Revolution, when our planet's systems were increasingly affected by our species. While the term Anthropocene has been used informally for years, a recent peer-reviewed British paper argues that it is now time to officially accept Anthropocene as a distinct era and to leave the Holocene to the pre-Industrial past.


Copper mine triggers controversy in Armenia

(01/28/2008) In Northern Armenia, a company has been given the go-ahead to establish a copper mine in Teghut Forest sparking off a struggle between industry and environmentalists. Teghut Forest spans approximately 29,000 square kilometers--the size of the English channel--and supports a large number of Armenia's native species, including the Syrian Brown Bear and the Short-toed Eagle. The mine will be operated by Armenian Copper Program (ACP). ACP is apart of the Valex group, located in Liechtenstein and co-owned by Russian citizen, Valeri Medzhloumyan. The project will be the largest mine in Armenia, and is estimated to make a hundred million annually for as long as the mining lasts (most likely, less than twenty-five years). Environmentalists believe that the mine will cause large and lasting damage to the region, while government and industry state that the mine's environmental impact will be small while giving the region an economic boost.


How much would it cost to end Amazon deforestation?

(01/27/2008) With Brazil last week announcing a significant jump in Amazon deforestation during the second half of 2007, the question emerges, how much would it cost to end the destruction of Earth's largest rainforest?


7000 sq km of Amazon rainforest destroyed in late 2007 says Greenpeace

(01/25/2008) Brazilian government figures will likely show that more than 7,000 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest were destroyed between August and the end December 2007, said environmental group Greenpeace.


Groups call for doubling of reef protection for International Year of the Reef

(01/25/2008) Thursday 17 countries and 30 organization launched the International Year of the Reef, a campaign to protect coral reefs increasingly threatened by climate change, pollution, and unsustainable activities.


Largest body of geologists issues warning on global warming

(01/24/2008) A statement newly released by the world's largest scientific society of Earth and space scientists--the American Geophysical Union, or AGU--updates the organization's position on climate change: the evidence for it, potential consequences from it, and how to respond to it.


Amazon deforestation jumps in the second half of 2007

(01/24/2008) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose sharply in the second half of 2007 as a result of surging prices for beef and grain, said a top Brazilian environmental official.


Sustainability mandated for biofuels used in the EU

(01/24/2008) Biofuels used in the European Union will have meet strict environmental requirements said the head of the E.U.'s energy program on Wednesday.


55% of the Amazon may be lost by 2030

(01/23/2008) Cattle ranching, industrial soy farming, and logging are three of the leading drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. As commodity prices continue to rise, driven by surging demand for biofuels and grain for meat production, the economic incentives for developing the Amazon increase. Already the largest exporter of beef and the second largest producer of soy - with the largest expanse of "undeveloped" but arable land of any country - Brazil is well on its way to rivaling the U.S. as the world's agricultural superpower. The trend towards turning the Amazon into a giant breadbasket seems unstoppable. Nevertheless the decision at the U.N. climate talks in Bali to include "Reducing Emissions From Deforestation and Degradation" (REDD) in future climate treaty negotiations may preempt this fate, says Dr. Daniel Nepstad, a scientist at the Woods Hole Research Institute.


Photos: Top 100 most threatened amphibians named

(01/21/2008) Due to numerous factors--including habitat destruction, pollution, climate change, and chytrid fungus--amphibians are probably the most threatened taxon of species in the world. Dr Jonathan Baillie, head of the EDGE organization which has just established an amphibian program, stated that "tragically, amphibians tend to be the overlooked members of the animal kingdom, even though one in every three amphibian species is currently threatened with extinction, a far higher proportion than that of bird or mammal species." To help save these species on the brink, EDGE, apart of the Zoological Society of London, has compiled a list of the hundred most threatened and evolutionary distinct amphibians.


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