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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 Mongabay.com team. Airs every other Tuesday.
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Dec 3, 2020

North Sumatra is home to 1 of only 8 known great ape species in the world, the newly described Tapanuli orangutan, first classified in 2017 after its habits and DNA proved them to be unique. As with many animals in Sumatra, they are amazing creatures that are critically threatened, with a maximum of 800 individuals estimated to be living in an increasingly fragmented habitat.

Now a hydroelectric dam proposed for the center of the animals' tiny territory further challenges this special species' chances of survival, as well as that of 23 other threatened species which also live in the area. 

To understand what's interesting about this animal and how the proposed Batang Toru dam would impact it, we speak with a biologist who helped discover its uniqueness, Dr. Puji Rianti of IPB University in Bogor, and Mongabay staff writer Hans Nicholas Jong in Jakarta, who has been covering the controversy over the project, as it's been called into question by activists and funders alike and faces numerous delays.

The saga is definitely not over, and this episode explains why.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify or Audible, or wherever they get podcasts.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Nov 25, 2020

We're taking a look at the importance of securing Indigenous & local communities’ land rights -- and the global push for privatization that can deprive such people access to their territories -- with two guests on this episode.

A 2018 study found that Indigenous Peoples steward about 38 million km2 of land in 87 countries, that's more than a quarter of the world’s land surface, making them the most important conservationists on the planet, you might say. But governments and corporations increasingly want access to these lands, too, so the issue of land rights and titles is heating up.

To discuss the issue and learn how people are gaining title to their lands, we welcome Daisee Francour, a member of the Oneida nation of Wisconsin (U.S.) who is also director of strategic partnerships and communications for the NGO Cultural Survival, plus Anuradha Mittal who's executive director of the Oakland Institute, a think tank that recently released a report titled Driving Dispossession: The Global Push To Unlock The Economic Potential Of Land.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Episode artwork: In Zambia, a resident displays a map of her village's land. Villagers confirm that individual plots of land are accurately depicted and will be given a certificate conferring rights to farm and use the land. Photo courtesy of Sandra Coburn/Oakland Institute.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Nov 18, 2020

Sumatra contains some of the largest tracts of intact rainforest left in the world, but it's at the center of a complicated web of deforestation drivers, many of which began during the Dutch colonial era and are now spurred further by corruption and the global demand for cheap palm oil used in a wide range of consumer products.

To understand the rapid expansion of industrial-scale agribusinesses that market both palm oil and pulp & paper to the global market from this, the largest island in the Indonesian Archipelago, podcast host Mike DiGirolamo speaks with Nur “Yaya” Hidayati and Philip Jacobson.

Hidayati is the national executive director of Walhi, the largest and oldest environmental advocacy NGO in Indonesia, while Jacobson is a contributing editor at Mongabay who has been covering Indonesia for six years.

They discuss what causes the massive deforestation in Sumatra in particular and Indonesia in general, why it’s so difficult to control, what exacerbates efforts to stop it, and what can be done globally and locally to slow or stop the expansion of continued land exploitation.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Nov 11, 2020

We have amazing recordings of indri lemur songs (click for the choruses, stay for the roars) and the award-winning architect of protected areas that house Madagascar’s rich plant life on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast.

Mongabay has a special tie to this biologically-rich East African country--our name comes from an island just off its shores--so we're thrilled to return for this episode.

Jeannie Raharimampionana is a Malagasy botanist who identified 80 priority areas for conservation of plant life there, 11 of which have now been protected: this achievement recently won her the National Geographic Buffett Award for Leadership in Conservation in Africa and the title of National Geographic Explorer.

We also speak with Valeria Torti from University of Turin who researches critically endangered indri lemurs in the protected forests of the Maromizaha region. Torti tells us about the threats indris are facing and plays for us a number of wild recordings of their calls.

Episode artwork is of an indri lemur in the Analamazaotra Special Reserve, photo by Charles J Sharp.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Nov 5, 2020

Sumatran rhinos are unlike anything else in this world: small in stature and docile by nature, they sport a coat of fur and sing songs reminiscent of a dolphin. In other words, this ancient species surprises and enchants anyone lucky enough to encounter it.

But Sumatran rhinos are also one of the most endangered large mammals on the planet. While its population is difficult to pinpoint, experts estimate there could be as many as 80 – or as few as 30 – still in the wild, leaving their future in doubt.

To understand the wonder and worry associated with this species, Mongabay Explores podcast host Mike DiGirolamo speaks with two guests, Wulan Pusparini and Jeremy Hance, about the unique challenges of conserving them, what is being done for them currently, and what needs to happen in order to save them from extinction.

Pusparini studied them as a species conservation specialist with the Wildlife Conservation Society before pursuing her Ph.D. in Environmental Conservation at Oxford University, while Hance is Mongabay’s senior correspondent who’s traveled Sumatra extensively to cover the species (and is the author of a new book about such travels, “Baggage“).

To learn more, see Mongabay's twin series authored by Hance on the conservation efforts and the scientific advances made in their captive breeding, here:

Music heard during this episode is by Sorbatua Siallagan, chief of the Dolok Parmonangan Indigenous community. The song is called "Gondang  tu Mulajadi," where Gondang means ‘music’ and also ‘prayer,’ and Mulajadi means God. This kind of music is typically performed when Indigenous communities in Batak areas of Sumatra conduct rituals. Series theme music heard at the beginning and end is called “Putri Tangguk” and was licensed via Pond5.

Sounds of Sumatran rhinos heard during the show courtesy of Save the Rhino International.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Oct 28, 2020

Women are key leaders in Amazon conservation, and we're taking another look at this issue with a discussion of an international agreement that could help protect environmental defenders — of all genders — in Latin America, one of the most dangerous places in the world to be an environmental activist, especially as a woman. Joining us to discuss is Osprey Orielle Lake, founder and executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), who talks about the Escazu Agreement and some of the inspiring indigenous female conservationists whose work and safety would be supported by it.

We also speak with journalist Nicolas Bustamente Hernandez about a young Colombian conservationist whose work he recently chronicled for Mongabay, Yehimi Fajardo, who is founder of the Alas Association, which is helping people in her rainforest region of Putumayo in Colombia become bird watchers and forest stewards.

Read more about these women leaders at Mongabay.com:

Mongabay covered the Escazu Agreement here in 2018 & an update can be viewed at its official UN website here.

Episode art: Photo of Nemonte Nenquimo, Waorani leader of the Ecuadorian Amazon by Mitch Anderson/Amazon Frontlines.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Oct 22, 2020

"Sumatra is like a fossil relic of rare species...a giant, rhino horn-shaped island blanketed in the richest rainforest you can imagine...there's nothing like it," one of our guests declares.

The 6th largest island in the world and the 2nd largest economy in Indonesia, Sumatra is the only place in the world where you can you find tigers, elephants, rhinos and orangutans all living together in an incredibly rich landscape of rainforests that, until recently, were largely untouched by human activities. 

But that's changing rapidly, and this new biweekly series from Mongabay Explores dives into what's special about Sumatra, its amazing biodiversity heritage, and what's at stake as forests fall for uses like oil palm plantations, mines, and hydropower dams. We'll also discuss positive trends for conservation and solutions that meet human and nonhuman needs.

Host Mike DiGirolamo speaks with two guests: Rudi Putra, a biologist who won the Goldman Environmental Prize for his inspiring conservation work in Sumatra and who now serves as chairman of the Leuser Conservation Forum, plus Greg McCann, a biologist and Assistant Professor at Taiwan's Chang Gung University, whose People Resources and Conservation Foundation team is exploring and documenting the incredible richness of Sumatra so that it can be better conserved. 

View all of Mongabay's news coverage from Sumatra here, visit Rudi Putra's organization Leuser Conservation Forum's website to learn more about their work, and Greg McCann's organization PRCF has multiple projects in Indonesia described here (and details on the project in Dolok Simalalaksa/ Hadabuan Hills he discusses are here).

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Series theme song "Putri Tangguk" is inspired by traditional Indonesian gamelan music and licensed via POND5.

Episode artwork: Sunset over Sumatran rainforest by Rhett Butler/Mongabay.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Oct 14, 2020

The Cross River gorilla is one of the world’s rarest great ape subspecies, with only 300 individuals estimated to be living in Nigeria's Cross River State, but creative efforts to conserve their population and habitat there are changing their fortunes and reduce human-gorilla conflict.

Joining the show is Hillary Chukwuemeka, host of the radio program “My Gorilla My Community” that is heard by nearly 4 million listeners in communities on the frontlines of gorilla conservation there. Chukwuemeka talks about why it's an effective means of community engagement, and the impacts he’s seen among local communities.

We also speak with Inaoyom Imong, program director for the Cross River landscape with Wildlife Conservation Society-Nigeria and a member of the IUCN Primate Specialist Group. Inaoyom discusses the major threats to Cross River gorillas, barriers to their conservation, and why community-based conservation measures are so important in this context.

Here are some recent Mongabay articles referenced in this episode:

Gorilla radio: Sending a conservation message in Nigeria

For the world’s rarest gorillas, a troubled sanctuary

Camera snaps first ever glimpse of a troop of the world’s rarest gorilla

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Sep 30, 2020

Slowing climate change will require a massive increase of renewable energy assets while reducing use of fossil fuels. And who wouldn't like to have a quiet, clean, electric car?

But renewable energy technologies from wind turbines to solar panels and rechargeable batteries to power your Tesla Roadster require large amounts of mined metals and minerals.

That's a problem because mining creates significant environmental impacts on land, and now, there’s a concerted effort to open up vast areas of the ocean floor to mining for this purpose.

On this episode speak with journalist Ian Morse and MiningWatch Canada's research coordinator Catherine Coumans about the overarching implications of mining things like metallic nodules and vents on the sea floor to huge areas of Indonesia for nickel used in rechargeable batteries. Our guests also explain how recent improvements to recycling of existing mined metals could supplant the need for risky projects like deep sea mining.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Episode artwork: an electric car charging station in South Korea by hssbb79, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Sep 16, 2020

Conservation of great apes in Africa relies on forest protection, and vice versa: on this episode we discuss a campaign in Cameroon to protect the second-largest rainforest in the world and its incredibly diverse (and mysterious) ape inhabitants, and share an intriguing tale of forest gardening by chimps.

Ekwoge Abwe is head of the Ebo Forest Research Project in Cameroon, and shares how he became the first scientist to discover chimpanzees there use tools to crack open nuts. He also discusses ongoing efforts to safeguard Ebo Forest against the threats of oil palm expansion and logging, against which it just won a surprise reprieve.

We also speak with Alex Chepstow-Lusty, an associate researcher at Cambridge University who shares the incredible story of how chimpanzees helped Africa’s rainforests regenerate after they collapsed some 2,500 years ago, by spreading the forests seeds (a phenomenon known as 'zoochory') and why that makes chimps important to the health of forests like Ebo Forest both today and into the future, as well.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Sep 2, 2020

Women everywhere are key voices for conservation, and an increasing body of research now recognizes the direct link between gender equality and environmental protection.

Mongabay has published a number of stories lately focused on successful Amazonian conservation initiatives led by women activists and scientists, and we wanted to highlight the issue on this episode of the podcast.

Sarah Sax recently wrote about the Women Warriors of the Forest, an all-female indigenous group that is employing new tactics and building new alliances to protect the forests they call home. Sax joins us to discuss the Women Warriors and some of her other recent reporting that has centered on women conservation leaders in the Amazon.

We’re also joined by Dr. Dolors Armenteras, who was the subject of a recent profile published by Mongabay. Armenteras is known as a pioneer in the use of remote sensing to monitor Amazon forests and biodiversity, and has been named one of the most influential scientists studying forest fires.

Despite her prominence, Armenteras has faced discrimination as a woman scientist, and shares with us how she has navigated that and how she supports the next generation of women scientists to overcome such biases.

Episode artwork of Maisa Guajajara at the march of Indigenous women in Brasilia, 2019, courtesy Marquinho Mota/FAOR.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Aug 19, 2020

Bioacoustics studies help scientists discover things never before known about all kinds of animals, but especially marine life -- on this episode of the Mongabay Newscast we go under the waves to share new recordings of cetaceans (whales and dolphins) from southern Africa and hear from researchers what they think the sounds & songs may mean.

Dr. Tess Gridley's team recently discovered that humpback whales sing in South Africa’s False Bay, and she plays some brand new recordings they just captured.

Sasha Dines also joins the show to share her PhD studies of Indian Ocean humpback dolphins, which focuses on these animals' signature whistle calls.

*Turn up the volume to fully appreciate these songs, roars, growls and whistles!

Host Mike G. also discusses the upcoming African Bioacoustics Community conference with his guests, this is a virtual event aimed at bringing more researchers into the acoustic sphere to better understand the continent's incredible natural heritage.

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Aug 4, 2020

For the 100th episode of the Newscast, we revisit Mongabay's groundbreaking Conservation Effectiveness series which asked a simple question:

How can we know if conservation methods are working if we don't test their effectiveness?
 
From marine protected areas to parks and certification schemes like 'green' labels on lumber, our team reviewed published studies and evaluated the evidence for each method. 
 
On this episode we speak with Mongabay's founder and editor-in-chief Rhett Butler about the Conservation Effectiveness series & the ongoing need to test conservation outcomes, and with Sven Wunder, a principal scientist at the European Forest Institute in Barcelona, who is also a senior associate at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), about the effectiveness of several of these conservation methods, like "payments for ecosystem services."
 
Review all the features from the series here, https://news.mongabay.com/series/conservation-effectiveness/

We now offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, so you can have access to our latest episodes at your fingertips, please download it and let us know what you think via the contact info below!

If you enjoy the Newscast, please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

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Jul 29, 2020

Hellbenders are North America’s largest salamanders, living in rivers and growing to an incredible length of over two feet. Eastern newts are tiny and terrestrial, but both are susceptible to a fungal pathogen called Bsal. While Bsal has yet to make an appearance in the global hotspot of salamander diversity that is North America, it has wreaked havoc on populations in Europe, so biologists worry its impact could be even worse if it does.

Eastern newts' susceptibility to Bsal coupled with their notable mobility mean they could act as “super-spreaders” of Bsal if the fungus ever gets to North America. For hellbenders, which are already listed as endangered and suffer from habitat degradation, a new pathogen is hardly good news. 

On this episode we speak with Dr. Becky Hardman from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Dr. Anna Longo of the University of Florida about these fascinating and unique species, and discuss what is being done to prepare for a Bsal invasion that experts say is inevitable.

More on this topic:

To hear Part 1 of this special salamander series, see bonus episode #94, "Mongabay Explores the Great Salamander Pandemic, Part 1: Are we ready?" -- Part 2 (bonus episode #95) discussed the amazing diversity of salamanders, "Why are salamanders so diverse in North America?" Parts 3, 4, & 5 are also helpful in understanding the conservation community's response to the threat (and some opportunities) presented by Bsal.

Based on a multi-year article series that Mongabay.com published about Bsal, episodes of this special podcast series delve further to learn what's known about this issue, now. 

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jul 22, 2020

More than half of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. And thanks to the COVID pandemic, many of us who are city-dwellers have spent at least part of the past several months on lockdown in our homes.

But living in a city doesn’t mean that you can’t get out and enjoy some nature.

On this episode we explore cities with author Kelly Brenner and urban forester & educator Georgia Silvera Seamans.

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer whose most recent book is called Nature Obscura: A City’s Hidden Natural World. Brenner, who lives in Seattle, Washington, joins us to discuss some of the wildlife encounters she writes about in the book and to provide some tips on how anyone can go about exploring nature in their city.

We also welcome to the program Georgia Silvera Seamans, an urban forester who has spearheaded a number of “hyper local urban ecology” projects in New York City. Silvera Seamans tells us about the Washington Square Park Eco Projects, which include monitoring, education, and advocacy efforts in the iconic NYC park, and shares how urban ecosystems benefit all city-dwellers.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

And please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jul 15, 2020

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service imposed a trade ban on 201 salamander species in 2016 in order to prevent the import of the the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans ('Bsal') which could be a major threat to the world's salamander hotspot of North America (and the U.S. in particular).

However, the recent discovery that frogs can also carry Bsal has led scientists to urge the American government to ban the import of all salamander and frog species to the country.

But what other policies or regulations could be enacted to prevent Bsal from wiping out this rich amphibian heritage?

In this 5th "Mongabay Explores" bonus episode, host Mike DiGirolamo speaks with Priya Nanjappa, former Program Manager for the Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies, and Tiffany Yap, a Staff Scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, about animal trade policy, differences in the way the United States conducts this policy from other nations, and what the U.S. might do to more effectively combat the threat.

More resources on this topic:

To hear Part 1 of this special salamander series, see bonus episode #94, "Mongabay Explores the Great Salamander Pandemic, Part 1: Are we ready?" -- Part 2 (bonus episode #95) discussed the amazing diversity of salamanders, "Why are salamanders so diverse in North America?" Parts 3 & 4 are also helpful in understanding the threats and opportunities presented by Bsal.

Based on a multi-year project Mongabay.com published about Bsal at the site (link above), episodes of this special podcast series delve further to learn what's known about this issue, now. 

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

 

Jul 8, 2020

On this episode we take a look at the ongoing debate over trophy hunting 5 years after the killing of Cecil the Lion sparked global outrage: he was a famous attraction for tourists and photographers visiting Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, but in July 2015, an American dentist and recreational hunter killed Cecil just outside the park.

To what degree does trophy hunting support conservation and local communities where iconic wildlife live? What happens to animal populations who've lost members to hunters? Does trophy hunting support or harm scientific inquiry or conservation goals? 

To discuss questions like this and what's changed (or not) in the debate since 2015, we hear from four experts who share a diversity of information and opinions that may change the way you think about this important issue:

  • Iris Ho of Humane Society International
  • conservation icon Jane Goodall
  • Amy Dickman, founder of the Ruaha Carnivore Project
  • Maxi Pia Louis, director of NACSO, a Namibian organization that works with local communities to support conservation efforts.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

And please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Android, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jul 1, 2020

North America (and the US in particular) is the world’s hotspot of salamander diversity, hosting about 1/3 of all species. Researchers think that about half of these may be susceptible to a deadly fungus called Bsal, and believe it's a matter of time before it gets to North America. If and when it does, it could mean devastation and maybe extinction for a massive amount of amphibians.

To head off the threat, scientists created the Bsal Task Force in 2015 and in this fourth "Mongabay Explores" bonus episode, host Mike DiGirolamo interviews the group's Dr. Jake Kerby who is also the associate chair of biology at the University of South Dakota.  

Dr. Kerby details the working relationships their 'Bsal battalion' has with federal entities in Canada, the US, and Mexico and how they are working together to manage and mitigate the damage of this potential pandemic. 

He also discusses what citizens can do to help protect North America's amazingly diverse salamander species.

More resources on this topic:

To hear Part 1 of this special salamander series, see bonus episode #94, "Mongabay Explores the Great Salamander Pandemic, Part 1: Are we ready?" -- Part 2 (bonus episode #95) discussed the amazing diversity of salamanders, "Why are salamanders so diverse in North America?"

Based on a special series Mongabay.com published to its website in 2018-19, the next couple episodes of this special podcast series made possible in part by our Patreon supporters will delve further into this topic to learn what's known about this issue, now. 

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jun 23, 2020

Animal societies have culture, too, as science keeps showing us ever since Dr. Jane Goodall first pointed it out, and on this episode we explore the culture and social learning of sperm whales, scarlet macaws, and chimpanzees with author Carl Safina and whale culture researcher Hal Whitehead.

Safina examines how these species are equipped to live in their worlds by learning from other individuals in their social groups — which he argues is just as important as their genetic inheritance — in his new book, Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace.

In the book, he calls Hal Whitehead “the pioneering sperm whale researcher” who has studied social learning in whales and dolphins for decades. A professor at Canada’s Dalhousie University, he was one of the first scientists to examine the complex social lives of sperm whales and their distinctive calls known as codas, and appears on the podcast today to play some recordings of them and tell us about sperm whale culture and social learning.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, please visit the link above for details.

And please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Android, the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jun 11, 2020

Reporter Benji Jones and wildlife disease ecologist with U.S. Geological Survey, Daniel Grear, join this special edition of Mongabay's podcast to discuss the hunt for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) in North America, which Benji has described as “searching for a needle in a haystack except the needle is invisible and the hay stretches for thousands of miles.”

Host Mike DiGirolamo talks with Jones and Grear about the search, the difficulty in finding it, and what we can expect if the disease ever makes its way to U.S. shores.

This third bonus episode of the podcast tackles these important questions with Senior Editor Morgan Erickson-Davis, who produced Mongabay's series on this topic for the website last year. 

For the next several episodes, this special podcast series (made possible by our Patreon supporters) called Mongabay Explores will dive into this topic to learn what's known about this issue, now. 

More resources on this topic:

To hear Part 1 of this special salamander series, see bonus episode #94, "Mongabay Explores the Great Salamander Pandemic, Part 1: Are we ready?" -- Part 2 (bonus episode #95) discussed the amazing diversity of salamanders, "Why are salamanders so diverse in North America?"

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jun 10, 2020

On this episode we look at how current environmental crises intersect with two others: the pandemic and the systemic racism and police brutality that have sparked protests around the U.S. and world in recent weeks, with guests Leela Hazzah, founder and executive director of Lion Guardians, and Earyn McGee, a herpetologist and science communicator who just helped organize the first-ever Black Birders Week, a celebration of black birders and nature lovers.

McGee tells host Mike G. how Black Birders Week came together so quickly and why it's necessary to celebrate black nature lovers, and Egyptian conservationist Hazzah discusses what she sees as opportunities for transformative change in conservation due to the pandemic, like for instance that conservation has been named an "essential service" during the health crisis by the Kenyan government, plus the fact that more female and African representatives have been present at important conservation meetings lately, now that they're all virtual.

"I hope that we continue using these virtual tools so we can continue to have more diverse voices at important meetings," Hazzah says, while also reducing our carbon footprints, she adds.

And as McGee says, diversity is important, and people want to be part of the conservation movement as her group's event proved: "The interest is there...we want to do this work, but there are barriers in our way."

Episode artwork photo of Leela Hazzah © Philip J. Briggs.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

And please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Android, the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

Jun 3, 2020

Why are salamanders so incredibly diverse in the United States? Among other things, a fluke of geography contributed to making it the global hotspot of salamander diversity.

But now, another pandemic is on the march toward the U.S., and this time it's got salamanders in its sights. In this second special episode about salamanders, we'll give you the full context.

How big a role do these ubiquitous animals play in the environment, and what would it mean to forest biodiversity, climate change, and forest food chains to lose whole populations of salamanders?

This second bonus episode of the podcast tackles these important questions with Senior Editor Morgan Erickson-Davis, who produced Mongabay's series on this topic for the website last year. 

For the next several episodes, this special podcast series (made possible by our Patreon supporters) called Mongabay Explores will dive into this topic to learn what's known about this issue, now. 

More resources on this topic:

To hear part 1 of this special salamander series, see bonus episode #94, "Mongabay Explores the Great Salamander Pandemic, Part 1: Are we ready?"

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

May 27, 2020

The Elephant Listening Project is a bioacoustics research effort that aims to preserve rainforests of Central Africa--and the biodiversity found in those forests--by listening to forest elephants, and on this episode we hear those animals' calls, rumbles, and trumpets with ELP researcher Ana Verahrami.

Verahrami has spent two field seasons in the Central African Republic collecting behavioral and acoustic data vital to the project & joins us to explain why forest elephants’ role as keystone species makes their survival crucial to the wellbeing of tropical forests and its other inhabitants, and to play some of the fascinating recordings that inform the project’s work.

Helping frame the discussion is Terna Gyuse, Mongabay's Cape Town-based Africa Editor.

ELP is part of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, whose bioacoustics research team we’ve featured several times in the past, listen to these episodes for more fascinating bioacoustics studies that feature the calls, songs, and sounds of diverse animals what they may mean for them and for conservation:

How listening to individual gibbons can benefit conservation

What underwater sounds can tell us about Indian Ocean humpback dolphins

The superb mimicry skills of an Australian songbird

The sounds of tropical katydids and how they can benefit conservation

Photo of forest elephants at Dzanga bai in Central African Republic © Ana Verahrami, ELP.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

And please invite your friends to subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Android, the Google Podcasts app, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, via Pandora or Spotify, or wherever they get podcasts.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

May 20, 2020

Another pandemic is currently on the march, and it's got salamanders in its sights. You may not have heard about 'Bsal' before, but it nearly wiped out a population of salamanders in Europe, and scientists worry it could invade the United States--the home of the world's greatest diversity of salamanders--next.

Is the U.S. ready for Bsal, and can a pandemic in this global salamander hotspot be prevented, unlike the one that's currently crippling human societies globally? What's being done, and what would it mean to lose salamanders on a landscape-wide level in North America?

This first bonus episode of the Mongabay Newscast tackles these important questions, just as spring and salamanders emerge in the North. 

For the next couple months, this special series made possible by our Patreon supporters called Mongabay Explores will dive into a recent project our writers and editors produced on the topic, to learn what's known about this issue now. 

More reading from Mongabay on this topic:

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

May 13, 2020

Australia’s fire season may have just ended, but most of the world’s tropical forest regions will soon enter their own.

We look at what’s driving the intense fires in the Amazon, Indonesia, and elsewhere in recent years with three guests, who discuss what we can expect from the 2020 tropical fire season while sharing some solutions to this problem, which has huge effects on biodiversity, indigenous peoples, forests, and climate change.

Joining us are Rhett Butler, Mongabay’s founder and CEO, who provides a global perspective; scientist Dan Nepstad, who worked in the Brazilian Amazon for more than three decades; plus Aida Greenbury, an Indonesian sustainability consultant for projects like the High Carbon Stock Approach to forest protection.

If you enjoy this show, please invite your friends to listen and subscribe via AndroidApple Podcasts, Google PodcastsStitcher, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever they get podcasts.

More reading from this episode:

Rhett Butler for Mongabay: "Rainforests in 2020: Ten things to watch," December 2019
"Amazon deforestation increases for 13th straight month in Brazil," May 2020

Dan Nepstad for the New York Times, "How to help Brazilian Farmers Save the Amazon," December 2019

See all our latest news from nature's frontline at Mongabay's homepage: news.mongabay.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching for @mongabay.

Please visit www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep this show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps! Supporting at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content at Mongabay.com, too, visit the link above for details.

Feedback is always welcome: submissions@mongabay.com.

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