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Environmental science and conservation news

Latam Eco Review: Jaguar protection plan signed by 14 Latin countries
By Mongabay.com [December 15, 2018, 8:40 am]
A 14-country jaguar conservation plan, efforts to protect the last 7 female southern right whales in Peru and Chile, and unexpected biodiversity discovered along Chile’s north coast were among the top stories last week by our Spanish-language service, Mongabay Latam. Jaguar protection plan signed by 14 Latin countries Fourteen countries launched a plan to secure […]






COP24: Sitting down to take a stand for real climate action
By Hans Nicholas Jong [December 15, 2018, 7:21 am]
KATOWICE, Poland — It’s noon on a Friday in the city of Katowice, Poland, and a teenage girl with her hair braided in pigtails is sitting alone on the floor of the Spodek conference arena, site of this year’s United Nations climate talks. Nearby, thousands of government officials are busy negotiating the future of the […]






Dutch banks’ customers ‘unknowingly’ profit from palm oil companies
By Thessa Lageman [December 15, 2018, 12:32 am]
Dutch banks ABN AMRO, ING and Rabobank are failing to inform their customers that investment funds they offer include shares in palm oil companies damaging the environment in Indonesia, according to a new report by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands). Some of these funds have been labeled as “sustainable,” despite having shares in companies […]






Hobby-grade drones can monitor marine animals beneath the surface
By Sue Palminteri [December 14, 2018, 2:44 pm]
Using drones for wildlife surveys isn’t new to marine wildlife research, but it’s been focused mainly on detecting the large mammals and sea turtles that break the ocean’s surface to breathe. Researchers in The Bahamas wanted to test whether they could also locate the many sharks, rays, and other species that spend time just below […]






‘Amazon Besieged’: Q&A with Mongabay contributor Sue Branford about new book
By Mike Gaworecki [December 14, 2018, 2:19 pm]
From 2016 to 2017, Mongabay contributors Sue Branford and Maurício Torres traveled to the Tapajós River Basin, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, to report on the controversial plan to turn the region into a major commodities export corridor. Along the way, they visited many of the indigenous villages and other local communities whose […]






Madagascar auctioning a large swath of virgin waters for oil exploration
By Edward Carver [December 14, 2018, 1:50 pm]
The Mozambique Channel off the west coast of Madagascar. Image by Rod Waddington via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).At an oil industry event in Houston in September, representatives of Madagascar’s government went into auctioneer mode. Their message: “Let the bidding commence!” They had traveled to Texas to announce that Madagascar was opening up a large area of marine territory to oil exploration. None of the 44 concessions on offer, which cover 63,296 square […]






COP24: Will they stay or will they go? Brazil’s threat to leave Paris
By Justin Catanoso [December 14, 2018, 11:42 am]
Jair Bolsonaro pledged to leave the Paris accord during his presidential run. But his Amazon agribusiness and mining expansion plans may pose a far bigger threat to forests and global climate.






In other news: Environmental stories from around the web, December 14, 2018
By Mongabay.com [December 14, 2018, 11:21 am]
Tropical forests By keeping pests in check, bats could help farmers in Madagascar, reducing the need to expand their farms into nearby rainforests (Science Daily, Scitech Europa). Corruption allows the “plunder” of Guinea-Bissau’s forests to continue, the Environmental Investigation Agency says (All Africa). The region around the Mekong River in Southeast Asia is home to […]






Argentina creates two new marine parks to protect penguins, sea lions
By Mongabay.com [December 14, 2018, 8:47 am]
Argentina has officially created two large marine protected areas: the Yaganes Marine National Park, lying off of the country’s southern tip, and the Namuncurá-Burdwood Bank II Marine National Park in the South Atlantic. Together, the two parks cover a total area of about 98,000 square kilometers (37,000 square miles). By designating these two marine parks, […]






Palm oil giant Wilmar promises to take harder line with errant suppliers
By Mongabay.com [December 14, 2018, 6:53 am]
The world’s biggest palm oil trader has updated its sustainability policy, as its self-imposed deadline to stop buying palm oil linked to a variety of environmental and social ills draws closer. Beginning in January 2019, Wilmar International will freeze purchases from suppliers found to be in violation of its sustainability policy, which bars plantation companies […]






COP24: Fossil Fuel Inc.’s outsize presence at talks reflects its influence
By Hans Nicholas Jong [December 14, 2018, 6:08 am]
KATOWICE, Poland — “How did you get here?” asked the angry fossil fuel company executive. “Have you ever been to Nigeria?” responded the agitated environmental activist. This was part of an exchange between Swedish environmental activists and a senior executive from oil-and-gas giant Royal Dutch Shell at the ongoing United Nations climate summit in Katowice, […]






Indonesian court throws out lawsuit against green expert’s testimony
By Basten Gokkon [December 13, 2018, 11:18 pm]
JAKARTA — An Indonesian court has thrown out a lawsuit against an environmental expert whose testimony led to the conviction of a governor in a mining scandal. Basuki Wasis, an expert on environmental degradation from the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB), had testified in February in the trial of Nur Alam, the governor of Southeast […]






One map to rule them all: Indonesia launches unified land-use chart
By Basten Gokkon [December 13, 2018, 10:54 pm]
JAKARTA — The Indonesian government has published a long-awaited map that, for the first time, unifies all land-use data from a host of disparate sources. The fractured nature of the land-use maps in force across the sprawling archipelago has led to overlapping claims and conflicts, which in turn have given rise to environmental damage and […]






Satellite trackers help fight vultures’ extinction in southern Africa
By Munyaradzi Makoni [December 13, 2018, 3:01 pm]
CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Every other hour, Sonja Krüger logs onto her website and checks the birds’ status. Pharoah is taking a mud bath in the mountains, Jeremia is on a roost site viewing the Maloti mountain range, and Mollie is scouring the grasslands for a fresh carcass. “A GPS location of the birds is […]






Dam drove ‘collapse’ of rainforest bird populations in Thailand
By Mongabay.com [December 13, 2018, 2:32 pm]
The construction of a hydroelectric dam in Thailand in the 1980s devastated the area’s wild birds, leaving behind just a few of the many species that once inhabited the region, a study has found. The journal Global Ecology and Conservation published the research Nov. 11. Greg Irving, a graduate student in conservation ecology at King […]






Super-spreaders: How the curious life of a newt could ignite a pandemic
By Rachel Fritts [December 13, 2018, 1:47 pm]
If you take a stroll in the woods, it’s worth pausing for a moment to take in the sights and sounds, peer into the undergrowth, or even turn over a damp log or two. You’ll see birds rummaging for tasty snacks, squirrels scolding you from nearby tree branches, and colorful fungi springing up from the […]






COP24: Nations complicit in ignoring bioenergy climate bomb, experts say
By Justin Catanoso [December 13, 2018, 1:34 pm]
Burning wood pellets, once deemed as carbon neutral, produces big CO2 emissions instead. But developed nations are cooking the books on bioenergy, toying with climate disaster.






Global agreement on ‘conserved areas’ marks new era of conservation (commentary)
By Harry D. Jonas and Holly C. Jonas [December 13, 2018, 1:09 pm]
On November 29, 2018, the 196 Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a decision that represents a high-water mark for the governance of protected areas and marks a new era of “protected and conserved areas.” The decision, made during the 14th Conference of the Parties (COP 14) to the CBD, builds […]






From a new bird to a new community reserve: India’s tribe sets example
By Shreya Dasgupta [December 13, 2018, 10:02 am]
Other stories in this four-part series on the indigenous groups living around Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary in Arunachal Pradesh, India, will appear here upon publication.   SINGCHUNG, India — “Follow the rustling in the bushes,” whispers Phurpa Tsering, tiptoeing aside. I hear a brief low-pitched call. A bird, larger than a sparrow but smaller than a […]






A Zambian sanctuary finds caring for chimps is a lifetime commitment
By Humphrey Nkonde [December 13, 2018, 7:42 am]
COPPERBELT, Zambia — Thirty-five years ago, a game ranger in Zambia confiscated a baby chimpanzee from poachers who had smuggled it from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It was Oct. 18, 1983, when Pierre Faber took the animal to the farm owned by his in-laws, Sheila and David Siddle, and asked them to protect […]