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Mongabay’s What-To-Watch list for May 2021

  • In April we published the result of a year-long dive into census data from Brazil that identified Indigenous populations living in cities. We interviewed people across Brazil about their experiences as Indigenous people in urban spaces.
  • We published multiple videos from Indonesia on vulnerable ecosystems affected by plastic pollution and overfishing.
  • As part of our ongoing explainer series, we looked at two planetary boundaries: freshwater and the ozone layer.

As we head into a new month, we’ve compiled a watchlist from our top videos in the last month. We continued our environment and conservation coverage from around the world with stories from Brazil, Indonesia, and the US. We also took a look at global trends in ocean conservation and protecting planetary boundaries. No Netflix, Disney+ or Prime subscriptions required to watch these. 

Around one third of Brazil’s Indigenous population lives in cities. In video interviews with Mongabay, members of different communities shared their experiences. Many said they faced regular disbelief from other city-dwellers, who think of Indigenous people as only living in rural villages.

“Sometimes, people don’t believe we’re real Indigenous. They want to see naked Indigenous,” Sônia Ara Mirim, who lives in São Paulo, told Mongabay.

From Indonesia, we focused on mangroves and fisheries near the Java Sea. Plastic pollution and overfishing threaten these fragile ecosystems and researchers called for the region to be developed into a marine protected area.

In our ongoing animal coverage, we met the reptile most vulnerable to sea level rise: the Florida reef gecko. These dwarf geckos live along Florida’s coastline, which is rapidly disappearing underwater. We also met the northern tamandua, a medium-sized anteater, and warthogs in our latest episodes of Candid Animal Cam. This month we reached a major milestone in the series, with 50 episodes focused on 50 different species. Each episode has also been published in Spanish on our Mongabay Latam channel. 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to make sure you never miss a video, and in the meantime here are more videos to add to your watchlist:

‘This place is also mine’: Brazil’s Indigenous on prejudice in the city

More than a third of Brazil’s Indigenous people, around 315,000 individuals, live in urban areas. Over the past year, we dived into the census and related databases to produce unique maps and infographics showing not only how the Indigenous residents are distributed in six cities and in Brazil overall, but also showcasing their access to education, sewage and other amenities, and their ethnic diversity.

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Read the full Mongabay investigation here.

Fishing hotspot in Indonesia needs protection, study says

A new study proposes establishing a marine protected area in Indonesia’s Java Sea-Makassar Strait region, one of the top fishing grounds in the country. The study found that much of the commercially valuable snapper and grouper species caught in these shallow waters are juveniles, which compromises the sustainability of the species’ populations.

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Read more about it here.

Plastic threatens mangroves and fisheries in Java, Indonesia

A study shows how accumulations of plastic waste in the roots of mangroves on the Indonesian island of Java can choke trees. The loss of these ecosystems can trigger a decline in the area and particularly affect local fisheries, which depend on coastal resources.

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Read the full Mongabay report here.

Rare Florida reef gecko threatened by climate change

The Florida reef gecko is the most vulnerable reptile to sea level rise in the U.S, according to biologists at the University of Miami. While climate change and habitat destruction remain imminent threats to the gecko’s Florida populations, little is known about the species as a whole, including other populations that inhabit the Caribbean.

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Read more about it here.


Are we running out of freshwater? Mongabay Explains

Around the world, from Bangalore in India to Los Angeles in the U.S., cities are facing a severe water crisis. Clean freshwater, once a seemingly plentiful, renewable resource, is increasingly scarce. Is our planet running out of freshwater? 97% of the world’s water is in saline oceans, making it mostly unusable for humans. Most of the remaining 3% that’s freshwater is locked up in glaciers and ice caps. So only a little more than 1% is left for our use.

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Read more about it here.

The Montreal Protocol: How did the world fix the ozone depletion problem? Mongabay Explains

When humans came together to fix the hole in the ozone caused by CFCs, we managed to shrink the hole and in the next 40 years it could disappear altogether. Scientists and conservationists hold this example up as a sign that we’re equally capable of tackling other environmental concerns like climate change at a global scale. So how did we fix the ozone depletion problem? The landmark Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, such as CFCs, represents a story of strong global cooperation.

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How does noise pollution in the ocean threaten wildlife? Mongabay explains

The ocean is not quiet. There are seascape sounds like the wind blowing over water, the crash of waves, the trickle of bubbles and the cracking of polar ice. But since the industrial revolution, humans have added a broad range of sound frequencies. One of the most widespread sources is commercial ships that carry oil, containers or other cargo — like the massive Ever Given that got stuck in the Suez Canal in March 2021.

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Read more about it here.


Did you know that northern tamanduas may eat up to 9,000 insects per day? Candid Animal Cam

The northern tamandua is a medium-sized anteater that lives in tropical and subtropical forests from southern Mexico, through Central America, to the edge of the northern Andes in South America.

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Read about it here.

Did you know that a group of warthogs is called a sounder? Candid Animal Cam

The common warthog is part of the pig family and is found in the grasslands, savannas, and woodlands of Africa. Warthogs have an unfortunate name that comes from their facial warts which can grow as long as 15 cm.

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Read about it here.


Behind the Scenes: Illustrating the Sumatran rhino’s struggle to survive

In the third instalment of our animated videos on the Sumatran rhino, Mongabay takes you behind the scenes with artist Roger Peet. The series, illustrated by Peet and animated by The Square Peg Films, delves into the crucial challenges that face the critically endangered Sumatran rhinos. Experts believe there are fewer than 100 of these rhinos left in the wild, and they face difficult conservation decisions.

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Banner image of Michael Oliveira Baré Tikuna, an Indigenous man in Brazil, by Mongabay.

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