Conservation news

Audio: Impacts of gas drilling on wildlife in Peru and a Goldman Prize winner on mercury contamination

On today’s episode, a look at the impacts of drilling for natural gas on birds and amphibians through bioacoustics, and a Goldman Prize winner discusses her ongoing campaign to rid mercury contamination from the environment.

Our first guest on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast is Jessica Deichmann, a research scientist with the Center for Conservation and Sustainability at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Deichmann led a study that used acoustic monitoring, among other methods, to examine the impacts on wildlife of a gas drilling platform in the forests of southeastern Peru.

In this Field Notes segment, Deichmann plays for us a variety of recordings to help illustrate her team’s findings and discusses the recommendations they developed for companies drilling in sensitive ecosystems. (Incidentally, Deichmann’s colleague, Marconi Campos Cerqueira, appeared on the Newscast back in June to play some recordings he’d made while using bioacoustic monitoring to examine bird ranges in the mountains of Puerto Rico.)

Next, we talk with 2009 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Yuyun Ismawati, an environmental engineer from Indonesia who currently lives in the UK. As the founder of an NGO called BaliFokus and a steering committee member of IPEN, a non-profit based in Sweden that works to improve chemicals policies and practices around the world, Ismawati has made it her life’s mission to stop the use of mercury in activities like gold mining that cause the toxin to leach into the environment and thereby threaten human health and wildlife.

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The white-browed antbird (Myrmoborus leucophrys) is one of the species detected by Jessica Deichmann and colleagues in the forests of southeastern Peru. Photo Credit: J. Vitorino/SCBI.

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Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001