Mongabay Newscast

News and inspiration from nature’s frontline, featuring inspiring guests and deeper analysis of the global environmental issues explored every day by the team. Airs every other Tuesday.
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Jul 12, 2017

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we take a break from our usual science reporting to look at some of the ways nature inspires people to create art — and how they in turn use that art to inspire others to protect the natural world and its inhabitants.

Our first guest is Ben Mirin, aka DJ Ecotone, an explorer, wildlife DJ, educator, and television presenter who creates music from the sounds of nature to help inspire conservation efforts. He'll explain the art and science of his recordings and play several songs he composed. We also speak with Cleve Hicks, author of a new children’s book called A Rhino to the Rescue: A Tale of Conservation and Adventure, not only to express his love of nature but to raise awareness of the poaching crisis decimating Africa’s rhino population.

If you'd like to share your acoustic ecology work with us during a future edition of the show, log on to Twitter and send us a link to a recording you made and any info about the science the clip conveys using the hashtag #Sciencesoundslike.

Please help us improve the Mongabay Newscast by leaving a review on its page at AndroidGoogle PlayiTunesStitcherTuneIn, or wherever you subscribe to it!

Jun 27, 2017

On this episode we welcome Gemma Tillack, agribusiness campaign director of the Rainforest Action Network, which has been very active in the global campaign to protect Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem, one of the richest, most biodiverse tropical forests on the planet that is at risk of being turned into oil palm plantations. Tillack explains just what makes Leuser so unique and valuable and how consumers can help decide the fate of the region.

And in the latest Field Notes segment, research ecologist Marconi Campos Cerqueira discusses a recently completed a study that used bioacoustic monitoring to examine bird ranges in the mountains of Puerto Rico, which appear to be shifting related to climate change, and he’ll share some of his recordings with us.

Please help us improve the Mongabay Newscast by leaving a review on its page at Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you subscribe to it.

Jun 13, 2017

On this episode, we welcome John Hocevar, a marine biologist and director of Greenpeace USA’s oceans campaigns. John was on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza to document the newly discovered Amazon Reef, and he talks about the uniqueness of the discovery, what it’s like to be one of a few people on Earth who have ever seen it with their own eyes, and what the opposition to drilling for oil near the reef will look like, should BP and Total try to move forward.

Then we welcome two staffers from Mongabay-Latin America which just celebrated its one-year anniversary recently, so we spoke with them about what it’s like covering the environment in Latin America, what some of the site’s biggest successes are to date, and what we can expect from Mongabay-Latam in the future.

Please help us improve this show by leaving a review on its page at Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you subscribe to it. Thanks!

May 31, 2017

On this episode we speak with Frances Seymour, lead author of a new book Why Forests? Why Now? The Science, Economics and Politics of Tropical Forests and Climate Change, which she co-authored with Jonah Busch.

Seymour argues that tropical forests are key to climate change mitigation, and that it's up to rich countries to invest in their protection. She shares her thoughts on why now is an important moment for such forests, whether or not the large-scale investment necessary to protect them will materialize any time soon, and which countries are leading the tropical forest conservation charge.

We also welcome Mongabay editor Glenn Scherer back to the program to answer a question from a Newscast listener about which 'good news' stories are worth talking about in these tough times for environmental and conservation news. Mongabay has a long and very inspiring series of stories tagged 'happy upbeat' that you can view here.

Please help us improve this show by leaving a review on its page at Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you subscribe to it. Thanks!

May 17, 2017

In this episode we feature Dr. Bill Laurance of James Cook University in Cairns, Australia, talking about his team's work documenting the planetary infrastructure boom and the need for more positive, less 'doom and gloom' science communication, and then we welcome Dr. Michelle LaRue to the program. She is a research ecologist with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Earth Sciences, and her current work is focused on using high-resolution satellite imagery to study the population dynamics of Weddell seals in Antarctica. You have to hear these seals' calls to believe them!

Please write a quick review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Simply go to the show's page on whichever platform you get it, and find the 'review' or 'rate' section. Thanks!

May 3, 2017

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we speak with Leah Barclay, a sound artist, acoustic ecologist, and researcher with Griffith University in South East Queensland, Australia. We discuss the ever broadening field of acoustic ecology, the many ways that marine bioacoustics is growing in importance, and she describes the new spectrogram app she's developing plus the creative ways she uses her interactive soundscape art to get kids excited about engaging with nature via hydrophones connected to cell phones. Plus we round up the week's top news and hear some of her recordings of marine life, ranging from whales to shrimp and even insects.

Please share a review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts from! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Simply go to the show's page on whichever platform you get it from, and find the 'review' or 'rate' section. Thanks!

Apr 18, 2017

On this episode we speak with Crystal Davis, the director of Global Forest Watch, a near-real-time forest monitoring system. GFW uses data from satellites and elsewhere to inform forest conservation initiatives and reporting worldwide. Davis shares her thoughts on how GFW's being used and the ways Big Data is changing how we approach conservation.

We also speak with Francesca Cunninghame, Mangrove Finch Project Leader for the Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands. In this Field Notes segment, we’ll listen to the call of a mangrove finch, one of the rarest birds in the wild, and hear about how its population seems to be growing, finally.

Please share a review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts from! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Simply go to the show's page on whichever platform you get it from, and find the 'review' or 'rate' section. Thanks!

Apr 4, 2017

During this episode we speak with Sue Palminteri, editor of Mongabay’s WildTech site which highlights high- and low-tech solutions to challenges in conservation. She shares with us some of the most interesting technologies and trends that she sees as having the biggest potential to transform the way we go about conserving Earth’s natural resources and wildlife.

Also on the program we feature a live-taped conversation with Jonathan Thompson and Clarisse Hart, two scientists with the Harvard Forest, a long-term ecological research station belonging to Harvard University, which has made a number of important discoveries.

If you enjoy this podcast, please write a review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Thanks. 

Mar 21, 2017

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we’re thrilled to feature a conversation with the one and only Paul Simon, who's just announced a tour in support of the environment. The 12-time Grammy-winning musician recently announced on that he is embarking on a 17-date US concert tour, with all proceeds benefitting Half-Earth, an initiative of the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.

We play parts of the interview with Paul Simon as he discusses his long-time friendship with E.O. Wilson, the power of optimism, and why Dr. Wilson’s Half-Earth idea inspired him to get involved.

Also on the program, we round up the top conservation news and feature another Field Notes segment, this time with Zuzana Burivalova, a conservation scientist at Princeton University who has recorded the soundscapes of over 100 sites in the Indonesian part of Borneo. We listen to a variety of those recordings, each made in a different type of habitat, from protected rainforest to an oil palm plantation, and Burivalova explains what we’re hearing — and in some cases, what we’re not hearing.

If you enjoy this podcast, please write a review of the Mongabay Newscast in the Apple Podcasts app, iTunes store, Stitcher page, or wherever you get your podcasts! Your feedback will help us improve the show and find new listeners. Thanks.

Mar 7, 2017

On this episode of the Mongabay Newscast, we welcome contributing editor Glenn Scherer to the program, who is responsible for Mongabay’s “Almost Famous Animals” series, which just wrapped up its second year with a focus on little-known Asian wildlife.

Many conservationists argue that protecting charismatic species like tigers, rhinos, and orangutans will also lead to the protection of less widely known species such as pangolins and langurs, but that has not always been the case. Many lesser known species often fall through the cracks, so this series aims to raise their profiles.

And in the Field Notes segment, Luca Pozzi discusses a new genus of galagos, or bushbabies, found in southeastern Africa that he helped discover. We'll play some calls made by galagos in the wild, and Luca explains how those recordings aid in our scientific knowledge about this kind of wildlife.

Feb 21, 2017

With so much uncertainty around the new Trump Administration's environmental priorities, especially its energy and climate policies, this episode is dedicated to trying to answer some of the biggest questions. We welcome three guests: firstly, Harvard professor, climate historian, and noted author Naomi Oreskes talks about what stories she’s worried will get lost in the media’s hyperfocus on the chaos surrounding the new Trump Administration, and she makes an evidence-based case for why scientists should be speaking out about their work in public.

Then Bobby Magill joins us, he's a senior science writer for Climate Central and the president of the Society of Environmental Journalists, which recently released a special report entitled “Turbulent Prospects on Environment-Energy Beat Likely in Trump Era.”

Finally, Jeff Ruch, executive director of the non-profit service organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility shares what he’s hearing from employees of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about their concerns with the Trump Administration’s environmental policies.

Want to stay up to date on all of Mongabay’s coverage of the issues you follow most closely? You can get email alerts when we publish new stories at on specific topics that you care most about, from forests and oceans to indigenous people's rights and more. Visit and sign up to keep on top of all your top issues.

Please leave a review of the show wherever you hear this podcast, it will help us improve and find new listeners!

If you don't subscribe to the show but would like to, find the Mongabay Newscast via Stitcher, TuneIn, iTunes, Google Play, or other apps.

Feb 7, 2017

This week we speak with journalist Sue Branford, a regular contributor to Mongabay who has been reporting from Brazil since 1979 for the BBC and others.

Branford is one of the writers behind a hard-hitting new series in English and Portuguese that is producing with The Intercept-Brasil exploring the many impacts of massive dam development projects in Brazil’s Tapajos Basin. The reports have already resulted in a federal investigation being opened over official misconduct.

Read all the features and watch the powerful videos Sue and her team have produced for the series here.

Branford: "Sometimes your reporting has an impact that you don't actually realize...These reports that we're doing for Mongabay, we may discover such an impact...the Brazilian prosecutor is asking for compensation for this indigenous community, but there may also be other impacts that we only discover years later.

"We journalists sometimes feel we just go on reporting and don't really change very much, but now and again you come up with cases where you very definitely have changed things, and it makes you feel like, OK, it really was worthwhile."

We begin the show by talking about some of the latest top conservation news, from Hong Kong's amazingly resilient (and endangered) tree frogs to Norway's new financial commitment to stem deforestation around the world.

Jan 24, 2017

On this episode, we feature excerpts from a conversation with author and biologist E.O. Wilson, one of the greatest scientists of the last 100 years, who was recently interviewed by Mongabay senior correspondent Jeremy Hance about the Half Earth biodiversity initiative, the Trump Administration, and how he maintains hope for the future.

We also welcome back Mongabay founder and CEO Rhett Butler, who answers a listener question about the natural sounds heard in the background at the start of every episode of the Newscast (the image that illustrates this episode is from the spot where that recording was produced, in Indonesia).

Jan 10, 2017

This week we’re joined by Joel Berger, a professor at Colorado State University and a senior scientist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, who recently wrote a commentary for Mongabay arguing that there are too many large mammals like yaks and Saiga antelope living in remote regions (so-called “edge species”) that are wrongfully overlooked by conservation initiatives. Then from Peru, Dr. Andrew Whitworth, a conservation and biodiversity scientist with the University of Glasgow, shares rare recordings he recently made in the field of a critically endangered bird called the Sira Curassow.

Dec 27, 2016

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.

Dec 13, 2016

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 and we’ll answer your question in a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.

We’d also like to thank the first ever sponsor: Lauten Audio, maker of professional studio microphones praised by everyone from Grammy-winning to novice producers, engineers, and musicians around the world. Thanks for your support Lauten Audio!

Nov 29, 2016

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.)

Nov 15, 2016

On this week's Newscast we hear from writer Justin Catanoso who's at the COP22 climate talks in Marrakech, Morocco filing reports for 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. 

Subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast via iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn, or wherever you get your audio content.

Nov 1, 2016

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.

Oct 18, 2016

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 and we’ll get you an answer on a future episode of the Mongabay Newscast.


Oct 4, 2016

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?”

Sep 16, 2016

For Mongabay Newscast #1, host Mike Gaworecki rounds up the week in top conservation news from around the world and then speaks with 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.

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