Newsletter 2021-06-17



Tanzania’s “Ivory Queen” denied release after appeal by Lucy Taylor [06/17/2021]

– Judge sends case of trafficking ringleader Yang Fenglan back to trial court.
– Case is among Africa’s biggest wildlife trafficking convictions, involving 860 elephant tusks worth $6 million.
– Yang and two co-accused remain in jail but will have opportunity for new appeal.
– Tanzania’s Director of Public Prosecutions tells Mongabay the case is a message to the world.

It’s an ‘incredibly exciting’ time for the field of bioacoustics by Mike Gaworecki [06/16/2021]

– On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we look at why it’s such an “incredibly exciting” time to be involved in the field of conservation bioacoustics — and we listen to some new and favorite wildlife recordings, too.
– Our guest is Laurel Symes, assistant director of the K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics at Cornell University’s Lab of Ornithology. Symes tells us about how a new $24 million endowment will allow the center to expand its support for bioacoustics research and technology around the world and why this field is poised to make a huge impact on conservation.
– After our conversation with her, we listen to some of the most interesting bioacoustics recordings we’ve featured on the Mongabay Newscast, including the sounds of elephants, lemurs, gibbons, right whales, humpback whales, and frogs.

Illegal logging in Philippines’ Palawan stokes fears of a mining resurgence by Keith Anthony Fabro [06/15/2021]

– Since November 2020, Indigenous people have observed trees that have been illegally felled within a mining concession in southern Palawan, an island in the western Philippines.
– The forests are sacred to the Indigenous Pala’wan people, who have for decades fought against plans to mine the area.
– Against the backdrop of loosening restrictions on mining both nationally and locally, Pala’wan leaders and local NG0s say the logging could be a precursor for a resurgence of mining.
– The concession holder has denied any link to the illegal activity, while the government’s mining agency has said it wasn’t done at the company’s initiative.

Paid in Blood: Standing up to private interests often turns deadly in Brazil by Yessenia Funes [06/14/2021]

– In 2017, police officers killed 10 rural workers in Pau D’Arco, Pará, Brazil. On January 26, 2021, a survivor—Fernando dos Santos Araújo—was found shot in his home.
– His story reveals a frightening pattern in Brazil where standing up to private interests often turns deadly.
– The land remains in dispute, but the workers argue it has cost them enough already. They’ve paid in blood.

Conservation solutions in paradise: Jamaica’s Oracabessa Bay Fishing Sanctuary by Gladstone Taylor [06/10/2021]

– A group of local fishermen and tourism industry stakeholders established a fishing sanctuary several years ago in Oracabessa Bay in response to a decline in vital Jamaican coastal life like coral and herbivorous fish.
– Surveys indicate an increase in reef health due to the efforts despite challenges, and the conservation model is set to be replicated at multiple other sites in Jamaica.



Will Nevada support renewable energy vs biodiversity & Indigenous rights? (commentary) by Max Wilbert [17 Jun 2021]
– Despite opposition from the Fort McDermitt Paiute Shoshone tribe, ranchers and environmentalists, a company proposes to build a lithium mine on these Indigenous peoples’ lands in Nevada, which hold great ecological and cultural significance, to serve the booming renewable energy sector.
– The proposal for Thacker Pass illustrates that while renewable energy has the potential to reduce our dependence on oil, gas, and coal, at scale it poses its own environmental threats to water, land, and biodiversity.
– “A true ecological society must, first and foremost, protect biodiversity and natural habitat where it exists, not sacrifice it for industrial-scale energy production,” writes the co-founder of a protest camp seeking to protect the area from development.
– This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.

Environmental benefits or social — but rarely both — under RSPO, study finds by Hans Nicholas Jong [17 Jun 2021]
– Oil palm plantations certified under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) can promote environmental benefits, but have a limited impact on rural development, a new study has found.
– The study analyzes trade-offs between development and environmental impacts of RSPO on local communities in Indonesia.
– It found that the certification scheme can be effective in terms of promoting both conservation and development outcomes, but under certain conditions.
– A key factor found to influence the outcomes is terrain flatness: steeper slopes are more expensive to cultivate, making it less likely that palm oil companies will implement more environmentally friendly practices.

Land dispute turns violent as Sumatran Indigenous groups clash with pulpwood firm by Ayat S. Karokaro [17 Jun 2021]
– A recent clash between Indigenous community members in Sumatra and workers from pulpwood producer PT Toba Pulp Lestari has marred ongoing efforts to resolve a decades-long land conflict.
– The two sides have been locked in dispute over the land in North Tapanuli district since 1992, with 23 Indigenous communities claiming ancestral rights to some 20,754 hectares (51,284 acres) inside the concession granted to TPL, an affiliate of pulp and paper giant Royal Golden Eagle.
– In the wake of the recent clash, Indonesia’s national parliament has called on the police to investigate and press charges against the company for the violence against the communities.
– While a resolution is still far from being achieved, many members of the Indigenous communities defending their land claims against TPL have been met with violence and imprisonment.

Malaysian council opens hearing into claims of timber certification flaws by Sheryl Lee Tian Tong [17 Jun 2021]
– For more than a year, Indigenous communities in Malaysian Borneo have been campaigning against timber conglomerate Samling’s certified-sustainable production plantations.
– They allege the certification processes for the plantations, which overlap with their traditional territory, were flawed and carried out without proper community consent; Samling has denied the allegations.
– The Malaysian Timber Certification Council last month launched a dispute resolution case between the two sides, giving the communities a chance to formally air their complaints.
– The conflict comes as the local government works toward a 2022 goal to have all timber companies obtain sustainable forest management certification.

‘Watered-down’ plan to save India Ocean yellowfin tuna disappoints conservationists by Malavika Vyawahare [17 Jun 2021]
– Highly contentious negotiations this month over Indian Ocean yellowfin tuna catches have led to the adoption of an interim plan proposed by the Maldives, a major tuna fishing nation.
– The issue has pitted distant-water fishing parties like the EU against Indian Ocean countries like the Maldives, Indonesia and Iran that share a coast with the ocean.
– The EU has historically reeled in about a third of yellowfin tuna catches that feed a highly profitable industry, while most coastal states have subsistence fisheries that occur within their own waters.
– The EU’s refusal to take deeper cuts, and objections posed by five coastal states, will make it very difficult to curb overfishing in 2022, when the plan will be enforced, experts say.

Sri Lanka braces for fallout of sunken cargo ship’s toxic payload by Dennis Mombauer [16 Jun 2021]
– Environmental experts and officials are bracing for the worst as the partially sunken MV X-Press Pearl cargo ship threatens a massive oil and chemical leak, in addition to the millions of plastic beads it has already released.
– The beads, or nurdles, are so far the most prominent manifestation of the disaster, and have washed up along the island’s western coast around Colombo, with indications of underwater plastic pollution too.
– The ship’s cargo of nitric acid and its bunker fuel pose threats of widespread pollution and changes to the seawater’s chemistry, which could cause great damage to sensitive marine ecosystems.
– Over the long term, the accumulation of microplastics as well as the diluted chemicals could cascade through the food web and contaminate entire ecosystems for years or even decades to come, experts warn.

Coal phase-out plan gets pushback in power-hungry Indonesia by Hans Nicholas Jong [16 Jun 2021]
– Officials and industry in Indonesia have questioned a plan by the national utility to phase out all coal-fired power plants, while clean energy advocates have welcomed the proposal.
– The main objections to the plan include the high cost of prematurely retiring coal-fired power plants that haven’t achieved a return on investment, and the persistently high price of renewable energy compared to coal in Indonesia.
– Supporters of the plan say it’s not just economically feasible, but over the long term would work out cheaper than maintaining coal plants, while creating millions of jobs in the renewable energy sector.
– A glaring inconsistency in the plan, however, is that the utility is at the same time also planning to bring 117 under-construction and planned coal-fired power plants online, negating any notion of a “phase-out.”

Singapore launches new carbon marketplace for nature conservancy projects by Sheryl Lee Tian Tong [16 Jun 2021]
– Singapore last month launched a carbon trading marketplace backed by its state investment firm, stock exchange and largest bank.
– The Climate Impact X initiative has two main platforms: a marketplace for nature-based projects, and an exchange where carbon credits can be freely traded in larger quantities.
– Demand for nature-based carbon credits — those linked to ecosystem conservation and restoration projects — has been growing in recent years, but high-quality credits remain scarce.
– The new platform aims to harness the potential of nature-based solutions in Southeast Asia, protecting at-risk forests while unlocking high-quality carbon credits for businesses.

Tin mines close in on an Indonesian hamlet still clinging to nature by Intan Iskandar [16 Jun 2021]
– The Indigenous Lom people of Tuing hamlet have been guarding their area from the environmental dangers of mining activity for centuries; theirs is the only hamlet left in their community still free from tin mines.
– Tin mining dominates the economy in Bangka, an island off southeast Sumatra, but growing demand for the metal has wrought devastating ecological impact to the island that was once a paradise.
– The waters off Tuing now face a similar fate after zoning plans for coastal areas recently approved by the local government allow for mining to take place.
– The Lom people say they stand against the local government and state-owned miner PT Timah in proceeding with a mining plan that might push the island’s oldest community traditions into extinction.

Two new Javan rhino calves spotted in the species’ last holdout by Basten Gokkon [16 Jun 2021]
– Indonesia has announced sightings of two Javan rhino calves this year in Ujung Kulon National Park, the last place on Earth where the critically endangered species is found.
– The new additions bring the estimated population of the species to 73; conservationists have recorded at least one new calf a year joining the population since 2012.
– Despite the stable population growth, the rhinos remain under the looming threat of disease, natural disaster, and a resurgence in encroachment.

Banks increased deforestation-linked investments by $8B during Covid-19: report by [15 Jun 2021]
– A new analysis of financial data by Forests & Finance, a coalition of NGOs, has found that weak policies and continued major investments in forest-risk sectors are driving deforestation in Southeast Asia, Latin America and West and Central Africa.
– The group compared the environmental commitments of the world’s 50 top financial institutions against their investments, lending and guarantees to more than 200 companies operating in deforestation-linked industries such as palm oil and beef.
– The group found an increase of more than $8 billion of investments in deforestation-linked companies compared to the previous year.
– The Forests & Finance database was made publicly searchable last year and includes data going back to 2013.

New ecolabel will certify ‘Whale-Safe’ shipping companies and cruise lines by Claudia Geib [15 Jun 2021]
– A new eco-label will certify freight and cruise companies that take steps to keep their ships from colliding with whales.
– To earn the label, companies must have 24/7 monitoring aboard their ships, share whale observation data through a digital platform, have procedures in place to act if a whale is sighted, and follow local speed and navigation rules.
– The challenge ahead is to persuade companies to sign up and comply — a task that will come down to pressure from customers and may be easier for some kinds of maritime companies than others, experts say.

Can the Japanese seafood industry reconcile their finances with nature? by François Mosnier [15 Jun 2021]
– Despite the global depletion of fish populations from overfishing, it seems surprising that Japan’s seafood sector is increasingly generating revenue.
– Investors have rewarded these companies for using management strategies to offset the impact of depleted resources on their businesses, rather than for ensuring those assets stop being degraded.
– A new analysis by Planet Tracker finds that companies have used foreign expansion, acquisitions, vertical integration, cost-cutting and de-leveraging as strategies to increase their profitability.
– Companies should instead ensure that fishing quotas are set in line with scientific advice and not higher than maximum sustainable yields, and ensure that they eventually cover all species.

Forest advocates press EU leader to rethink views on biomass and energy by Justin Catanoso [15 Jun 2021]
– EU officials are currently working to finalize REDII renewable energy policy revisions and amendments by mid-July for EU parliamentary review. One component of that review is to determine whether forest biomass burning will continue to be considered carbon neutral by the 27 EU member states.
– Current science is clear: burning forest biomass to make energy is not carbon neutral, and the burning of wood pellets is dirtier per unit of electricity than burning coal. But the forestry industry and EU continue defending biomass, prompting an open letter from forest advocates harpooning the policy.
– In the leadup to the updated REDII policy revision proposals, European Commission Exec. VP Frans Timmermans says he truly values forests, but simultaneously believes that cutting them down and burning them to make electricity remains viable climate policy. More than 50% of the EU’s current wood harvest is being burned for energy.
– “Ecocide threatens the survivability of our forests. I certainly don’t underestimate the challenges we face, but still, I believe [burning forest] biomass can play a very useful role in the energy transition,” says Timmermans.

Climate change isn’t fueling algal blooms the way we think, study shows by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [15 Jun 2021]
– A team of international researchers recently published the first global assessment of harmful algal blooms (HABs) — events in which toxic algae proliferate and cause harm to marine life and humans — based on nearly 10,000 recorded events between 1985 and 2018.
– The study found that there are no global trends that would suggest that climate change is having a uniform impact on HABs throughout the world, although this is a commonly held belief.
– The researchers were able to detect clearer regional trends that showed increases, decreases or no significant changes in HABs in certain parts of the world.
– It also found that there was a perceived increase in HABs amid the booming aquaculture industry, although the study does not necessarily suggest that aquaculture is causing an increase in HABs.

Marbled cat: Candid Animal Cam meets the mini clouded leopard by Romina Castagnino [15 Jun 2021]
– Every two weeks, 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.

Meet the 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners by Liz Kimbrough [15 Jun 2021]
– This year marks the 32nd anniversary of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which honors one grassroots activist from each of the six inhabited continents.
– The 2021 prize winners are Sharon Lavigne from the United States, Gloria Majiga-Kamoto from Malawi, Thai Van Nguyen from Vietnam, Maida Bilal from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kimiko Hirata from Japan, and Liz Chicaje Churay from Peru.

Calls for independent probe after anti-mine Indonesian official dies by Basten GokkonDella Syahni [15 Jun 2021]
– Helmud Hontong, deputy head of the Sangihe Islands district in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi province, who was a staunch opponent of a planned gold mine in the district, died under mysterious circumstances on a commercial flight last week.
– Human rights and environmental activists have called for an independent investigation into Hontong’s sudden death, saying it might be connected to his stance against the concession that covers nearly three-fifths of the district’s land area.
– Hontong’s death is the latest in a disturbing pattern of environmental defenders dying under suspicious circumstances in Indonesia.
– Environmentalists say they’re worried that the mining activity will lead to ecological destruction in Sangihe and exacerbate any potential damage from an earthquake in this seismically active region.

Rocky Mountains are burning more now than ever, and it could get worse by Liz Kimbrough [14 Jun 2021]
– Wildfires in the high elevation Rocky Mountains are burning nearly twice as often as in the past, according to a new study that looks back at 2,000 years of data.
– While fires in the Rockies, like in the U.S. West, are part of the natural cycle, the study authors say the current rate of burning puts us in “uncharted territory.”
– Fires are expected to continue, and increase in frequency, as climate change leads to hotter and drier summers.
– The findings add to growing calls to address the causes of climate change, while simultaneously working to adapt to and mitigate the impacts of wildfires on human communities.

Illegal miners block Indigenous leaders headed to protests in Brazil’s capital by Ana Ionova [14 Jun 2021]
– Illegal gold miners slashed the tires of a bus and threatened to set it on fire in a bid to block leaders in the Munduruku Indigenous Reserve from traveling to Brazil’s capital to attend planned protests this week, Indigenous groups and authorities say.
– Indigenous leaders had to be escorted by police as they tried to reach the capital and take part in protests against invasions of their lands and violence against their people, advocates say.
– The attacks come weeks after miners fired shots and set houses ablaze in the Munduruku reserve, fueling worries about more violence against Indigenous people after federal authorities retreated from the area.
– Federal prosecutors and Indigenous groups have called for firmer measures against the illegal miners and permanent protection for the Munduruku Indigenous people.

After two collapses, a third Vale dam at ‘imminent risk of rupture’ by Juliana Ennes [14 Jun 2021]
– Vale, the Brazilian mining company responsible for two deadly dam collapses since 2015, has another dam that’s at “imminent risk of rupture,” a government audit warns.
– The Xingu dam at Vale’s Alegria mine in Mariana municipality, Minas Gerais state, has been retired since 1998, but excess water in the mining waste that it’s holding back threatens to liquefy the embankment and spark a potentially disastrous collapse.
– Liquefaction also caused the collapse of a Vale tailings dam in 2019 in Brumadinho municipality, also in Minas Gerais, that killed nearly 300 people; the 2015 collapse of another Vale dam, in Mariana in 2015, caused extensive pollution and is considered Brazil’s worst environmental disaster to date.
– Vale has denied the risk of a collapse at the Xingu dam and says it continues to monitor the structure ahead of its decommissioning; regulators, however, say the company still hasn’t carried out requested measures to improve the structure’s safety, and have ordered an evacuation of the immediate vicinity.

Scientists call for solving climate and biodiversity crises together by John C. Cannon [14 Jun 2021]
– A new report from United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) highlights the importance of confronting climate change and biodiversity loss together.
– Global climate change and the unprecedented loss of species currently underway result from a similar suite of human-driven causes, the report’s authors write.
– As a result, solutions that take both issues into account have the best chance of success, they conclude.

Irrigation dams threaten Thailand’s tiger forests, say conservationists by Carolyn Cowan [14 Jun 2021]
– A plan to construct seven dams in Thailand’s Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai (DPKY) Forest Complex could cause widespread habitat loss and sever important wildlife corridors, activists warn.
– The DPKY Forest Complex is home to one of Thailand’s two remaining breeding Indochinese tiger populations.
– Thai authorities have met opposition over the proposals in the past, but claim the dams will help to solve flood and drought problems in nearby regions.
– Conservationists warn the plans could jeopardize the forest complex’s World Heritage status, which is due for review this July.

U.N. declares decade of ecosystem restoration to ‘make peace with nature’ by Liz Kimbrough [11 Jun 2021]
– The U.N. has declared the coming decade a time for ecosystem restoration, highlighting in a new report the importance of preventing, halting and reversing ecosystem degradation worldwide.
– It calls on the world to restore at least 1 billion hectares (2.5 billion acres) of degraded land in the next decade — an area larger than China — warning that degradation already affects the well-being of 3.2 billion people.
– The report also makes an economic case for restoration, noting that for every dollar that goes into restoration, up to $30 in economic benefits are created.
– A key message of the report is that nature is not something that is “nice to have” — it is essential to our survival, and we are a part of it.

Amazon rainforest destruction is accelerating, shows government data by Rhett A. Butler [11 Jun 2021]
– Destruction of Earth’s largest rainforest is accelerating ahead of the region’s peak fire and deforestation season, reveals data released today by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE.
– According to INPE’s satellite-based deforestation tracking system, DETER, forest clearing in the Brazilian part of the Amazon amounted to 1,391 square kilometers in May. That represents a 67% increase over May 2020 and puts deforestation nearly on pace with last year’s rate, when forest loss in the region reached 11,088 square kilometers, the highest level since 2008.
– The figure also represents the highest recorded in any May since at least 2007.
– Note: this is an updated version of a story published June 4, 2021. It has been revised using data released today.

What’s the cost of illegal mining in Brazil’s Amazon? A new tool calculates it by Shanna Hanbury [11 Jun 2021]
– The launch of a gold mining impacts calculator this week — a joint project of the Federal Public Ministry and the Conservation Strategy Fund — marks a big step forward in combating illegal mining in the Brazilian Amazon, experts and government agents say.
– The new tool was able to estimate damages of $431 million caused by illegal mining in 2020 on the Yanomami Indigenous Reserve, where local leaders have reported several attacks in the past month by miners, following an influx of mining activities since 2019.
– Since 2019, Brazil has exported $11 billion in gold, with Switzerland, Canada and the United Kingdom as the top importers; last year alone, these three countries imported $3.5 billion of the precious metal from Brazil.
– Improving traceability is another important step to cracking down on the environmentally devasting illegal gold market, says Sérgio Leitão, an expert in the fight against illegal mining in Brazil.

Chinese special economic zones hotspots for wildlife trafficking, surveys say by Sheryl Lee Tian Tong [11 Jun 2021]
– From 2019 to 2020, market surveys from wildlife trade watchdog TRAFFIC found close to 78,000 illegal wildlife parts and products on sale in more than 1,000 outlets across Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
– A significant part of this trade activity came from special economic zones established between local firms and Chinese companies, TRAFFIC revealed.
– Chinese tourist demand had been an important driver of illegal wildlife trade in the Lower Mekong region before the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
– While the pandemic has reduced trade activity, experts call for increased monitoring and investigations to dampen wildlife crime in the long term.

Podcaster Tuli Amakali on the African white-backed vulture by [11 Jun 2021]
– Tuli Amakali is a podcaster and software developer who lives in Windhoek, Namibia. His podcast, Conversations About Nothing, explores opinions, in-depth reviews as well as interviews with influential people around the globe.
– Amakali voiced the African white-backed vulture episode of Endangered: Short Tales for The Nearly Forgotten, a podcast anthology that celebrates species that are on the verge of extinction.
– The African white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus) is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List due to habitat loss and poisoning by humans.
– Amakali spoke with Mongabay ahead of the release of the African white-backed vulture podcast episode.

Slash-and-burn clearing nears Indigenous park as Brazil’s fire season ignites by Morgan Erickson-Davis [10 Jun 2021]
– Xingu Indigenous Park shields one of the last remaining large tracts of old growth rainforest in Brazil’s “arc of deforestation,” and is inhabited by dozens of Indigenous communities.
– The park experienced a jump in deforestation in 2020, quadrupling the amount of primary forest it lost in 2019.
– Most of this deforestation was caused by wildfires, which likely spread from slash-and-burn activity on nearby agricultural fields.
– Satellite data and imagery show agricultural fields and fires expanding towards the park in 2021 despite a prohibition on dry-season burning and a drought the likes of which haven’t been seen in nearly a century.

Big bioacoustics boost: Cornell University program receives $24 million donation by Erik Hoffner [10 Jun 2021]
– The field of bioacoustics has been a game changer when it comes to monitoring and discovering new things about animals and ecosystems, both on land and at sea.
– Still a relatively new discipline, one of the leading programs in the field globally was founded in the 1980s at Cornell University, which has just announced a donation of $24 million to support its bioacoustics work.
– The K. Lisa Yang Center for Conservation Bioacoustics will use the funds to accelerate its training of researchers, facilitate development of new tools and partnerships, and build a global network of people who can share bioacoustics best practices.

‘Conservation litigation’ tries to put a true price on wildlife crime by Elizabeth Claire Alberts [10 Jun 2021]
– An international team of experts says it’s possible to sue environmental and wildlife offenders for the damage they inflict upon ecosystems and biodiversity and seek compensation to help restore what has been lost.
– Several countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mexico, already have legislation that allows for this “conservation litigation,” experts say.
– There have also been several successful civil lawsuits in which environmental offenders have had to provide compensation for ecological restoration.
– However, conservation litigation is not commonly used due to a lack of understanding about its feasibility, and the difficulties of coming up with defensible, scientifically robust remedies for environmental and wildlife crimes — but experts say they hope this litigation is used more frequently in the future.

Final court ruling orders Indonesian government to publish plantation data by Hans Nicholas Jong [10 Jun 2021]
– An Indonesian court has upheld a landmark ruling that says all plantation data and maps are public information and thus should be made available to the public.
– The court’s decision was made in 2020, but it wasn’t until March 2021 that the court informed the plaintiff in the case, the NGO Forest Watch Indonesia.
– But the government, in this case the land ministry, has refused to comply with the order to release the data, going back to a 2017 Supreme Court ruling.
– The ministry has also refused to share the data with other government ministries and agencies, prompting even lawmakers to call on it to comply.

Brazil’s Uru-eu-wau-wau document COVID-19 victory with new video by Alejandro Smith [10 Jun 2021]
– As of June 1, 2021, Brazil has confirmed more than 16.5 million COVID-19 cases and over 462,000 deaths, with devastation particularly severe among the Amazon’s Indigenous communities.
– But one Indigenous group has done an exceptional job protecting its people: The Uru-eu-wau-wau in Rondônia state sealed off their territory in March 2020 — no small feat considering that the federally demarcated territory suffers from an onslaught of invaders, including illegal miners, loggers and land grabbers.
– In a new video, shot entirely by Indigenous cinematographers and exclusive to Mongabay, the Uru-eu-wau-wau tell their own story of how they survived the pandemic for more than a year without a major case inside their territory.
– Their battle is ongoing as they continue resisting invasions of their reserve, where three highly vulnerable uncontacted Indigenous groups also live. The dismantling of Brazil’s rural health care infrastructure by the Bolsonaro administration has been particularly daunting to the Uru-eu-wau-wau during the pandemic.

‘Listening to communities must go beyond ticking compliance boxes’, says Peter Kallang, a Kenyah leader by Rhett A. Butler [09 Jun 2021]
– The Malaysian state of Sarawak was until recently home to some of the last nomadic peoples of Borneo, who roamed its wild and rich rainforests as they had done since time immemorial. Starting in the early 1980s, industrial logging companies moved deep into Sarawak’s hinterland, tearing down forests, forcing forest peoples from their traditional lands, and laying the groundwork for large-scale conversion of biodiverse ecosystems into monoculture plantations.
– Sarawak’s Indigenous peoples put up resistance against these state-backed incursions into their traditional territories. One of the most dramatic outcomes of these efforts came in 2016, when the Chief Minister of Sarawak cancelled the Baram mega-dam project.
– Peter Kallang, a member of the Kenyah people who runs the NGO SAVE Rivers, was one of the leaders of the Baram campaign, helping coordinate, organize, and mobilize Indigenous communities that would have been most impacted by the dam. Now Kallang, SAVE Rivers, and other groups are fighting to defend traditional Indigenous lands against logging by Samling, a Malaysian timber company.
– Kallang spoke about his background, Indigenous-led advocacy, the conservation sector’s shortcomings in recognizing Indigenous rights, and other topics during a June 2021 interview with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.



‘Listening to communities must go beyond ticking compliance boxes’, says Peter Kallang, a Kenyah leader by Rhett A. Butler [06/09/2021]
For Africa’s great apes, a post-pandemic future looks beyond tourism by Heather Richardson [06/09/2021]
Unregulated by U.S. at home, Facebook boosts wildlife trafficking abroad by Ian Morse [06/08/2021]
Brazil’s environment minister faces second probe linked to illegal timber by Shanna Hanbury [06/04/2021]