10-second nature news digest

Conservation news digest for busy people from @Mongabay. Story summaries that can be read in about ten seconds per post.

Popular topics:: Amazon | Animals | Brazil | Congo | Conservation | Deforestation | Featured | Indonesia | Logging | Malaysia | Oceans | Palm oil | Rainforests | Wildlife

Company poised to destroy critical orangutan habitat in breach of Indonesia’s moratorium [10/24/2016]
- Sungai Putri is a beautiful natural forest area in West Kalimantan that is home to between 750 and 1750 orangutans.
- This makes it the third largest population of this Critically Endangered species in the province. Sungai Putri has extensive deep peat areas, up to 14.5 meters deep in places.
- A company named PT Mohairson Pawan Khatulistiwa apparently plans to clear more than half of their license area for conversion into an industrial tree plantation.

Irregular Arctic climate reduces sea ice to another record low [10/24/2016]
- The annual minimum Arctic ice melt appears to have been reached in early September 2016.
- Arctic ice cover, which serves the crucial role of reflecting large amounts of incoming solar radiation, has declined more quickly than most scientific models forecast.
- Sea ice extent for 2016 (a measurement derived by satellite) as reported by both the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado and Japan's JAXA space and aeronautics agency indicate that this year's minimum sea ice extent is the second-lowest as recorded by modern instrumentation.

Rhino killed in India’s Kaziranga Park, highlighting the ever-present threat of poachers [10/24/2016]
- At least 16 rhinos have been killed for their horns this year in India's Assam State.
- The most recent killing happened last Friday in Kaziranga National Park.
- The state's new government has vowed to crack down on poaching and has worked to build collaboration between police and forest patrols.
- Arrests are increasing, but forest officials still struggle to get convictions in court.

Belize suspends oil exploration near World Heritage Site after public outcry [10/24/2016]
- Following public outcry, Belize officials have agreed to suspend their activities, and plan to hold a consultation with the stakeholders to chart out their future course of action.
- The seismic surveys, which involve blasting shockwaves through the water using air guns, are proposed to occur less than a mile from this World Heritage site.
- This could endanger the site’s marine wildlife, and threaten the livelihoods of more than 190,000 people in Belize who support their incomes through tourism and fisheries, conservationists say.

Hunted to the brink: Mammals in crisis [10/24/2016]
- A study pulling together information on threatened land mammals found that hunting for meat and medicine is driving 301 toward extinction.
- The authors raise concerns about food security for humans and ecosystem collapse if we don’t prevent this crisis for mammals.
- Proposed solutions include shoring up international markets for bushmeat and animal body parts, investments in laws and enforcement to protect wildlife, and increased education about the scale of the problem.

In Myanmar’s Irrawady Delta, a rapidly disintegrating mangrove forest [10/22/2016]
- Myanmar is a known “hot spot” in Southeast Asia for mangrove loss from aquaculture, agriculture, and logging.
- MKWS is often described by researchers as one the most degraded mangrove systems or national parks they have ever seen.
- MKWS is a 53-square-mile wetland mangrove reserve located in Myanmar's far south.

TripAdvisor bans ticket sales to wild animal attractions [10/21/2016]
- Travel website TripAdvisor, and its booking service Viator, will no longer sell tickets to tourism experiences that allow petting or touching of wild animals, the company announced on October 12.
- In addition to the booking ban, TripAdvisor also plans to develop and launch an education portal that will provide links and information on animal welfare practices involved at the various attractions.
- TripAdvisor’s new policy comes after more than a year of campaigning by animal welfare groups, which claim that the internet giant has been profiting from selling tickets to attractions that involve wildlife abuse and cruelty.

Powering aquatic research with self-charging tags [10/20/2016]
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have developed the first self-charging tracking tag, an implanted acoustic transmitter that harnesses energy from the swimming animal bearing it, for studying fish behavior throughout the organisms’ lives.
- The scientists hope the tag will help us better understand long-lived and migratory species of concern, as well as comprehend and mitigate the ramifications of dams and marine energy on fish movement and survival.
- The team will field-test the tag on white sturgeon in the Columbia and Snake rivers next year.

Failed economic development plans drive deforestation in Andean Amazon [10/20/2016]
- Cultivation of coca, the plant from which the drug cocaine is extracted, has long been considered a “deforestation multiplier” in the Andean Amazon rainforests of Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru.
- But a study published in the journal BioScience last month by a team of researchers with New York’s Stony Brook University found that most deforestation in Bolivia, Colombia, and Peru isn't caused by coca cultivation.
- The researchers hope that their study will help us learn from the past in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Man surrenders pet crocodile he raised for 13 years [10/20/2016]
- The crocodile was 4 meters long.
- It consumed up to three chickens or ducks a day — very expensive for its owner.
- Officials took the crocodile to a breeding park in Sumatra's largest city, Medan.

Lakes in community hands spur gains for people and fish [10/20/2016]
- In an 8-year study covering a 500-kilometer stretch of a tributary to the Amazon, a team of scientists from Brazil and England found that the often-overfished arapaima came back in community-managed lakes.
- Protected lakes had populations more than 30 times those where commercial fishing was allowed.
- The team estimates that each protected lake is worth about $10,000 per community in revenue from arapaima stocks annually.

Park ranger murdered while trying to protect rare gorillas [10/20/2016]
- On October 4, a park ranger, Munganga Nzonga Jacques, was killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kahuzi Biega National Park while trying to protect the park’s rare Grauer’s gorillas.
- Jacques is the second ranger to be killed in Kahuzi Biega in the last six months.
- Kahuzi Biega National Park is believed to be the last stronghold of Grauer’s gorillas, so the murder of Jacques has conservationists worried about the future of the rangers, their families, as well as the gorillas.

The Guiana Shield, the ‘greenhouse of the world’ [10/19/2016]
- Covering 270 million hectares, the Guiana Shield encompasses Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Venezuela and small parts of Colombia and northern Brazil
- Some experts are warning against 'commoditizing nature' in the case of the Shield
- Indigenous populations could play a key role in the Shield's future health

Study finds Brazil isn’t counting all deforestation in official estimates [10/19/2016]
- A new study published in the journal Conservation Letters finds that, between 2008 and 2012, close to 9,000 square kilometers (about 3,475 square miles) of the Brazilian Amazon were cleared without being detected by the government’s official monitoring system.
- Brazil’s Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Satellite Project (known as PRODES) has played a key role in Brazil’s recent efforts to rein in deforestation.
- But when researchers with Brown University compared data from PRODES with two independent satellite measures of forest loss — from the Global Forest Change project and the Fire Information for Resource Management Systems — they found an area of deforestation roughly the size of Puerto Rico was not included in the PRODES monitoring.

World Bank money is helping to finance Asia’s coal boom: report [10/19/2016]
- A report by human rights groups identified 41 new coal projects with ties to the World Bank Group. These projects are funded by private banks and companies that have received loans and investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group.
- The World Bank Group has restricted funding for coal projects since 2013, and its president has recently made strong statements against coal power.
- Among the projects with IFC links are controversial coal fired power plants like the Mahan plant in India, the Lanao Kauswagan power station in the Philippines and the Rampal coal plant in Bangladesh.
- IFC maintains it has no direct exposure to coal projects, and does not provide intermediaries with funds for the purpose of financing coal projects.

Illegal Myanmar teak importation widespread to EU, investigation finds [10/19/2016]
- In a two-month undercover investigation, the campaigning NGO Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) found that nine companies in five EU countries had failed to meet the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) for legal importation of Burmese teak from Myanmar.
- EIA reports that representatives from several firms admitted that they aren’t able to make sure that the teak they buy comes from legitimate sources.
- Two other companies denied the allegations to Mongabay, saying that all wood that they buy in Myanmar has been harvested in compliance with the country’s laws.
- EIA contends that all teak from Myanmar for sale in the EU should be considered illegally sourced.

Environmentalists squirm as Jokowi eyes Lake Toba tourism bonanza [10/19/2016]
- Indonesian President Joko Widodo has established a special authority to revive tourism in Lake Toba, North Sumatra.
- Environmentalists worry the plan could lead to forest clearance and exacerbate a worsening pollution problem.
- Government officials argue tourism could actually be a boon for the lake's environment — trees included — as well as the local economy.

Papua New Guinea activist receives prestigious award for protecting forests [10/18/2016]
- In a statement, the Alexander Soros Foundation said that it had given the annual award to Pavol “for his courage and commitment to protecting his community’s land and forests from the illegal and aggressive operations of one of the world’s largest logging companies.”
- Industrial logging is the main driver of forest degradation in the country — and “the majority of timber production in PNG is illegal in some way," according to a 2014 report by Chatham House.
- Since 2010, Pavol has been defending the rainforests in his home district of Pomio against the operations of Malaysian conglomerate Rimbunan Hijau, which is responsible for a third of all PNG log exports.

Violence against indigenous people high, as land conflicts heat up [10/18/2016]
- There were 137 killings of indigenous people in Brazil in 2015, with the state of Mato Grosso do Sul recording the highest number (25 for the year), said a major report released in September by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI).
- Much of the violence is due to land conflicts exacerbated by the government’s failure to demarcate indigenous lands, resulting in conflicts between large-scale farmers and indigenous people. There are 96 indigenous lands in Brazil, but only four have been demarcated and approved so far. Another 68 are classified with the status of "no action" according to CIMI.
- A high number of indigenous people also took their own lives, with 87 registered cases of suicide in 2015 by indigenous people. Again, Mato Grosso do Sul led the list with 45 cases.
- Data showed that the infant mortality rate is nearly twice as high among Brazil’s indigenous groups (26.35 deaths per thousand live births) as compared to the national average (13.82 per thousand live births).

Mongabay Newscast episode 3: Crucial conservation votes at CITES CoP17 and the future of socio-ecological research [10/18/2016]
- Decisions were made regarding pangolins, African gray parrots, elephants, and rosewood at CITES CoP17.
- Also appearing on the show is Steven Alexander of the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center at the University of Maryland. Alexander answers a question submitted by Mongabay reader Duncan Nicol: “What areas or questions in socio-ecological research need the most attention over the next decade?”
- All that, plus the top news!

A plan to save the Mekong Delta [10/18/2016]
- The Mekong Delta Plan is the product of several years’ work by Dutch and Vietnamese officials, supported by a platoon of experts from both nations.
- It's a blueprint for dealing not only with the effects of climate change and upstream dams but also with certain shortsighted activities by the Vietnamese themselves.
- The region's farmers as well as the relevant branches of government must be persuaded to buy into the plan.

Asian elephant herds lack clear matriarchs, strict hierarchies: new study [10/18/2016]
- The differences between Asian and African elephants may be the result of their ecological environments, the team posits.
- The researchers think that stable ecological conditions in Sri Lanka make it easier for Asian elephants to make their own movement decisions without having to rely on very experienced individuals to know where to go or how to avoid predators.
- But as habitats continue to shrink and elephants are forced into smaller areas where they cannot avoid each other, their weak dominance hierarchies may result in greater conflict between individuals, the researchers think.

Environmental official murdered in Brazilian Amazon [10/17/2016]
- Luiz Alberto Araújo, head of the Altamira municipal government environmental department in the state of Pará, was gunned down in an execution-style killing last Thursday. 448 environmentalists were killed in Brazil between 2002-2013 — half the total murdered worldwide.
- Araújo provided information this year that helped lead to the arrest of a major illegal logging operation led by Antonio José Junqueira Vilela Filho, known as Ajj.
- Ajj ran his operation near Altamira for ten years, often only cutting valuable understory trees, and leaving the tallest behind to fool satellites and avoid detection. His operation kept loggers in slave-like conditions. Ajj was fined US$37 million, the largest such fine ever in the Amazon.
- Last February, Araújo’s team collected tons of dead fish secretly buried near the newly completed Belo Monte mega-dam, near Altamira. Norte Energia, the company operating the dam, was fined US$11 million for the 16.2 tons of fish illegally killed during the flooding of the dam’s reservoir.

New parasitic plant doesn’t use photosynthesis; its flowers never bloom [10/17/2016]
- Researcher Kenji Suetsugu of Kobe University chanced upon some 100 individuals of the new plant in April 2016, during a research trip in the lowland forests of the Japanese island of Kuroshima.
- The newly discovered plant — named Gastrodia kuroshimensis — occurs in the dark understory of forests where little light penetrates. So instead of using sunlight or photosynthesis to generate nutrients, the plant parasitizes the fungi in the forest soil for its daily dose of nutrition.
- The new plant produces dark greenish-brown flowers that remain closed throughout the entire flowering period, relying completely on self-pollination within closed buds instead.

Climate deal struck to curb ‘super greenhouse gases’ [10/16/2016]
- Under the terms of the Kigali Amendment, the participating countries will collectively slash HFC levels in the atmosphere by 80 to 85 percent by midcentury.
- Experts say that the reduction could spare the planet as much a half a degree Celsius in warming.
- The HFC cutbacks will begin in developed countries first, giving more time to emerging economies and the warmest countries in most need of cooling solutions to scale back.

From paper to tablet: A new way to record animal behavior [10/14/2016]
- Animal Observer is a free, new iPad app that helps researchers collect animal behavior data such as activity, diet and social interactions.
- Developed by the Fossey Fund and initially designed for gorillas, the app is now customizable to a variety of observation types and species.
- GPS capabilities allow the app to record spatial positions of the animals being observed, providing critical data for social network and spatial analyses.
- Animal Observer is perhaps best applied for studying species that have a strong group dynamic or social structure.

Economic impacts of climate change on global fisheries could be worse than we thought [10/14/2016]
- Previous research has shown that global warming will cause changes in ocean temperatures, sea ice extent, salinity, and oxygen levels, among other impacts, that are likely to lead to shifts in the distribution range and productivity of marine species, the study notes.
- In all, the UBC researchers found that global fisheries could lose approximately $10 billion in annual revenue by 2050 if climate change continues unchecked — a 10 percent decrease, which is 35 percent more than has been previously estimated.
- Countries that are most dependent on fisheries to feed their populations will experience the biggest impacts, according to the study.

More than 20 labor law violations by Indofood alleged in Indonesia [10/14/2016]
- NGOs are calling for a pair of Indofood subsidiaries to be suspended from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
- The company has denied the allegations of human rights abuses on its plantations in the archipelagic Southeast Asian country, the world's top palm oil producer.
- Indofood is an arm of the Salim Group and one of the world's largest palm oil companies.

Tree biodiversity critical to forest productivity, study finds [10/14/2016]
- A team of more than 80 researchers collected data in 44 countries covering nearly all major forest ecosystems.
- In natural forests, they were able to show accelerating declines in productivity as the forest loses more tree species.
- Based on their calculations, the value of tree species biodiversity is $166-$490 billion.

Barro Blanco dam in limbo after Ngäbe-Bugle Congress rejects agreement [10/14/2016]
- The Barro Blanco dam on Panama’s Tabasará River has been controversial since its inception because of an alleged lack of consultation with indigenous people regarding the project, and because of its flooding of Ngäbe communities. The dam is now structurally complete, but many among the Ngäbe-Bugle still want it cancelled.
- While an agreement accepting the dam was reached in August between an indigenous representative and the Panamanian government, that accord was repudiated in September by the Ngäbe-Bugle General Congress, which said that their representatives overstepped their authority.
- At the September meeting, the General Congress created a new commission to analyze the project and make recommendations on future actions regarding the dam. The rejection of the agreement made between Panama’s government and the indigenous groups leaves no end in sight for the conflict.

Two species of beetles go extinct in the US, one gets protection [10/14/2016]
- Two beetle species found only in the U.S — the Stephan’s riffle beetle and the Tatum Cave beetle — are now officially extinct, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on October 5.
- The delay in listing these beetles for protection under the Endangered Species Act may have contributed to their extinction, according to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD).
- The Miami tiger beetle from Florida has now been listed as “endangered” under the ESA, following a petition for its listing by CBD and other conservation groups.

Nigerian drill monkeys’ fast-disappearing haven [10/14/2016]
- Richards speaks about past and upcoming attempts to re-introduce the primates of Drill Ranch to a habitat with an uncertain future.
- "Apart from the general level of deforestation in Nigeria [...], one huge problem that drills are facing at the moment is the building of a 260km superhighway through the piece of rainforest where many of the remaining 7000 in the wild live, along with many other endangered species like the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee and the Cross River gorilla."
- "The drills need to be released to boost the wild populations, but it’s difficult to know the best method when a release of this size has never been attempted before."

Gold mining deforestation in Peruvian reserve surpasses 450 hectares [10/13/2016]
- Illegal gold mining is commonplace in southern Peru, and is associated with massive deforestation and mercury poisoning amid other environmental and social concerns.
- Last year, analysis with Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) started detecting mining activity within the northern boundary of Tambopata National Reserve.
- Satellite data indicate the mining is taking place in particularly pristine, connected tracts of primary forest.
- Tambopata's forests are home to a plethora of wildlife, including endangered and endemic species.

Nature’s right to exist gets a boost from key organizations [10/13/2016]
- The more than 1,300 members from over 170 countries of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) signalled their support for nature’s inherent right to exist at the organization’s most recent World Conservation Congress, held in Hawaii last month.
- These actions on the part of the IUCN will in turn help boost the efforts of wildlife conservation conventions such as CITES, which are especially crucial in the midst of skyrocketing illicit trade in endangered species, according to Linda Sheehan, executive director of the California-based Earth Law Center.
- In August, just before IUCN members convened in Hawaii, the UN released a report prepared by 120 experts in economics, education, ethics, law, science, and other disciplines that recommended the rights of nature be included in our governance systems.

It’s a bear, it’s a cat; no, it’s a binturong and it’s threatened [10/13/2016]
- The binturong, or bearcat (Arctictis binturong) inhabits a range stretching from northeast India and Bangladesh to the Malay Peninsula, Borneo and the Philippines. It is found more rarely in Nepal, South China, Java, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.
- This tree-dwelling species occupies its own unique genus: it possesses a prehensile tail (like a monkey), purrs and cleans itself like a cat, and has a territory-marking scent that smells exactly like buttered popcorn.
- The binturong is threatened by habitat loss due to logging and agribusiness, especially the oil palm industry. It is also hunted for bushmeat, traditional medicine and the pet trade. A local coffee, made from beans that pass through a binturong’s digestive system, is also valued.
- Binturongs have been little studied and their numbers in the wild are unknown. It is known that they eat prodigious amounts of strangler fig fruit, and that they are important seed spreaders. More study is urgently needed to determine how the species can be conserved.

Mother Nature and a hydropower onslaught aren’t the Mekong Delta’s only problems [10/13/2016]
- Vietnam's Mekong Delta, home to nearly 20 million people, is one of the most highly productive agricultural environments in the world, thanks in part to an elaborate network of canals, dikes, sluice gates and drainage ditches.
- On the strength of Delta agriculture, Vietnam has gone from a chronic importer of rice to a major exporter.
- But farmers in the region are critical of the government's food security policies, which mandate that most of the Delta's land be devoted to rice production. And many of them are taking measures to circumvent those rules, in ways that aren't always friendly to the environment.
- That's just one example of how water and land-use policy in the Delta is undermining efforts to protect the vulnerable region from climate change and upstream development.

New tool lets anyone find out if deep sea mining is happening in their ocean backyard [10/13/2016]
- Marine scientists at the University of California Santa Barbara’s Benioff Ocean Initiative developed the web-based tool, Deep Sea Mining Watch, to allow anyone to watch vessels engaged in deep sea mining activities anywhere in the world.
- Deep sea mining is relatively new, but it’s exactly what it sounds like: mineral extraction from the ocean floor, at depths ranging from 800 to 6,000 meters (about 2,600 to 20,000 feet).
- The team of scientists behind Deep Sea Mining Watch have already used the tool to comb through the mountain of global vessel data generated by all the world’s ships in order to extract high-resolution GPS tracks showing where mining activities have already started.

Exclusive: Rainforest rapidly cleared for sugarcane in Bolivia [10/12/2016]
- Satellite data indicate deforestation for sugarcane in the northern portion of the country near Madidi National Park is ramping up as the San Buenaventura sugar mill expands production in the area.
- Nearly 2,000 hectares have been cleared for sugarcane so far, with a total of 11,700 hectares planned for cultivation by 2023.
- The Tacana Indigenous community alleges it was forced to concede 4,000 hectares of its ancestral territory for the construction of the mill.
- Deforestation already affects 20 percent of the Pan Amazon, and scientists warn that if it continues at this pace, it could produce an ecological collapse in less than 40 years.

For the first time, bees get added to US endangered species list [10/12/2016]
- The seven species — Hylaeus anthracinus, H. assimulans, H. facilis, H. hilaris, H. kuakea, H. longiceps, and H. mana — are native only to Hawaii and inhabit diverse habitats such as coasts, dry forests, and subalpine shrublands.
- These bees pollinate a variety of native plant species, including some of Hawaii’s most endangered plant species, which could become extinct if the bees were wiped out.
- However, like many other wild bees in North America that are on the decline, Hawaiian yellow-faced bee numbers too are dwindling and their populations are now very small and extremely vulnerable to slight habitat changes.

Airbus to marshal its satellites against deforestation [10/12/2016]
- Starling is a new service developed by Airbus, The Forest Trust and SarVision.
- Palm oil suppliers can use it to verify their compliance with their customers' zero-deforestation policies.
- Starling, which will be sold to companies, is meant as a compliment to Global Forest Watch, a publicly available platform that anyone can use to track deforestation in near-real time.
- Starling is more powerful than Global Forest Watch, with the ability to see through clouds and zoom in close enough to count the trees.

A cost-benefit analysis of securing indigenous land rights in the Amazon [10/11/2016]
- According to the report, the investments required to secure land rights for indigenous communities would be modest, but could generate billions of dollars in returns economically, environmentally, and socially — a boon not just for local communities but the global climate, as well.
- According to the report, between 2000 and 2012 the annual deforestation rates in tenure-secure indigenous forests were significantly lower than outside those areas.
- “The estimated economic benefits for a 20-year period are: $54–119 billion for Bolivia; $523–1,165 billion for Brazil; and $123–277 billion for Colombia,” the report states.

Struggle against mining on Bangka Island continues despite wins in court [10/11/2016]
- Pulau Bangka lies off the coast of Sulawesi, Indonesia, in one of the world's most biodiverse marine areas.
- In 2008, a local official granted mining company PT Migroko Metal Perdana a permit to explore the area for iron ore.
- Indonesia's Supreme Court ruled that the permit should be revoked, but the local government has not executed the order.
- Indonesia's Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has pledged to raise the issue with the president.

Scientists dive deep to discover new fish species at 150 meters [10/11/2016]
- The new species, discovered during an expedition in 2014, belongs to a group of fish called groppos that are typically found at depths of over 100 meters, according to a new study.
- Finding a new species of groppo without the use of submarines or other indirect methods is surprising, scientists say, and makes this the deepest new fish discovery done by diving to date.
- The team has named the pink-and-yellow-hued fish Brianne’s Groppo or Grammatonotus brianne after co-author Brian Greene’s wife, Brianne Atwood.

Scoring palm oil buyers on their sustainability commitments [10/10/2016]
- The scorecard reports the results of WWF’s analysis of 137 retailers, manufacturers, and food service companies from Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Japan, and the United States that collectively use more than six million metric tons of palm oil, 10 percent of all palm oil traded around the globe.
- Out of the 137 companies, WWF found that only 78 had made commitments to use 100 certified sustainable palm oil by 2015, while 30 have not made any kind of public commitment whatsoever.
- Just 96 companies reported using any certified sustainable palm oil in 2015, the scorecard states.

The island that time forgot: discussing Sable Island’s remarkable wildlife with producer Bill Barton [10/10/2016]
- Sable Island is one of the most enchanting and magnetic places in the world.
- It is known as the "Graveyard of the Atlantic" for its track record of shipwrecks, the foggy, low-lying island boasts stunning beaches and a diversity of species.
- "Access is limited due to the delicate ecosystem and the ever-shifting shoals that make approaching the island difficult, even in the best of conditions."

Ethiopia’s vulnerable tropical forests are key to securing future of wild coffee [10/10/2016]
- Wild Ethiopian coffee is worth three times as much as non-wild coffee on the commercial market.
- Southwest Ethiopia's vulnerable forests are the center of of wild coffee's genetic diversity.
- Wild Ethiopian coffee represents an insurance plan of sorts for the commercial coffee market.

Exclusive: New satellite images show Ecuador drilling in Yasuni’s ITT [10/09/2016]
- The Yasuni’s ITT block is one of the world’s most controversial drill sites
- Oil wells in the block sit directly on what scientists describe as the most biodiverse place on the planet
- Government officials had promised that new drilling would impact less than one percent of the area

Fires ravaged forests in Indonesian palm oil giant Astra’s land in 2015 [10/07/2016]
- In September last year, Astra Agro Lestari earned plaudits for issuing a zero-deforestation pledge.
- A new Aidenvironment report tracks the company's progress implementing its commitment.
- A major issue is Astra's policy for preventing fires on its land. Fires raged across its concessions last year, but the firm has not elaborated how it plans to stop burning.

Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frog now presumed to be extinct [10/07/2016]
- “Toughie,” the last known Rabbs' fringe-limbed tree frog, was found dead in his enclosure by his keepers at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on September 26.
- Environmental writer Andrew Revkin noted that Toughie’s death came “four years after the only other known member of this tropical species died at the Atlanta Zoo. Both were males, so the species was at its end well before they passed away.”
- The natural range of Rabbs’ fringe-limbed tree frogs (Ecnomiohyla rabborum) was in the mountains of central Panama, where it would use its massive webbed hands and feet to glide from tree to tree in the cloud forest canopy it called home.

Romania announces ban on trophy hunting of bears, wolves and wildcats [10/07/2016]
- A loophole in the European law allows thousands of Romania’s wild animals to be hunted for sport every year.
- But following protests by environmental groups, the Ministry of Environment announced that it had cancelled an order that would have allowed trophy hunting of about 1,700 wild animals this year.
- Conflict animals can still be hunted, but only the ministry-approved Wildlife Emergency Service – SUAS, a newly created state agency, would be allowed to shoot the animals if necessary.

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