By Mayank Aggarwal
The Himalayan wolf is a distinct species of wolf, which shows unique genetic adaptation to the difficult conditions in the Asian high altitude ecosystems, a study found, reiterating that it needs to be identified as a species of special conservation concern. "Conservation action for the Himalayan wolf is required and of global conservation interest," noted the study.
The Himalayan wolf inhabits the high altitude regions of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau. Genetic studies revealed that they are adapted to the extreme conditions of these mountain ranges. Photo by Geraldine Werhahn / Himalayan Wolves Project
Himalayan wolf pups playing in Upper Dolpa, Nepal. Video by Geraldine Werhahn / Himalayan Wolves Project
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By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
Violence in the Brazilian countryside is on the rise. In the last two weeks, Amazonia has seen an alarming increase in targeted killings, with three massacres and at least nine deaths. The Catholic Church's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) defines a massacre as a killing involving three or more people.
Vigil in Salvador Allende Camp in memory of those recently killed
Image courtesy of Outras Midias
Murdered activist Dilma Ferreira Silva, a socio-environmental leader with the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB)
Image courtesy of the Movimentos dos Atingidos ppr Barragens
Map showing the location of recent attacks as related to hydroelectric dams, deforested areas and agrarian reform settlements
Map by Mauricio Torres for Mongabay
A portion of the Xingu River basin showing the proximity of a recent massacre, agrarian reform settlements, a new illegal road into the Ituna/Itatá indigenous territory, the Belo Monte dam and the proposed Belo Sun gold mine (which would be the largest in Brazil)
Map by Mauricio Torres
The Jirau dam cuts across the Madeira River in western Brazil. Its construction, like that of the Belo Monte dam, the Tucuruí dam, and other large Amazon dams, resulted in an upsurge in rural property values, leading to rampant land speculation, exploited by land grabbers, often leading to violence.
Image courtesy of Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project
Jair Bolsonaro pretending to shoot a gun, a gesture suggestive of violence that the former Army captain often uses in his speeches and television appearances
Image by Carlos Eugênio
By Sue Branford and Maurício Torres
For many years, international and Brazilian mining companies have dreamed of getting access to the mineral wealth lying beneath indigenous lands. And finally, the government of Jair Bolsonaro seems determined to give them that opportunity. On March 4, while Brazilians were distracted by Carnival celebrations, the new Minister of Mines and Energy Admiral Bento Albuquerque announced plans to permit mining on indigenous land.
An industrial mining operation in Brazil. Note the forest at the edge of the open pit mine.
Norsk Hydro ASA via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA
Mining industry and individual prospecting requests on indigenous land as filed with the federal government.
Mauricio Torres using data provided by the Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral
The mining industry has not only made prospecting requests (red) within indigenous reserves (yellow), but also on other conserved lands (green).
Mauricio Torres using data provided by the Departamento Nacional de Produção Mineral
Federal Deputy Leonardo Quintao, a major backer of the mining industry.
Vinicius Loures / Agência Brasil
Forest and topsoil must first be removed before ore can be accessed at Brazil's Norsk Hydro ASA Paragominas open pit mine. Such industrial processes would be highly destructive of Brazil's forests, indigenous reserves and cultures.
Norsk Hydro ASA via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA
My organization, the Elephant Action League (EAL), spent 14 months investigating and infiltrating the illicit totoaba swim bladder supply chain, from Baja California in Mexico to Southern China. We released a public report on what we called Operation Fake Gold in July 2018. Since then, we have continued to submit intelligence to Mexican, U.S. and Chinese authorities in order to facilitate disruption of the totoaba supply chain. As a result, further review of the situation surrounding the totoaba trade and its effect on the extinction of the vaquita is warranted.
By Shreya Dasgupta
Eucalyptus plantations in southern India that were abandoned and left to recover for nearly 40 years are still far from resembling the primary forest surrounding them, a new study has found. This, researchers say, suggests that once disturbed for long, forests may never bounce back to their original forms.
In India, eucalyptus has often been the tree of choice when it comes to restoring degraded forests: it grows quickly, is hardy, and requires little care. But can these plantations, when left alone and allowed to regenerate, grow into the forests they replaced?
By Kaamil Ahmed
A pair of "French spies" had infiltrated India by sea to commit a "treasonous conspiracy," an Indian minister claimed in late November. In reality, they were two visiting journalists, and their mission was an investigation into allegations of illegal sand mining in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. They had merely tried and failed to visit the site of a major mining company through legal means.
Their presence set off alarm bells among some connected to the industry, and the fallout has been significant. It's included a police investigation, a politically fueled propaganda campaign and the arrests of two local translators who had been working for them.
By Genevieve Belmaker and Joseph Charpentier
Throughout 2018, forests continued to be threatened and destroyed. From the Amazon, to the Congo Basin, to the Mekong Delta and scores of places in between—journalists reporting for Mongabay filed hundreds of stories about the world's forests.
Although the significance of any one story is difficult to gauge in the short-term, several Mongabay reports from 2018 stood out. These pieces dealt with illegal timber trafficking, advances in technology-based environmental protections and human rights protections for the people doing environment-defense work—formal and informal.
- Wings of Paradise: Drawing Attention to Rainforest Destruction ›
- Study: Children Have Better Nutrition When They Live Near Forests ›
By Daniela Penha and Roberto Cataldo, Translator
This story was produced via a co-publishing partnership between Mongabay and Repórter Brasil and can be read in Portuguese here.
At first sight, the Córrego das Almas farm in Piumhi, in rural Minas Gerais state, seems to be a model property. "No slave or forced labor is allowed," reads one of several signs that display international certifications—including one linked to the U.S. based company Starbucks corporation.
Australia's Murray Darling basin covers more than a million square kilometers (approximately 386,000 square miles), 14 percent of the country's landmass. It's the site of tens of thousands of wetlands, but increasing demand for water has stretched its resources to the limit.
Many of the basin's wetlands and floodplain forests are declining—several former wetlands and forests have even been consumed by bushfires, which are becoming more frequent every year. Yet when Australian officials sought to introduce strict water allocation rules, they met with fierce resistance from farmers in the region who depend on irrigation for their livelihood.
By Morgan Erickson-Davis
A fungus that has decimated frog populations around the world could get even deadlier, according to new research. The study found that hybridization of different types of the fungus creates strains that can cause greater mortality in frogs. And it warns that deforestation could make this impact worse.
By Hans Nicholas Jong
The report by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) comes amid mounting debate about the use of palm oil, with the European Union seeking to phase out the use of the ubiquitous commodity in biofuels by 2030, citing environmental and human rights violations in the production of the commodity.
By Claire Asher
Populations of two species of river dolphin in the Amazon are halving every decade, according to the results of a twenty-two year survey.
The Amazon rainforest is home to the Amazon river dolphin, or Boto (Inia geoffrensis) and the Tucuxi (Sotalia fluviatilis). But the results of a long-term study published in PLoS ONE show that both of these once abundant aquatic mammals are now in rapid decline in the Brazilian Amazon, likely due to hunting and fishing.
- First Ever Tagging of Amazon Dolphins to Boost Conservation Efforts ›
- Brazil's Amazon River Dolphin Faces Extinction After Fishing Moratorium Ends ›
By Edward Carver
Lemurs in Madagascar have been under pressure from deforestation, poaching, drought and other challenges for years. Now, in the much-visited Berenty Reserve near the island's southern tip, one species faces a mysterious new threat.
In the last month and a half, at least 31 Verreaux's sifakas (Propithecus verreauxi) have died in the reserve. Most were found already dead; others were found gravely ill and later died from respiratory failure. Berenty staff and local scientists have reached out to veterinarians and primatologists across the world. The experts believe that a parasite or tick-borne disease is likely to blame, but the exact cause remains unknown.