tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/featured1 featured news from mongabay.com 2014-04-19T13:44:43Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13100 2014-04-18T18:11:00Z 2014-04-19T13:44:43Z Behind the scenes of Showtime's blockbuster series on climate change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0418-harrison-ford-baby-orangutans150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For years climate change activists and environmentalists have been clamoring for a high-profile, high-impact TV series about climate change to make Americans more aware of an issue that will affect billions of people around the globe in coming decades. This week they finally got it when Showtime released the first episode of <i>Years of Living Dangerously</i>, a big-budget TV series featuring a number of Hollywood's biggest stars as reporters and corespondents. Rhett Butler -0.078106 101.652189 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13098 2014-04-18T14:04:00Z 2014-04-18T14:18:22Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Maps for the masses <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/colombia/150/colombia_3985.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mark Mulligan makes maps for the masses. In his work on tropical forests, Mulligan uses GIS, modeling, remote sensing, and lab experiments to turn research into datasets and policy support systems, which are available online for use in development, decision-making, and education. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13097 2014-04-17T20:55:00Z 2014-04-17T23:04:15Z Is Aru safe? Indonesia suspends plan to clear half the islands' forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0417-aru-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Aru, an area made up of about ninety-five low-lying islands in the Maluku province of eastern Indonesia, has suspended a plan to clear half of its total forest cover for sugar cane. However, the island paradise is still not safe from large-scale deforestation, according to a report from Mongabay-Indonesia. Morgan Erickson-Davis -6.120256 134.411539 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13076 2014-04-14T14:53:00Z 2014-04-14T15:05:39Z Climate change solution? UN touts ambitious (but cheap) investment in renewable energy <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0414.DR-jlh-044.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world is warming rapidly due to greenhouse gas emissions, threatening everything from our food supply to our ecosystems, but the solution may be surprisingly cheap, according to the third and final report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report recommends a rapid and aggressive switch from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13068 2014-04-10T21:53:00Z 2014-04-10T22:14:00Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Empowering everyone to watch over forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0410.NigelSizer_image.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nigel Sizer has worked on the forefront of global forest issues for decades. Currently, he is the Global Director of the World Resource Institute's (WRI) Forests Program, whose projects include the Global Forest Watch, the Forest Legality Alliance, and the Global Restoration Initiative. These programs work with governments, businesses, and civil society with the aim of sustaining forests for generations to come. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13067 2014-04-10T19:00:00Z 2014-04-11T13:15:51Z A new face for palm oil? How a small co-op is changing the industry in Honduras <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0403-tanya-locals-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Expanding oil palm plantations are among the top reasons for deforestation globally, along with cattle ranching, timber, and soy. However, a small palm oil production outfit recently became the first cooperative in the world to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification for sustainable growth of African palms, employing a number of innovations to ensure the prosperity of both forests and local communities. Morgan Erickson-Davis 15.444187 -87.588480 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13066 2014-04-10T16:00:00Z 2014-04-13T14:32:24Z Giant ibis, little dodo, and the kakapo: meet the 100 weirdest and most endangered birds <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0410.Philippine-Eagle-3_ALAIN-PASCUA.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The comic dodo, the stately great auk, the passenger pigeon blotting out the skies: human kind has wiped out nearly 200 species of birds in the last five hundred years. Now, if we don't act soon we'll add many new ones to the list: birds such as the giant ibis, the plains-wanderer, and the crow honeyeater. And these are just a few of the species that appear today on the long-awaited EDGE list. Jeremy Hance -21.538109 165.761064 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13057 2014-04-08T15:48:00Z 2014-04-09T13:29:11Z Nearly 90 percent of logging in the DRC is illegal <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0408.754px-Congo_maluku.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The forestry sector in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is completely out of control, according to a new eye-opening report. Put together by the Chatham House, the report estimates that at least 87 percent of logging in the DRC was illegal in 2011, making the DRC possibly the most high-risk country in the world for purchasing legal wood products. Jeremy Hance -1.809386 21.981180 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13036 2014-04-04T17:31:00Z 2014-04-10T21:39:05Z Saving rainforests by buying them <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0404-Pronaturaleza_DiegoPerez150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For more than twenty five years, an international non-profit known as the World Land Trust has been working to protect tropical forests through land purchase and partnerships with local groups. Last year, the U.S. arm of the group decided to rebrand itself as the Rainforest Trust to better convey its core mission to the outside world. Since then, the Rainforest Trust has launched its most ambitious project yet: conserving 5.9 million acres of tropical forest in Peru. Rhett Butler -8.067388 -73.444004 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13021 2014-04-02T17:44:00Z 2014-04-03T14:43:51Z How locals and conservationists saved the elephants of Mali amidst conflict and poverty <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0402.mali.elephants.trunk.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>At a time when Africa's elephants are facing a relentless poaching crisis, one community has managed to safeguard their elephants in the most unlikely of places: Mali. In a country that has suffered from widespread poverty, environmental degradation, and, most recently, warfare, a collaboration between conservationists and the local community has kept Mali's elephants from extinction. Jeremy Hance 15.662697 -2.605392 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13019 2014-04-02T05:43:00Z 2014-04-07T17:44:06Z Bioluminescent bacteria expose toxic arsenic in Bangladesh <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0402ToothBrush_Tricorder150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A knob turns, and pure water streams from the faucet. In developed nations, this expectation borders on being a fundamental human right. Elsewhere in the world, tap water is a pipe dream, while finding potable groundwater can be a full-time occupation laced by lethal threats—such as arsenic contamination. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13012 2014-03-31T17:37:00Z 2014-04-08T19:40:37Z Apocalypse now? Climate change already damaging agriculture, acidifying seas, and worsening extreme weather <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0331.Tacloban_Typhoon_Haiyan_2013-11-14.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's not just melting glaciers and bizarrely-early Springs anymore; climate change is impacting every facet of human civilization from our ability to grow enough crops to our ability to get along with each other, according to a new 2,300-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The massive report states definitively that climate change is already affecting human societies on every continent. Jeremy Hance 35.463838 139.619164 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12995 2014-03-27T21:41:00Z 2014-03-27T22:04:32Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Quantifying the cost of forest degradation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0327.Phil-w-stump-clipped.thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>How much is a forest really worth? And what is the cost of forest degradation? These values are difficult to estimate, but according to Dr. Phillip Fearnside, we need to do a better job. For nearly forty years, Fearnside has lived in Amazonia doing ecological research, looking at the value of forests in terms of environmental or ecosystem services such as carbon storage, water cycling, and biodiversity preservation. Fearnside then works to convert these services into a basis for sustainable development for rural populations. Jeremy Hance -3.094940 -59.989343 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12992 2014-03-27T15:49:00Z 2014-03-30T18:54:23Z Kala: the face of tigers in peril <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0327.kala.Image-4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1864, Walter Campbell was an officer in the British Army, stationed in India when he penned these words in his journal: "Never attack a tiger on foot&#8212;if you can help it. There are cases in which you must do so. Then face him like a Briton, and kill him if you can; for if you fail to kill him, he will certainly kill you." In a stroke of good fortune for the tiger, perceptions in India have changed drastically since Campbell's time. Tiger hunting is now banned and conservationists are usually able to rescue the big cats if they become stranded while navigating increasingly human-occupied areas. But is this enough to save the tiger? Jeremy Hance 21.168602 79.645198 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12982 2014-03-25T19:43:00Z 2014-03-25T20:42:19Z Europe approves vet drug that killed off almost all of Asia's vultures <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0325.cinereous_vulture-01.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Europeans first arrived in North America, they exterminated three to five billion passenger pigeons (<i>Ectopistes migratorius</i>) in the short span of a century through a combination of habitat destruction and hunting. In 1914, the last living passenger pigeon perished at the Cincinnati Zoo. Despite the staggering scale of this extinction event, three species of vulture from Southeastern Asia retain the dubious distinction of having had the most rapid population crash of any avian fauna. They might not have begun with numbers as large as the passenger pigeon, but within the space of a single decade, their populations were reduced by 96 to 99 percent. Jeremy Hance 25.365863 78.632792 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12979 2014-03-25T15:00:00Z 2014-03-26T13:40:55Z Long lost mammal photographed on camera trap in Vietnam <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0325.rooseveltsmuntjac.SUNP0044.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1929, two sons of Theodore Roosevelt (Teddy Junior and Kermit) led an expedition that killed a barking deer, or muntjac, in present-day Laos, which has left scientists puzzled for over 80 years. At first scientists believed it to be a distinct species of muntjac and named it Roosevelts' muntjac (Muntiacus rooseveltorum), however that designation was soon cast into doubt with some scientists claiming it was a specimen of an already-known muntjac or a subspecies. The problem was compounded by the fact that the animal simply disappeared in the wild. No one ever documented a living Roosevelts' muntjac again&#8212;until now. Jeremy Hance 20.004510 105.065916 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12973 2014-03-24T13:29:00Z 2014-03-24T14:33:53Z Meet Iman: the Sumatran rhino's newest hope for survival <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0323.iman.Picture2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Hopes for one of the world's most imperiled megafauna rose this month when wildlife conservationists succeeded in catching a female Sumatran rhino named Iman in the Malaysian state of Sabah. The female, which experts believe to be fertile, has since been successfully transferred via helicopter to the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary where experts plan to mate her with the local male, Tam. Located in Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the Borneo Rhino Sanctuary is an uncompleted semi-wild enclosure and home to one of several last-ditch efforts to save the vanishing species from extinction. Jeremy Hance 4.936987 117.673531 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12956 2014-03-20T05:14:00Z 2014-03-20T05:52:08Z Community's push to clear forest for plantation challenges efforts to conserve in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0320SGP150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the swampy peatlands of Basilam Baru in Sumatra's Riau Province a conflict between a community and a woodpulp company is illustrating some of the intractable challenges of conserving forests and addressing deforestation in Indonesia. On first glance the story seems depressingly familiar. One actor wants to preserve the forest, which serves as critical habitat for endangered Sumatran tigers and clouded leopards. The other wants to clear it for a plantation. Rhett Butler 2.008027 101.173729 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12942 2014-03-18T05:16:00Z 2014-03-18T15:49:06Z APP pledges to restore forests, if given the opportunity <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0318-bukit-tigapuluh_01_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over the past 20 years, Sumatra's lowland rainforests have been destroyed at a virtually unmatched rate and scale. Since 1990, the island's primary forests shrank by 40 percent while its overall forest cover declined by 36 percent, mostly the result of logging, agricultural expansion, and conversion for oil palm and timber plantations. What little forest does survive is often degraded &#8212; today less than 8 percent of Sumatra retains primary forest. Rhett Butler -0.955766 102.416897 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12940 2014-03-17T17:58:00Z 2014-03-18T04:35:19Z Will zero deforestation commitments save Indonesia's forests? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1088.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Skirting the Malacca Strait near the Indonesian city of Dumai the air is thick with haze from peat fires burning below. As the sky clears, a landscape of sharply-cut geometric shapes becomes apparent. What was once carbon-dense peat forests and rainforests are today massive oil palm and wood pulp plantations. Rhett Butler 1.417092 101.795096 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12939 2014-03-17T13:53:00Z 2014-03-18T16:11:02Z Mother of God: meet the 26 year old Indiana Jones of the Amazon, Paul Rosolie <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0316.rosolie.interview.10.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Not yet 30, Paul Rosolie has already lived a life that most would only dare dream of&#8212;or have nightmares over, depending on one's constitution. With the Western Amazon as his panorama, Rosolie has faced off jaguars, wrestled anacondas, explored a floating forest, mentored with indigenous people, been stricken by tropical disease, traveled with poachers, and hand-reared a baby anteater. It's no wonder that at the ripe age of 26, Rosolie was already written a memoir: Mother of God. Jeremy Hance -12.418030 -69.268917 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12925 2014-03-14T14:04:00Z 2014-03-21T13:35:23Z A Turtle's Tale: researchers discover baby turtles' kindergarten (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0314turtle150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Kate Mansfield, at her lab in the University of Central Florida, is holding a baby loggerhead turtle, smaller than her palm, painting manicure acrylic on its shell. When the base coat dries out, she glues on top a neoprene patch from an old wetsuit with hair extensions adhesive. Finally, she attaches a satellite tracker on top, the size of a two "party cheese" cubes, with flexible aquarium silicone, powered by a tiny solar battery. Now the little turtle is ready to be released back into the ocean. Jeremy Hance 27.785146 -65.912109 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12909 2014-03-11T13:42:00Z 2014-03-11T13:55:23Z Cocaine: the new face of deforestation in Central America <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/thumb.cut.roatan_forest_burning_0.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 2006, Mexico intensified its security strategy, forming an inhospitable environment for drug trafficking organizations (also known as DTOs) within the nation. The drug cartels responded by creating new trade routes along the border of Guatemala and Honduras. Soon shipments of cocaine from South America began to flow through the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor (MBC). This multi-national swathe of forest, encompassing several national parks and protected areas, was originally created to protect endangered species, such as Baird's Tapir (Tapirus bairdii) and jaguar (Panthera onca), as well as the world's second largest coral reef. Today, its future hinges on the world's drug producers and consumers. Jeremy Hance 15.667404 -86.826363 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12891 2014-03-07T14:06:00Z 2014-03-08T07:51:29Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Privatizing conservation management <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0307.Sabah-2013-(6).150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Is it possible to equitably divide the planet’s resources between human and non-human societies? Can we ensure prosperity and rights both to people and to the ecosystems on which they rely? In the island archipelago of Indonesia, these questions become more pressing as the unique ecosystems of this global biodiversity hotspot continue to rapidly vanish in the wake of land conversion (mostly due to palm oil, poor forest management and corruption. For 22 years, Dr. Erik Meijaard has worked in Indonesia. Now, from his home office in the capitol city, Jakarta, he runs the terrestrial branch of an independent conservation consultancy, People and Nature Consulting International (PNCI). Jeremy Hance -0.785983 112.680982 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12883 2014-03-06T19:33:00Z 2014-03-07T14:14:32Z From theory to deadly reality: malaria moving upslope due to global warming <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0306.anoph-gambiae.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Malaria is a global scourge: despite centuries of efforts to combat the mosquito-borne disease, it still kills between 660,000 to 1.2 million people a year, according to World Health Organization data from 2010. Astoundingly, experts estimate that around 300 million people are infected with the disease every year or about 4 percent of the world's total population. And these stats may only get worse. For years scientists have vigorously debated whether or not malaria will expand as global warming worsens, but a new study in Science lays down the first hard evidence. Jeremy Hance 11.304558 38.188548 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12884 2014-03-06T15:26:00Z 2014-03-06T15:47:26Z Can the millions in urban India live among greenery? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.com/images/nancy/thumbnails/P1010088.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Large swathes of wilderness alternating with pockets of urbanization may be a reality in some countries, but in India boundaries are soft. Where a city ends and where a village begins in its outskirts is somewhat fuzzy. Rapidly developing megacities like Bangalore and Pune, localities like Gurgaon outside New Delhi, have been subsuming surrounding villages into their ever-expanding boundaries for the last couple of decades. Tiffany Roufs 12.970726 77.595234 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12875 2014-03-05T15:18:00Z 2014-03-05T15:50:58Z The price of gold: winners and losers in Latin America's mining industry <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0405.march.IMG_0764.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On a Friday afternoon in June, the Plaza de Armas in Cajamarca is pulsing with life. It's winter here, and although thick white clouds hover low in the distance, the sun in this northern Peruvian city is warm. Couples sit on benches facing one another. Kids run in the grass between flowerbeds. Men in suits stride along the perimeter. It's an idyllic day. But signs of something more ominous are not far from sight. On the mountainside overlooking the town the words <i>Nova Conga</i> have been carved into the vegetation. It is a constant reminder that beyond the square, hemmed with international hotels and expensive restaurants, there is another reality. Jeremy Hance -7.158507 -78.513558 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12864 2014-03-03T19:27:00Z 2014-03-06T00:10:58Z After GAR expands policy, over 50% of world's palm oil bound by zero deforestation commitments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_2590.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over half the world's palm oil traded internationally is now bound by zero deforestation commitments after Singapore-based Golden-Agri Resources (GAR) extended its forest conservation policy across all palm oil it produces, sources and trades. In a filing posted Friday Singapore Stock Exchange, GAR announced its breakthrough forest conservation policy now applies to all the palm oil it trades. Rhett Butler 1.276433 103.794319 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12860 2014-03-02T21:13:00Z 2014-03-02T22:05:46Z Can palm oil move past its bad reputation? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0303RI1_0093a150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Indonesia’s palm oil industry has gained a notorious reputation in recent years. Palm oil companies are routinely accused of clearing primary forests, destroying the habitats of endangered species, releasing massive amounts of carbon by draining peat swamps and fueling land conflicts with local communities. In the face of this widespread criticism, some palm oil companies are exploring ways to clean up their operations by implementing innovative programs to minimize harm to the environment and ensure local communities benefit from palm oil investments, according to a new study. Rhett Butler -0.048065 102.042968 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12848 2014-02-28T16:37:00Z 2014-02-28T20:02:22Z Wonderful Creatures: the tiny, predatory penis-worm that lies in wait in the sand <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0228.1.-Maccabeus-sp._Phil-Miller.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The seabed is really where it’s at in terms of animal diversity. Of the 35 known animal lineages, representatives of all but two are found here. In contrast, the huge numbers of species that inhabit tropical rainforests represent a mere 12 lineages. One group of animals that illustrates the diversity of the seabed is the Priapulida, which also go by the unfortunate common name of "penis worms." Only 20 species of priapulid are known today, a shadow of their diverse past, which extends back for well over 500 million years. Not commonly seen, the priapulids have attracted little attention from the zoology community as a whole. Jeremy Hance 32.026706 177.788084 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12850 2014-02-28T14:36:00Z 2014-02-28T15:53:56Z Saving sharks one sandwich at a time: conservationists target 'shark bake' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0228shark150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Thousands of Carnival revelers in Trinidad wouldn't think of missing the chance to go to Maracas Beach, the most famous strip of sand on the small Caribbean island off the northeast coast of Venezuela. Beachgoers might not think twice about eating a favorite food called "shark bake" either – at least, until now. But this week, conservationists launched a shark-saving campaign timed to get maximum exposure out of the celebration that will bring throngs of visitors to the island. Tiffany Roufs 10.393174 -61.250281 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12809 2014-02-21T19:49:00Z 2014-02-21T20:03:11Z Indonesian cop caught smuggling rare timber worth millions escapes with 2-year sentence <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/papua/150/west-papua_0616.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Green activists are crying foul after an Indonesian police officer believed to have laundered nearly $128 million in proceeds from illegal fuel and timber smuggling was sentenced to just two years in prison for illegal logging – a verdict described as 'shockingly lenient' and 'unbelievable' given the extent of his alleged crimes Rhett Butler -0.850036 131.325653 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12793 2014-02-20T19:14:00Z 2014-02-20T19:57:27Z The lemur end-game: scientists propose ambitious plan to save the world's most imperiled mammal family <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0220.madagascar_0066.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Due to the wonderful idiosyncrasies of evolution, there is one country on Earth that houses 20 percent of the world's primates. More astounding still, every single one of these primates&#8212;an entire distinct family in fact&#8212;are found no-where else. The country is, of course, Madagascar and the primates in question are, of course, lemurs. But the far-flung island of Madagascar, once a safe haven for wild evolutionary experiments, has become an ecological nightmare. Overpopulation, deep poverty, political instability, slash-and-burn agriculture, illegal logging for lucrative woods, and a booming bushmeat trade has placed 94 percent of the world's lemurs under threat of extinction, making this the most imperiled mammal group on the planet. But, in order to stem a rapid march toward extinction, conservationists today publicized an emergency three year plan to safeguard 30 important lemur forests in the journal <i>Science</i>. Jeremy Hance -18.659257 48.441009 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12796 2014-02-20T16:02:00Z 2014-02-20T17:02:46Z Shoot to conserve: Corey Knowlton's rhino hunt escalates the debate over trophy hunting and environmentalism <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0113.800px-Black_rhinos_in_crater.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>'After a long conversation with the FBI I have decided to temporarily suspend my activity on this page. I want to thank all of you who have commented [on] this important issue of Black Rhino Conservation.' – Corey Knowlton, Feb 3, 2014. This was the last post on Corey Knowlton's Facebook page. Knowlton is the hunter who won the Dallas Safari Club auction on January 11th to kill a Critically Endangered black rhino. All the money&#8212;$350,000&#8212;will go to a fund to protect rhinos. The plan is that sometime soon&#8212;once the paperwork clears the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service&#8212;Knowlton will go to Namibia on a "trophy hunt" (accompanied by a park service official), shoot the designated rhino, and bring the old bull's hide back home to Texas. Jeremy Hance -19.103648 16.610412 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12791 2014-02-20T14:36:00Z 2014-02-20T19:00:30Z Revolutionary Google-backed system unlocks power of 'big data' to save forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0220wri01_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>World Resources Institute (WRI) today announced the release of a tool that promises to revolutionize forest monitoring. The platform, called Global Forest Watch and developed over several years with more than 40 partners, draws from a rich array of big data related to the word's forests and translates it into interactive maps and charts that reveal trends in deforestation, forest recovery, and industrial forestry expansion. Global Forest Watch is the first tool to monitors global forests on a monthly basis, allowing authorities and conservationists to potentially take action against deforestation as it is occurring. Rhett Butler 38.899016 -77.008048 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12792 2014-02-20T00:30:00Z 2014-02-25T05:57:45Z APP, environmentalists talk future of Indonesia's forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0220RI1_0553A150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In February 2013, one of the world's most notorious forestry companies announced it would no longer chop down rainforests and peatlands to produce pulp and paper. The move was met with considerable skepticism by critics who had seen the company break previous high profile commitments to end deforestation. Why would this time be any different? Rhett Butler 1.48848 101.776915 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12788 2014-02-19T15:42:00Z 2014-02-20T19:09:19Z The making of Amazon Gold: once more unto the breach <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0219.amazongold.Image-4.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>When Sarah duPont first visited the Peruvian Amazon rainforest in the summer of 1999, it was a different place than it is today. Oceans of green, tranquil forest, met the eye at every turn. At dawn, her brain struggled to comprehend the onslaught of morning calls and duets of the nearly 600 species of birds resounding under the canopy. Today, the director of the new award-winning film, Amazon Gold, reports that "roads have been built and people have arrived. It has become a new wild west, a place without law. People driven by poverty and the desire for a better life have come, exploiting the sacred ground." Jeremy Hance -11.867351 -70.764771 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12776 2014-02-14T18:36:00Z 2014-02-20T19:09:32Z Local communities key to saving the Critically Endangered Mexican black howler monkey <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0214Monkey150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For conservation initiatives around the world, community involvement is often crucial. An additional challenge is how to conserve species once their habitats have become fragmented. A primatologist in Mexico is bringing these together in a celebration of a Critically Endangered primate species: the Mexican black howler monkey. In 2013 Juan Carlos Serio-Silva was part of a team that not only helped to secure the establishment of a protected area for the Mexican black howler monkey, but also engaged local communities in a week of festivities, dubbed the First International Black Howler Monkey Week. Tiffany Roufs 17.805899 -91.536226 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12762 2014-02-11T20:33:00Z 2014-02-20T19:01:55Z Helping the Amazon's 'Jaguar People' protect their culture and traditional wisdom <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/matses150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tribes in the Amazon are increasingly exposed to the outside world by choice or circumstance. The fallout of outside contact has rarely been anything less than catastrophic, resulting in untold extinction of hundreds of tribes over the centuries. For ones that survived the devastation of introduced disease and conquest, the process of acculturation transformed once proud cultures into fragmented remnants, their self-sufficiency and social cohesion stripped away, left to struggle in a new world marked by poverty and external dependence Rhett Butler -9.524914 -73.478279 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12750 2014-02-10T14:44:00Z 2014-02-17T08:17:15Z On edge of extinction, could drones and technology save the Little Dodo? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0206.Manumea-painting.-Full-sized-color-adjusted-%C2%A9-Rothman-2013-copy.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Almost nothing is known about the little dodo, a large, archaic, pigeon-like bird found only on the islands of Samoa. Worse still, this truly bizarre bird is on the verge of extinction, following the fate of its much more famous relative, the dodo bird. Recently, conservationists estimated that fewer than 200 survived on the island and maybe far fewer; frustratingly, sightings of the bird have been almost non-existent in recent years. But conservation efforts were buoyed this December when researchers stumbled on a juvenile little dodo hanging out in a tree. Not only was this an important sighting of a nearly-extinct species, but even more so it proved the species is still successfully breeding. In other words: there is still time to save the species from extinction so long as conservationists are able to raise the funds needed. Jeremy Hance -13.572577 -172.504807 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12719 2014-02-04T14:30:00Z 2014-02-06T09:46:55Z How hunters have become key to saving Bulgaria's capercaillie <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0204.Cap2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Surprising clatter cuts through the silence in the snowy forest shortly before sunrise. The powerful clicking sounds like a dropping Ping-Pong ball before culminating in a loud pop resembling the opening of a champagne bottle. This sound is heard clearly and far. Propped on a thick pine tree branch, with a peacock-fanned tale, relaxed wings and head pointing skyward, a western capercaillie is singing. The song terminates with a low-frequency sound similar to scraping a fork to the bottom of a frying pan. It's exactly during those last few moments of singing that something unusual happens: the male bird goes temporarily deaf. Hence the species' common name in Bulgarian&#8212;deaf bird. Jeremy Hance 41.491607 24.710598 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12709 2014-01-31T14:59:00Z 2014-01-31T15:17:00Z Next big idea in forest conservation? Connecting forest fragments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa-rica-d_0183.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Dr. Stuart Pimm is an expert in extinctions: why they happen, how fast they happen, and how they can be prevented. Reconnecting forest fragments and avoiding fragmentation, according to Pimm, are among the most crucial things we can do to conserve global biodiversity. His organization SavingSpecies identifies areas at-risk for extinctions and helps local organizations fundraise so they can protect and restore habitats and safeguard biodiversity. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12700 2014-01-29T14:40:00Z 2014-02-19T15:28:02Z Predator appreciation: how saving lions, tigers, and polar bears could rescue ourselves <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0129.Christo_scan_46.150..jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the new book, In Predatory Light: Lions and Tigers and Polar Bears, authors Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Sy Montgomery, and John Houston, and photographers Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson share with us an impassioned and detailed appeal to appreciate three of the world's biggest predators: lions, tigers, and polar bears. Through lengthy discussions, combining themes from scientific conservation to local community folklore, In Predatory Light takes us step by step deeper into the wild world of these awe-inspiring carnivores and their varied plight as they facedown extinction. Jeremy Hance 78.80198 15.948486 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12694 2014-01-28T13:43:00Z 2014-01-29T13:37:35Z Feral crèches: parenting in wild India <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0128.Picture11_SBear.600.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Wildlife Conservation Society-India has been camera trapping wild animals for over 20 years in the Western Ghats. The results reveal the most intimate, fascinating and sometimes comical insights into animal behavior and ecology. These mammals generally become secretive and protective during parenting, and therefore we seldom get to see little ones in the wild. But discretely placed camera traps have not only caught glimpses of these adorable wild babies, but also produced wonderful family albums! Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12646 2014-01-17T02:53:00Z 2014-02-22T01:50:42Z Land conflicts complicate effort to spare forests from palm oil in Borneo <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0117-warning-dilarang150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A widely-heralded effort to spare carbon-dense rainforests and peatlands from palm oil development in Indonesian Borneo is facing new criticism after an investigation by rights groups found evidence of unresolved conflicts over community land. The report, published Friday by the Forest Peoples Program and TUK-Indonesia, looked at a carbon conservation pilot project run by Golden Agri Resources (GAR), a Singapore-based agribusiness giant that is one of Indonesia's largest palm oil producers. Rhett Butler 0.718899 112.26918 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12641 2014-01-15T16:17:00Z 2014-01-17T23:13:17Z Underestimating global warming: gaps in Arctic temperature data lead scientists and public astray <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0115.800px-Sea_Ice_MeltPonds.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>No place on Earth is heating up faster than the Arctic, but just how fast has remained an open question due to large gaps in temperature data across the vast region. Now, a recent study in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society finds that not only is the Arctic warming eight times faster than the rest of the planet, but failure to account for temperature gaps has led global datasets to underestimate the rise of temperatures worldwide. Jeremy Hance 83.599031 13.652337 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12618 2014-01-09T19:47:00Z 2014-01-10T07:24:50Z In precedent-setting case, palm oil company fined $30M for destroying orangutan forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0109sumatra_0085_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a precedent-setting case, an Indonesian court has found a palm oil company guilty of violating environmental laws and ordered it to pay $30 million in fines and reparations for clearing an area of protected peat forest that is a stronghold for endangered orangutans in Indonesia's Aceh Province. In a ruling handed down Wednesday, the Meulaboh district court concluded that PT Kallista Alam illegally cleared and burned forest within the the protected Tripa peat swamp in northwestern Sumatra. Rhett Butler 3.862885 96.60964 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12614 2014-01-09T19:01:00Z 2014-01-10T07:14:16Z Over 75 percent of large predators declining <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/ripple1HR.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's top carnivores are in big trouble: this is the take-away message from a new review paper published today in Science. Looking at 31 large-bodied carnivore species (i.e those over 15 kilograms or 33 pounds), the researchers found that 77 percent are in decline and more than half have seen their historical ranges decline by over 50 percent. In fact, the major study comes just days after new research found that the genetically-unique West African lion is down to just 250 breeding adults. Jeremy Hance 44.42906 -110.589648 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12610 2014-01-08T22:03:00Z 2014-01-09T19:47:45Z Lions face extinction in West Africa: less than 250 survive <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0108.Henschel_Lion_Niokolo-Koba_NP_SenegalCREDIT.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The lions of West Africa, which may represent a distinct subspecies, are on the precipice of extinction. A sober new study in PLOS ONE reports that less than 250 mature lions survive in the region. Scientists have long known that West Africa's lions were in trouble, but no one expected the situation to be as dire as it was. In fact, in 2012 scientists estimated the population at over 500. But looking at 21 parks, scientists were shocked to find lions persisted in just four with only one population containing more than 50 individuals. Jeremy Hance 11.248102 1.598455 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12611 2014-01-08T14:46:00Z 2014-01-09T11:18:52Z Requiem or recovery?: the Sumatran rhino 200 years after its description <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0108.Sumatran-Rhino-Skull-Bell-1793.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1893, William Bell, a surgeon in the service of the Dutch East India Company stationed in Bencoolen, Sumatra, examined the body of a dead rhinoceros. The animal, a male, was relatively small as rhinoceroses go, measuring only four feet four inches at the shoulder and eight feet five inches from its nose to the tip of its tail. Dr. Bell noted that the animal resembled a large hog and judged it to be a young individual based upon the condition of the bones and teeth. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12579 2013-12-26T23:48:00Z 2014-01-08T22:33:36Z Rainforest news review for 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_1827.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>2013 was full of major developments in efforts to understand and protect the world's tropical rainforests. The following is a review of some of the major tropical forest-related news stories for the year. As a review, this post will not cover everything that transpired during 2013 in the world of tropical forests. Please feel free to highlight anything this post missed via the comments section at the bottom. Also please note that this review focuses only on tropical forests. Rhett Butler -3.118576 -60.076675 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12562 2013-12-23T18:13:00Z 2013-12-23T18:13:48Z Jaguars in Argentine Chaco on verge of local extinction <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1216jaguar150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The majestic jaguar (<i>Panthera onca</i>), the largest of the New World cats, is found as far north as the southern states of the US, and as far south as northern Argentina. In the past jaguars ranged 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) further south, but their range has shrunk as habitat loss and human disturbance have increased. Overall, jaguars are classified as Near Threatened by the IUCN, but the level of risk facing jaguars varies by region. Populations in Argentina, at the present-day southern range limit, have previously been identified as some of the most threatened of them all. Tiffany Roufs -26.667096 -60.959474 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12566 2013-12-23T05:32:00Z 2014-01-08T22:33:52Z Biggest new animal discoveries of 2013 (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1223newsp.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Thousands of species were scientifically described for the first time in 2013. Many of these were 'cryptic species' that were identified after genetic analysis distinguished them from closely-related species, while others were totally novel. Below are some of the most interesting "new species" discoveries that took place or were formally announced in 2013. Rhett Butler -3.447625 -70.127335 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12561 2013-12-22T10:10:00Z 2013-12-27T15:09:10Z Unraveling the secrets of one of the world's most mysterious big cats <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1226sundaleopard150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Sunda clouded leopard has always been shrouded in mystery. Only declared a separate species from its mainland cousin, the Borneo clouded leopard, in 2006, the IUCN lists the cat as Endangered. The distinction between the Borneo clouded leopard (<i>Neofelis nebulas</i>) and the Sunda clouded leopard (<i>Neofelis diardi</i>) was made by ground-breaking molecular coding technologies and anatomy studies of the two species. Although it is Borneo's largest predator, very little is known about the Sunda leopard. As a medium-sized, well-camouflaged and mostly nocturnal animal, the leopard has evaded researchers since its discovery eight years ago. Tiffany Roufs 5.238657 118.325043 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12540 2013-12-19T15:01:00Z 2013-12-27T03:54:13Z Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1101olinguito.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>China begins to tackle pollution, carbon emissions: As China's environmental crisis worsens, the government has begun to unveil a series of new initiatives to curb record pollution and cut greenhouse emissions. The world's largest consumer of coal, China's growth in emissions is finally slowing and some experts believe the nation's emissions could peak within the decade. If China's emissions begin to fall, so too could the world's. Jeremy Hance 39.906576 116.413665 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12538 2013-12-18T15:13:00Z 2013-12-20T15:17:04Z Using stories to connect people to biodiversity: an interview with Tara Waters Lumpkin, PhD <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1216interview150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In a world where extinctions are almost commonplace and global warming barely raises an eyebrow, very few of us can return to find the places we grew up in unsullied by development. Sometimes, all that is left of a favorite grove of trees or strip of forest are memories. Through Izilwane: Voices for Biodiversity Project, an online magazine for story-tellers, Tara Waters Lumpkin has succeeded in bringing together more than one hundred "eco-writers" who have shared their memories, highlighted environmental crises in their localities and raised their voices against habitat destruction. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12528 2013-12-16T22:30:00Z 2014-01-19T03:05:14Z Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century - a new tapir <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1216.newtapir.SUNP0052.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In what will likely be considered one of the biggest (literally) zoological discoveries of the Twenty-First Century, scientists today announced they have discovered a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent, although it's still the smallest living tapir. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for 'tapir' in the local Paumari language: Arabo kabomani. Jeremy Hance -4.609278 -69.810333 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12501 2013-12-10T17:45:00Z 2013-12-10T18:00:15Z Journalists win environmental news reporting prizes <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0715Monarch150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Mongabay's internship program has benefited from the hard work and great environmental reporting of more than 30 writing interns since the program's inception in July 2012. This year, Mongabay asked this pool of contributing authors to submit their most compelling piece out of over 150 articles. The submissions were then reviewed by a panel. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12496 2013-12-10T14:09:00Z 2013-12-27T03:35:31Z Top 10 Environmental Stories of 2013 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/south-africa/150/south_africa_kruger_1126.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>1. Carbon concentrations hit 400ppm while the IPCC sets global carbon budget: For the first time since our appearance on Earth, carbon concentrations in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. The last time concentrations were this high for a sustained period was 4-5 million years ago when temperatures were 10 degrees Celsius higher. Meanwhile, in the slow-moving effort to curb carbon emissions, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) crafted a global carbon budget showing that most of the world's fossil fuel reserves must be left untouched if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12491 2013-12-05T20:11:00Z 2013-12-06T18:57:51Z World's biggest palm oil company makes zero deforestation commitment <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_0737.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil trader and a long-time target of environmentalists, has signed a landmark policy that commits the company to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain. The deal, if fully implemented, has the potential to transform the palm oil industry, which has emerged over the past decade as one of the world's most important drivers of tropical forest destruction. Rhett Butler 1.279897 103.842563 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12480 2013-12-04T16:39:00Z 2014-02-20T19:18:12Z Sky islands: exploring East Africa's last frontier <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1204.Taveta-two-horned-chameleon-(Kinyongia-tavetana),-South-Pare-Mts.-Tanzania.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The montane rainforests of East Africa are little-known to the global public. The Amazon and Congo loom much larger in our minds, while the savannas of East Africa remain the iconic ecosystems for the region. However these ancient, biodiverse forests&#8212;sitting on the tops of mountains rising from the African savanna&#8212;are home to some remarkable species, many found only in a single forest. A team of international scientists&#8212;Michele Menegon, Fabio Pupin, and Simon Loader&#8212;have made it their mission to document the little-known reptiles and amphibians in these so-called sky islands, many of which are highly imperiled. Jeremy Hance -12.077428 37.631686 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12476 2013-12-03T15:32:00Z 2013-12-10T14:29:57Z Animal Earth: exploring the hidden biodiversity of our planet <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1203.piper.P248.tif.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Most of the species on Earth we never see. In fact, we have no idea what they look like, much less how spectacular they are. In general, people can identify relatively few of their backyard species, much less those of other continents. This disconnect likely leads to an inability in the general public to relate to biodiversity and, by extension, the loss of it. One of the most remarkable books I have read is a recent release that makes serious strides to repair that disconnect and affirm the human bond with biodiversity. Animal Earth: The Amazing Diversity of Living Creatures written by Ross Piper, a zoologist with the University of Leeds, opens up the door to discovery. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12468 2013-12-02T16:51:00Z 2013-12-02T17:44:22Z Reversing local extinction: scientists bring the northern bald ibis back to Europe after 300 years <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1202.baldibis.thumb.IMG_3381.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The northern bald ibis (Geronticus eremita), also called the hermit ibis or waldrapp, is a migratory bird. Once, the bald ibis lived in the Middle East, northern Africa and southern and central Europe, but due to hunting, loss of habitat and pesticide-use, the birds disappeared from most of these areas and is currently considered Critically Endangered. It became extinct in Europe 300 years ago; the bird is almost gone in Syria, with only a single individual recorded at the country's lone breeding site in 2013; and the only stronghold left is a small population of around 500 birds in Morocco. But now, a team of scientists from Austria is working to reestablish a self-sustaining, migratory population of bald ibis in Europe. Jeremy Hance 42.433593 11.225853 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12466 2013-12-02T13:37:00Z 2013-12-02T17:37:38Z New project works to raise the profile of the world's littlest bear <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1127.sun_bear_closeup.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The world's least-known bear also happens to be the smallest: sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), so called for the yellowish horseshoe mark on its chest, are found across Southeast Asia. But despite their telltale markings, super-long tongues, and endearing cuteness, sun bears remain little-studied and little-known compared to many of the region's other large mammals. Now, a new project is working to raise the profile of the sun bears of Borneo&#8212;Survival of the Sun Bears&#8212;which are a smaller subspecies of the mainland animals. Jeremy Hance 5.867777 117.94748 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12461 2013-11-27T16:58:00Z 2013-11-27T17:24:45Z Scientists discover new cat species roaming Brazil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1126.L-guttulus-08-TGO_med_res2.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As a family, cats are some of the most well-studied animals on Earth, but that doesn't mean these adept carnivores don't continue to surprise us. Scientists have announced today the stunning discovery of a new species of cat, long-confused with another. Looking at the molecular data of small cats in Brazil, researchers found that the tigrina&#8212;also known as the oncilla in Central America&#8212;is actually two separate species. The new species has been dubbed Leopardus guttulus and is found in the Atlantic Forest of southern Brazil, while the other Leopardus tigrinus is found in the cerrado and Caatinga ecosystems in northeastern Brazil. Jeremy Hance -25.697226 -48.620796 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12440 2013-11-25T14:18:00Z 2013-11-28T00:26:45Z New children's book celebrates the rich wildlife of Kibale National Park <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1125.Kibale-Cover.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There are many ways in which people practice conservation. The most well-known are working to save species in the field or setting up protected areas. But just as important&#8212;arguably more important for long-term conservation success&#8212;is conservation education, especially with children. Anyone who grew up watching David Attenborough documentaries, reading Gerald Durrell books, or simply exploring ecosystems on their own can tell you how important it is to encounter the wonders of wildlife at a young age. And for many of us most of our first encounters with wild animals are in illustrated books. Eric Losh's new book, <i>The Chorus of Kibale</i>, not only provides an educational opportunity for children to become acquainted with the many animals in Kibale National park in Uganda&#8212;through wonderful pictures and sounds&#8212;but proceed also go directly to two conservation groups working in the region, U.N.I.T.E. for the environment and the Primate Education Network (PEN). Jeremy Hance 0.486407 30.38822 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12419 2013-11-20T17:44:00Z 2014-02-22T01:54:44Z The quicksilver demon: rogue gold-mining is the world's largest source of mercury pollution <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1118mercury150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 1956, in the quiet seaside town of Minamata on the southwestern coast of Japan's Kyushu Island, cats began to behave very strangely. They convulsed, displayed excessive salivation, and gradually lost the ability to walk. Then, dead birds began to fall out of the sky. Shellfish opened and decomposed. Fish also displayed abnormal behaviors, eventually floating up to the surface of the Shiranui Sea. Many of the ailing cats wandered into the sea and drowned. Soon, there were no more cats alive in the area. Tiffany Roufs -11.899604 -70.237427 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12418 2013-11-20T17:24:00Z 2013-11-21T14:58:11Z The swan song of India's dancing bears <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1115bear150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>India’s last dancing bear has retired. As the stars of their cruel little roadshows, sloth bears danced to the piercing sounds of the damru for hundreds of years. Orphaned by poachers and trained by the Qalandars, a nomadic Muslim community, these bears trudged through towns and villages to earn their masters a meager livelihood. Tiffany Roufs 12.971104 77.594833 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12412 2013-11-19T19:41:00Z 2013-11-19T20:04:02Z UN talks tough to global coal industry <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0613.800px-Kompalniaielektrownia.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Yesterday, at the International Coal and Climate Summit&#8212;just a couple miles from the ongoing UN Climate Summit&#8212;Christiana Figueres delivered a speech unlike anything ever heard at a coal industry meeting before. Figueres, the Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), took time off from wrangling world leaders and officials toward a climate agreement to talk tough to an industry currently worth around $3 trillion. Jeremy Hance 52.266319 21.066184 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12393 2013-11-18T17:57:00Z 2013-11-19T19:53:19Z Fracking: the good, the bad and the ugly <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1117.800px-Vitoria_-_fracking_ez.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The last few years have ushered in a new national and global awareness of fracking, the 150-year-old technology for extracting natural gas and oil from rock. Fracking, short for hydraulic fracturing, uses ultra-high-pressure slurries to create hairline fractures throughout solid rock. Oil, and more frequently gas, comes rushing out while sand from the mixture holds the fractures open in this nearly alchemical process. As many readers are aware, there are two very divisive schools of thought on fracking. One side touts it as the future of energy. The other derides fracking as inherently toxic and demands its immediate and permanent cessation. Like so many aspects of life, the truth lies somewhere in between. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12394 2013-11-18T13:00:00Z 2013-11-18T13:37:32Z World's most vulnerable nation to climate change turns to coal power <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1117.480px-SCS_Aila_at_peak_intensity.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In October, a global risks analysis company, Maplecroft, named Bangladesh the world's most vulnerable nation to climate change by 2050. The designation came as little surprise, since Bangladesh's government and experts have been warning for years of climatic impacts, including rising sea levels, extreme weather, and millions of refugees. However, despite these very public warnings, in recent years the same government has made a sudden turn toward coal power—the most carbon intensive fuel source—with a master plan of installing 15,000 megawatts (MW) of coal energy by 2030, which could potentially increase the country's current carbon dioxide emissions by 160 percent. Jeremy Hance 23.712439 90.417366 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12383 2013-11-14T20:12:00Z 2013-11-15T07:30:06Z Zero net deforestation is the wrong target, warn experts <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_2829.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Environmental initiatives that target zero net deforestation may miss their mark when it comes to slowing climate change and protecting biodiversity, warns a commentary published in this week's issue of the journal <i>Science</i>. While zero net deforestation may seem like a worthy target in efforts to curb forest loss, Sandra Brown and Daniel Zarin argue that the goal is at best, ambiguous, and at worst, may lead to perverse outcomes for the world's forests. Rhett Butler 37.791019 -122.4085 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12378 2013-11-14T19:12:00Z 2014-01-20T20:15:57Z Powered by Google, high resolution forest map reveals massive deforestation worldwide <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1114-umd150.gif" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Researchers today released a long-awaited tool that reveals the extent of forest cover loss and gain on a global scale. Powered by Google's massive computing cloud, the interactive forest map establishes a new baseline for measuring deforestation and forest recovery across all of the world's countries, biomes, and forest types. The map has far-reaching implications for efforts to slow deforestation, which accounts for roughly ten percent of greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activities, according to the authors of the paper that describes the tool and details its first findings. Rhett Butler 37.422032 -122.084039 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12345 2013-11-11T15:59:00Z 2013-11-18T21:06:09Z Bangladesh plans massive coal plant in world's biggest mangrove forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1110.Sundarbans_MM7666_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On October 22nd Bangladeshi and Indian officials were supposed to hold a ceremony laying the foundation stone for the Rampal power plant, a massive new coal-fired plant that will sit on the edge of the Sundarbans, the world's largest mangrove forest. However, the governments suddenly cancelled the ceremony, instead announcing that the project had already been inaugurated in early October by the countries' heads of state via a less-ornate Skype call. While the governments say the change was made because of busy schedules, activists contend the sudden scuttling of the ceremony was more likely due to rising pressure against the coal plant, including a five-day march in September that attracted thousands. Jeremy Hance 22.648235 89.651756 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12324 2013-11-07T15:54:00Z 2014-02-22T01:56:15Z Could camera trap videos galvanize the world to protect Yasuni from oil drilling? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1107.Mosquera-Jaguar.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Even ten years ago it would have been impossible to imagine: clear-as-day footage of a jaguar plodding through the impenetrable Amazon, or a bicolored-spined porcupine balancing on a branch, or a troop of spider monkeys feeding at a clay lick, or a band of little coatis racing one-by-one from the dense foliage. These are things that even researchers who have spent a lifetime in the Amazon may never see. Now anyone can: scientists at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador's Yasuní National Park have recently begun using camera trap videos to take movies of animals few will ever view in their lifetimes. The videos&#8212;following years of photo camera trapping&#8212;provide an intimate view of a world increasingly threatened by the oil industry. Jeremy Hance -0.638117 -76.149784 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12282 2013-10-30T15:40:00Z 2013-10-30T16:02:09Z The mystery of the disappearing elephant tusk <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1021elephants150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Give it a few thousand years, and tusks could completely disappear from the Asian elephant (<i>Elephas maximus</i>). The beautifully smooth, elongated ivory incisors neatly bordering a long trunk are iconic in the public mind. The reigning hypothesis is that tusks evolved to help male elephants fight one another, as demonstrated when males compete over females in estrus. However, a recent study published in the journal <i>Animal Behaviour</i> has shown that tusks may not be key factors in tussles, at least as far as elephants are concerned. Tiffany Roufs 26.577493 93.17114 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12268 2013-10-28T19:36:00Z 2014-02-20T19:21:55Z Gold mining in the Amazon rainforest surges 400% <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/peru/150/peru_aerial_1475.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The extent of gold mining in the Peruvian Amazon has surged 400 percent since 1999 due to rocketing gold prices, wreaking havoc on forests and devastating local rivers, finds a new study published in the <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> (PNAS). The assessment, led by Greg Asner of the Carnegie Institution for Science, is based on a combination of satellite imagery, on-the-ground field surveys, and an advanced airplane-based sensor that can accurately measure the rainforest canopy and sub-canopy vegetation at a resolution of 1.1 meters (42 inches). Rhett Butler -12.768277 -70.545387 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12255 2013-10-25T16:50:00Z 2013-10-29T17:54:07Z Photo essay: notes from India's Kabini River <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1025india150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Nilgiris, also known as the "Blue mountains," in southern India are an extraordinary mountain range that form one of the most diverse biospheres in the country, the Nilgiri Biosphere. And the Nagarhole National Park, declared a tiger reserve in 1999 is part of this biosphere. The Kabini River flows through the National park and is the lifeline to a wide variety of flora and fauna. This river transforms Nagarhole into a water world of wonder. Tiffany Roufs 11.947975 76.253128 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12249 2013-10-24T15:25:00Z 2013-10-28T13:53:50Z Armored giant turns out to be vital ecosystem engineer <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1024.Schafer.Tatu.099.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is not called a giant for nothing: it weighs as much as a large dog and grows longer than the world's biggest tortoise. However, despite its gigantism, many people in its range&#8212;from the Amazon to the Pantanal&#8212;don't even know it exists or believe it to be more mythology than reality. This is a rare megafauna that has long eluded not only scientific study, but even basic human attention. However, undertaking the world's first long-term study of giant armadillos has allowed intrepid biologist, Arnaud Desbiez, to uncovered a wealth of new information about these cryptic creatures. Not only has Desbiez documented giant armadillo reproduction for the first time, but has also discovered that these gentle giants create vital habitats for a variety of other species. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12218 2013-10-21T16:47:00Z 2013-10-21T17:49:46Z The palm oil debate: can the world's most productive oilseed be less damaging to the environment? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_1227.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On Thursday, 17 October 2013 Mongabay.com and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) co-hosted a discussion on environmental issues related to palm oil. The discussion involved representatives from WWF, Greenpeace and the RSPO. Mongabay.com Founder Rhett A. Butler served as the moderator. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12217 2013-10-21T13:30:00Z 2013-10-23T20:21:38Z Art, education, and health: holistic conservation group embarks on new chapter <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1020.performances.-rwanda-%C2%A9Julie-Ghrist.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's unlikely conservation organizations can survive if they are unwilling to embrace change: as an endeavor, conservation requires not just longterm planning, but also an ability to move proactively and fluidly to protect species and safeguard ecosystems. Environmental and education NGO, the Art of Conservation, is currently embarking on its biggest change since its foundation in 2006: moving away from its base in Rwanda, while leaving a legacy behind. Jeremy Hance -1.509716 29.486434 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12216 2013-10-20T18:59:00Z 2013-10-21T17:55:21Z Yeti may be undescribed bear species <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1020.800px-Polar_Bear_-_Alaska.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The purported Yeti, an ape-like creature that walks upright and roams the remote Himalayas, may in fact be an ancient polar bear species, according to new DNA research by Bryan Sykes with Oxford University. Sykes subjected two hairs from what locals say belonged to the elusive Yeti only to discover that the genetics matched a polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway dating from around 120,000 (though as recent as 40,000 years ago). Jeremy Hance 27.965295 90.323181 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12208 2013-10-16T18:24:00Z 2013-10-16T19:47:05Z Mammal-watching: one man's obsession to see the world's mammals <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/1016mammals150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There are more than 5,000 different mammal species across the globe, but with this number being dwarfed by the 10,000 bird species, it is little wonder that bird-watching has become the most common wildlife watching hobby in the world. While there are thousands of websites dedicated to ornithology enthusiasts, with information detailing the best places to see particular species and how to find them, similar resources about mammals remain scarce. Tiffany Roufs tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12194 2013-10-14T14:34:00Z 2013-10-15T15:19:57Z Meeting the mammal that survived the dinosaurs <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/Hispaniolan_Solenodon_crop.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>So, here I am, running in a forest at night over 2,000 miles from home. This forest&#8212;dry, stout, and thorny enough to draw blood&#8212;lies just a few miles north of a rural town in the western edge of the Dominican Republic on the border with Haiti. I'm following&#8212;or trying to keep pace with&#8212;a local hunter and guide as we search for one of the world's most bizarre mammals. It's an animal few people have heard of, let alone actually seen; even most Dominicans don't readily recognize its name or picture. But I've been obsessed with it for six years: it's called a "solenodon," more accurately the Hispaniolan solenodon or its (quite appropriate) scientific name, Solenodon paradoxus. Jeremy Hance 18.052704 -71.726671 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12182 2013-10-10T13:19:00Z 2014-02-22T02:04:15Z Tapirs, drug-trafficking, and eco-police: practicing conservation amidst chaos in Nicaragua <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/jordan.PICT0021.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nicaragua is a nation still suffering from deep poverty, a free-flowing drug trade, and festering war-wounds after decades of internecine fighting. However, like any country that has been largely defined by its conflicts, Nicaragua possesses surprises that overturn conventional wisdom. Not the least of which is that the Central American country is still home to big, stunning species, including jaguars, giant anteaters, pumas, and the nation's heaviest animal, the Baird's tapir (<i>Tapirus bairdii</i>). Still, not surprisingly given the nation's instability, most conservationists have avoided Nicaragua. But tapir-expert Christopher Jordan, who has worked in the country for over four years, says he wouldn't have it any other way. Jeremy Hance 13.982629 -83.465123 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12158 2013-10-02T18:57:00Z 2013-10-03T17:23:35Z Unlikely success: how Zimbabwe has become a global leader in rhino conservation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/1002.LRT-rhino-monitor,-Hence,-tracking-a-black-rhino-cow.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With its collapsed economy, entrenched poverty, and political tremors, one would not expect that a country like Zimbabwe would have the capacity to safeguard its rhinos against determined and well-funded poachers, especially as just across the border South Africa is currently losing over two rhinos a day on average. And indeed, without the Lowveld Rhino Trust (LRT), rhinos in Zimbabwe would probably be near local extinction. But the LRT, which is centrally involved in the protection of around 90 percent of the country's rhinos in private reserves along with conservancy members, has proven tenacious and innovative in its battle to safeguard the nation's rhinos from the poaching epidemic. Jeremy Hance -20.541387 32.08162 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12139 2013-09-28T13:37:00Z 2013-10-06T22:58:10Z 'Yet another wakeup call': global warming is here, it's manmade, and we're not doing enough to stop it <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0928.Wildfire_in_California.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Human actions are responsible for warming the Earth, reconfirms the landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today, the first mammoth report on the physical science of climate change issued in seven years. Scientists now say they are 95-100 percent certain that human actions&#8212;such as burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests&#8212;are behind the observed rise in global temperatures since at least 1950. Average temperatures have risen 0.85 degrees Celsius since 1880, but the new report warns that depending on how much more fossil fuels are burnt, temperature rises could exceed 4 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) with untold consequences for global society. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12137 2013-09-27T16:57:00Z 2013-09-30T19:17:02Z Climate change pushing tropical trees upslope 'exactly as predicted' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_la_selva_0483.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Tropical tree communities are moving up mountainsides to cooler habitats as temperatures rise, a new study in Global Change Biology has found. By examining the tree species present in ten one-hectare plots at various intervals over a decade, researchers found that the proportion of lowland species increased in the plots at higher elevations. The study, which was undertaken in Volcan Barva, Costa Rica, adds to a growing body of evidence that climate change is having an impact on species range distributions. Tiffany Roufs 10.135172 -84.099855 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12134 2013-09-27T15:24:00Z 2014-02-22T01:57:50Z Forgotten species: the nearly extinct primate that can be shot on sight <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0926.Ppepieni9.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The attention paid to charismatic popular primates&#8212;such as gorillas, chimps, orangutans, lion tamarins, and even some lemurs&#8212;could make one suppose that conservationists have the protection of our closest relatives well in hand; the astounding fact that no primate species is known to have gone extinct in the last hundred years (despite large-scale destruction of their habitats) seems to confirm this statement. However, looking more closely at the data, one finds that not only are many of the world's primates slipping toward extinction, but a number of them have received little conservation attention. According to the IUCN Red List, a staggering 48 percent of the world's primates are threatened with extinction: that's a worse percentage than amphibians which have been ravaged by a global epidemic. And although a handful of the world's 600-plus primates have garnered conservation adoration, many remain obscure. Jeremy Hance 5.226349 6.29631 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12129 2013-09-26T02:43:00Z 2013-09-26T02:53:30Z Malaysia clearcutting forest reserves for timber and palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0925.perak.P7170360.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In July Bikam Permanent Forest Reserve in Malaysia's Perak state was degazetted, allowing the forest to be clearcut for an oil palm plantation. Only after the forest was lost, did the Forest Research Institute Malaysia (FRIM) announce that it had contained the last stands of keruing paya (Dipterocarpus coriaceus) on the Malay peninsula, a large hardwood tree that's classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. The species is now reportedly extinct in Malaysia, although may still be found in Indonesia. However, the degazettement of the 400-hectare Bikam Forest Reserve wasn't an abnormality, according to activists. Since 2009, over 9,000 hectares of Permanent Forest Reserves have been degazetted in northwestern state, wiping out not just trees, but undercutting protected mammals and birds while threatening watersheds. Jeremy Hance 5.140186 101.18866 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12114 2013-09-23T18:20:00Z 2013-09-23T18:38:33Z President's pledge to ban commercial fishing around Pacific island nation slow to materialize <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/animals/marine/150/marine_0191.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In 2010 President Anote Tong of Kiribati made a historic pledge, committing to protect the waters around his island nation in a massive marine protected area. He said the gesture represented Kiribati’s contribution to protecting the environment and he urged industrial countries to do the same by cutting their greenhouse gas emissions, which threaten low-lying islands with rising sea levels. The commitment raised Tong’s profile, winning him international accolades, and boosted the tiny country’s standing in the fight against climate change. But since 2010 questions have begun to emerge about the extent of Tong’s commitment. Rhett Butler 1.920188 -157.437623 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12108 2013-09-20T20:31:00Z 2013-09-30T16:48:37Z Attempt to export nearly-extinct pygmy sloths sets off international incident in Panama <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0920-pygmy-sloth-13-041_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last Monday, the police officer on morning duty at Isla Colón International Airport, Panama noticed some foreigners loading crates with what appeared to be animals on a private jet. Finding this suspicious, he alerted his supervisor. Within minutes the local police chief, the mayor of Bocas, the director of the regional office of the National Environmental Authority (ANAM), community leaders and heads of local conservation organizations were informed about the incident. Little by little, a crowd of concerned citizens from Bocas town gathered around what turned out to be eight pygmy sloths – some of the rarest mammals on Earth Rhett Butler 9.094766 -81.557014 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12092 2013-09-18T16:44:00Z 2013-09-18T17:01:47Z Climate change could kill off Andean cloud forests, home to thousands of species found nowhere else <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0918.7063224263_2b4fec9cdc_c.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>One of the richest ecosystems on the planet may not survive a hotter climate without human help, according to a sobering new paper in the open source journal PLoS ONE. Although little-studied compared to lowland rainforests, the cloud forests of the Andes are known to harbor explosions of life, including thousands of species found nowhere else. Many of these species&#8212;from airy ferns to beautiful orchids to tiny frogs&#8212;thrive in small ranges that are temperature-dependent. But what happens when the climate heats up? Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12083 2013-09-17T15:03:00Z 2013-09-17T16:19:20Z Lions rising: community conservation making a difference for Africa's kings in Mozambique <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0917.LICM-11--Newst-male-lion-in-the-area.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Everyone knows that tigers, pandas, and blue whales are threatened with extinction&#8212;but lions!? Researchers were shocked to recently discover that lion populations have fallen precipitously: down to around 30,000 animals across the African continent. While 30,000 may sound like a lot, this is a nearly 70 percent decline since 1960. In addition, lion populations are increasingly fragmented with a number of populations having vanished altogether. However, there is hope: one place where lion populations are actually on the rise is Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique. Here, lion populations have risen by around 60 percent in just seven years. In part this is due to the effort of Colleen and Keith Begg. Jeremy Hance -12.004398 37.446442 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12078 2013-09-16T14:01:00Z 2013-09-17T13:32:32Z Photo essay: India's Western Ghats is a haven for endemic amphibians <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0915.Picture-8_Raorchestes-glandulosus_ShashankDalvi_KrithiKaranth_CWS.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Western Ghats are a globally recognized repository of biological diversity for our planet. We know very little about most species found here, particularly the ecologically sensitive and spectacularly beautiful 179 amphibians. Astonishingly, 87% of all Western Ghats frogs are endemic and found nowhere else on the planet. Our collaborative research project with Drs Paul Robbins and Ashwini Chhatre examining biodiversity in production landscapes of Ghats unearthed some spectacular amphibians in 2013. Jeremy Hance 14.615478 74.70108 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12068 2013-09-12T14:12:00Z 2013-09-21T14:45:54Z Butchering nature's titans: without the elephant 'we lose an essential pillar in the ability to wonder' <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0911.christo.18_009_17.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Africa's elephant poaching crisis doesn't just threaten a species, but imperils one of humanity's most important links to the natural world and even our collective sanity, according to acclaimed photographers and film-makers, Cyril Christo and Marie Wilkinson. Authors of the book Walking Thunder - In the Footsteps of the African Elephant, Christo and Wilkinson have been documenting Africa's titans in photos and film for several years. In 2011, the pair released a film Lysander's Song (named after their son an avid fan of elephants) which depicts the millennial-old relationship between humans and elephants. Jeremy Hance tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12050 2013-09-10T23:51:00Z 2013-09-11T05:09:03Z Japanese firms buying illegal timber from Malaysia’s endangered rainforests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/13/0910sarawak-man150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Japanese companies are failing to keep illegally logged timber from entering their supply chains, international human rights and environmental watchdog Global Witness said in a report released today. The report links several major Japanese firms to logging companies that are destroying tropical rainforests in Malaysian Borneo through illegal and destructive logging practices in Sarawak province. Rhett Butler 2.775708 113.798704 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12036 2013-09-10T13:57:00Z 2013-09-11T12:34:54Z Protecting predators in the wildest landscape you've never heard of <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0910.DSC_3198lion2bw-.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Serengeti, the Congo, the Okavango Delta: many of Africa's great wildernesses are household names, however on a continent that never fails to surprise remain vast wild lands practically unknown to the global public. One of these is the Ruaha landscape: covering 51,800 square kilometers (20,000 square miles) of southern Tanzania's woodlands and savannah, Ruaha contains the largest population of elephants in East Africa, over 500 bird species, and a wealth of iconic top predators, including cheetah, hyena, wild dogs, leopard, and&#8212;the jewel in its crown&#8212;10 percent of the world's lions. But that's not all, one of Africa's least-known and secretive tribal groups, the Barabaig, also calls Ruaha home. Jeremy Hance -7.490133 35.01646 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12034 2013-09-09T15:26:00Z 2013-09-17T15:22:43Z A year after devastating attack, security returns to the Okapi Wildlife Reserve (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/13/0905.Okapi-Giluka.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>On June 24th of last year, MaiMai Simba rebels, led by an elephant poacher known as Morgan, launched a devastating attack on the headquarters of the Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Epulu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The attack, which was reportedly in response to a crack down on poaching and illegal mining in the park, left buildings burned, equipment destroyed, and six people dead including two rangers. The militia also left with 28 women hostages, many of them minors. As if to add insult to injury, the militia didn't leave until they shot dead all 14 captive okapis at the headquarters, which were used as wildlife ambassadors for the local community. Jeremy Hance 1.402248 28.577144 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/12004 2013-09-03T14:16:00Z 2013-09-05T12:45:40Z Agribusiness project leaves indigenous communities in Indonesian New Guinea hungry and in poverty, report says <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/papua/150/west-papua_5011.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Land grabs and environmental destruction linked to an agricultural megaproject in Indonesia’s Papua province are devastating indigenous communities and causing severe food shortages in some areas, alleges a coalition of NGOs. Agro-industrial development in Papua has left indigenous communities cut off from their traditional livelihoods and living in abject poverty, the coalition said in a report released on Monday calling for the suspension of the project. Rhett Butler -8.143529 140.064497