Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company
By Hans Nicholas Jong [June 21, 2018, 9:55 am]
JAKARTA — Indonesia’s national commission on human rights has vowed to investigate the death of a journalist who was being held on charges of defaming a palm oil company owned by a powerful tycoon. From November 2017 to March of this year, Muhammad Yusuf wrote at least 23 articles for the news portals Kemajuan Rakyat and […]

Orangutan forest school in Indonesia takes on its first eight students
By Jim Tan [June 21, 2018, 9:04 am]
On May 17, 2018, the first eight orange-furred students arrived to begin their studies at a new orangutan forest school in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo. Under the watchful eye of primatologist Signe Preuschoft, the goal is to help these orangutan orphans learn all the skills they’ll need to live independent lives […]

Amber deposits yield oldest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests
By [June 20, 2018, 9:16 pm]
Tropical rainforests are home to the vast majority of the world’s frog species today. Yet frog fossils from these moist environments have been incredibly rare, largely because the small animals have tiny bones, which make preservation difficult, and the wet conditions usually lead to their quick decomposition. This lack of frog fossil records has made […]

Commercial values are a key driver of Zero Deforestation policies (commentary)
By Róisín Mortimer [June 20, 2018, 1:45 pm]
According to a recent report created for the Prince of Wales’ Sustainability Institute, there are now more than 470 companies with commitments to ensure their company is not linked to deforestation. These are commonly known as Zero Deforestation Policies (ZDPs). With increased small-scale deforestation in Amazonia, approximately 4,000 hectares recently cleared in Indonesian Papua for […]

Illegal mining creeps into southern Bahuaja-Sonene National Park
By VANESSA ROMO [June 20, 2018, 9:49 am]
ALTO INAMBARI, Peru — There are some places that we always remember better than others. That is what David Araníbar says when he thinks about the district of Alto Inambari, seven hours away from the city of Puno in Peru’s Sandia Province. Araníbar, the director of Bahuaja-Sonene National Park, grew up in that area of […]

Puan, the world’s oldest Sumatran orangutan, dies at 62
By Hans Nicholas Jong [June 20, 2018, 9:19 am]
JAKARTA — Puan, the world’s oldest living Sumatran orangutan, has died at an Australian zoo after a lifetime spent in service to the conservation of the critically endangered species. Officials at Perth Zoo, where Puan had lived for the past 50 years, euthanized her on June 18, citing age-related health complications. She was 62 years […]

Here’s how much Antarctica’s melting ice is already contributing to sea level rise
By [June 19, 2018, 3:38 pm]
In July of last year, a 5,800-square-kilometer (2,239-square-mile) block of ice broke off of the Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica and fell into the Southern Ocean. The newly created iceberg was massive, about the size of the US state of Delaware, but it did not contribute to rising sea levels, as it was already floating […]

Peru’s Bahuaja-Sonene National Park at risk over illegal mining
By VANESSA ROMO [June 19, 2018, 1:41 pm]
KOTSIMBA, Peru — In Peru’s Madre de Dios region, illegal mining is everywhere. From the Interoceanic Highway, which lies just 100 miles from Puerto Maldonado, the region’s capital, one can see that a riverbed has been converted into a long desert-like trail. Those from the area refer to it as the “Dos de Mayo River,” […]

Madagascar: Yet another anti-trafficking activist convicted
By Edward Carver [June 19, 2018, 12:11 pm]
Pardalis chameleon (Furcifer pardalis), a resident of the Masoala Peninsula in northeastern Madagascar, where illegal rosewood logging has taken a heavy toll on forests. Image by Rhett A. Butler.An activist working to stem corruption and wildlife trafficking in northeastern Madagascar was convicted and immediately released earlier this month — a tactic that has become common in the island nation and is seen as a way of cracking down on environmental activism. The charges against Christopher Magnenjika included “rebellion” and insulting local officials. He spent […]

Facing resource crisis, Indonesia charts a ‘green development’ course
By Hans Nicholas Jong [June 19, 2018, 11:50 am]
SINGAPORE — Indonesia’s development model over the decades has been to exploit its abundant natural resources to feed a population that’s now ballooned to 260 million and fuel an economy that’s among the world’s top 20. So while it boasts some of the last great swaths of tropical rainforest anywhere in the world, it has […]

2018 Arctic sea ice melt season just got a big headstart
By Gloria Dickie [June 19, 2018, 11:07 am]
A very mild May over the Arctic Ocean could be setting us up for record ice loss at the September minimum; a giant cyclone and high temps in June escalated the melt.

Animals are becoming night owls to avoid humans
By [June 19, 2018, 10:07 am]
Large mammals are spending more time hunting and foraging under the cover of darkness to avoid humans, a new study has found. Researchers compiled data from 76 studies, and analyzed activity patterns of 62 mammal species, including bears, deer, coyotes and tigers, to find that wild animals were 1.36 times more active at night in areas […]

One tortoise at a time: Q&A with zoo veterinarian Justin Rosenberg
By John C. Cannon [June 19, 2018, 9:34 am]
An international effort is underway in Madagascar to save thousands of threatened tortoises that were discovered in an abandoned house in the city of Toliara in April. The first descriptions of the bust were shocking — piles of tea-saucer-size tortoises crawling over each other through their own excrement, the smell of which reportedly telegraphed their […]

Oil palm plantations in Amazonia inhospitable to tropical forest biodiversity: Study
By [June 18, 2018, 5:42 pm]
According to a study published in the journal PloS One late last year, the Brazilian Amazon has about 2.3 million square kilometers (nearly 900,000 square miles) of land suitable for oil palm cultivation, making it one of the largest areas in the world for potential expansion of the palm oil industry. That, coupled with the […]

‘Not all doom and gloom’: Q&A with conservation job market researchers
By Jeremy Hance [June 18, 2018, 3:38 pm]
Ebony langur (Trachypithecus auratus). Image by Rhett Butler.You grew up watching David Attenborough documentaries and reading Gerald Durrell memoirs. You volunteered banding marmosets in Brazil. You have a bachelor’s in biology and a master’s in conservation biology. You spent a year interning at an international NGO. You’ve got the passion, the education, the experience — but now you just can’t find a […]

Community evicted by accused murderer seeks justice for Gabriel Filho
By Anna Sophie Gross [June 18, 2018, 1:05 pm]
Brazilian law allows landless families to claim abandoned private land. But Gabriel Filho residents have been evicted by a large-scale landowner accused of killing the hamlet’s namesake.

In Peru, coca puts one of the world’s best coffee crops at risk
By VANESSA ROMO [June 18, 2018, 11:34 am]
PUNO REGION, Peru – “Life isn’t tranquil here anymore. Not long ago, my neighbor came running, frightened. [She said] a group of drug traffickers came to her house, put a gun to her mouth, and told her: ‘If you keep complaining in the assemblies, you’re going to be as cold as he is.’” The “he” […]

In a land hit by the resource curse, a new gold mine spooks officials
By Basten Gokkon [June 17, 2018, 11:15 pm]
JAKARTA — Environmental officials have warned of the potentially catastrophic impact of a planned gold mine in a conservation zone in eastern Indonesia, amid mixed signals from the district chief responsible for approving the project. The proposed mine would cover 233 square kilometers (90 square miles), an area four times the size of Manhattan, in […]

Latam Eco Review: Paddington Bear Captured on Camera in Peru
By [June 15, 2018, 3:47 pm]
Among the top articles from our Spanish language service, Mongabay Latam, for the week of June 4 – 10 was one about a golden spectacled bear named after Paddington Bear that was caught by a camera trap for the first time in Peru. In other news, the debate on hydroelectric plants intensifies in Colombia, and […]

Footage of elusive Negros bleeding-heart dove captured in the wild
By [June 15, 2018, 3:19 pm]
New footage of one of one of the most elusive birds in the world — the critically endangered Negros bleeding heart dove — has been released. A team with the Bristol Zoological Society, a UK-based conservation and education NGO, spent five days searching for the bird in the forests of the Philippines’ Panay Island in […]