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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
Chinese lose 2.5 billion years of life expectancy due to coal burning
July 9, 2013 08:42 AM - Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Chinese who live north of the Huai River will lose an aggregate 2.5 billion years of life expectancy due to the extensive use of coal burning in the region, concludes a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, which involved researchers from MIT, China, and Israel, estimated the impacts of particulate matter from coal-powered heating on life expectancy. In the process, the authors developed a rule-of-thumb for the effects of air pollution: "every additional 100 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter in the atmosphere lowers life expectancy at birth by three years," according to a statement from MIT.
Illegal palm oil from an Indonesian national park used by Asian Agri, Wilmar, WWF report says
July 8, 2013 09:24 AM - Diana Parker, MONGABAY.COM
Illegal palm oil expansion inside Indonesia's Tesso Nilo National Park is threatening protected forests and the reputation of two companies who claim to be sources of sustainably-produced palm oil, says a new WWF-Indonesia report. In its June 26 report, "Palming Off a National Park," WWF-Indonesia found that over 52,000 hectares of natural forests in the area have already been illegally converted into palm oil plantations. And fruits from the illegal plantations have made their way into the supply chains of at least two global companies — Asian Agri and Wilmar.
US Initiative to Combat Elephant and Rhino Poaching in Africa
July 4, 2013 08:35 AM - Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian , MONGABAY.COM
Barack Obama launched a new initiative against wildlife trafficking on Monday, using his executive authority to take action against an illegal trade that is fueling rebel wars and now threatens the survival of elephants and rhinoceroses. The initiative, announced as the president visited Tanzania on the final stop of his African tour, was the second time in a week Obama has used an executive order to advance environmental policy, after announcing a sweeping new climate change plan.
New forensic method tells the difference between poached and legal ivory
July 1, 2013 05:45 PM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Forensic-dating could end a major loophole in the current global ban on ivory, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). Scientists have developed a method to determine the age of ivory, allowing traders to tell the difference between ivory taken before the ban in 1989, which is still legal, and recently-poached ivory. Elephants across Africa are being slaughtered in record numbers for their tusks—the most recent estimate put it at 3,000 annually—due to rising demand for ivory in East Asia. Various loopholes have exacerbated the crisis.
Giraffe need conservation help too!
June 29, 2013 07:44 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Just two year's before his assassination, Julius Caesar brought to Rome one of the world's most astonishing living creatures: a giraffe. The animal was among Caesar's spoils from his campaign in Egypt and according to the Roman writer, Dio, the giraffe, which was arguably the first to ever touch European soil, was paraded in the Circus for all to see. Today, over two thousand years later, the giraffe has become one of the world's most recognizable animals: after all nothing looks quite like it with its spotted coat, tufted horns, and, most importantly, that impossibly long neck. But less commonly known is that the giraffe is in trouble with some subspecies down to just a few hundred individuals. "Two giraffe (sub)species have been classified on the IUCN Red List as 'Endangered'—the West African giraffe (<300 individuals) and the Rothschild’s giraffe (<700 individuals). However, sadly, there may be other populations threatened—if not all of them, as we are only starting to get a good feel on numbers and range. As an example, the Nubian giraffe in Ethiopia and maybe South Sudan would number less than the Rothschild's giraffe," explains Julian Fennessy, a conservation scientist and co-founder with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), in a recent interview with mongabay.com.
The Indonesian government will spend 100 billion rupiah — $10 million — on a cloud-seeding scheme to reduce the haze plaguing Sumatra, Singapore, and Malaysia. According to a statement released after a meeting between top officials, Indonesia will use airplanes to seed clouds with salt in an effort to increase condensation and rainfall over parched parts of Sumatra where peat fires are spewing particulate matter into the atmosphere. The operation is expected to last until the end of the dry season, which typically runs through late September or early October.
Indonesia's fires are a global concern
June 27, 2013 08:39 AM - Wendy Miles and Micah Fisher , MONGABAY.COM
During the smoky season, or "musim kabut" as it is called in Indonesia, skeletons of leaves fall from the sky and disintegrate like melting snowflakes in children's hands. Historically, Indonesia's smoky season has peaked at the end of the dry season (September-October), just before the monsoon rains arrive. This year the dry season just began, and yet Singapore’s PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) record has already been broken — reaching a new high of 401 (Hazardous) on June 21, 2013. The air pollution in Peninsular Malaysia has also spiked to an all-time-high, resulting in Prime Minister Najib Razak declaring a state of emergency in Muar and Ledang districts on June 23, 2013.
After Long Wait, Obama Lays Out Fight Against Climate Change
June 26, 2013 10:47 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
Five years after being elected president and six months after winning a second term, President Obama today gave his first speech devoted solely to climate change and announced several executive actions to begin weaning the United States (historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gases) off fossil fuels. At Georgetown University today, Obama stated that his administration would expand renewable energy projects on federal lands, raise energy efficiency standards on appliances, and, most importantly, limit carbon pollution from both existing and new power plants, which represent about 40 percent of the U.S.'s emissions. Obama also noted that the U.S. would spearhead global efforts to combat climate change which is pushing sea levels higher, melting glaciers and sea ice, exacerbating fires, imperiling species, and worsening extreme weather worldwide.
Over 30 tons of explosives to be detonated in Manu National Park buffer zone
June 25, 2013 01:11 PM - David Hill, MONGABAY.COM
A consortium of gas companies headed by Pluspetrol and including Hunt Oil plans on detonating approximately 38 tons of explosives in the south-east Peruvian Amazon in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. The detonations are part of 2D and 3D seismic tests planned by Pluspetrol in its search for new gas deposits in the Camisea region—plans that are currently pending approval by Peru's Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM). According to a series of 'fact sheets' recently issued by Pluspetrol, the tests will require approximately 38 tons of explosives, the construction of 80 heliports, roughly 1,200 workers, and about 9,500 explosions, each one 15 meters underground.
New pirate ant uses sickle-shaped mandibles to decimate rivals
June 21, 2013 04:43 PM - Christina Pham, MONGABAY.COM
A new species of ant has recently been discovered in the Hortarium of the Los Baños University in the Philippines. Scientists named it the pirate ant (Cardiocondyla pirata) due to the female’s unique pigmentation pattern: a distinctive stripe across the eyes that resembles a pirates’ eye-patch. The pirate ant belongs to a genus Cardiocondyla that are distributed worldwide, but mainly found in the tropics.