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With more than one million unique visitors per month, Mongabay.com is one of the world's most popular environmental science and conservation news sites. The news and rainforests sections of the site are widely cited for information on tropical forests, conservation, and wildlife.
Mongabay.com aims to raise interest in wildlife and wildlands while promoting awareness of environmental issues. Originally the site was based around a text on tropical rainforests written by Rhett A. Butler, but today the site has expanded to other topics (like Madagascar [WildMadagasacar.org]) and is available in versions for kids and in more than two dozen non-English languages. Mongabay.com is also publisher of Tropical Conservation Science, a peer-reviewed, open-access academic journal that seeks to provide opportunities for scientists in developing countries to publish their research in their native languages.
rhett (at) mongabay.com
Some Birds use a Hurricane to Fly Fast - REALLY Fast!
August 25, 2012 07:18 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
Migrating Whimbrels — a type of shorebird — may struggle for hours against winds when trying to cross the Caribbean during hurricane season but get a huge boost as they fly out of storms, report researchers from the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ahead of a large tropical storm last year scientists attached satellite transmitters to one Whimbrel, which they named "Hope". A statement from the American Bird Conservancy explains what they found. "She took 27 hours averaging just 9 mph to fly non-stop through the storm to get to the center; then she flew at an average of almost 100 mph for 1.5 hours out the back end, using the power of the storm to 'slingshot' her towards land."
Sea ice extent in the Arctic is very near to beating the previous record low set in 2007, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Researchers told Reuters that they expect the record to be beaten by the end of month, well over a week before the melt season ends in the frozen north. In 2007 the sea ice extent fell to a record nadir of 4.28 million square kilometers (1.66 million square miles), astonishing experts and prompting a second look on how quickly sea ice might disappear from the Arctic altogether during the summer. But researchers say sea ice extent could fall below 4 million square kilometers (1.5 million square miles) this year if current melt trends continue.
Belo Monte mega-dam halted again by high Brazilian court, appeal likely but difficult
August 17, 2012 08:21 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A high federal court in Brazil has ruled that work on the Belo Monte dam in the Brazilian Amazon be immediately suspended. Finding that the government failed to properly consult indigenous people on the dam, the ruling is the latest in innumerable twists and turns regarding the massive dam, which was first conceived in the 1970s, and has been widely criticized for its impact on tribal groups in the region and the Amazon environment. In addition the Regional Federal Tribunal (TRF1) found that Brazil's Environmental Impact Assessment was flawed since it was conducted after work on the dam had already begun.
Northwest Passage is open again - NASA
August 15, 2012 06:39 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
A satellite image released by NASA last week shows a key channel that forms part of the Northwest Passage is partially free of ice. The image, acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite, shows that more than two-thirds of the Parry Channel was ice-free on July 30. The median coverage for that date was 79 percent from 1980-2010. The Parry Channel separates Victoria Island from Melville Island in Canada's far north.
King of the jungle: lions discovered in rainforests
August 13, 2012 08:30 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Calling the African lion (Panthera leo) the 'king of the jungle' is usually a misnomer, as the species is usually found in savannah or dry forests, but recent photos by the Germany-based Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) document lions in Ethiopian rainforests.
Extreme heatwaves 50 to 100 times more likely due to climate change
August 6, 2012 08:46 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
A recent rise in deadly, debilitating, and expensive heatwaves was caused by climate change, argues a new statistical analysis published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Climatologists found that extreme heatwaves have increased by at least 50 times during the last 30 years. The researchers, including James Hansen of NASA, conclude that climate change is the only explanation for such a statistical jump. "This is not a climate model or a prediction but actual observations of weather events and temperatures that have happened," Hansen, a prominent scientist and outspoken climate change activist, wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
Chart: Tropical forest loss between 2000-2005
July 30, 2012 08:56 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM
A study published last month in the journal Science came up with new estimates of tropical forest loss between 2000 and 2005. The research — led by Nancy Harris of Winrock International and also involving scientists from Applied GeoSolutions, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of Maryland — was based on analysis of remote sensing data calibrated with field studies.
Dozens of elephants massacred in Chad
July 27, 2012 08:40 AM - Laurel Neme, MONGABAY.COM
Poachers killed at least 30 elephants in southwestern Chad during the early hours of Tuesday, July 24. During the night, Stephanie Vergniault, president of the organization SOS Elephants, described on her Facebook page how a group of armed horsemen chased a herd of elephants with war weapons near the SOS Elephants camp in the Chari Baguirmi area. After daybreak, the SOS Elephants team counted 28 carcasses, most with missing tusks.
A picture is worth a thousand words: this common adage comes instantly to mind when viewing T.J. Watt's unforgettable photos of lost trees. For years, Watt has been photographing the beauty of Vancouver Island's ancient temperate rainforests, and documenting their loss to clearcut logging. The photographer and environmental activist recently helped co-found the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), a group devoted to saving the island's and British Columbia's (BC) last old-growth while working with the logging industry to adopt sustainable practices. This February the organization succeeded in saving Avatar Grove—which was only discovered in 2009—from being clearcut. The grove, a rare stand of massive and ancient trees named after the popular eco science-fiction movie, has become a popular tourist destination, providing a new economic incentive for communities to protect rather than cut Canada's last great forests.
Did Deepwater Horizon Accident contribute to Dolphin Deaths?
July 23, 2012 06:28 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In the first four months of 2011, 186 bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were found dead in the Gulf of Mexico, nearly half of them dolphin calves many of whom were perinatal, or near birth. Researchers now believe a number of factors may have killed the animals. Writing in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, scientists theorize that the dolphins died a sudden influx of freshwater from snowmelt after being stressed and weakened by an abnormally cold winter and the impacts of the BP oil spill. According to researchers, oil leaking from the BP-leased Deepwater Horizon could have decimated the dolphin's prey base, leaving a larger than usual number of dolphins suffering from malnutrition.