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Environmental science and conservation news

Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company
By Hans Nicholas Jong [2018-06-21]
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 [2018-06-21]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-17]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-15]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-15]
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 […]






Features

Conservation news

Environmental science and conservation news

Indonesia to investigate death of journalist being held for defaming palm oil company
By Hans Nicholas Jong [2018-06-21]
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 [2018-06-21]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 [2018-06-20]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-19]
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 [2018-06-19]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-18]
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 [2018-06-17]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-15]
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 Mongabay.com [2018-06-15]
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 […]






Wildtech news

Wildtech

Technology for Conservation

Experts hack away at portable DNA barcode scanner to fight timber and wildlife trafficking
By Julia John [2016-09-08]
Survey responses to the Wildtech needs assessment—especially from field researchers—put portable DNA analysis near the top of the research and conservation technology wish-list. How could we harness DNA barcode technology in an adaptable, handheld device that frontline officials in developing countries could use to combat timber and wildlife trafficking? The DNA Barcode Scanner Hack that […]






Hot stuff: improving chili fence effectiveness (in protecting crops from elephants)
By Sue Palminteri [2016-09-07]
Some tips from a chili fence expert on how to make the most of a low-tech approach to reducing crop raiding and retaliatory killing of elephants






Solving Global Grand Challenges, One MOOC at a Time
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-08-12]
A new online course aims to address the complex challenges facing conservation and development.






Understanding the ghost of the mountain
By Julia John [2016-08-10]
The grayish-white form of the ghost of the mountain slinks through the snowcapped slopes of Central Asia. Its remote, harsh habitat, cryptic coat and elusive nature have impeded investigation and made monitoring the snow leopard (Panthera uncia) arduous, if not impossible. Technological advances, however, are changing that. New population estimates for the big cat, based […]






How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: advanced tools
By Dan Williams [2016-08-08]
An oil-palm plantation with a few remaining rainforest trees in Sarawak, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Other stories in Mongabay’s series on using the Bloomberg Terminal in advocacy work: Part 1: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: the basics Part 2: Tracking assets for environmental advocacy work with Bloomberg  The previous two articles in this three-part series detailed some of the basic functions of the Bloomberg Terminal — […]






Identifying the drivers of Amazon deforestation through high-tech maps and stories
By Suzanne Palminteri [2016-08-05]
A new logging road stands out against an otherwise intact rainforestThe MAAP project integrates a range of satellite imagery and analysis tools to detect and disclose deforestation across the Peruvian Amazon.






DART-TOFMS: Finding the chemistry in wood
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-08-03]
Earlier this summer, members of the Forest Legality Alliance (FLA) gathered in Washington, DC for their Semi-Annual Membership Meeting. As a precursor to the upcoming CITES COP17 meeting in September, the FLA member meeting focused on issues pertaining to illegally traded CITES-listed timber species, proposals to add new timber species to the CITES list and […]






Chew on this new way to detect disease in primates
By Julia John [2016-07-28]
Preoccupied with snipping a saliva-soaked plant part with a scalpel and placing it in a little tube of viral transport media, veterinary epidemiologist Tierra Smiley Evans thought she was alone, backed up against a big bush. But someone was watching close by with beady eyes. Suddenly, a shaggy black arm darted under her armpit and […]






Piloting PALM Risk to detect palm oil-driven deforestation
By Julia John [2016-07-20]
What do lipstick, detergent and instant noodles have in common? They all contain palm oil. Half of every packaged product stocking supermarket shelves can be traced back to a ruthless army of oil palm trees rapidly occupying land that naturally supported rich tropical forests. Palm oil production razes and replaces biologically diverse ecosystems with monospecific […]






Wildlife Law Enforcement in Sub-Saharan African Protected Areas: A Review of Best Practices
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-07-15]
“Across Africa, illegal killing and trade in wildlife, especially of iconic species such as elephants and rhinos, has now reached crisis proportions. Illicit wildlife trafficking now comprises the fourth largest illegal trade internationally after arms and drugs trafficking, and trafficking in human beings. In recent years, tens of thousands of elephants have been killed every […]






New map of Malaysia’s limestone hills will help set conservation priorities
By Mike Gaworecki [2016-07-11]
Malaysia’s limestone hills, or karsts, have been described as “arks of biodiversity,” but they’re facing intense pressures from mining and other human activities. Limestone is a vital resource for the construction industry, meaning it is not likely that forest degradation and quarrying in a developing country like Malaysia, where 445 limestone hills have been recorded […]






GDELT: Mining and mapping global wildlife crime news
By Julia John [2016-07-07]
In the eighth grade, at an age most boys spend their time outside school watching sports and playing videogames, Kalev Leetaru was delving into large-scale web mining and founding his first web company. With his continued interest in investigating enormous amounts of data two decades since, he now heads the GDELT Project, a massive open-data platform that analyzes news media […]






Bringing Star Trek tricorder analysis to the 21st century
By Hina Alam [2016-07-04]
Handheld, palm-sized, lightweight DNA preparation and sequencing devices are coming your way soon.






Bridging the Gap between Land and Space
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-07-01]
The United Nations/Kenya Conference on Space Technology and Applications for Wildlife Management and Protecting Biodiversity aims to expand the use of space technology in conservation.






5 Tech Projects That Are Protecting Sharks
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-06-30]
Annually, approximately 100 million sharks are killed by commercial fisheries. Coupled with climate change and a decrease of food supply from overfishing, some shark populations are teetering on the edge of extinction. Bringing sharks into mainstream media, the brainchild of the Discovery Channel and the longest running cable TV program, Shark Week has aired every […]






A World of Tings
By Taylor Robb-McCord [2016-06-28]
The real-time wildlife sighting app, Latest Sightings, can help to link a global community of wildlife enthusiasts and promote conservation one “ting” at a time.






Combining high-tech and low-tech to turn satellite images into action
By Nathan Hahn [2016-06-24]
Dr. Lilian Pintea, Vice President of conservation science at the Jane Goodall Institute. Photo courtesy of JGI/Jeff Kerby.Since its founding, the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) has been on the forefront of conservation science, and in recent years the group has been applying remote sensing, mobile phone technologies, and cloud-based mapping tools to its forest and […]






Drink beer, help the ocean?
By Julia John [2016-06-14]
Beer may have a bad rep among carb-fearing ab-chiseling fitness fans, but it could now be better for the environment than it was before. Well, at least the new kind packaged using edible six-pack rings from south Florida’s Saltwater Brewery. This Delray Beach microbrewery north of Miami, Florida, just launched the first ever 100% compostable […]






e-Eye of the tiger: Complex surveillance system extends watch over India’s wildlife sanctuaries
By Julia John [2016-06-10]
A new set of eyes is keeping watch over tiger reserves across India. They’re electronic, but they seem to have hawk-like observational faculties. And they may be related to how the country’s tiger population increased from 1,706 in 2010, one year before this digital monitoring system was first implemented, to 2,226 in 2014, the last […]






Tracking assets for environmental advocacy work with Bloomberg
By Dan Williams [2016-06-09]
Oil-palm estate in Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.Other stories in Mongabay’s series on using the Bloomberg Terminal in advocacy work: Part 1: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: the basics Part 3: How to use the Bloomberg Terminal for advocacy work: advanced tools The Bloomberg Terminal is Windows-based proprietary software that offers users real-time access to global news sources, financial […]