- Mongabay navigated the tumultuous second quarter of 2020 by continuing to produce high quality content from Nature’s frontline.
- June was another strong month for traffic, topping 11 million pageviews, up 53% over a year ago.
- Below are the most read stories on news.mongabay.com from June 2020 and for the year to date.
Mongabay navigated the tumultuous second quarter of 2020 by continuing to produce high quality content from Nature’s frontline; expanding our reader base, and providing opportunities for journalists around the world to report on critical issues that underpin many of the challenges we currently face. June was another strong month for traffic, topping 11 million pageviews, up 53% over a year ago.
Below are the most read stories on news.mongabay.com from June 2020.
(5/12/20) Written by Beto Marubo – 202,365 pageviews
- Beto Marubo, a representative of the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley, warns that indigenous peoples in the Amazon face existential threats from rising deforestation, anti-environment and anti-indigenous policies from the Bolsonaro administration, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Marubo, whose indigenous name is Wino Këyashëni, is calling upon the outside world to pressure the Bolsonaro administration to protect indigenous peoples’ rights, lands, and livelihoods.
- He’s asking for (1) the Brazilian government to evict land invaders from indigenous territories, (2) restrictions on outsiders’ access to indigenous lands, and (3) logistical and medical support.
- This article is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.
(5/26/20) Written by John C. Cannon – 202,283 pageviews
- Journalist Peter Christie has published a new book about the effects that pets have on wildlife and biodiversity.
- In addition to the billions of birds and small mammals killed by free-roaming pets each year, the wild pet trade, invasive pets, disease spread and the pet food industry are harming biodiversity and contributing to the global crisis.
- Christie calls the book “a call to action,” and he says he hopes that humans’ love for their pets might extend to wild species as well.
(5/20/20) Written by Dickson Kaelo; Daniel Sopia; Damian Bell; Richard Diggle,Fred Nelson – 120,636 pageviews
- The COVID-19 pandemic has created a profound crisis for conservation efforts in eastern and southern Africa as a result of the sudden cessation of all international travel in a region where nature-based tourism and conservation are closely interdependent.
- Conservation leaders Dickson Kaelo, Daniel Sopia, Damian Bell, Richard Diggle, and Fred Nelson argue that the way that conservationists respond to both the near-term crisis and the longer term implications of the unfolding pandemic will be pivotal for the future of Africa’s wildlife.
- The crisis, they write, is also an opportunity to question inherited assumptions, refine existing models, and improve conservation practices.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
(5/27/20) Written by Daniel Quinlan – 120,560 pageviews
- Campaigners in the Tanintharyi region of southern Myanmar have urged international donors to support community conservation efforts, rather than what they see as a top-down approach that excludes indigenous groups.
- In a report released on Friday, CAT documents resistance in local communities to the imposition of a $21m project backed by major conservation groups and the UN.
- The proposed Ridge to Reef project would cover about 35% of the Tanintharyi region and aims to protect some of the best preserved lowland evergreen forests in Southeast Asia. The 3.5 million acre conservation area would cover 225 villages and radically transform the lives of the indigenous people that live in them.
(6/3/20) Written by Liz Kimbrough – 113,861 pageviews
- A newly developed tracking device that fits like a tiny backpack allows scientists to monitor small animals.
- The wireless biologging network (WBN) device allows for proximity sensing, high-resolution tracking, and long-range remote data download all at the same time.
- The capability of the WBN device to track associations is providing scientists with new insights into animal behavior and conservation solutions.
- The device, weighing just 2 grams (0.07 ounces), is designed to be glued onto the back of animals like bats and eventually fall off after a few weeks.
(5/23/20) Written by Michael Becker – 111,908 pageviews
- Following the International Day for Biological Diversity, a leader of the Partnership Fund for Critical Ecosystems draws attention to the environmental importance of the most biodiverse tropical savanna on the planet.
- In the Cerrado, cradle of Brazilian waters and habitat for 5% of the world’s biodiversity, the rate of deforestation is 2.5 times that of the Amazon.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
(6/4/20) Written by Malaka Rodrigo – 110,794 pageviews
- Sri Lankan herpetologist Ruchira Somaweera has launched a YouTube series where he aims to debunk myths about nature and wildlife that continue to hold sway in the Indian Ocean island.
- From his home in Australia, Somaweera hosts virtual discussions with fellow scientists in Sri Lanka, each an expert in their respective field, to tackle the myths in easy-to-understand language.
- He tells Mongabay he has long wanted to do something like this but was too busy for it, until the COVID-19 lockdown gave him the time and opportunity to finally get the project off the ground.
- Among the most misunderstood groups of animals in Sri Lanka are snakes, many of which are falsely believed to be venomous or aggressive, and as a result are often killed on sight.
(6/10/20) Written by Heather Richardson – 86,103 pageviews
- White sharks have disappeared from False Bay and Gansbaai, two sites off South Africa where they have historically been commonly sighted.
- Scientists have a number of theories about this, including predation of sharks by orcas, and fishing activity that targets species that juvenile sharks feed on.
- Scientists say it’s important to look at the big picture — while sharks have gone from some areas, they’ve increased in others — but data covering South Africa’s whole coastline is still patchy.
- The COVID-19 lockdown is also hampering data-gathering efforts, with scientists not yet permitted to go out to sea, potentially leading to a gap in the long-term data.
(5/30/20) Written by Nathalie Bertrams,Tristen Taylor – 67,122 pageviews
- A years-long drought across Southern Africa, exacerbated by climate change and over-use of water by industry, has driven elephants into South Africa’s Mapungubwe National Park.
- Here, they tear into the park’s centuries-old babobab trees to get at the moist interior.
- While the babobabs have evolved to tolerate occasional elephant damage and benefit from elephants eating their fruit and dispersing the seeds, the damage done during times of drought is extensive and often deadly for the trees.
- The elephants, for their part, no longer have room to maneuver: they’re trapped between climate change, habitat destruction and poaching.
(5/21/20) Written by Thelma Gómez Durán – 63,746 pageviews
- A new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) looked at community natural resource management in Mexico, Guatemala, Nepal and Namibia.
- The research highlights the importance of government recognition of communities’ rights to manage natural resources and promoting investment in these initiatives.
- The communities still struggle to obtain sustained government support in some cases, and rights to consultation are often sidelined in favor of large infrastructure projects.
(5/21/20) Written by Caio de Freitas Paes – 62,336 pageviews
- Indigenous Munduruku communities in Brazil’s Pará state have seen their crops die as agribusiness expands in the area, with soybean farmers spraying pesticides less than 10 meters (33 feet) from villages.
- The streams used by the Munduruku have also been damaged, if not dried up, and even the artesian wells the communities are digging to survive appear to be contaminated.
- Aside from pesticides, soybean farming has also brought fraudulent requests for land appropriation and violence against indigenous people.
- The Munduruku have for the past 12 years tried to get their land demarcated as an indigenous reserve, but the process has stalled under the Bolsonaro administration.
(5/19/20) Written by Maheder Haileselassie Tadese – 61,972 pageviews
- Although varieties of the plant are found in many sub-Saharan countries, only in Ethiopia has it been domesticated.
- Land scarcity means farmers are turning to growing more lucrative cash crops, such as the stimulant khat or maize, with the number of enset farms declining in recent decades.
- The plant is also threatened by blight, leading researchers to develop a genetically modified variety that’s now being tested — amid controversy — for disease resistance.
(6/2/20) Written by Aseanty Pahlevi – 58,913 pageviews
- Suma Ruslian is one of many Indonesian farmers in western Borneo bracing for a major impact to his livelihood from a port project and special economic zone slated to open later this year.
- The port of Kijing is being touted by the government as the biggest in West Kalimantan province, with a strategic location between the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, two of the world’s busiest waterways.
- Locals in the area who depend on farming and fishing say they worry about the impacts from increasing ship traffic and land-use change for industry.
- Suma and experts are calling on the government to provide long-term support for the farmers and fishermen in adapting to the changes.
(6/4/20) Written by Heather Richardson – 55,095 pageviews
- Magdalena Bermejo, a prominent expert on western lowland gorillas, experienced the loss of thousands of the great apes to Ebola, including two groups she and her team were studying and had worked to habituate.
- Having remained in the Republic of Congo, Bermejo is now facing the arrival of a new epidemic that could potentially spread between humans and gorillas.
- In this interview, Bermejo discusses her ongoing work in the Congo, the importance of working with communities, parallels between Ebola and COVID-19, and how researchers can find the strength to persevere and rebuild in the aftermath of catastrophe.
(5/26/20) Written by Elizabeth Claire Alberts – 50,778 pageviews
- The National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA) recently released a “new” clip of Benjamin, the thylacine that was displayed for five years at Beaumaris Zoo in Tasmania.
- The species, better known as the Tasmanian tiger, was officially declared extinct in 1982 by the IUCN, although the Australian government now considers it to have gone extinct in 1936, following Benjamin’s death.
- Despite the species’ extinction status, people continue to report sightings of the thylacine in the Tasmanian wilderness, although none of these sightings have been confirmed.
Triple crisis of pipelines, pesticides and pandemic is an existential threat to Ecuador’s indigenous peoples (commentary)
(6/5/20) Written by Mitch Anderson – 48,740 pageviews
- Days after Ecuador declared a state of emergency for COVID-19, the Secoya people’s principal fishing river, the Shushufindi, was poisoned by a massive pesticide runoff from nearby African palm plantations, decimating local fish stocks.
- Three weeks later, a devastating rupture of the country’s biggest oil pipelines spilled crude oil into the Napo river, a tributary of the Amazon, leaving dozens of indigenous villages and tens of thousands of peoples without access to clean water
- Despite dozens of people showing symptoms of COVID-19, Secoya people spent nearly a month in an infuriating battle to get the government’s attention. In response, Secoya families took matters into their own hands, turning to medicinal plants and going deeper into the forest to both escape disease and find food and clean water
- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
(5/27/20) Written by Mike Gaworecki – 47,168 pageviews
- On today’s episode of the Mongabay Newscast we take a look at a project that aims to preserve the rainforests of the Congo Basin in Central Africa and the biodiversity found in those forests by focusing on elephants and their calls.
- As a research analyst with the Elephant Listening Project, Ana Verahrami has completed two field seasons in the Central African Republic, where she helped collect the behavioral and acoustic data vital to the project. She joins the Mongabay Newscast to explain why forest elephants’ role as keystone species makes their survival crucial to the wellbeing of tropical forests and their other inhabitants, and to play some of the recordings informing the project’s work.
- One of the two existing African elephant species, forest elephants are native to the humid forests of West Africa and the Congo Basin. The forest habitat they rely on has also suffered steep declines in recent years, with one 2018 study concluding that at current rates of deforestation, all of the primary forest in the Congo Basin could be cleared by the end of the century. As Mongabay’s contributing editor for Africa, Terna Gyuse, tells us, the chief threats to the Congo Basin’s rainforests are human activities.
(6/2/20) Written by Mongabay.com – 46,816 pageviews
- Every Tuesday, Mongabay brings you a new episode of Candid Animal Cam, our show featuring animals caught on camera traps around the world and hosted by Romi Castagnino, our writer and conservation scientist.
(5/19/20) Written by Sam Cowie – 46,352 pageviews
- 537 COVID-19 cases and 102 deaths are being reported by 38 indigenous groups in Brazil. Most of the cases are in the remote Brazilian Amazon, where communities are located far from medical assistance. Experts, citing the vulnerability of indigenous peoples to outside disease, worry the pandemic could result in a many more deaths.
- In response to the pandemic, indigenous groups in Mato Grosso state have partnered with an NGO to produce a daily updated map monitoring COVID-19 outbreaks in urban areas near indigenous villages. The website is meant to keep indigenous people informed, and put pressure on national and international groups to respond.
- Amid the pandemic, indigenous land rights in Mato Grosso are increasingly threatened by federal and state government policy shifts that critics say would encourage and legitimize land grabbing, illegal logging and mining inside indigenous territories.
- Particularly impacted by the policy changes, should they go into effect, are isolated indigenous groups, including the Kawahiva and Piripkura peoples who roam as yet federally unrecognized indigenous reserves near the city of Colniza, Mato Grosso.
(6/10/20) Written by John C. Cannon – 43,620 pageviews
- The Rosebud Indian Reservation in the U.S. state of South Dakota plans to bring the American bison back to around 11,300 hectares (28,000 acres) of prairie on the reservation.
- Over the next five years, tribal groups will work with WWF and the U.S. Department of the Interior to release as many as 1,500 bison on the Wolakota Buffalo Range, which would make it the largest Native American-owned herd in North America.
- The Lakota people of Rosebud have an abiding connection with the bison, or buffalo, and the leaders of the project say that, in addition to the symbolic importance of returning the Lakotas’ “relatives” to their land, the herd will help create jobs, restore the ecological vigor of the landscape, and aid in the conservation of the species.
Most read stories for 2020 through June 30
- Sinking feeling for Indonesian fishers as COVID-19 hits seafood sales 943,246 pageviews
- Women from the Xingu Territory unite against threats from Bolsonaro administration 808,341 pageviews
- Using satellites to alert an Amazonian indigenous community of coca encroachment (insider) 461,160 pageviews
- Indonesian activists denounce a road being built illegally in leopard habitat 440,748 pageviews
- Conservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade ban 439,435 pageviews
- Photos: Up close with the saltwater crocs of Sri Lanka’s Nilwala River 324,135 pageviews
- From vegetable plots in a Sri Lankan swamp, a forgotten eel emerges 287,580 pageviews
- Why did Ecuador’s tallest waterfall suddenly disappear? 279,149 pageviews
- Photos: Top 15 new species of 2019 267,431 pageviews
- Making a thriller out of Belo Monte hydro dam: Q&A with Sabrina McCormick 255,220 pageviews
- Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worried 253,598 pageviews
- In famed Chico Mendes reserve, Brazil nut harvesters fight to save the forest 249,869 pageviews
- Video: scientists capture giant spider eating an opossum 243,657 pageviews
- Eu / Chinese soy consumption linked to species impacts in Brazilian Cerrado: study 238,114 pageviews
- Amazon indigenous leader: Our survival is at stake. You can help (commentary) 234,917 pageviews