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Most popular environmental news stories in 2014

Paul Rosolie in an Amazon swamp at night. Photo by: Mohsin Kazmi.
Paul Rosolie in an Amazon swamp at night. Photo by: Mohsin Kazmi.

In 2014 Mongabay published more than 1,100 stories in English and over 450 posts in Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, German, Japanese, and Chinese. Mongabay-Indonesia published nearly 1,400 posts in Indonesian.

Stories ran the gamut from light-hearted feel-good pieces to hard-hitting investigative content to thought-provoking interviews.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the ten most popular news posts on Mongabay during 2014.

Number 10 is a commentary by author and naturalist Paul Rosolie, who garnered fame when the Discovery Channel ran a special called “Eaten Alive”, which purported to show Rosolie being consumed by a wild anaconda in the Amazon. The public backlash against Rosolie for the stunt was intense, prompting him to pen an oped providing his account of what actually happened in Peru.

Number 9 is a eulogy by Rhett Butler from 2006 about the extinction of the Baiji, a dolphin endemic to China’s Yangtze River. The post regained attention via social media in late December.

Number 8 is a story by Rhett Butler about the launch of Global Forest Watch, a revolutionary platform for forest monitoring.

Rainforest in Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.

Number 7 is a post by Jeremy Hance bout Lady Gaga being bitten by a venomous slow loris which both sparked outrage and raised awareness about the horrific loris pet trade, where the primates are brutally mutilated to make them less dangerous for their keepers.

Number 6 is an investigative piece by Rhett Butler about a massive rosewood bust in Singapore. The illicit timber originated in Madagascar and was likely bound for China, where it is used in luxury furniture.

Number 5 is a story by Shayna Wilson about a study that detailed a raid on U.S. Global Exotics (USGE) in Arlington, Texas. USGE was a major pet supplier that suffered extremely high losses of animals, according to authorities.

Number 4 is a post by Rhett Butler about a newly described freshwater dolphin from the Araguaia River Basin in Brazil.

Number 3 is a 2013 story by Rhett Butler on a study that concluded Malaysia has the highest rate of forest loss. Interest in the story surged in late December.

Number 2 is a 2012 article about a curious-looking caecilian spotted in the Amazon. Dubbed the ‘penis snake’, the species helped make the world aware of the massive dam-building spree currently underway in the Amazon.

Atretochoana eiselti. Photo by Matt Roper

And the most popular news post in 2014 was a comprehensive review of Paul Rosolie’s book. Written by Jeremy Hance, the feature was thrust into the spotlight in the run-up to the controversial Eaten Alive TV show on Discovery.

Social media

Facebook: in 2014, the most shared news post on Mongabay was the 2013 story about Malaysia’s high rate of forest loss. It was shared more than 20,000 times. It was followed by a post titled “20 orangutan pictures for World Orangutan Day”, which had about 10,000 shares, and the Baiji eulogy, which came in with 9,300 shares.

Twitter: A rebuttal to a New York Times editorial arguing that trees shouldn’t be part of the solution to addressing climate change was the most tweeted Mongabay news post in 2014. It was followed by a post about the sharkfin trade, a story about Indonesia’s exceptionally high rate of natural forest loss, and an interview with Jane Goodall.

Instagram: Mongabay launched an Instagram account (mongabay_com) in late December.

The full list of posts with more than 5,000 pageviews in 2014.

Post Post Thousand
Mother of God: meet the 26 year old Indiana Jones of the Amazon, Paul Rosolie Jeremy Hance 61
‘Penis snake’ discovered in Brazil is actually a rare species of amphibian Rhett Butler 56
Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest map Rhett Butler 52
New dolphin discovered in the Amazon surprises scientists Rhett Butler 37
Infamous pet and zoo supplier lost 3,500 animals a week (photos) Shayna Wilson 33
Singapore intercepts massive illegal shipment of Madagascar rosewood Rhett Butler 29
Lady Gaga gets bitten by venomous primate, sparking outrage over loris trafficking Jeremy Hance 27
Revolutionary Google-backed system unlocks power of ‘big data’ to save forests Rhett Butler 23
Goodbye to the Baiji Rhett Butler 22
Edited Reality: What I Learned from Filming Eaten Alive Paul Rosolie 21
Visiting the rainforest – a practical guide Rhett Butler 20
Discarded cell phones to help fight rainforest poachers, loggers in real-time Rhett Butler 19
Python explodes after swallowing 6-foot alligator in Florida Everglades Rhett Butler 19
Secrets of the Amazon: giant anacondas and floating forests, an interview with Paul Rosolie Jeremy Hance 16
‘The green Amazon is red with indigenous blood’: authorities pull bodies from river that may have belonged to slain leaders Jeremy Hance 15
Biggest new animal discoveries of 2013 (photos) Rhett Butler 15
In the shadows of Machu Picchu, scientists find ‘extinct’ cat-sized mammal Jeremy Hance 14
The quiet zoo revolution Jeremy Hance 14
Why conservationists need a little hope: saving themselves from becoming the most depressing scientists on the planet Jeremy Hance 14
Rainforest news review for 2013 Rhett Butler 14
Scientists rebut NYTimes op-ed ‘To Save the Planet, Don’t Plant Trees’ Multiple 14
Surprising reasons to be optimistic about saving forests Rhett Butler 13
35 pictures of the sharkfin trade that will shock and dismay you Rhett Butler 13
Investigation finds Chinese factory slaughters 600 whale sharks a year Rhett Butler 13
287 amphibian and reptile species in Peruvian park sets world record (photos) Rhett Butler 13
Indonesian sugar company poised to destroy half of island paradise’s forests Rhett Butler 13
Will zero deforestation commitments save Indonesia’s forests? Rhett Butler 12
Rhino with bullet in its brain and hacked off horn wanders for days before being put down Jeremy Hance 11
In precedent-setting case, palm oil company fined $30M for destroying orangutan forest Rhett Butler 11
The biggest new species discoveries in 2014 (photos) Rhett Butler 11
How did Ebola Zaire Get to Guinea? Dan Stiles 11
After GAR expands policy, over 50% of world’s palm oil bound by zero deforestation commitments Rhett Butler 10
Leonardo DiCaprio donates $1M toward ending elephant poaching crisis Rhett Butler 10
Indonesian activist wins Goldman Prize for fighting palm oil, deforestation Rhett Butler 10
APP, environmentalists talk future of Indonesia’s forests Rhett Butler 10
Short-eared dog? Uncovering the secrets of one of the Amazon’s most mysterious mammals Jeremy Hance 9
Scientists uncover six potentially new species in Peru, including bizarre aquatic mammal (photos) Jeremy Hance 9
Through careful management, indigenous people have shaped Asian rainforests for 11,000 years Loren Bell 9
Despite moratorium, Indonesia now has world’s highest deforestation rate Rhett Butler 9
Photos: Weird aquatic lizard discovered in mountain streams of Peru Rhett Butler 9
Malaysian palm oil company stock drops after environmental complaint Rhett Butler 9
Stuff of fairy tales: stepping into Europe’s last old-growth forest Jeremy Hance 8
Pity the pangolin: little-known mammal most common victim of the wildlife trade Jeremy Hance 8
Scientists catalog the world’s 10,000th reptile Jeremy Hance 8
New large horned viper discovered, but biologists keep location quiet Jeremy Hance 8
20 orangutan pictures for World Orangutan Day Rhett Butler 8
In cutting deforestation, Brazil leads world in reducing emissions Rhett Butler 8
30% of Borneo’s rainforests destroyed since 1973 Rhett Butler 8
PHOTOS: Glowing fish – study finds widespread biofluorescence among fish Rhett Butler 8
APP commits to conserve, restore 1M ha of Indonesian forest; WWF pledges support Rhett Butler 8
Clash with palm oil company leaves one indigenous community member dead in Sumatra Rhett Butler 8
Helping the Amazon’s ‘Jaguar People’ protect their culture and traditional wisdom Rhett Butler 8
Powered by Google, high resolution forest map reveals massive deforestation worldwide Rhett Butler 8
Rainforest Alliance to independently audit APP’s zero deforestation commitment Rhett Butler 8
World deforestation rates and forest cover statistics, 2000-2005 Rhett Butler 8
The swan song of India’s dancing bears Shreya Dasgupta 8
Little elephant is the first scientific record of dwarfism in the wild Claire Salisbury 8
When cute turns deadly – the story of a wildlife biologist who was bit by a venomous slow loris, and lived to tell the tale Shreya Dasgupta 8
Scientists uncover new crocodile in Africa Jeremy Hance 7
Camera trap captures first ever video of rarely-seen bird in the Amazon…and much more Jeremy Hance 7
Scientists discover new whale species Jeremy Hance 7
After 89-year absence a wolf returns to Iowa…and is shot dead Jeremy Hance 7
What does Nature give us? A special Earth Day article Jeremy Hance 7
One quarter of sharks and rays threatened with extinction Loren Bell 7
Top 10 HAPPY environmental stories of 2013 Multiple 7
Pictures: the top new animal discoveries of 2014 Rhett Butler 7
Photos of alleged blood-sucking chupacabra found in Texas Rhett Butler 7
Indonesian law bars palm oil companies from protecting forests Rhett Butler 7
Obama: palm oil destroying Malaysia’s rainforests Rhett Butler 7
Norwegian insurance giant blacklists palm oil companies Rhett Butler 7
Forests in Indonesia’s concession areas being rapidly destroyed Rhett Butler 7
Palm oil giants announce deforestation moratorium — effective immediately Rhett Butler 7
Wilmar refutes Sarawak govt’s claims on palm oil ban Rhett Butler 7
NASA picture reveals shocking impact of California’s drought Rhett Butler 7
Ecologists are underestimating the impacts of rainforest logging Rhett Butler 7
Design of new Mercedes-Benz bionic car inspired by fish body shape Rhett Butler 7
NASA data: 1997 all over again for Indonesia? Rhett Butler 7
PepsiCo announces zero deforestation commitment for palm oil Rhett Butler 7
Culling elephants leaves an impact on their social structure decades later Ariel Mark 7
Chinese poachers caught with 555 marine turtles, most dead (PHOTOS) Jeremy Hance 6
Scientists make one of the biggest animal discoveries of the century: a new tapir Jeremy Hance 6
Amazing discovery in Antarctica: sea anemones found living upside down under ice (photos) Jeremy Hance 6
Grenades, helicopters, and scooping out brains: poachers decimate elephant population in park Jeremy Hance 6
Photos: mass turtle hatching produces over 200,000 babies Jeremy Hance 6
Photos: bizarre new mammal discovered in Vietnam Jeremy Hance 6
Chinese officials seize nearly a thousand dead pangolins Jeremy Hance 6
New forest map for Sarawak reveals large-scale deforestation, encroachment on indigenous territories Rhett Butler 6
Weird aquatic lizard discovered in mountain streams of Peru Rhett Butler 6
Stunning high-resolution map reveals secrets of Peru’s forests Rhett Butler 6
Community’s push to clear forest for plantation challenges efforts to conserve in Indonesia Rhett Butler 6
Protecting rainforests could sequester equivalent of a third of global emissions annually Rhett Butler 6
Google forest data now available for download Rhett Butler 6
APP pledges to restore forests, if given the opportunity Rhett Butler 6
NASA detects surge in deforestation in Malaysia, Bolivia during first quarter of 2014 Rhett Butler 6
Cargill commits to zero deforestation, but environmentalists have questions Rhett Butler 6
Is Brazil’s epic drought a taste of the future? Rhett Butler 6
Population growth and associated food demand to take heavy toll on rainforests Rhett Butler 6
Saving rainforests by buying them Rhett Butler 6
In Girl Scouts vs. Kellogg’s over palm oil, rainforests and orangutans win Rhett Butler 6
Future threats to the Amazon rainforest Rhett Butler 6
646-pound catfish believed to be world’s largest fish Rhett Butler 6
Indonesia’s forests increasingly empty of wildlife Erik Meijaard 6
Saudi Prince kills two percent of global population of endangered bird Shreya Dasgupta 6
Scientists name new endangered species after the company that will decide its fate Tanya Dimitrova 6
Monkeys reset camera trap, capture first-ever images of flat-headed cats in park Liz Devitt 6
Mining company attacks scuba diving tourists in Indonesia Satria Eka Hadinaryanto 6
Next big idea in forest conservation? Integrating forest conservation, use, and restoration Liz Kimbrough 6
Fracking: the good, the bad and the ugly Owen Reynolds 6
Can palm oil move past its bad reputation? Diana Parker 6
The Harry Potter wasp: public votes to name new species after soul-sucking ghouls Shreya Dasgupta 6
Remarkable new monkey discovered in remote Congo rainforest Jeremy Hance 5
When the orangutan and the slow loris met – and no one was eaten Jeremy Hance 5
Over 75 percent of large predators declining Jeremy Hance 5
Snow leopards and other mammals caught on camera trap in Uzbekistan (photos) Jeremy Hance 5
Incredible encounter: whales devour European eels in the darkness of the ocean depths Jeremy Hance 5
The lemur end-game: scientists propose ambitious plan to save the world’s most imperiled mammal family Jeremy Hance 5
On edge of extinction, could drones and technology save the Little Dodo? Jeremy Hance 5
Did the world’s only venomous primate evolve to mimic the cobra? Jeremy Hance 5
U.S. proposes to list wolverine under Endangered Species Act Jeremy Hance 5
Unrelenting population growth driving global warming, mass extinction Jeremy Hance 5
Lions face extinction in West Africa: less than 250 survive Jeremy Hance 5
Giant ibis, little dodo, and the kakapo: meet the 100 weirdest and most endangered birds Jeremy Hance 5
Long lost mammal photographed on camera trap in Vietnam Jeremy Hance 5
Bizarre lizard newest victim of reptile pet trade Jeremy Hance 5
Isolated indigenous people and tourists collide in Peru park Jeremy Hance 5
Scientists uncover new marine mammal genus, represented by single endangered species Jeremy Hance 5
What’s an environmental journalist to do with so much good news? Jeremy Hance 5
Endangered tiger killed in Sumatra Loren Bell 5
Jane Goodall: 5 reasons to have hope for the planet Multiple 5
Procter & Gamble’s palm oil suppliers linked to deforestation (photos) Rhett Butler 5
Despite campaign, Girl Scout cookies still aren’t deforestation free, say scout activists Rhett Butler 5
Scientists blast Australian government’s moves to dismantle environmental protections Rhett Butler 5
Malaysian palm oil giant loses PNG case, plantations declared illegal Rhett Butler 5
Cargill commits to zero deforestation across entire global supply chain: all commodities Rhett Butler 5
Despite falling palm oil price, premium for ‘sustainable’ product rises Rhett Butler 5
Indonesia rejects, delays 1.3m ha of concessions due to moratorium Rhett Butler 5
Despite green pledge, Wilmar partner continues to destroy forest for palm oil Rhett Butler 5
Land conflicts complicate effort to spare forests from palm oil in Borneo Rhett Butler 5
Snickers, Twix to be deforestation-free Rhett Butler 5
China to destroy ivory stockpile Rhett Butler 5
Dubai’s artificial islands have high environmental cost Tina Butler 5
Hope in the Heart of Darkness: huge population of chimpanzees discovered in the DRC Julian Moll-Rocek 5
Tree islands more effective way to replant the world’s forests Liz Kimbrough 5
Camera traps capture ‘fantastically bizarre’ animal behavior in South African park Morgan Erickson-Davis 5
Next big idea in forest conservation? Connecting forest fragments Liz Kimbrough 5
Using Google Earth to protect uncontacted tribes in the Amazon rainforest Tanya Dimitrova 5
Is 20 millions tons enough? Scientists recommend plastic crackdown as oceans choke Chris Samoray 5
Shoot to conserve: Corey Knowlton’s rhino hunt escalates the debate over trophy hunting and environmentalism Jenny Isaacs 5
Next big idea in conservation? Recognizing we are our own obstacles Liz Kimbrough 5
Amphibian pandemic may have hit Madagascar, hundreds of species at risk of infection Liz Devitt 5
Cambodian communities best placed to prevent illegal logging Frans Lambrick 5
Requiem or recovery?: the Sumatran rhino 200 years after its description Bill Konstant 5
Next big idea in forest conservation? Using drones to catch poachers, monitor forests Liz Kimbrough 5
The dark side of new species discovery Laurel Neme 5

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