Mongabay’s internship program awards prizes for articles published in 2014.
This year, Mongabay published over 165 articles written by journalists participating in its internship program. To highlight some of the excellent work, Mongabay held a competition for intern contributions to the site, asking individuals to submit their most compelling pieces. A staff selection panel reviewed the selections and chose the winners.
The winning article is a piece by contributor Mrinalini Erkenswick Watsa with her piece titled: To collect or not to collect? Experts debate the need for specimens. Erkenswick Watsa’s article reports on the implications of scientific specimen collections in the context of a biodiversity crisis. The first place award is complimented by a $500 prize. Erkenswick Watsa co-founded the long-term research group PrimatesPeru and holds a PhD in biological anthropology.
Second place, along with a prize of $300, is awarded to PhD candidate Jenny Isaacs for her compelling, in-depth article on the killing of a iconic jaguar on the U.S. Mexico border. Isaac’s piece searches for the broader implications of the gruesome death of a mother jaguar who had become a conservation icon, as well as the reaction and response by locals and officials working along the Northern Jaguar Reserve. Jenny joined Mongabay as an intern in 2012 and has continued to write for the site while working towards her PhD at Rutgers University.
A tray of Eriocnemis (a genus of hummingbird) specimens, Swedish Museum of Natural History – Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet,Stockholm, CC BY-SA 3,0 License, Wikimedia.
Heather D’Angelowon the third place prize with the award of $200 for her engaging interview with primate NGO founder Noga Shanee. Taking a small assignment and turning it into an in-depth interview, D’Angelo and Shannee’s conversation centered around radically re-thinking conservation practices and interaction with local people. While working to save the critically endangered yellow tailed woolly monkey in Northeastern Peru, Shanee noted in the interview how vital commitment and cooperation of local populations would be to save this species, concluding that, “conservation groups must be more flexible, allowing local communities and those that work with them take the lead.” D’Angelo joined the Mongabay internship team in mid-2014 and is also a professional musician. Heather is working on pursuing a PhD in ecology in the near future.
A child with a seedling in La Espearnza, part of the communal reforestation efforts. Photo: Noga Shanee/NPC
Runners up ($50 prize):
- Shayna Wilson: Infamous pet and zoo supplier lost 3,500 animals a week (photos)
- Jose Hong: Invasion of the lionfish: new research finds the situation may be worse than we thought
- Ariel Mark: Sloths, moths and algae: a surprising partnership sheds light on a mystery
- Liz Devitt: Saving sharks one sandwich at a time: conservationists target ‘shark bake’
- Shreya Dasgupta: Epidemic of elephant calf kidnapping hits Sri Lanka, say conservationists
- Zach Fitzner: Vazaha is Malagasy for ‘gringo’: Conservation, national identity, and conflicting interest in Madagascar
- Chris Samoray: Chelonians for dinner: hunting threatens at-risk turtles and tortoises in India
Mongabay accepts applications to the news writing internship program on a rolling basis, though there is usually a waiting period of a few months. The commitment is generally 6-10 hours a week for six months. Internships are currently unpaid, however, Mongabay offers resume/cover letter workshops, Q&A calls with Mongabay staff, publishing experience, and other opportunities for participating interns. If interested, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to Tiffany Roufs at tiffany [at] mongabay [dot] org.
Jaguars are found from northern Mexico (with a few in the Southwestern U.S.) to northern Argentina. They are the largest cats in the Western Hemisphere. Photo by: Rhett A. Butler.
Endangered mussel still harvested for food in Laos
(12/29/2014) Only one freshwater pearl mussel species is known to inhabit tropical water systems. However, despite being listed as Endangered by the IUCN, it is also still a part of the diet of villagers in Northern Laos. A study published recently found that the dwindling populations of the bivalve would benefit from a ban on their capture.
Camera traps capture rare footage of wild bonobos (video)
(12/29/2014) Bonobos, our ape cousins, love peace. Unlike chimpanzees, also our close relatives, bonobos are known to resolve conflict through sex instead of aggression. They kiss, they caress, and females display genito-genital rubbing (also called G-G rubbing) to communicate, bond, and reconcile.
Scientists rediscover Critically Endangered streamside frog in Costa Rica
(12/26/2014) In the past 20 years, amphibian species around the world have experienced rapid decline due to climate change, disease, invasive species, habitat loss and degradation. Populations have decreased by approximately 40 percent with nearly 200 species thought to have gone extinct since 1980. However, despite these discouraging statistics, new research efforts are turning up lost populations of some vanished frogs.