Newsletter 2020-07-16



In the battle to save forests, a make-or-break moment for REDD+ by Carol J. Clouse [07/15/2020]

– In Part Two of this series delving into REDD+, Mongabay looks at whether it can still accomplish the stated mission, what it would take to make that happen, and why, despite more than a decade of disappointment and controversy, REDD+ true believers still hold out hope.
– REDD+ advocates have now hung their hopes on a private sector suddenly hungry to buy carbon credits to offset greenhouse gas emissions. Private sector demand for carbon credits, they hope, will increase the volume and push up the price of REDD+ carbon credits, both of which are necessary to drive much-needed financing into forest conservation.
– In early 2020, this hope appeared closer than ever to becoming a reality — then the coronavirus pandemic hit, causing private sector demand for carbon credits to plummet. Some of this decrease could turn out to be short term, but demand from at least one key sector, the airline industry, could take years to rebound.
– Another challenge facing REDD+ is a disagreement over whether individual project developers should be allowed to sell carbon credits directly to buyers, or if that should be left to the countries or states where the projects are located.

Risking death and arrest, Madagascar fishers chase dwindling sea cucumbers by Chris Scarffe [07/15/2020]

– For centuries, Chinese people have sought sea cucumbers as an ingredient in traditional medicine or as a high-status food.
– In recent decades, skyrocketing demand and prices have led to a marine gold rush for sea cucumbers around the world.
– In Madagascar, as elsewhere, wild sea cucumbers are declining.- Fishers are venturing further out to sea and into deeper waters to pursue them illegally using unsafe SCUBA gear.

The U.N.’s grand plan to save forests hasn’t worked, but some still believe it can by Carol J. Clouse [07/14/2020]

– Part one explores REDD+’s evolution up to the present: how a lofty plan meant to generate large-scale financing for global forest conservation and climate mitigation became a patchwork of individual projects and programs that have failed to achieve the central goal of curbing deforestation.
– Recent developments could represent something of a turning point for REDD+, including the first large-scale, “results-based” funding — the conditional financial incentives seen as key to REDD+’s success — from the U.N.-REDD Programme and the World Bank, and a surge in private-sector dollars for forest conservation and reforestation projects that could mark the beginning of a significant new source of cash.
– However, challenges remain to delivering REDD+ at its intended scale, not least of which is the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, which could potentially trip up progress just as REDD+ looked poised to gain some real ground.

‘In the plantations there is hunger and loneliness’: The cultural dimensions of food insecurity in Papua (commentary) by Sophie Chao [07/14/2020]

– Sophie Chao is an anthropologist who has spent years studying the Marind people of southern Papua.
– As palm oil companies take over their land, the Marind, she writes, are struggling to feed themselves.
– Photographs in this article feature Marind, Mandobo and Auyu tribespeople in southern Papua and were taken by Albertus Vembrianto.

Perfume coalition’s conservation-first approach: Q&A with Heather D’Angelo by [07/13/2020]

– Heather D’Angelo is an ecologist, musician and perfumer who recently launched the Coalition of Sustainable Perfumery (COSP) with fellow independent artisans.
– The initiative works to bring greater transparency to the beauty and fragrances industry, including in the way essential oils are grown, harvested, distilled and packaged.
– In an interview with Mongabay, D’Angelo talks about sustainability in the $30 billion perfume industry, her musical output, and why she’s reluctant to release a new fragrance in the time of pandemic.

For the world’s rarest gorillas, a troubled sanctuary by Linus Unah [07/13/2020]

– Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary (AMWS), near the Nigeria-Cameroon border, was established in 2000 to serve as a refuge for endangered primates including Cross River gorillas.
– Of an estimated 300 Cross River gorillas, around 100 live in a patchwork of adjoining protected areas: AMWS, Mbe Mountains, and the Okwangwo division of Cross River National Park.
– Though officially protected, the AMWS suffers from encroachment for hunting, logging and agriculture. Conservationists say rangers and resources are too few to effectively protect the sanctuary.
– Without a major commitment from the Cross River state government, the sanctuary “may very well be doomed,” one expert says.

‘On the edge’: Endangered forest cleared for marijuana in Paraguay by Aldo Benitez [07/09/2020]

– The Upper Parana is also one of the world’s most endangered forests. The ecoregion has been almost entirely cleared in Brazil, and Argentina holds the largest remaining areas of connected habitat. In Paraguay, studies estimate less than 10% remains, mostly as fragmented forest islands scatted across a largely unprotected, denuded landscape.
– Agriculture is the driving force of deforestation in Paraguay, with much of the country’s forests cleared legally to make way for cattle, soy, corn and sugar cane fields over the past half-century.
– But clearing for illicit marijuana cultivation is also taking a toll on the eastern Paraguay’s forests. According to the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD), 81,871 kilos (180,494 pounds) of marijuana were seized and 797 parcels were destroyed in Paraguay’s portion of the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest between 2015 and 2020. Investigation by Mongabay and La Nación found marijuana farms carved out of several national parks and reserves in eastern Paraguay.
– Government officials and NGO representatives say to more enforcement is needed on the ground, and that those found guilty of environmental crimes should be given harsher sentences.

Traditional villages dread living in shadow of Amazon tailings dams by Thais Borges and Sue Branford [07/09/2020]

– Mineração Rio do Norte (MRN), the world’s fourth largest bauxite producer, encroached on riverine communities beside the Trombetas River in the Brazilian Amazon in the 1970s. Over the years, MRN became notorious for its contamination of local waters with bauxite mining waste, residents say.
– To resolve that problem, the company built 26 tailings dams. The largest of these waste-holding impoundments covers 110 hectares (270 acres). The entire system for managing mining waste encompasses 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and is located within a national protected area.
– Brazil has suffered two catastrophic mining tailings dam collapses since 2015, leaving Trombetas riverine community residents concerned about the 26 MRN dams.
– Brazil’s National Agency of Mining has rated one of MRN’s dams as “high risk.” Fourteen more, should they fail, possess “social, environmental, economic and mortality risk.” MRN says its dams are safe. Locals are also worried over possible water contamination and loss of traditional livelihoods.



Brazil’s past finance ministers defend environment against Bolsonaro by Jenny Gonzales [Thu, 16 Jul 2020]
– In a surprise move, 17 former Brazilian Finance ministers and Central Bank presidents came out strongly this week against the environmental policies of President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.
– The letter signed by the 17 economic authorities presents four proposals for a green economy for the post-pandemic era: public and private investments in a low carbon economy; zero deforestation in the Amazon and the Cerrado; an increase in climate resilience; and a boost in new technology research and development.
– The letter comes as pressure mounts on Bolsonaro to scrap his plan for Amazon economic development, which would allow mining and agribusiness on indigenous and conserved lands leading to massive deforestation. EU nations, international investors and companies have all condemned Bolsonaro’s environment record in recent days.

Video: ‘Injustice’ for West Papuans whose land was sold out from under them by [Thu, 16 Jul 2020]
– Al Jazeera’s 101 East program recently aired a documentary about allegedly fraudulent land deals on Indonesian part of New Guinea, produced as part of a collaboration with Mongabay, The Gecko Project and the Korean Center for Investigative Journalism-Newstapa.

Philippine court rejects OceanaGold’s bid to keep mining on expired permit by [Thu, 16 Jul 2020]
– The Philippine Court of Appeals has dismissed a bid by a Canadian-Australian mining company to allow it to continue operating after its mining permit expired last year.
– OceanaGold Philippines Inc. (OGPI) was challenging a provincial directive encouraging residents to block the operations of the mining giant after the June 20, 2019 expiration.
– The company cites a letter from the national government’s mining bureau that it claims allows it to continue operating its Didipio gold and copper mine pending its application for a permit renewal.
– But the appellate court upheld a regional court’s ruling, saying that there’s no Philippine law that lets the company continue mining beyond the expiry of its permit or during the renewal application process.

Rainforest Alliance Certification gets a 2020 upgrade by Liz Kimbrough [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– Rainforest Alliance has announced new, more robust criteria for certification. The rollout of the new program begins this September and companies will be audited against the new standards beginning in July 2021.
– The updated certification program provides new standards for farmers and companies in the areas of human rights, supply chains, livelihoods, deforestation and biodiversity and provides new data systems and tools for management.
– Currently, 44,000 products with the Rainforest Alliance Certified seal or UTZ label are available.

Podcast: Can policy prevent a North American salamander pandemic? by [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– The United States is home to the world’s greatest diversity of salamanders, so experts are worried about another pandemic that is headed for the country, one that has salamanders in its sights.
– The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposed a ban on the trade of 201 salamander species in 2016. However, the recent discovery that frogs can also carry Bsal has led scientists to urge the American government to ban the import of all salamander and frog species.
– On this bonus episode of the podcast we speak with two experts about animal trade policy, differences in the way the United States conducts this policy from other nations, and what the U.S. might do to more effectively combat the threat.
– Former Program Manager for the Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies, Priya Nanjappa, and Tiffany Yap, a Staff Scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, share their thoughts on how policy and regulation could head off the looming salamander pandemic.

Corn growers in Brazil’s Cerrado reap a hostile climate of their own making by Maurício Angelo [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– Agribusiness entities that deforested vast swaths of the Cerrado biome in Brazil to grow corn are now suffering a drop in production because of climate changes brought about by their own actions.
– That’s the finding of a new study that shows the loss of native vegetation has led to more warm nights and changes in rainfall patterns, affecting corn crops that require moderate temperatures and reliable rainfall.
– The study’s authors say everyone loses from this scenario, and call for keeping the native vegetation in place as much as possible.
– International pressure and a serious commitment from agribusiness, which is largely resistant to efforts to preserve the Cerrado, might be the way to stop deforestation, they suggest.

Dam that threatens orangutan habitat faces three-year delay by Hans Nicholas Jong [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– Environmental, funding, and pandemic-related concerns may delay the construction of a controversial hydroelectric dam in Indonesia’s Sumatra Island by up to three years, officials say.
– The Batang Toru hydropower plant site is located in the only known habitat of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan, and conservationists have called for it to be scrapped or at least suspended to allow for an independent impact analysis.
– Major lenders including the World Bank’s International Financial Corporation and the Asian Development Bank have steered clear of the project, while main funder the Bank of China has promised a review in light of the environmental concerns.
– The IUCN has also issued a fact-checking report that debunks several claims by project developer PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy downplaying the impact of the plant on the orangutans and other wildlife in the area.

Indonesia’s new lobster export policy threatens Javan rhino habitat by Basten Gokkon [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– A decision allowing the resumption of lobster larvae exports threatens a national park in Indonesia that’s the last refuge of the critically endangered Javan rhino.
– Only 72 of the rhinos are left on Earth, and tend to frequent a coastal area of Ujung Kulon National Park that is now open to lobster fishers under a controversial decision by the fisheries ministry.
– Park officials and conservationists say the biggest threat to the species is human activity, and a potential influx of more than 300 fishers into their habitat could prove devastating.
– Conservationists say there needs to be an ecosystem-wide solution that minimizes the threat to the rhinos while also considering the livelihood of local fishers.

In Mexico, groups push for reforms to law promoting sustainable forest use by Thelma Gómez Durán [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– In June 2018, a law was approved that, despite having some success such as boosting community forest management, also had serious omissions, while paving the way for land use change in forested areas around cities.
– Comprised of various stakeholders, the National Forestry Council has presented an initiative to reform this legislation.
– Mexican legislators will consider these changes in the coming months.

‘Our life is plasticized’: New research shows microplastics in our food, water, air by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [Wed, 15 Jul 2020]
– Microplastics, plastic pieces smaller than 5 millimeters, have become increasingly prevalent in the natural world, and a suite of studies published in the last three years, including several from 2020, shows that they’ve contaminated not only the ocean and pristine wildernesses, but the air, our food, and even our bodies.
– Past research has indicated that 5.25 trillion plastic pieces are floating in the ocean, but a new study says that there are 2.5 to 10 times more microplastics in the ocean than previously thought, while another recent study found that microplastic “hotspots” could hold 1.9 million pieces per square meter.
– Other emerging research suggests that 136,000 tons of microplastics in the ocean are being ejected into the atmosphere each year, and blowing back onto land with the sea breeze, posing a risk to human health.
– Microplastics are also present in drinking water, and edible fruits and vegetables, according to new research, which means that humans are ingesting microplastics every day.

The woman building the forest corridors saving Brazil’s black lion tamarin by Sibélia Zanon [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– The Black Lion Tamarin Conservation program created a series of forest corridors to connect areas with isolated populations of this once critically endangered primate, bringing back to life pars of the Atlantic Forest in the Pontal do Paranapanema region of inland São Paulo state in Brazil.
– Gabriela Rezende, the biologist currently leading the program, was one of the winners of the prestigious Whitley Award for environmental conservation in 2020. The $50,000 prize will fund the continuing efforts to protect the black lion tamarin.
– The plan is to open more corridors and manage the population, moving the animals to accelerate their occupation of the forest and expand the population.
– The project also involves environmental education, professional training and the generation of income for the local population.

Deer droppings help researchers understand sambar antler development by Malaka Rodrigo [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– The sambar is the most widespread deer species in the Asian region, but there are very few studies on their reproduction and antler development cycles.
– A new Sri Lankan study focusing on testosterone levels in sambar droppings sheds light on the link between hormone levels in males with the development cycle of their antlers, though it doesn’t show clear seasonality like in deer in temperate regions.
– The sambar population in Horton Plains National Park in central Sri Lanka is unique in the formation of herds, which can grow to up to 20 individuals, in contrast to the much smaller herds found elsewhere.
– Sambar deer are a flagship species for the conservation of Horton Plains National Park, a unique habitat of montane wet grassland.

Top Amazon deforestation satellite researcher sacked by Bolsonaro by Jenny Gonzales [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– The 12-month deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon has risen 96% since President Jair Bolsonaro took office, and the extent of deforestation over the past year is the highest recorded since INPE, Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, started releasing monthly statistics in 2007.
– Three days after publication of this new data, the Bolsonaro administration removed researcher Lubia Vinhas from the position of general coordinator for INPE’s Earth Observation Agency which oversees the monitoring of Amazon deforestation.
– The government claims that the removal of Vinhas is occurring as part of an INPE bureaucracy reshuffling to improve efficiency. However, environmental NGOs are suspicious, noting that last August, Bolsonaro fired INPE Director Ricardo Galvão after he similarly published new data showing rapidly rising Amazon deforestation rates.
– Analysts note that the INPE report on soaring deforestation, and the dismissal of Vinhas, both come as Bolsonaro is being assailed by criticism from international and Brazilian businesses and investment firms, as well as EU nations, for Brazil’s poor environmental record, especially regarding deforestation and climate change.

An export boom threatens to put Madagascar’s mud crabs in hot water by Malavika Vyawahare [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– A recent decision by the Malagasy government to grant permits to export live mud crabs to five Chinese companies has sparked controversy and highlighted the country’s struggle to sustainably manage an overexploited fishery.
– Civil society organizations like Southern African Regional Non-State Platform in Fisheries and Aquaculture (SANSAFA) Madagascar and the National Network of Women in Fisheries in Madagascar (RENAFEP) are demanding the ministry cancel the permits, saying the move harms local fishers and businesses.
– For some, the opposition to the permits is rooted in resentment that coastal communities work to restore habitats and bear the brunt of fishing closures and restrictions while outsiders reap the rewards.
– Even as exports of live crabs boom, the absence of an overarching national strategy and the lack of data to guide measures is hurting efforts to make the fisheries more sustainable, experts say.

Habitat of newly described frog in Sumatra threatened by oil palms, roads by Ahmad SupardiRahmadi Rahmad [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– Scientists have described a new frog species found in the southern lowland forests of Indonesia’s Sumatra Island.
– But the habitat where this frog is found is being devastated by encroaching oil palm plantations and infrastructure projects.
– The scientists who described the new species have called for the protection of lowland forests in southern Sumatra where other nearly extinct species live, including tigers and elephants.

What is a wildebeest? Candid Animal Cam heads to the savannah by [Tue, 14 Jul 2020]
– 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.

Shark fin stories by major media ‘misleading’: Q&A with David Shiffman by Jimmy Thomson [Mon, 13 Jul 2020]
– “There are many threats facing sharks, but [finning] gets the most attention,” says David Shiffman.
– Overfishing presents the greatest threat to sharks, not the practice of finning, he says, yet finning gets the most media coverage and that consequently skews popular opinion, and policy.
– An analysis of 10 years of media reports recently published by Shiffman et al in the journal iScience shows that 2/3 of all articles in the media about threats to sharks focused on finning, and the trade in shark fins.
– “The solution overwhelmingly supported by surveyed scientific experts is not banning fishing for sharks and trade in shark products, but making fishing more sustainable,” he says in this conversation with Mongabay.

Life as an Amazon activist: ‘I don’t want to be the next Dorothy Stang’ by Peter Speetjens [Mon, 13 Jul 2020]
– Socio-environmental activists are an endangered species in the Brazilian Amazon, with regularly occurring assassination-style killings like those of activists Chico Mendes in 1988 and Sister Dorothy Stang in 2005 creating an ongoing climate of fear.
– According to human rights watchdog Global Witness, Brazil in 2017 was the world’s most dangerous country for environmental acivists: 57 out of 201 deaths worldwide occurred in Brazil. Intimidation and murder of activists continues into the present.
– Activist Juma Xipaya saw the village she grew up in fundamentally changed by the building of the Belo Monte mega-dam. When she later exposed corruption and incompetence she faced death threats and now lives perpetually on guard.
– In recent years, Xipaya has been repeatedly pursued by a white pickup driven by two armed thugs, but police fail to respond to her pleas for help. The men eventually made an attempt on her life — a close call that almost killed her and her children.

Logging concession in Malaysian Borneo lacks consent of Indigenous communities (commentary) by Fiona McAlpine [Mon, 13 Jul 2020]
– A logging concession green-lighted in Malaysian Borneo during the COVID crisis lacks the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities required by the Malaysia Timber Certification Scheme.
– Home to Indigenous Kenyah Jamok people and a multitude of endemic animal species, the logging company is nevertheless now within its rights to cut the rainforests here.
– Staff from The Borneo Project visited just before the COVID lockdown to see how a citizen science survey of biodiversity which they support is progressing.
– This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Video: As COVID-19 curbs patrols in Nicaragua, turtle eggs risk being poached by Monica Pelliccia [Mon, 13 Jul 2020]
– Conservation organization Paso Pacifico, which monitors Nicaragua’s Pacific beaches where thousands of threatened sea turtles lay their eggs every year, recently had to stop its activities due to the COVID-19 crisis.
– Park rangers fear that the lack of surveillance could lead to massive poaching of turtle eggs.
– Poaching has previously increased when the country’s political crises left the beaches unprotected.

Indonesia approves coal road project through forest that hosts tigers, elephants by Elviza Diana [Mon, 13 Jul 2020]
– The Indonesian government has granted permission to a coal company to build a road that would cut through the highly biodiverse Harapan forest in Sumatra.
– The road is for transporting coal from the company’s mine to power plants in South Sumatra province.
– Experts have called on the company to have the road skirt the forest and use an existing road network, but the company has not issued any revision of its design.
– Conservationists and indigenous communities have warned that the road could devastate the ecosystem, create more habitat fragmentation and facilitate further encroachment for logging, hunting and agriculture.

Siberian heat drives Arctic ice extent to record low for early July by Gloria Dickie [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– On June 17, 2020, a Siberian town registered a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded above the Arctic Circle. High temps across the region are driving impacts of great concern to scientists, firefighters, and those who maintain vulnerable Arctic infrastructure, including pipelines, roads, and buildings.
– The Siberian heat flowed over the adjacent Arctic Ocean where it triggered record early sea ice melt in the Laptev Sea, and record low Arctic sea ice extent for this time of year. While 2020 is well positioned to set a new low extent record over 2012, variations in summer weather could change that.
– The heat has also triggered wildfires in Siberia, releasing 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in June and drying out the region’s tundra. Some blazes are known as “zombie fires” possibly having smoldered underground all winter between 2019 and 2020.
– Also at risk from the rapid rise in warmth is civil and militaryinfrastructure, built atop thawing permafrost. As Siberia heated up this year, a fuel tank at a Russian power plant collapsed, leaking 21,000 tons of diesel into the Ambarnaya and Dadylkan rivers, a major Arctic disaster. Worse could come as the world continues warming.

Deforestation rate climbs higher as Amazon moves into the burning season by [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon climbed higher for the fifteenth straight month, reaching levels not seen since the mid-2000s, according to data released today by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE.
– INPE’s satellite-based deforestation alert system detected 1,034 square kilometers of forest clearing during June 2020 bringing the twelve-month total to 9,564 sq km, 89% higher than a year ago.
– The extent of deforestation over the past year is the highest on record since INPE started releasing monthly numbers in 2007.
– The 12-month deforestation rate has risen 96% since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

‘Unacceptably high’ risk of tailings dam failure in Canadian miner’s Amazon project by Maurício Angelo [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– A new report by a prominent geophysicist calls for Canadian company Belo Sun’s proposed gold mine in Brazil’s Pará state to be rejected by authorities.
– The report warns of the high risk of a failure of the tailings dam for the proposed mine, and cites the dam design’s lack of seismic safety criteria, which is a violation of Brazilian regulations.
– Belo Sun’s Volta Grande mine would be the largest open-pit gold mine in Latin America, but would overlap onto Indigenous territories, many of whose inhabitants have not been consulted about the project.
– The license for the project is currently suspended over permitting violations, while the project also faces a slew of legal inquiries from federal and state authorities.

10-year plan hopes to give western chimpanzees a fighting chance by Jim Tan [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– The IUCN recently released its latest 10-year action plan for the critically endangered western chimpanzee.
– Poaching, habitat loss and disease were identified as the key threats to the species.
– These threats were found to be exacerbated by the high rate of population growth in West Africa, resulting in rapid agricultural expansion and a demand for economic development projects.
– The IUCN plan sets out nine strategies to be implemented between 2020 and 2030; they include filling research gaps, ensuring chimpanzees are considered in land use planning, improving legal protection, and raising awareness of the plight of western chimpanzees.

A third of Madagascar’s lemur species on the brink of extinction, IUCN warns by Malavika Vyawahare [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– Of the 107 lemur species, iconic primates that are endemic to Madagascar, 103 are threatened, with 33 of them now recognized as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List.
– Among those now considered critically endangered are the tiniest primate in the world, the Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur (Microcebus berthae), and the Verreaux’s sifaka (Propithecus verreauxi), a creature known for its peculiar sideways hop that gives the impression it is dancing.
– Half of the primate species of Africa are also under threat, including the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei), the largest living primate.
– Also in danger of extinction: one of the largest whales species, the North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), the European hamster (Cricetus cricetus) and the world’s most expensive fungus, the caterpillar fungus (Ophiocordyceps sinensis).

Camera snaps first ever glimpse of a troop of the world’s rarest gorilla by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– A camera in Nigeria’s Mbe Mountains captured the first known images of a large group of Cross River gorillas, including adults, juveniles and babies, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS).
– It’s estimated that there are about 300 Cross River gorillas left in the world, with about a third of the population living in three contiguous sites in Nigeria, and 30 to 35 individuals based in the Mbe Mountains.
– Due to conservation efforts, no Cross River gorillas have been reported poached since 2012, according to WCS.

Oil slick threatens Philippine mangrove forest recovering from earlier spill by Jun N. Aguirre [Fri, 10 Jul 2020]
– An explosion aboard a power barge off the Philippine island of Guimaras has spilled up to a quarter million liters of fuel oil, threatening local communities and mangrove and seagrass habitats.
– The barge operator, AC Energy Inc., says the cleanup could take two weeks; local disaster mitigation officials say more than 300 families are affected and have ordered an evacuation.
– The mangroves off Guimaras were affected by the Philippines’ biggest ever oil spill in 2006, when an oil tanker sank, spilling half a million liters of fuel and affecting 648 hectares (1,600 acres) of mangrove forests and seagrass areas, which are only now recovering.
– Officials are conducting cleanup efforts to keep the latest oil spill away from the recovering mangrove swamps.

Brazilian meatpacker expands with World Bank funding but fails to reduce impacts in the Amazon by Naira Hofmeister [Thu, 09 Jul 2020]
– In 2013, the World Bank’s private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, injected $85 million into Minerva.
– The money was for expansion of the meatpacker’s operations in Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Colombia, granted on the condition that an environmental and social action plan be implemented in all those countries.
– The IFC understood that Minerva’s activities represented environmental and social risks, including deforestation, child labor, forced labor and land con-flicts.
– Seven years later, the company has become Latin America’s leading beef exporter, but continues to face criticism over the uncertain origin of its products.

Madagascar remembers Guy Suzon Ramangason, a champion of protected areas by Mickah Raharisoa [Thu, 09 Jul 2020]
– In April, Madagascar lost a prominent champion of the country’s system of protected areas.
– Guy Suzon Ramangason was director-general of Madagascar National Parks, the quasi-governmental agency that manages many of the country’s protected areas, for 16 years.
– He helped develop and promote numerous protected areas across the country during his long career in conservation.



Pandemic or not, the mission to save the rare Philippine eagle grinds on by Leilani Chavez [07/08/2020]
Investors say agroforestry isn’t just climate friendly — it’s also profitable by Stephanie Hanes [07/08/2020]
World Bank’s IFC pumped $1.8b into factory farming operations since 2010 by Ashoka Mukpo [07/07/2020]
Brazilian court orders 20,000 gold miners removed from Yanomami Park by Sue Branford [07/07/2020]
Gray areas and weak policies mar lucrative Asian trade in live reef fish by Keith Anthony Fabro [07/06/2020]
World’s biggest trade deal in trouble over EU anger at Brazil deforestation by Jenny Gonzales [07/06/2020]
For two rhino species on brink of extinction, it’s collaboration vs. stonewalling by Lauren Evans [07/06/2020]
COVID-19 lockdown precipitates deforestation across Asia and South America by James Fair [07/03/2020]