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Mongabay’s What-To-Watch list for December 2022

Adult and baby coatis.

Adult and baby coatis. Image by zoofanatic via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

  • Mongabay’s videos from November covered how land grabbing and pollution alike are affecting Indigenous and local communities in Brazil, India, Nigeria and the Amazon.
  • Watch how wildlife in India’s Kashmir, America’s Montana, and a park in Brazil are influenced by human action, both positively and negatively.
  • Get a peek into the various segments of the environment across the globe. Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on YouTube.

Human actions influence animal populations. In Montana, U.S., a road with a very high density of wildlife crossings was once dangerous for wild animals. But it now has 42 highway animal crossings thanks to Indigenous communities making the place safer for animals. However, in India, a rare Himalayan animal, the Kashmir stag, is on a decline in its last remaining habitat where a cement factory threatens its numbers. In Brazil, the conservation of coatis in a municipal park has led to a unique problem — there are too many now.

In November, Mongabay covered issues concerning Indigenous populations and local communities across the world due to land grabs and pollution. In Brazil, an Indigenous community trying to protect their ancestral lands has faced threats and violence from farmers and security forces. In India’s Mizoram state, local communities are protesting and participating in rallies against national highway widening projects and resulting pollution. Niger Delta’s mangroves, and communities that depend on them, are in danger due to oil spills, deforestation and invasive species.

The YouTube series Mongabay Explains released two new episodes: watch how monoculture plantations affect land, ecosystems, and the future of local agriculture negatively, and follow an investigation that analyzed how Amazon’s Indigenous communities and valuable ecosystems are threatened by expanding oil concessions.

Add these videos to your watchlist for the month and watch them for free on Mongabay’s YouTube channel.

Cement factories in the way of the Kashmir stag (Hangul)

The mushrooming of cement factories in Kashmir since the mid-80s has impacted Hangul’s habitat, cite activists and wildlife experts. The decline in hangul numbers has also been attributed to the fragmentation of habitat and impact on wildlife corridors by human intervention, urbanisation, illegal industries, mass tourism as well as military presence.

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Read more: Hangul, the shy Kashmiri deer, is facing the threat of extinction as its habitat shrinks

How the loss of Paraná pines impacts Kaingáng people in Southern Brazil

The decline of the Paraná pine forests in the southern region of Brazil poses serious consequences for the Kaingáng culture, which uses pine trees as an important source of food, culture and resilience.

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Read more: Loss of Brazilian pines threatens Kaingáng Indigenous culture


Intensifying violence against the Guarani Kaiowá in Brazil’s soy belt

In Brazil’s Mato Grosso do Sul state, Guarani-Kaiowá Indigenous people seeking to reclaim their ancestral lands have been subjected to threats and violence by farmers and security forces, according to Indigenous residents and rights activists. In June, tensions escalated in the Guapo’y Mirim Tujury community when a military police operation to evict the Guarani-Kaiowá from part of a farm they were occupying left one Indigenous resident dead and injured at least nine other residents, including children, according to advocates.

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Read more: In Brazil’s soy belt, Indigenous people face attacks over land rights


Youth environmental movement rising in Mizoram, India

In July, more than 2,000 people participated in a rally against national highway widening projects in Mizoram state, led by the Youth for Environment Justice Mizoram (YEJM), spearheaded by social activist Vanramchhuangi. While the environmental activists allege that the projects have polluted the soil, thereby impacting agriculture and the perennial rivers, forest officers also reported improper disposal of muck and other violations. However, there are also organisations in favor of the developmental project as they believe that it would reduce travel time and improve road connectivity.

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Read more: Mizoram youth protest against the national highways widening project


How Indigenous values inspired the largest network of wildlife crossings in the U.S.

The 56-mile stretch of Highway 93 that runs through the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana contains one of the highest densities of wildlife crossings in the world. Previously known as one of the most dangerous roads in Montana, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes came together to address the safety issues of the highway while preserving wildlife, through the construction of 42 highway animal crossings.

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Read more: How wildlife crossings in Canada are inspiring safer roads for global species


Why do tarballs dot India’s coast every year?

The western Indian coastal states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka witness a strange phenomenon every year before and during the monsoon season. Black coloured large blobs of oil are washed on the shores causing a menace. Studies confirm these to be hazardous to human and marine ecosystems.

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Read more: Tarballs dot India’s west coast annually, indicating continued oil spills, ship fuel discharge

Niger Delta mangroves in ‘grave danger’ from oil spills, logging and invasive species

Southern Nigeria’s vast Niger Delta boasts Africa’s most extensive mangrove forests — and some of the world’s largest fossil fuel reserves. Efforts to extract oil and gas have resulted in numerous oil spills, which have damaged the region’s biodiversity, as well as the livelihoods of coastal communities. Niger Delta mangroves are also affected by logging, farming and urban expansion, and are being replaced by invasive nipa palm. Research suggests Niger Delta’s mangroves could be gone within 50 years at the current rate of loss.

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Read more: Niger Delta mangroves in ‘grave danger’ from oil spills, poverty, invasive species


Brazil’s new environmental future under Lula: Q&A with Marina Silva

Considered for Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment, environmentalist Marina Silva says that the election of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva means a new cycle of prosperity for the country, “when it will be possible to make the transition to a new development model that is capable of fighting inequality with democracy and sustainability.” “Part of the agribusiness sector is realizing that this practice by Bolsonaro is bad for business,” the congresswoman-elect said about the possibility of reconciling the environmental agenda and the demands of agribusiness. Silva stressed that the current challenges are much greater than those faced when she was a member of Lula’s first administration in 2003: “We are not going to become sustainable in the blink of an eye. It’s a transition.”

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Read more: Brazil’s new environmental future under Lula: Q&A with Marina Silva


Why aren’t monoculture farms as valuable as the ecosystems they replace?

Many of the fruits and vegetables — and even the palm oil used in many ultra-processed foods — are produced in large expanses of monocultures. The use of this agricultural technique has expanded because it’s thought to be very efficient. But we now know that it can gravely affect biodiversity and soil richness. Are there alternatives? Yes. Sustainable agriculture, or agroecology, employs methods
that keep the land productive for longer, regenerating the soil instead of degrading it. Agroecology is a system that Indigenous communities have used for centuries in some regions. Other benefits of this system include efficient water use and the reuse of waste.

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How much Indigenous territory overlaps with oil fields in South America?

The Amazon is home to thousands of Indigenous communities and valuable ecosystems. However, this extensive territory is also increasingly occupied by oil concessions. In the Manchados Xel Petróleo investigation, a geospatial analysis was carried out in four Amazonian countries to locate the areas of influence of oil activity.

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How coatis took hold of an urban park in Brazil (and why this is not good)

For 15 years, the Quatis Project has monitored coati populations in Belo Horizonte’s Mangabeiras Municipal Park. Interactions with visitors, local residents and domestic animals contribute not only to increased population density but also to the exchange of diseases among wildlife, animals and humans.

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Read more: Feeding wild animals is a bad idea: The case of Belo Horizonte’s coatis

Banner image: Adult and baby coatis. Image by zoofanatic via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).

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