tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/news Mongabay.com News 2014-10-30T05:34:10Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13962 2014-10-30T05:29:00Z 2014-10-30T05:34:10Z Agam, the adorable baby elephant that captured hearts in Indonesia, is dead Agam, an orphaned two year old Sumatran elephant, died over the weekend presumably from injuries suffered during a fall last May. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13961 2014-10-30T04:02:00Z 2014-10-30T04:08:44Z Amazon rainforest is getting drier, confirms another study Parts of the Amazon rainforest are getting considerably less rain, leading trees to absorb less carbon, finds a study published this week in the journal <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13960 2014-10-30T03:51:00Z 2014-10-30T03:55:29Z Fashion industry making progress in cutting deforestation from clothing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1353.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Several more clothing companies have committed to eliminate fiber produced via destruction of endangered forests, adding momentum to a zero deforestation movement within the fashion sector, argues a new report published by Canopy, an environmental non-profit. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13959 2014-10-30T03:44:00Z 2014-10-30T03:57:42Z APP acknowledges historic land-grabbing in China, pledges reform <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5573.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) has made considerable progress on addressing social and environmental problems associated with its operations in Indonesia, the forestry giant still has much to do to rectify historic social grievances in China, says a report published by Landesa and Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI). Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13958 2014-10-29T22:43:00Z 2014-10-29T22:47:32Z Destroyed habitat, fewer resources, Ebola: the many repercussions of Liberia's deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1029-thumb-pygmy-hippo-public-domain.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Liberia is one of the last strongholds of intact forest in West Africa. These forests are the home of many unique species of plants and animals, and many Liberians rely on the forests for direct economic benefits. The presence of intact forests may even be important for preventing the future outbreak of disease such as Ebola, which can be transmitted to people from animal vectors displaced by deforestation. Morgan Erickson-Davis 5.357207 -8.300532 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13957 2014-10-29T19:57:00Z 2014-10-30T03:42:02Z Local communities rise to the forefront of global conservation practice (commentary) A few weeks ago, a remote aboriginal community in western Australia made headlines when it completed the establishment of an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) containing over 4.2 million hectares of desert and grassland. The Kiwirrkurra IPA, as the area is known, is billed as the largest protected expanse of arid land on Earth. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13956 2014-10-29T19:22:00Z 2014-10-29T19:26:58Z By killing off older fish, overfishing may lead to lost migratory patterns <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028_tuna_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Catching older fish may impact a school's ability to migrate from spawning grounds to feeding areas, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface. The study’s scientists believe that fish schools may retain a collective memory, a communal mind map of sorts, which help these groups reach their destinations, some of which are thousands of miles away. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13955 2014-10-29T18:19:00Z 2014-10-29T20:59:28Z Tigers vs. diamonds: India’s protected areas rampantly downgraded to make room for people, industry (PART II) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1029-5-thumb-tiger-capture.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In India’s central state of Madhya Pradesh lie 500 square kilometers (200 square miles) of protected land demarcated as the Panna Tiger Reserve. Recently, however, its protection status has been questioned, and global-scale analyses show Panna is far from alone among India’s many threatened Protected Areas. Morgan Erickson-Davis 24.589963 79.941666 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13954 2014-10-29T15:31:00Z 2014-10-29T15:47:41Z Will 2014 be the warmest year on record? With the news that September was the warmest on record globally, 2014 takes one step closer to being the warmest year since record-keeping began in the late 19th Century. Last week, NOAA announced that September was 0.72 degrees Celsius (1.30 degrees Fahrenheit) above the 20th Century average, not only making it the hottest yet, but further pushing 2014 past the current ceiling. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13953 2014-10-28T22:39:00Z 2014-10-28T22:42:48Z Bunge commits to zero deforestation palm oil Agribusiness giant Bunge has joined the growing ranks of companies that have established zero deforestation policies for their palm oil supply chains. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13952 2014-10-28T21:34:00Z 2014-10-28T23:41:41Z The inconvenient solution to the rhino poaching crisis <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028Lorinsa-Sabi-Sands150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Daily, we read or hear of more rhino being poached to satisfy the seemingly insatiable demand from Asia for rhino horn. With countless articles and papers having been published on the subject - and the Internet abuzz with forums, including heated debates concerning possible solutions - current approaches seem to be failing. Evidence is in the numbers. Known poaching deaths in South Africa have risen sharply over the past three years: 668 rhinos in 2012, 1,004 last year, and 899 through the first nine months of 2014. This toll includes only documented kills &#8212; the real number is higher. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13951 2014-10-28T19:06:00Z 2014-10-28T19:15:07Z World's rarest gorilla gets a new protected home <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028-3-cross-river-gorilla-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Cross River Gorilla, the rarest and most threatened of gorilla subspecies, has reason to cheer. Last month, on September 29, the Prime Minister of Cameroon, Philemon Yang, signed a decree to officially create a new protected area – Tofala Wildlife Sanctuary – in the southwestern part of the country. Morgan Erickson-Davis 5.624499 9.940404 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13950 2014-10-28T17:00:00Z 2014-10-28T18:03:30Z How protected are they? Report finds world's Protected Areas may relax, shrink, even completely disappear (PART I) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1028-oryx-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On March 1, 1872, the United States Congress declared 3,400 square miles of land spanning three states as the country’s - and the world’s - first national park. We call it Yellowstone. Today, there are over 160,000 PAs spanning 12.7 percent of the planet’s land surface. Morgan Erickson-Davis -4.077659 -56.315393 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13949 2014-10-28T15:02:00Z 2014-10-28T15:11:23Z Artists, musicians, writers protest government plans for massive coal plant in the Sundarbans Over the weekend, Bangladeshi artists performed plays, sang songs, and recited poetry all in a bid to protect the Sundarbans&#8212;the world's biggest mangrove forest&#8212;from the threat of a massive coal plant. Construction is already under way on the hugely controversial Rampal coal plant, a 1,320 megawatt plant set just 14 kilometers from the edge of the Sundarbans. Jeremy Hance 22.564280 89.666323 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13948 2014-10-27T23:31:00Z 2014-10-28T02:35:21Z In shakeup, Jokowi merges Indonesia's forest and environment ministries Indonesia's newly elected president Joko Widodo has merged the country's ministries of forestry and environment into a single entity and installed a woman at its head. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13947 2014-10-27T18:19:00Z 2014-10-27T20:42:09Z Between the forest and the sea: life and climate change in Guna Yala - Part I <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0904_04_guerra_kuna_yala150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The island-dwelling Guna people of Panama are one of the most sovereign indigenous communities in the world, but now severe weather and sea level rise are causing regular flooding on many of the islands, and will likely force the Guna to have to abandon their island homes for the mainland. This multimedia piece offers an introduction to everyday life and customs in Guna Yala and touches upon the uncertain future the Guna are now facing thanks to the impacts of climate change. Tiffany Roufs 9.548827 -78.839226 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13946 2014-10-27T15:32:00Z 2014-10-27T15:55:29Z Photos: slumbering lions win top photo prize <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1027.nhm.fennec.nhm.fennec.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The king of beasts took this year's top prize in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, which is co-owned by the Natural History Museum (London) and the BBC. The photo, of female lions and their cubs resting on a rock face in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, was taken by Michael 'Nick' Nichols, a photographer with National Geographic. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13944 2014-10-27T12:46:00Z 2014-10-27T12:55:10Z Scientific association calls on Nicaragua to scrap its Gran Canal ATBC&#8212;the world's largest association of tropical biologists and conservationists&#8212;has advised Nicaragua to halt its ambitious plan to build a massive canal across the country. The ATBC warns that the Chinese-backed canal, also known as the Gran Canal, will have devastating impacts on Nicaragua's water security, its forests and wildlife, and local people. Jeremy Hance 11.456933 -85.501372 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13945 2014-10-27T02:36:00Z 2014-10-27T11:39:19Z With drones, satellites, and camera traps proliferating, conservation needs better networking With scientists rapidly adopting and using a range of remote sensing tools for monitoring environmental change, tracking wildlife and measuring biological processes, conservation needs to scale up networking capabilities to maximize the potential of this technological revolution, argues a commentary published in the journal <i>Science</i>. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13943 2014-10-24T20:29:00Z 2014-10-24T20:30:35Z Conservationists propose Dracula Reserve in Ecuador <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1024-dracula-felix-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Deep in the dark, cool forests of Ecuador and Colombia live strange and mysterious organisms. Some inhabit the trees and others stay to the ground, and many are threatened by human encroachment. Because of this threat, Rainforest Trust has launched a Halloween fundraising drive to help pay for the creation of the Dracula Reserve--named for its dramatic inhabitant, the Dracula orchid. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.969756 -78.257737 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13942 2014-10-24T17:22:00Z 2014-10-24T20:49:33Z Google's new Gombe Street View lets users 'walk' along chimp trails and into Jane Goodall's house <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1024-gsw-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Google Maps is now available for Tanzanian forest paths. Users can walk virtually along the same trails Jane Goodall has used for her decades of chimpanzee monitoring -- and even into her house. Morgan Erickson-Davis -4.719503 29.616324 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13939 2014-10-24T15:41:00Z 2014-10-24T16:20:16Z When cute turns deadly – the story of a wildlife biologist who was bit by a venomous slow loris, and lived to tell the tale <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1024_george_madani_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Slow lorises are YouTube stars. A quick search on the website will greet you with several videos of these endearing little primates--from a slow loris nibbling on rice cakes and bananas, to a loris holding a tiny umbrella. Lady Gaga, too, tried to feature a slow loris in one of her music videos. But the loris nipped her hard, and she dropped her plans. This was probably for the best, because the bite of a slow loris is no joke. Being the only known venomous primate in the world, its bite can quickly turn deadly. Brittany Stewart 3.679069 114.851374 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13941 2014-10-23T20:23:00Z 2014-10-23T21:35:02Z Beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products from 8 countries responsible for 1/3 of forest destruction Four commodities produced in just eight countries are responsible for a third of the world's forest loss, according to a new report. Those familiar with the long-standing effort to stop deforestation won't be surprised by the commodities named: beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products (including timber and paper). Nor will they be very surprised by most of the countries: Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Jeremy Hance 5.505705 101.755097 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13940 2014-10-23T18:27:00Z 2014-10-23T18:36:52Z Brazil declares new protected area larger than Delaware <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1023-Chiropotes-albinasus-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Earlier this week, the Brazilian government announced the declaration of a new federal reserve deep in the Amazon rainforest. The protections conferred by the move will illegalize deforestation, reduce carbon emissions, and help safeguard the future of the area’s renowned wildlife. Morgan Erickson-Davis -5.741395 -58.248986 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13938 2014-10-23T14:45:00Z 2014-10-23T21:41:09Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Recognize the value of novel forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1022.Ariel-Lugo.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Think first before you eradicate non-native species says Dr. Ariel E. Lugo, the current director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry within the USDA Forest Service, based in Puerto Rico. Lugo, an accomplished ecologist, supports the idea that both native and non-native plants have important roles to play in conservation efforts. Jeremy Hance 18.213006 -66.532471 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13937 2014-10-22T20:21:00Z 2014-10-23T14:56:42Z Demand for rhino horn drops 38 percent in Vietnam after advertising campaigns A new poll finds that consumer demand for rhino horn in Vietnam has dropped precipitously following several advertising campaigns. According to the poll by the Humane Society International (HIS) and Vietnam CITES, demand has plunged 38 percent since last year. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13936 2014-10-22T19:45:00Z 2014-10-24T15:23:16Z Gold mining expanding rapidly along Guiana Shield, threatening forests, water, wildlife <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1022-thumb-ppithecia-hans-hillewaert.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Gold mining is on the rise in the Guiana Shield, a geographic region of South America that holds one of the world’s largest undisturbed tract of rainforest. A new mapping technology using a radar and optical imaging combination has detected a significant increase in mining since 2000, threatening the region's forests and water quality. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.175769 -55.766076 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13934 2014-10-22T14:35:00Z 2014-10-22T14:45:04Z Saving the survivor: China scrambles to keep the finless porpoise from extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1017_chinafish35_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On the morning of July 14, 2002 Qi Qi ate breakfast as he always did. As the world’s only captive baiji – or Yangtze river dolphin – Qi Qi was something of a celebrity in China and his caretakers kept a close eye on his health. That care may explain why, after being injured by fishermen, he lived an impressive 22 years in the Freshwater Dolphin Research Center in Wuhan, China. Tiffany Roufs 30.584078 114.275665 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13933 2014-10-21T21:11:00Z 2014-10-21T21:14:35Z Colombia reports drop in deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1021-colombia-forest-loss150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Colombia has for the first time released an annual report on deforestation, revealing that forest loss during 2013 was lower than the recent average. The government says some 120,933 hectares of natural forest were cleared between January and December 2013. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13932 2014-10-21T18:31:00Z 2014-10-22T20:40:25Z 'No forests, no cash': palm oil giants commit to sustainability, but will they follow through? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/north_sumatra_0473.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Four of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers signed a landmark commitment in New York in September to further implement sustainable practices across one of the country’s largest commercial sectors. Then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) witnessed the undertaking, which is hoped to expand the country’s palm oil industry while making it more environmentally friendly. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.060740 101.624061 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13930 2014-10-21T17:14:00Z 2014-10-22T20:40:51Z Coal, climate and orangutans – Indonesia’s quandary <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/indonesia/150/kalimantan_0126.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>What do the climate and orangutans have in common? They are both threatened by coal - the first by burning it, and the second by mining it. At the recent United Nations Climate Summit in New York, world leaders and multinational corporations pledged a variety of actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deforestation to avert a looming disaster caused by global warming. Tiffany Roufs -0.299076 117.110975 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13928 2014-10-21T17:05:00Z 2014-10-21T17:30:04Z Top scientists raise concerns over commercial logging on Woodlark Island <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0428.woodlark.beach.IMG_0163.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A number of the world's top conservation scientists have raised concerns about plans for commercial logging on Woodlark Island, a hugely biodiverse rainforest island off the coast of Papua New Guinea. The scientists, with the Alliance of Leading Environmental Scientists and Thinkers (ALERT), warn that commercial logging on the island could imperil the island's stunning local species and its indigenous people. Jeremy Hance -9.1579 152.779 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13927 2014-10-21T14:47:00Z 2014-10-22T20:42:18Z Saving Asia's other endangered cats (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/LC_Ronglarp_HKK.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia&#8212;and, really, cats in general&#8212;tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers&#8212;down to an estimated 3,200 individuals&#8212;arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and endangered as the tigers are, there are a number of other felines in the region that are much less studied&#8212;and may be just as imperiled. Jeremy Hance 5.395824 117.268519 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13926 2014-10-21T03:15:00Z 2014-10-21T13:50:53Z Indonesian law bars palm oil companies from protecting forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1020-gar-concessions150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers' commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. Rhett Butler 0.348127 111.743953 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13925 2014-10-20T18:00:00Z 2014-10-20T18:03:04Z Indonesia developing mega coal mine five times larger than Singapore <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1020-L1050236-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Global miner BHP Billiton and Indonesian partner PT Adaro are developing what could become the single largest mine in Indonesia in terms of land area, with BHP owning 75 percent. The IndoMet mine complex in Central and East Kalimantan provinces on Borneo comprises seven coal concessions, which cover 350,000 hectares, or about five times the size of Singapore. Morgan Erickson-Davis -0.060110 114.873573 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13924 2014-10-20T14:46:00Z 2014-10-20T14:55:25Z With death of rhino, only six northern white rhinos left on the planet <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1020.Suni.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Rhino conservation suffered another tragic setback this weekend with the sudden death of Suni, a male northern white rhinoceros at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. Suni's passing means there are only six northern white rhinos left in the world, and only one breeding male. 'Consequently the species now stands at the brink of complete extinction, a sorry testament to the greed of the human race,' wrote the Conservancy. Jeremy Hance 0.054521 36.947920 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13922 2014-10-20T14:08:00Z 2014-10-21T15:05:26Z Walking the walk: zoo kicks off campaign for orangutans and sustainable palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/kalteng_0897.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>If you see people wearing orange this October, it might not be for Halloween, but for orangutans. Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign, Go Orange for Orangutans, kicks off this month for its second year. The campaign aims to raise money, and awareness, for orangutans in Borneo, which have become hugely impacted by deforestation often linked to palm oil plantations. Jeremy Hance 53.224664 -2.884033 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13921 2014-10-17T23:18:00Z 2014-10-17T23:22:55Z Behind on biodiversity targets, govts pledge to increase funding for conservation On the heels of a report showing that the world is far behind on targets to halve habitat loss, cut pollution, and reduce overfishing, delegates meeting at a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea have agreed to increase step up efforts to conserve biodiversity in developing nations. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13920 2014-10-17T20:44:00Z 2014-10-17T20:52:12Z Indonesia’s tough choice: capping coal as Asian demand grows <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1017-fogarty-L1050446-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table> Indonesia cannot build power stations fast enough. And neither can most of its Asian neighbors. Rapid economic and population growth are driving equally rapid demands for electricity as the region builds out power grids to connect up millions of people to fuel prosperity. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.325944 115.733651 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13919 2014-10-17T18:55:00Z 2014-10-21T14:54:03Z Push to undermine Indonesia's new president could stymie environmental progress, say NGOs <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0500.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table> concerted push by political elites to undermine Indonesia's president before he even takes office could stymie progress on social and environmental issues in the country, say Indonesian civil society groups. On July 9, former Surakarta (Solo) and Jakarta mayor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo beat ex-general Prabowo Subianto in Indonesia's presidential election by 8.4 million votes. Yet despite the wide margin, Jokowi has been stung by a series of political setbacks that will hinder his ability to govern once he assumes office Monday. Rhett Butler -0.582265 114.409904 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13915 2014-10-16T18:12:00Z 2014-10-22T20:41:15Z To become less damaging, target non-forest lands for palm oil, says book <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1016-top-palm-oil-producers150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Palm oil production has been spectacularly profitable but ecologically disastrous across Southeast Asia, consuming millions of hectares of indigenous lands, rainforests, and peatlands in recent decades. That paradox has made the crop highly controversial despite its importance in providing a high-yielding source of vegetable oil. A new book, published freely online by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), weighs in on the debate and concludes &#8212; like many before it &#8212; that the problem is not the crop itself, but how it is produced. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13914 2014-10-16T16:00:00Z 2014-10-16T22:19:11Z Indonesia tries to clamp down on coal sector’s worst excesses <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/fogarty2-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Out of the jungles of East Borneo in Indonesia comes the fire that fuels Asia’s burgeoning economies: coal. Miners dig deep open pits, clearing forests and farmlands to extract coal from thick black seams, which is then crushed and loaded onto trucks and barges for shipment to China, India, Japan and other destinations in Asia. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.325944 115.733651 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13913 2014-10-15T19:34:00Z 2014-10-16T16:07:39Z Daring activists use high-tech to track illegal logging trucks in the Brazilian Amazon <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1015.GP0STONDM.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Every night empty trucks disappear into the Brazilian Amazon, they return laden with timber. This timber &#8212;illegally cut &#8212;makes its way to a sawmills that sell it abroad using fraudulent paperwork to export the ill-gotten gains as legit. These findings are the result of a daring and dangerous investigation by Greenpeace-Brazil. Jeremy Hance -2.445331 -54.707183 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13912 2014-10-15T16:28:00Z 2014-10-15T16:36:11Z Scientists find temperate bat in the hot tropics of the Western Ghats (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1002-bats150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Western Ghats is one of the world’s eight richest biodiversity hotspots. A UNESCO World Heritage site, and also known as the Great Escarpment of India, the Ghats run parallel to India’s west coast. This great ecosystem is home to over 139 mammal species, nearly 50 of which are bats. And now scientists can add a new bat to this list: one that until now had only been documented from temperate regions. Tiffany Roufs 12.937706 75.579230 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13911 2014-10-14T23:56:00Z 2014-10-15T16:12:22Z Researchers create global map of world's forests circa 1990 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/global-forest-map-1990_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Researchers have created a global map of the world's forests in the year 1990, enabling accurate comparisons between past and current deforestation rates. The GIS data underpinning the map is available at LandCover.org. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13910 2014-10-14T23:11:00Z 2014-10-16T16:59:04Z As Amazon deforestation falls, small farmers play bigger role in forest clearing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1014Recent-deforestation-in-the-Brazilian-Amazon150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Smallholder properties account for a rising proportion of overall deforestation in Brazilian Amazon, suggesting that Brazil’s progress in cutting forest loss through stricter law enforcement may be nearing the limits of its effectiveness, finds a new study published in the <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i>. Rhett Butler -2.605951 -54.844834 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13908 2014-10-14T20:28:00Z 2014-10-14T20:35:38Z India plans huge palm oil expansion, puts forests at risk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1014-mizoram-6-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's largest importer of palm oil, India is seeking to slake its thirst domestically. The Ministry of Agriculture estimates that India has the potential to cultivate oil palm in 1.03 million hectares of land--nearly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut--and produce four to five million metric tons of palm oil per year. Morgan Erickson-Davis 23.194185 93.040281 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13909 2014-10-14T20:20:00Z 2014-10-14T20:33:19Z Plantation companies in Sumatra failing to meet fire prevention standards An inter-agency audit of 17 plantation and timber concessions in Riau Province, Indonesia, found that every company is failing to meet fire prevention and control standards. In addition, several companies are working in prohibited areas, including peatlands with depths over 3 meters. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13907 2014-10-14T20:11:00Z 2014-10-16T18:58:39Z Rogue palm oil company appeals deforestation case to Indonesia's supreme court Oil palm company PT. Kallista Alam has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court continuing the closely-watched legal battle set to redefine Indonesia's commitment to environmental justice. Lawyers for the company filed the new appeal on October 6, claiming the initial case is invalid because it failed to include all relevant parties as defendants—including the governor of Aceh, who issued the concession permit in 2011. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13906 2014-10-14T15:06:00Z 2014-10-15T00:54:51Z 'River wolves' recover in Peruvian park, but still remain threatened inside and out (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1014.L183_Capitulo2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lobo de río, or river wolf, is the very evocative Spanish name for one of the Amazon's most spectacular mammals: the giant river otter. This highly intelligent, deeply social, and simply charming freshwater predator almost vanished entirely due to a relentless fur trade in the 20th Century. But decades after the trade in giant river otter pelts was outlawed, the species is making a comeback. Jeremy Hance -11.890522 -71.402772 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13905 2014-10-14T04:57:00Z 2014-10-15T00:50:56Z Another environmental journalist killed in Cambodia Another Cambodian journalist has been gunned down while investigating illegal logging by state officials. Rhett Butler 12.766268 107.091551 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13900 2014-10-13T21:40:00Z 2014-10-13T21:53:00Z Could California be facing a mega-drought? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1013_Cali_drought_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists and politicians, everyone agrees: California is in deep trouble. As the state enters its fourth year of drought and the soil has never been drier. Some look at the sky with hope that El Niño will bring much needed rain. But most are starting to wonder if this is just the beginning. Are we entering a mega-drought that could last for more than a decade? Brittany Stewart 37.776291 -122.423867 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13902 2014-10-13T15:03:00Z 2014-10-14T16:09:27Z Jane Goodall joins mongabay <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/AP0299-32-LR.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Famed primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall&#8212;whose image is known the world over&#8212;has joined the advisory board of mongabay.org. This is the non-profit branch of mongabay.com, an environmental and science website with a special focus on tropical forests. Goodall first came to global prominence at the age of 26 when she set off to Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania to study chimpanzee behavior. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13901 2014-10-13T14:17:00Z 2014-10-14T16:08:53Z New species named after the struggle for same-sex marriage Scientists have named new species after celebrities, fictional characters, and even the corporations that threaten a species' very existence, but a new snail may be the first to be named after a global human rights movement: the on-going struggle for same-sex marriage. Scientists have named the new Taiwanese land snail, Aegista diversifamilia, meaning diverse human families. Jeremy Hance 23.769467 120.955184 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13899 2014-10-10T18:12:00Z 2014-10-10T18:14:48Z Forest restoration commitments: driven by science or politics? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1010-gorilla-thumb.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>During September's UN Climate Summit, three African nations were recognized for their commitments to restore collectively millions of hectares of forest. But several organizations declined invitations to sign the pact because they say it fails to lay out “concrete action” to fight climate change, and some experts in the field worry that the announcements are little more than political posturing. Morgan Erickson-Davis -1.190025 28.289514 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13898 2014-10-09T23:46:00Z 2014-10-10T00:00:57Z Greenpeace sinks Lego's $116 million deal with Shell Oil over Arctic drilling <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/lego.shell.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Lego has announced it will be severing its partnership with the oil giant, Shell, when the current contract expires after a clever campaign by environmental activist group, Greenpeace. Since 2011, Lego has been selling exclusive sets at Shell stations, but the companies' relationship actually goes back decades. In 1966, the Danish toy company first began selling Lego sets with Shell's brand stamped on them. Jeremy Hance 69.683832 -167.361441 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13897 2014-10-09T22:59:00Z 2014-10-10T20:57:09Z Google, zoo to leverage 'TV white space' to monitor wildlife Imagine watching a tiger stalk a sambar deer or catching a ghost-like glimpse of the rarely-seen saola&#8212;all from your desktop and in real time. Well, this may soon be possible under a new partnership with Google and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), which will test TV white space to monitor zoo animals as a trial run for real-time filming life in the wild. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13896 2014-10-09T19:12:00Z 2014-10-09T22:53:35Z 'A remarkable conservation achievement': Ecuador reserve expands as forest disappears <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1009-cephalopterus-penduliger-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A strip of rainforest running along the northwestern Ecuadorian coast and up through Colombia is one of the most biodiverse places in the world. Yet, less than 10 percent of Ecuador’s portion remains intact, with more forest lost every year to human development. But a little more has been saved for now, with 500 hectares added to an area reserve. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.635037 -79.096360 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13895 2014-10-09T16:27:00Z 2014-10-09T16:41:35Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Empower youth leaders <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/laos/150/laos_0717.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Want to save forests? Don't forget the youth, says Pedro Walpole, the Chair and Director of Research for the Environmental Science for Social Change, a Jesuit environmental research organization promoting sustainability and social justice across the Asia Pacific region. 'Youth leadership in environmental management is key,' Walpole told mongabay.com. Jeremy Hance 8.495517 123.303646 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13893 2014-10-09T13:13:00Z 2014-10-23T17:18:30Z Forest fragmentation's carbon bomb: 736 million tonnes C02 annually Scientists have long known that forest fragments are not the same ecologically as intact forest landscapes. When forests are slashed into fragments, winds dry out the edges leading to dying trees and rising temperatures. Biodiversity often drops, while local extinctions rise and big animals vanish. Now, a new study finds another worrisome impact of forest fragmentation: carbon emissions. Jeremy Hance -2.918691 -44.748354 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13892 2014-10-09T02:17:00Z 2014-10-14T04:57:34Z Brazil unlikely to sustain gains in reducing deforestation without new incentives for ranchers, says study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_0588.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Cattle ranchers that drive the vast majority of forest clearing in the Brazilian Amazon are unlikely to be held at bay indefinitely unless they are afforded new incentives for keeping trees standing, argues new analysis published by an economic research group. The findings suggest that Brazil's recent progress in reducing deforestation &#8212; annual forest loss in the region has dropped by roughly 80 percent since 2004 &#8212; could easily be reversed. Rhett Butler -6.358975 -52.505379 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13891 2014-10-08T21:01:00Z 2014-10-08T21:02:33Z INTERPOL launches African environmental crime unit To help fight illegal poaching and trafficking, INTERPOL, the world's largest international police organization, has launched an environmental crimes unit in Africa. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13890 2014-10-08T20:19:00Z 2014-10-22T20:40:00Z Helping orangutans survive: new project aims to connect habitat fragments in Kalimantan (PART II) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1008-orang-outrop-5-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Two decades ago, a project to convert one million hectares of forest to rice paddies was undertaken by the Indonesian government in southern Kalimantan. The project was a massive failure and was eventually abandoned, but not before it destroyed critical orangutan habitat. Now a new project is trying to knit together what's left and turn the area's isolated orangutan populations into one of Borneo's largest. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.930780 112.637781 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13887 2014-10-08T14:49:00Z 2014-10-21T15:32:31Z The only solution for polar bears: 'stop the rise in CO2 and other greenhouse gases' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1008.Steveand2Cubs.100.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Steven Amstrup, Chief Scientist for Polar Bears International, has worked diligently on polar bears for over 30 years. He radio-collared some of the first bears and discovered that annual activity areas for 75 tracked females averaged at a stunning 149,000 square kilometers. His recent work highlighted the cost of global warming to these incredible animals and the sea ice they so closely depend on. Jeremy Hance 72.875466 -132.455211 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13885 2014-10-07T18:51:00Z 2014-10-22T20:41:47Z Marooned in shrinking forests, Bornean orangutans hang on as disaster looms (PART I) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1007-oran-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The great apes are among some of the most endangered species on Earth, the targets of poachers and the victims of deforestation. However, from time-to-time there comes news of hope. A study published recently describes the dire situation faced by Bornean orangutans, as well as an ambitious project to help save them. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.930780 112.637781 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13884 2014-10-07T17:14:00Z 2014-10-10T14:15:08Z An impossible balancing act? Forests benefit from isolation, but at cost to local communities <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923_anna_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The indigenous people of the Amazon live in areas that house many of the Amazon’s diverse species. The Rupununi region of Guyana is one such area, with approximately 20,000 Makushi and Wapishana people living in isolation. According to a recent study published in Environmental Modelling & Software, a simulation model revealed a link between growing indigenous populations and gradual local resource depletion. Tiffany Roufs 3.930703 -59.092860 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13882 2014-10-07T14:37:00Z 2014-10-08T14:08:22Z Saving Peru's sea turtles and marine birds: conservationists and fishermen partner to tackle bycatch <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1006.prodelphinus.release.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Marine conservationists often view fisheries as an enemy of sorts, vacuuming up fish with little thought to the long-term consequences and using equipment that also ends up killing other species, i.e. bycatch like sea turtles and marine birds. However, Joanna Alfaro Shigueto, the President of the Peruvian NGOProDelphinus and winner of a 2012 Whitley Award, has chosen a different tact. Jeremy Hance -13.982917 -76.336242 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13879 2014-10-06T19:07:00Z 2014-10-06T19:08:41Z Elephants worth much, much more alive than dead, says new report <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1006-antipoaching-2-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Elephants are worth 76 times more when they’re alive than dead, according to a new analysis released this past weekend. The report follows on the heels of findings by WWF that the world has lost 50 percent of its wildlife over the past 40 years, with more than half of African elephants killed for ivory in just one decade. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.994009 38.462995 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13878 2014-10-06T15:02:00Z 2014-10-07T22:55:02Z Use of mammals still prevalent in Brazil’s Conservation Units <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1006_mamals_brazil150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For as long as humans and animals have co-existed, people have utilized them as resources. Animals, and their parts, have been used for a variety of purposes, ranging from basic food to more esoteric practices such as in magical ceremonies or religion. A new study has found that the undocumented use of animals, particularly mammals, continues to occur in Brazil’s protected areas known as Conservation Units. Brittany Stewart -7.953238 -37.848851 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13877 2014-10-06T14:36:00Z 2014-10-06T16:27:46Z The Zanaga iron ore mine – a test of best laid plans for preserving wildlife <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1002-zanaga150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the largest iron ore deposits in Africa is located in a strip 47 kilometers long and three kilometers wide in the Republic of the Congo (RoC), bordering Gabon. A core section of the Guineo-Congolian Forest rises above this vast mineral deposit, and provides a home to flagship endangered species like western lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, and forest elephants. Tiffany Roufs -2.862806 13.819685 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13875 2014-10-06T12:27:00Z 2014-10-07T22:53:27Z Photos: Czech Republic publicly burns confiscated rhino horns <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1005.rhinohorn.15320153605_2c456039fb_o.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Late last month, armed guards escorted officials marching 60 kilograms (132 pounds) of rhino horns to a pyre for burning. The event, at the Dvůr Králové Zoo in the Czech Republic, was the first public burning of rhino horns in Europe. The Czech Republic burned the horns, which came from a government stockpile as well as from past rhinos held at the zoo, in a bid to help conserve rhinos. Jeremy Hance 50.432178 15.796715 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13876 2014-10-05T22:37:00Z 2014-10-09T02:17:26Z Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_0913.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new report published Forest Heroes, an advocacy campaign pushing for an end to deforestation, ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments. The Green Tigers, authored by Glen Hurowitz, reviews the recent history of environmental policies in the palm oil sector, beginning with the formation of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004 through the wave of comprehensive zero deforestation commitments in 2013-2014. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13874 2014-10-05T06:01:00Z 2014-10-05T06:12:19Z Central Kalimantan to set up palm oil monitoring system to in bid cut deforestation 80% <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/thumbnails/indonesia/kalimantan/kali9753.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan is moving forward on an oil palm plantation monitoring system it hopes will help meet a commitment to reduce deforestation 80 percent by 2020. The online monitoring system will include "information on the performance of plantation concessions such as productivity, the number of smallholder farmers, deforestation and other land cover change, and fire occurrence," according to Earth Innovation Institute which designed and is helping the provincial government implement the system. Rhett Butler -2.487964 111.863086 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13873 2014-10-04T00:43:00Z 2014-10-04T00:53:47Z Companies hire local communities to evade palm oil restrictions in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5460.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As more palm oil companies are held accountable for deforestation in Indonesia, a growing number are hiring local communities to do their dirty work. According to the Oil Palm Farmers Union (SPKS), companies promise to buy mature fruits at attractive rates from smallholders and local villages who agree to clear and plant in protected forest areas. Through these agreements, companies distance themselves from the process, leaving the locals to bear responsibility for the destruction. Rhett Butler 4.149286 98.018425 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13869 2014-10-03T17:57:00Z 2014-10-03T18:12:30Z Balu Wala, or the Kuna ‘good life': how one indigenous tribe is passing on its traditions (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0910_panama-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Jesús Smith is sitting at his old wooden desk facing the entrance to his house. He's hunched over, shirtless, and wearing his chunky reading glasses while writing copious notes by hand — a favorite pastime. When he sees the profile of one of his students, Julio, walking past his doorway, he yells, 'Hey! I'll see you in class tomorrow!' Tiffany Roufs 9.548827 -78.839226 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13867 2014-10-03T15:34:00Z 2014-10-03T15:42:59Z Outcompeted: Species competition may result in geographic isolation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923-natalie-mouse150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Scientists have long believed that gene flow and species dispersal is only interrupted by physical barriers, like mountain ranges, rivers or even the complete disappearance of a suitable habitat. But new research into the distribution of two mouse opossum species in South America suggests that other factors may play a role as well, such as competition and predation. Tiffany Roufs 10.537631 -64.053343 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13862 2014-10-02T20:00:00Z 2014-10-03T17:30:06Z Will 'Asia's unicorn' survive? Hunting and deforestation continue in Vietnam biosphere reserve PART II <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1002-7-saola-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Encompassing 1.3 million hectares, Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve the largest such reserve in all of Southeast Asia. Because of the biological importance of the region, it was designated a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2007. But deforestation and bushmeat hunting continue, begging the question: is the wildlife of Western Nghe An Biosphere Reserve truly protected? Morgan Erickson-Davis 19.450894 104.422415 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13861 2014-10-02T15:23:00Z 2014-10-03T04:05:48Z Despite high deforestation, Indonesia making progress on forests, says Norwegian official <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1002-stig-traavik150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Despite having a deforestation rate that now outpaces that of the Brazilian Amazon, Indonesia is beginning to undertake critical reforms necessary to curb destruction of its carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands, says a top Norwegian official. Speaking with mongabay.com in Jakarta on Monday, Stig Traavik, Norway's ambassador to Indonesia, drew parallels between recent developments in Indonesia and initiatives launched in Brazil a decade ago, when deforestation was nearly five times higher than it is today. Rhett Butler 5.252333 95.678852 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13860 2014-10-02T15:00:00Z 2014-10-02T17:50:48Z Infamous pet and zoo supplier lost 3,500 animals a week (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0916_pet150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nearly five years ago, a seven month long investigation, led by PETA, into an exotic animal wholesaler finally came to a dreary end. Authorities raided U.S. Global Exotics (USGE) in Arlington, Texas, confiscating over 26,400 animals from 171 species and types, held in inhumane and unsanitary conditions. The raid would become one of the largest exotic animal seizures in U.S. history. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13859 2014-10-02T13:55:00Z 2014-10-02T16:01:58Z What makes the jaguar the ultimate survivor? New books highlights mega-predator's remarkable past and precarious future <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/1002.thumbnail.9781597269964.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For thousands of years the jaguar was a God, then it was vermin to be destroyed, and today it is the inspiration for arguably the most ambitious conservation effort on the planet. A new book by renowned big cat conservationist, Alan Rabinowitz, tells this remarkable story from the jaguar's evolutionary origins in Asia to its re-emergence today as a cultural and ecological symbol. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13858 2014-10-01T22:57:00Z 2014-10-01T23:06:07Z Throng of 35,000 walruses is largest ever recorded on land, sign of warming arctic <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1001-walrus1-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A mass of thousands of walruses were spotted hauled up on land in northwest Alaska during NOAA aerial surveys earlier this week. An estimated 35,000 occupied a single beach – a record number illustrating a trend in an unnatural behavior scientists say is due to global warming. Morgan Erickson-Davis 69.746180 -162.973563 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13857 2014-10-01T21:53:00Z 2014-10-14T18:26:42Z Small chocolate company takes big steps toward conservation and human development <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0911choco150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Madécasse is not just another chocolate company selling their bars in high-end supermarkets across the United States and Europe. Their bean-to-bar business model is shaping the way small companies deal with the developing world while providing new reasons to conserve a biodiversity hotspot. Tiffany Roufs -19.453994 45.999499 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13854 2014-10-01T18:47:00Z 2014-10-01T18:53:44Z Officials bust one of the biggest players in illegal Indonesian manta ray trade <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1001-bust-gillclose-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Writing this from a hotel room in Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, I realize that I am filled with trepidation as I wait for the phone next to me to ring. When it does, the voice on the other end will tell me it’s go time; the culmination of many years of work towards ending the global trade in manta ray gills. Morgan Erickson-Davis -7.275069 112.734365 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13851 2014-09-30T23:40:00Z 2014-10-01T02:50:35Z High Court denies appeal by palm oil company that cleared protected peat forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/north_sumatra_0435.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Furthering Indonesia's renewed commitment to environmental justice, the High Court of Banda Aceh denied an appeal by PT. Kallista Alam, the oil palm company found guilty of destroying over 1,000 hectares of protected peat forest in Gunung Leuser ecosystem. The Court upheld the previous ruling, which fined the company 366 billion rupiah ($30 million) in penalties and restoration fees. Rhett Butler 4.143465 96.128556 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13850 2014-09-30T17:24:00Z 2014-10-06T23:11:32Z The largest biosphere reserve in Southeast Asia: Vietnam’s success story or a conservation failure? PART I <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0930-gibbon5-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 2010, poachers shot and killed the last Javan rhino in Vietnam, wiping out an entire subspecies. The Sumatran rhino, the Malayan tapir and the civet otter, too, have disappeared from the country. Moreover, charismatic species like tigers, elephants, gibbons and the secretive saola discovered recently in Vietnam’s forests are at risk of extinction in the coming decades as threats to wildlife continue unabated in the country. Morgan Erickson-Davis 19.397772 104.419758 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13848 2014-09-30T17:17:00Z 2014-09-30T17:28:05Z Studying common birds could help save rare species in Vietnam Studies in conservation biology often focus on rare, threatened species faced with impending extinction, but what about common animals of least concern? Could they too help conservationists fine-tune their approach? Doctoral researcher Laurel Yohe not only claims that they can, but demonstrates how in a new study. She and five other researchers compared ranges of five babblers with development across Vietnam. Jeremy Hance 12.388128 108.388480 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13849 2014-09-30T15:40:00Z 2014-09-30T16:15:45Z Malaysian palm oil company destroys Borneo forests, despite buyer's zero deforestation commitment Malaysian palm oil company Genting Plantations is continuing to destroy forests despite a high-profile pledge by one of its customers to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain, alleges a report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. Rhett Butler 1.1897898 110.790518 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13847 2014-09-30T13:26:00Z 2014-10-01T14:36:36Z Armed conflict decimates tigers, rhinos, and swamp deer in Indian park The human cost of war is horrendous. However, while most attention is focused on the suffering caused to people&#8212;and rightly so&#8212;an understudied element is the impact on wildlife conservation. This is worrying given that many of the world’s conflict zones are situated in biodiversity hotspots. Jeremy Hance 26.717212 90.830000 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13846 2014-09-30T02:03:00Z 2014-10-01T14:35:46Z Joint force uses Google Earth to find elephant poaching camps in Mozambique, captures poachers in raid <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0929-guns-3-thumb.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On Monday, September 22, two ivory poachers were arrested in Mozambique during a late-night raid near Niassa National Reserve. The arrest followed on the heels of nearly two-dozen reported kills in the reserve in just the first two weeks of the month. Morgan Erickson-Davis -11.880410 37.467319 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13844 2014-09-29T20:47:00Z 2014-09-29T21:09:01Z A weed by any other name: remnant shrubs and trees play vital role in regenerating forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923-birds-tcs150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical forest restoration projects are exciting research sites for scientists studying factors that affect ecosystem recovery. Here, scientists are trying to understand plant community succession, i.e. the process of recovery after cleared lands are abandoned and allowed to regrow naturally. One of the most important components of this recovery process is seed dispersal, since seeds from nearby forests allow a deforested habitat to become populated again by native plants and trees. Tiffany Roufs 8.137603 99.512565 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13833 2014-09-29T16:17:00Z 2014-09-29T16:29:07Z Climate change to boost farmland, diminish harvests, says new study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/gabon/150/gabon-15610.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Climate change is likely to alter how we humans grow adequate amounts of food for a swelling global population. Assessing just how much and where those changes will occur has been difficult. But a new study takes aim at those very questions and could provide a guide for the debate over feeding the planet while also preserving biodiversity and the forests that filter out the carbon we produce. Brittany Stewart -1.617103 17.101189 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13843 2014-09-29T14:26:00Z 2014-09-29T14:31:24Z Did the world's only venomous primate evolve to mimic the cobra? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0928.Capture-and-collaring-low-124.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The bite of a slow loris can be painful, and sometimes even lethal. After all, this cute-looking YouTube sensation is the only known 'venomous' primate in the world&#8212;a trait that might have strangely evolved to mimic spectacled cobras, according to a recent paper. Mimicry in mammals is rare. But anecdotal evidence and studies in the past have noted the uncanny cobra-like defensive postures, sounds, and gait in slow lorises. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13842 2014-09-26T18:39:00Z 2014-09-26T18:55:43Z Dogs may be responsible for declining mammals in Brazil’s agroforests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923collage.dogs.tcs.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With an estimated population of 700 million individuals, domestic dogs are the most abundant carnivore in the world and are present everywhere that man has settled. Domestic dogs are not usually viewed as a huge threat to wildlife and native habitats, but according to a recent study dogs fit all three categories to be considered an invasive species and may be decimating mammals in agroforests in Brazil. Tiffany Roufs -14.063986 -42.180505 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13841 2014-09-26T17:41:00Z 2014-09-26T22:28:35Z Diverse, deceptive, declining: orchids threatened by deforestation in South America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0926-orchid-lithograph-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Pushing past a thick fern leaf, Crain stopped short, overcome by joy. As he broke into dance, his assistant peered curiously at the tiny lentil-shaped fruit dangling from a stem, and resolutely decided Crain was mad. After more than two years studying a rare Puerto Rican endemic orchid species, Crain had finally found his first specimen bearing fruit. Morgan Erickson-Davis -1.333539 -76.954968 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13840 2014-09-26T09:37:00Z 2014-10-01T02:39:36Z Coal mine has heavy impact in Indonesian Borneo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0926-indonesia-coal-mine150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Baharuddin should be happy. The rambutan and durian trees flanking his home are heavy with fruit. Two hectares of chilies stretch before his house. The price of chili — a staple commodity in Indonesia — has been stable for six months. From his 2,000 plants he hopes to earn 40 million rupiah ($3,400), much of which he wants to invest in expanding his crop. That is, if his farm can survive the threats that have destroyed so many of his neighbor's. Rhett Butler -0.531027 117.2387 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13839 2014-09-26T03:15:00Z 2014-09-27T12:37:06Z Hitchhiking Caribbean lizard upends island biogeography theory <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_4418.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The biggest factor determining species diversity and distribution on islands is not size and isolation, as traditional island biogeography theory states, but economics. Simply put, the more trade an island is engaged in, the more boats visit it, and with more boats comes more hitchhikers. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13838 2014-09-25T23:01:00Z 2014-09-25T23:54:13Z Reintroduction program ups Mexico's scarlet macaw population by 34 percent in one year <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0925-macaw-thumb.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, the scarlet macaw has disappeared from almost all of its native range in Mexico, is very rare in most Central America countries, and is locally extinct in El Salvador. A new paper published this week finds a reintroduction program was hugely successful in its first year of operation, with a 92 percent survival rate for released birds. Morgan Erickson-Davis 17.481431 -92.044834 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13837 2014-09-25T21:33:00Z 2014-09-25T21:41:22Z Four countries pledge to restore 30 million hectares of degraded lands at UN Summit In 2011, Germany and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature launched the Bonn Challenge, which pledged to restore 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands by 2020. Several countries have already made commitments&#8212;including the U.S.&#8212;but this week at the UN Climate Summit four more jumped on board. Jeremy Hance 8.964736 38.828945 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13836 2014-09-25T17:01:00Z 2014-10-02T20:11:11Z Scientists uncover six potentially new species in Peru, including bizarre aquatic mammal (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0925.newspecies.Chibchanomys.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A group of Peruvian and Mexican scientists say they have uncovered at least six new species near South America's most famous archaeological site: Machu Picchu. The discoveries include a new mammal, a new lizard, and four new frogs. While the scientists are working on formally describing the species, they have released photos and a few tantalizing details about the new discoveries. Jeremy Hance -13.193858 -72.531615 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13835 2014-09-25T16:41:00Z 2014-10-02T20:12:49Z In the shadows of Machu Picchu, scientists find 'extinct' cat-sized mammal <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0925.newspecies.Cuscomys2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Below one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a living cat-sized mammal that, until now, was only known from bones. The Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat (<i>Cuscomys oblativa</i>) was first described from two enigmatic skulls discovered in Inca pottery sculpted 400 years ago. Jeremy Hance -13.192824 -72.536287