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



Russia’s Far East: then and now [10/01/2016]
- Mongabay interviewed Jonathan Slaght, a biologist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, who recently published an annotated translation of the accounts of Russian military surveyor Vladimir Arsenyev.
- Arsenyev first started exploring the eastern province of Primorye shortly after the vast region became a Russian territory, documenting in great detail the animals and people that inhabited the area.
- Since that time, Primorye's forests have been extensively logged and its wildlife hunted. But Russia has made some gains in terms of conservation, with tiger numbers rebounding after hunting nearly wiped them out by the 1940s.
- Slaght is currently working with logging companies to close logging roads and make Primorye's forests less accessible for timber extraction and poaching.


Indonesia exploring new model to fund national parks [09/30/2016]
- The environment ministry's budget for conservation was recently slashed by parliament.
- To fill the gap, the ministry is exploring a mechanism to seek foreign funding, the ministry's director for nature conservation told Mongabay.
- The mechanism could build on a model established last year in Raja Ampat district, in which a special authority was set up to manage the district's protected areas using tourism revenue.


Indigenous communities take the lead on conservation in Colombia [09/30/2016]
- Colombia's Sierra Nevada mountain range and the land around it has experienced heavy deforestation, and many of its endemic species are threatened with extinction due to habitat loss.
- The Wiwa use traditional conservation and cultural practices to manage forests, and believe it is their purpose to act as environmental stewards.
- For around 20 years, local communities like the Wiwa have been buying up land around Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Natural National Park, aided by The Nature Conservancy.
- Satellite data indicate this may be helping prevent deforestation, with less tree cover loss within the Indigenous territory than outside of it.


U.S. imports of Amazon crude oil driving expansion of oil operations [09/30/2016]
- Oakland, California-based non-profit Amazon Watch released the report this week to highlight the impacts of oil operations on Amazonian biodiversity and indigenous peoples, as well as on refinery communities in the U.S. and the global climate.
- U.S. crude imports are in overall decline, the report notes. But imports from the Amazon are on the rise, so much so that the U.S. is now importing more crude oil from the Amazon than from any single foreign country.
- “Existing and proposed oil and gas blocks in the Amazon cover 283,172 square miles, an area larger than the state of Texas,” per the report.


No decline in tiger trafficking: new report [09/30/2016]
- A minimum of 110 tigers are being seized annually by enforcement agencies, a new report by TRAFFIC found.
- Analysis of the trafficking data revealed that both the number of reported tiger seizures as well as the minimum number of tigers being traded appears to be increasing every year.
- At least 297 of the 1755 tigers seized during the 16-year period reportedly originated from a captive facility such as a tiger farm, zoo or a tourist facility.


Fires driving deforestation in Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem [09/29/2016]
- The Leuser Ecosystem is home to one of Indonesia's best remaining rainforests.
- The nationally protected area saw its forest cover dwindle from 1,820,726 hectares to 1,816,629 hectares from January-June 2016.
- More than 2,000 forest crimes were recorded in Leuser during the same period.


Going green with the aviation industry (commentary) [09/29/2016]
- The UN International Civil Aviation Organization intends to achieve “carbon neutral” growth from 2020, largely through carbon offsets.
- The authors argue in favor of the aviation industry's plans, described as "an opportunity to massively scale up funding to protect the world’s forests."
- This post is a commentary — the views expressed are those of the authors.


Study suggests commercial fishing depletes key nutrients in coral reefs [09/29/2016]
- Maintaining and, where necessary, rebuilding coral reef fish communities is key to the food security and livelihoods of billions of people around the world, according to the authors of an article published in the journal Nature Communications last month note.
- A 2015 study found that reef fish biomass can take 35 to 60 years to recover from heavily depleted levels.
- The authors of the Nature Communications article write that the results of their study suggest that “in addition to well-acknowledged conservation targets such as biodiversity protection, a broader perspective that incorporates predictable impacts of fishing pressure on nutrient dynamics is imperative for effective coral reef conservation and management.”


Chile creates largest marine park in Southeast Pacific [09/29/2016]
- This area has great diversity and endemism: "72 percent of the species that live there are found nowhere else in the world; fish biomass is the highest of all the islands of the Pacific with 2.5 tons per hectare," said the Chilean Minister of the Environment.
- In the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park species may reproduce and help contribute to the recovery of currently overexploited or depleted species in the South Pacific Ocean, such as mackerels.
- Two days after the Chilean government officially established the creation of the Nazca-Desventuradas Marine Park, U.S. president Barack Obama announced the extension of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument which now covers 1.5 million square kilometers making it the largest marine protected area in the world.


International trade in Barbary macaques banned [09/29/2016]
- Once widespread, only about 6,500 to 9,100 Barbary macaque are now estimated to occur in fragmented forest patches of Algeria and Morocco in North Africa. A small, introduced population of 200 monkeys also lives on the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe.
- Barbary macaque remains the most frequently seized CITES-listed live mammal in the European Union.
- Conservationists hope that the inclusion of the Barbary macaque in Appendix I will ensure greater protection to the species against poaching and illegal trade.


Myanmar’s forests face myriad problems as logging ban continues [09/29/2016]
- Between 1990 and 2015 Myanmar lost nearly 15 million hectares of forest and other wooded land.
- Approximately 527 mainly UN-led forest user groups manage around 40,000 hectares of in-country forest.
- Illicit cross-border trade of illegal timber continues despite the logging ban set to expire in April 2017.


Slave-linked fishing firm thought to have resumed operations in Indonesia [09/29/2016]
- Indonesian fisheries minister Susi Pudjiastuti told reporters she had reopened an investigation into PT Pusaka Benjina Resources.
- The company's licenses were revoked after the Associated Press exposed slavery and human trafficking in its operations in eastern Indonesia last year.
- Pudjiastuti said she had received a report that the company had been buying fish from local fishermen for almost a month and processing them in its factory on Benjina Island north of Australia.


Commercial trade in all eight pangolin species has just been banned [09/28/2016]
- Following a landslide vote, all eight species of pangolin will now be listed under CITES Appendix I, which bans commercial trade and represents the highest level of protection available under international law.
- Pangolins, which can be found in Asia and Africa, have been called the “world’s most trafficked mammal,” and consensus has been building amongst the conservation community that it was time for such a move.
- Hunting and poaching of pangolins are the primary threats to the species. The majority of the pangolins and pangolin parts that are traded end up in China and Vietnam.


Deforestation jumps into Peru reserve, 1,600 hectares of rainforest lost [09/28/2016]
- El Sira Communal Reserve is home to several indigenous groups, as well as endangered species found nowhere else.
- Located in central Peru's Amazon rainforest, El Sira is surrounded by deforestation for cropland, cattle pasture, and gold mining.
- A recent analysis finds that these activities have invaded the northern portion of El Sira reserve, with 1,600 hectares of forest cleared since 2013.
- Satellite data indicate this may be a growing trend, with far more tree cover loss recorded in September 2016 than during September 2015.


Field Notes: Can we alter endangered species to be more adaptable? [09/28/2016]
- Endangered species often don’t reproduce well in captivity or when reintroduced to the wild. Researcher Stephanie Courtney Jones believes that by studying the “pesty” traits that help invasive species reproduce well, and to be successful in multiple habitats, we might be able to help endangered species do the same.
- Courtney Jones is studying an invasive mouse species to see how wild and captive animals differ over generations. While, for example, there are no external difference between captive and wild mice, internally, the more generations mice spend in captivity, the more their spleens, kidneys and gut length shrinks.
- She wonders if such changes are plastic, and if by introducing challenges — different foods or behaviors — endangered species could be made to display more useful survival traits. Exploiting this plasticity might, for example, reactivate a latent trait that would allow a species that today lives in just one narrow habitat to live across a wide range of habitats, helping it adapt to climate change.
- The researcher recognizes the challenges in her work. There are, for example, massive numbers of variables involved, and changing one specific trait can also unintentionally trigger the manifestation of other traits. And no one knows how altered endangered species might then interact within the environment.


Colombia’s peace could pressure the environment [09/28/2016]
ith the disbanding of Colombia’s largest military guerrilla group, FARC, Colombia’s forests could come under pressure from developmental goals. Home to almost 10 percent of the planet’s biodiversity, Colombia is listed as a “megadiverse” country by the Convention on Biological Diversity. It is home to 314 different types of ecosystems. Colombia now faces a unique […]

Missing data puts thousands of illegally traded wild animals at risk [09/28/2016]
- Between 2010 and 2014, more than 64,000 live wild animals belonging to 359 species were seized by authorities.
- But only 54 countries party to the CITES reported seizures, researchers found, while 128 countries did not report any illegal wildlife trade, suggesting that the records represent only a fraction of the actual animals being illegally traded.
- Moreover, it is not obligatory for CITES parties to formally record information regarding the disposal of confiscated live wild animals, so the fate of most confiscated animals remains unknown.


Innovative tax credit takes aim at deforestation in Peru [09/28/2016]
- The credit line aims at combating deforestation while supporting economic stability.
- Peru's San Martin region is home to the largest producers of rice and coffee in Peru.
- Production of key agricultural resources and the general expansion of agriculture are closely linked to Peruvian deforestation


Conservationists: It’s time for pangolins to be listed on Appendix I of CITES [09/27/2016]
- According to a new report by San Francisco-based NGO WildAid, more than one million pangolins have been taken from the wild in the past decade, making them the world’s most-trafficked mammal.
- Hunting and poaching of pangolins for illegal international trade — the majority of which will end up China and Vietnam — is the primary threat to pangolins, according to WildAid.
- At its World Conservation Congress in Hawaii earlier this month, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) voted to approve a motion in support of transferring all eight pangolin species from Appendix II to Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES), which would ban all commercial trade in pangolins.


China’s reforestation program a letdown for wildlife, study finds [09/27/2016]
- According to fieldwork from south-central Sichuan Province, biodiversity within monocultures is lower than within cropland, the very land being restored.
- The research found that cropland restored with mixed forests offers marginal biodiversity gains and comes at no economic cost to households, relative to monocultures.
- The researchers recommend incentives for restoration of native forests under the program, which they say would provide the greatest benefits for biodiversity.


Madagascar’s largest tortoise could become extinct in 2 years [09/27/2016]
- Currently listed as Critically Endangered in the IUCN Red List, the ploughshare tortoise occurs only in the Baly Bay National Park in northwestern Madagascar.
- The animal’s striking gold and black domed shell has made it a prized pet in the international market, fueling organized poaching and trafficking that is driving the species towards extinction.
- Since early 2016, ploughshare tortoises appear to have disappeared completely from several areas of the Baly Bay National Park.


The Nicaraguan frontier: a treasure trove under siege [09/26/2016]
- Patterns of deforestation show a steady march of the agricultural frontier as non-indigenous colonists claim land for cultivation.
- The Atlantic Autonomous Regions of the North and South (RAAN and RAAS) have lost up to 40 percent of their nucleus, while further south, protected areas such as Punta Gorda and Cerro Silva Nature Reserves have lost 25 percent of their forest cover.
- Undoubtedly, enforcement of environmental and indigenous law is hampered by limited financial resources in Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. However, some Nicaraguan scientists have suggested that an aggressively extractivist orientation is the prevailing political current.


Indonesia seeks foreign funds to aid peat restoration drive [09/26/2016]
- The head of Indonesia's peat restoration agency said corporate social responsibility and donor funds would not be enough to meet the country's target.
- Indonesia's finance ministry is preparing a reform package to provide incentives to invest in peat rehabilitation.
- The environment ministry has moved to issue five timber companies with administrative sanctions for complicity in wildfires burning on their concessions.
- Three companies had their licenses altogether revoked; land from two of those concessions will be converted into a buffer zone for Tesso Nilo National Park.


The thriving oysters of Wellfleet Harbor [09/26/2016]
Richard Elson is a filmmaker who will be presenting his work at next month’s Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City.

Amazon radio network unites regional opposition to Tapajós basin dams [09/26/2016]
- The Amazon News Network has been in operation for nearly a decade, with the mission of providing news and information to unify people living all across the Amazon region of Brazil.
- The Network is especially involved in providing news about the massive infrastructure projects planned for the Amazon, including more than 40 dams slated for the Tapajós River basin.
- Late in August 2016, Amazon News Network founder Father Edilberto Sena, and Executive Producer Joelma Viana helped organize an environmental and social caravan that traveled from Santarém to Itaituba in Brazil’s Pará state at the heart of the Amazon. In Itaituba around 1,000 activists and concerned citizens gathered for a summit to develop sustainable economic strategies for the Tapajós region.
- The Itaituba summit called for the reinstatement of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (established in 1999 to oversee land reform in Brazil and promote sustainable practices, but abolished under the new Temer government). The participants also organized around their opposition to Tapajós dam construction plans.


Searching for sawfish following the clues of environmental DNA [09/26/2016]
- Environmental DNA (eDNA) is genetic material extracted directly from environmental samples, such as soil, water and air, rather than from an evident biological source. eDNA analysis is revolutionizing species detection and genetic analyses for conservation, management and research.
- Researchers in northern Australia are using eDNA to locate and help conserve critically endangered largetooth sawfish.
- eDNA technology is rapidly evolving; it could become completely field-based and be used to determine abundance and applied to meta-genomic ecosystem surveys to predict spatial and temporal biodiversity patterns.


Lao PDR commits to shut its commercial tiger farms [09/26/2016]
- Lao PDR’s Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, H.E. Mr Sommad Pholsena, announced last Friday that the country will shut its commercial tiger farms.
- Lao PDR, with its weak laws and law enforcement and its strategic location close to China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, has emerged as a key transit hub for the trade of many threatened species including the tiger.
- While the country's decision has been welcomed, conservationists caution that it will take more than words to actually shut down all of Lao PDR's tiger farms.


Alaska’s salmon and Vietnam’s doucs: wildlife narratives by Producer Tim Plowden [09/26/2016]
Tim Plowden is a nature filmmaker who will be presenting his work at next month’s Wildlife Conservation Film Festival in New York City.

How’s my target species recovering? A new tool to help you evaluate [09/24/2016]
- Professionals in conservation, agriculture, development, and research seek to assess the status of biodiversity targets and their responses to threats.
- A new biodiversity monitoring manual brings together numerous resources to aid students, researchers, and resource managers in assessing resource health over time.
- The manual is freely available online from Germany’s GIZ to facilitate informed natural resource decision-making.


‘We are revolutionaries’: Villagers fight to protect Myanmar’s forests [09/23/2016]
- Deforestation has been trending upward in the Tanintharyi region of southern Myanmar, with the area losing 6 percent of its tree cover in 14 years. Mines and new roads are among the threats to its forest.
- A committee formed by a community in Tanintharyi is working to preserve the remaining forest of the Kamoethway river valley.
- The organization – Rays of Kamoethway Indigenous People and Nature – has established nine different conservation zones in the region.
- But members say another conservation project established by Myanmar's government and funded by oil and gas companies is threatening the community and its conservation efforts.


Calls for CITES to address the corruption fueling the illegal wildlife trade [09/23/2016]
- The European Union and Senegal have put forward a resolution at CoP17 proposing measures to tackle corruption in wildlife trafficking.
- Late last year, Yury Fedotov, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, joined with John Scanlon, secretary-general of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to call for increased anti-corruption efforts in the fight against the illegal wildlife trade.
- A new report by independent conservationist and researcher Karl Ammann, who has been studying the issue for decades, paints a sobering portrait of the extent of the corruption enabling the illegal wildlife trade.


Lao PDR failing to curb pangolin and hornbill trafficking: new reports [09/23/2016]
- A TRAFFIC team opportunistically surveyed markets within seven Lao PDR cities for 10 days in April 2016 and three days in July 2016, and found nearly 2,800 pangolin scales for sale.
- TRAFFIC researchers also found 74 helmeted hornbill products during an eight-day market survey in Lao PDR between April 2016 and July 2016.
- A report by the CITES Secretariat, too, highlighted gaps in the country’s laws, a lack of law enforcement, as well as the need to work with neighboring countries to tackle transboundary trafficking of species.


Whalesong, interrupted [09/23/2016]
- Baleen whales broadcast complex songs over long distances underwater, but maritime noise pollution from ships and other sources is squeezing their ability to communicate.
- With regulatory and technical solutions to ocean noise slow to spread, some researchers are optimistic that whales themselves will be able to change their vocalizations to overcome the din.
- Meanwhile, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration last week released a strategy to study and mitigate rising noise levels and their effect on marine life.


Land grabbing and environmental destruction could now be prosecuted under international law [09/22/2016]
- In a detailed policy paper on case selection and prioritization released last week, ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda wrote that “crimes that are committed by means of, or that result in, inter alia, the destruction of the environment, the illegal exploitation of natural resources or the illegal dispossession of land” will be given “particular consideration” for prosecution.
- The significant change to ICC’s strategy comes as Bensouda is poised to deliver a decision on whether or not to investigate a case filed in 2014 alleging a number of human rights violations were committed during a series of land seizures in Cambodia that forced hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
- Expanding the court’s focus to include environmental crimes “could reshape how business is done in developing countries,” according to Global Witness, as company executives, politicians, and any other individuals complicit in such crimes could be held criminally responsible under international law.


Amazonian bat identification takes flight with new interactive guide [09/22/2016]
- Often small and flying at night, the more than 160 bat species found in the Amazon can be challenging to identify in the field by researchers and amateur enthusiasts.
- To make identification easier, a free, open-access, interactive, downloadable, digital Field Guide to Amazonian Bats — designed for use with tablets or smartphones — has just been published by the National Institute of Amazonian Research.
- The dynamic digital format allows the guide to be continuously updated as new research data becomes available, making the format particularly suited to less explored regions of the world where the rate of new species discovery is high.
- The Amazon bat field guide is to be followed by digital bat guides for Madagascar and East Africa.


China considers a huge national park for Amur tigers and leopards [09/22/2016]
- Endangered Amur tigers and Amur leopards are staging a modest recovery in China’s remote northeastern provinces. Over thirty tigers and some 42 leopards now roam the region’s forests.
- The big cats’ habitat remains threatened by human encroachment and experts say the amount of forest currently protected is insufficient to support their growing populations.
- The government of Jilin Province, where most of the big cats live, has proposed a massive new national park focused on the two species that would connect three existing protected areas.
- The park remains under consideration by the central government.


Efforts to conserve Asia’s rhinos meet successes, setbacks [09/22/2016]
- Asia is home to three of the world’s five surviving rhino species
- Rhino populations in India and Nepal are growing, but Javan and Sumatran rhinoceroses remain critically endangered
- Their survival likely depends on successful collaboration between governments and conservation organizations


Indian rhino horns being smuggled to China via Myanmar [09/22/2016]
- In the past, poachers would move horns of the Greater one-horned rhinos from India to China through Nepal.
- But the trade route has shifted to Myanmar because of increasing anti-poaching efforts in Nepal, according to a new report.
- This shift to Myanmar may be temporary however, rhino expert said, depending on how Nepal continues its efforts to check wildlife crimes.


Peru’s Goldman Prize winner Máxima Acuña denounces attack [09/21/2016]
- On the morning of September 18, Máxima Acuña and her husband were attacked and injured by Yanacocha’s security guards.
- The mining company claims they entered the property and removed Acuña’s crop field because it invaded a portion of Yanacocha’s territory.
- The international community and the National Human Rights Coordinator have called for prompt action by the Peruvian state to protect the safety of Acuña’s family.
- Acuña was named the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize winner after her peaceful defense of the land she purchased in Cajamarca and for stopping Yanacocha mining company from extracting copper and gold as part of its Conga project.


Proposed sale of timber from palm oil concession sparks alarm in Liberia [09/21/2016]
- News that Liberia's forestry authority was considering allowing the sale of timber logged from oil palm concessions – called "conversion timber" -- was met with opposition by international and local conservationists.
- Critics say this path could give industrial agriculture companies like palm oil producers a way to get around forest preservation measures and their own zero-deforestation policies. Company representatives deny these claims.
- Liberia has stepped up its environmental regulations in recent years after decades of conflict-fuelled deforestation and recent international pressure to keep its trees in the ground to help stave off climate change.
- A conversion timber request by palm oil producer Golden Veroleum Liberia was ultimately denied by the government, but conservationists worry this is only the beginning.


Time running out to save world’s most endangered porpoise, environmentalists warn [09/21/2016]
- The critically endangered vaquita (Phocoena sinus) is often referred to as “the world’s most endangered cetacean species,” but not because of any direct threat, like overfishing.
- The most severe threats to the remaining vaquita is incidental death due to becoming entangled in fishing gear such as gillnets or being killed by commercial shrimp trawlers.
- But it is China’s demand for swim bladders from a giant Mexican fish called the totoaba (Totoaba macdonaldi) that is really putting the species at the greatest risk, and the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a major opportunity to take the necessary steps to protect the vaquita.


Field Notes: Wooing wolverines with high-tech lures [09/21/2016]
- Wolverines range over immense territories in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, living in inaccessible mountainous terrain and deep snow, making population surveys difficult.
- Robert Long and his colleagues worked with a Microsoft engineer to develop a bear-proof, winter-hardened scent dispenser in the hopes of more accurately surveying the animals through the long Cascades winter.
- They succeeded: of the 24 super-tough lure devices left all winter long in the high mountains, wolverines were detected on more than half the camera traps.
- These long-term lure devices reduce the number of human visits needed to monitor the camera traps, allowing human scent to dissipate and increasing the likelihood of recording the reclusive animals. Camera traps are less invasive and require less time, effort and money than capture programs. They’re less stressful for the animals too.


Saving Bangladesh’s last rainforest [09/21/2016]
- Bordering Myanmar and the Indian states of Tripura and Mizoram, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) is characterized by semi-evergreen forest that is considered part of the highly endangered Indo-Burma Biodiversity Hotspot.
- Concern for the well-being of these forests and their inhabitants spurred Shahriar Caesar Rahman and associates to this year launch the Creative Conservation Alliance (CCA), a Bangladesh-based non-profit
- CCA is taking an unconventional approach to conservation.


Scientists say Amazon biodiversity could help fuel Fourth Industrial Revolution [09/20/2016]
- A team of researchers led by climatologist Carlos Nobre of Brazil’s National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters published an article today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) arguing for “a new development paradigm” in the Amazon.
- Nobre and his co-authors write that the dominant economic paradigm of today, which entails intensive use of the Amazon’s natural resources, has led to “significant basin-wide environmental alterations” over the past half-century.
- Nobre is leading a multidisciplinary group comprised of science and technology experts who aim to set up public-private partnerships among key actors in Brazil and other Amazonian countries in order to bring together research and development centers, universities, and businesses to make economic use of the Amazon’s diversity of living plants, animals, and insects.


SE Asian governments dismiss finding that 2015 haze killed 100,300 [09/20/2016]
- On Monday, researchers from Harvard and Columbia universities reported that 100,300 people in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are likely to have died prematurely from haze produced by last year's devastating agricultural fires in Indonesia.
- Government officials from the three countries cast doubt on the findings.
- One of the study's authors suggested the figure was actually conservative, as it only accounted for adults and for deaths that could occur within one year of exposure to the haze.


Philippine Bleeding-heart doves flutter at the brink, but NGOs respond [09/20/2016]
- The Republic of the Philippines ranks among the 17 most mega-biodiverse nations on earth, with huge numbers of endemic species. Among birds, for example, 40 percent of all species found there are endemic — 226 out of 569 species.
- Five Bleeding-heart dove species are endemic to the Philippines, with three classified as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Massive deforestation, which has been going on for decades, is the primary threat to these birds.
- The Negros Bleeding-heart dove (Gallicolumba keayi) is the focus of a decade-long conservation initiative by the Bristol Zoological Society (BZS), UK. The NGO is using multiple conservation strategies, including captive breeding, but is most focused on local engagement, working to lift people out of poverty to reduce forest pressures.
- The Mindoro Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba platenae), with a population in the low hundreds, is a focus of the Haribon Foundation (BirdLife International’s Philippines partner). The group is focused on education and community empowerment, plus “rainforestation” — the restoration of forests using native species of trees.


Introducing the Mongabay Newscast [09/20/2016]
- Every episode, we’ll feature the top environmental science and conservation news on Mongabay, as well as invite guests on to the show to speak about the most important stories and issues from the past two weeks.
- We also want to directly answer questions from you, Mongabay’s readers — but this being our first episode, we don’t have any questions to answer yet. If you’ve got a question, send it to submissions@mongabay.com and we’ll get you an answer.
- On this first episode, released today, host Mike Gaworecki was joined by Mongabay editor Rebecca Kessler, who discussed the impacts of the Barro Blanco Dam in Panama on the local indigenous communities, biodiversity, and the wider watershed.


Voluntary certification standards have far to go, say experts [09/20/2016]
- Certification should be combined with other standard public policies to promote sustainable forest management principles, say experts.
- Experts point to a need for more relationship building between voluntary certification schemes and public institutions.
- Effective certification requires the cooperation of policy makers, certification schemes, companies, academics and other stakeholders.


Leonardo diCaprio launches global campaign to protect sharks and rays [09/20/2016]
- The Global Partnership for Sharks and Rays (GPSR) is collaborative effort supported by the Leonardo diCaprio Foundation, Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, and Oceans 5.
- The campaign aims to “halt the global overexploitation of sharks and rays, prevent species extinction, and restore shark and ray populations worldwide.”
- The GPSR fund will target coastal fishing countries that have some of the largest direct and incidental take of sharks and rays, have a significant domestic demand, and high biodiversity; as well as countries that have outsized demand for shark and ray products.


Wildfires threaten Peruvian Indigenous communities and national park [09/19/2016]
- Fifteen fire hotspots were detected in Junin Department, according to Peru's National Service of Natural Protected Areas (SERNANP). Data from NASA show the fires have entered the protected buffer zone around Ashaninka Communal Reserve and Otishi National Park.
- The fires have devastated staple crops and cocoa, and have become the largest fire event to happen in the region in a decade, according to the mayor of Río Tambo District Municipality.
- Government, community, and NGO representatives say climate change is playing a part in the fire event.




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