This being the last Mongabay Newscast of 2016, we’re bringing you the top new species discoveries of the year. Here at Mongabay we report on a lot of environmental science and conservation news. It’s not always the most cheery subject matter, especially when we’re reporting on endangered or extinct species. But it’s important to remember that we’re also discovering new species all the time.
Mongabay staff writer Shreya Dasgupta rounded up all of the top new species discovered in 2016, including 13 new dancing peacock spiders, a crab that was discovered in a pet market, a new species of whale, a tarantula that shoots balls of barbed hair at its enemies, and one bird that is now 13 distinct species.
We also speak with author Mike Shanahan, whose new book Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers: The secret history and redemptive future of fig trees looks at this tropical species’ biology and key ecological role, as well as its deep cultural (and spiritual) place in human history. If listening to this episode of the Newscast leaves you wanting to hear more from Shanahan, Mongabay editor Erik Hoffner interviewed him back in November. “Wild fig trees are magnets to biodiversity. Plant them and other species, both plant and animal, soon follow,” Shanahan said then.
On episode seven of the Newscast we talk with Mongabay contributing editor for Southeast Asia Isabel Esterman, who is based in Cairo, Egypt, about the plight of Asian rhinos. Potential new evidence recently emerged that suggests there might be some undiscovered wild Sumatran rhinos in Malaysia, where they were declared extinct in the wild last year — though not everyone is convinced the new evidence is all that compelling.
We also speak with Richard Bowden, a professor of environmental science at Allegheny College, to answer a question from a Mongabay reader and geography student at the University of Hamburg in Germany, who wrote in to ask: “What are the effects of climate change on phenology, primary production, carbon sequestration, and biotic interactions?”
If you’ve got a question about environmental science and conservation, we’d be happy to answer it for you! Just drop us a line at email@example.com and we’ll answer your question in a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.
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Noted ecologist and author Carl Safina appears on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast to discuss the current state of marine conservation and its future under the Trump presidency. His latest book is "Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel," which is now out in paperback.
We also welcome to the show Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler, who fills us in on the origins of Mongabay and where it’s going in 2017. (There are many more answers to questions you might have about Mongabay here.)
On this week's Newscast we hear from writer Justin Catanoso who's at the COP22 climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco filing reports for Mongabay.com. He shares his latest observations from this important UN conference and the mood of the delegates following the shocking U.S. election result favoring Donald Trump. Read his reports from the UN conference here.
We also hear from Mongabay editor and Newscast producer Erik Hoffner who answers a reader question about salamander conservation in Mexico, with the help of an expert from Michoacan University.
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Andrea Crosta of the Elephant Action League (EAL), one of the stars of the new Netflix documentary The Ivory Game, discusses how Chinese demand is driving the multi-billion dollar trade in ivory, as well as EAL’s project WildLeaks and the undercover investigations in mainland China and Hong Kong that have helped expose the illegal ivory being laundered through legal ivory markets. The Ivory Game premieres on Netflix on November 4.
We also speak with Borneo Futures founder Erik Meijaard about his new feature for Mongabay entitled "Company poised to destroy critical orangutan habitat in breach of Indonesia’s moratorium." The article details the plans of an Indonesian company to cut down a forest that is home to between 750 and 1750 orangutans, the third-largest population in the province of West Kalimantan. The forest is slated for conversion to an industrial tree plantation.
And as usual we'll round up some of the top environmental news from around the world.
Mongabay’s India-based staff writer Shreya Dasgupta appears on this episode of the Newscast to discuss key votes held at the seventeenth congress of the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, also known as CITES CoP17.
Representatives from more than 180 countries gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa for CITES CoP17, which closed on Oct 5. One of the largest environmental agreements regulating the international trade in wildlife, CITES currently regulates more than 5,600 species of animals and 30,000 species of plants. Decisions were made regarding pangolins, African gray parrots, elephants, and rosewood at the recent meeting.
Also appearing on the show is Steven Alexander of the University of Maryland's National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center and the Stockholm Resilience Center. 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?” But first, he explains what socio-ecological research actually entails, and provides a few examples.
If you’ve got a question, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you an answer on a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.
On this episode of the Newscast, Mongabay’s Indonesia-based editor Phil Jacobson makes an in-studio appearance to talk about a new series launched this week focusing on the Mekong Delta.
No other delta region in the world is more threatened by climate change than the Mekong Delta, which is why the first installment of the series, asks: “Will climate change sink the Mekong Delta?”
Three more articles by Mongabay correspondent David Brown, who traveled extensively in Vietnam to report these stories, will be coming out over the next couple weeks, and Phil shares a preview of those, too.
We also speak with Mongabay’s Israel-based forests editor, Genevieve Belmaker, who answered a question submitted by a PhD Scholar in the Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences at Pondicherry University in Puducherry, India: “I want to ask you, how can a person living in a conflict zone contribute to environmental conservation?”
For Mongabay Newscast #1, host Mike Gaworecki rounds up the week in top conservation news from around the world and then speaks with Mongabay.com editor Rebecca Kessler about the environmental impacts of the Barro Blanco Dam in Panama on indigenous communities, biodiversity, sacred sites, and the wider watershed. Mongabay has been covering this 28 MW hydro project for three years. The indigenous Ngäbe and Buglé indigenous groups maintain that they were not properly consulted about the project, yet the reservoir is currently filling as the dam undergoes a "test flooding." Read the story here. Reservoir photo by Oscar Sogandares.