Environmental stories from around the web, February 15, 2019

  • There are many important conservation and environmental stories Mongabay isn’t able to cover.
  • Here’s a digest of some of the significant developments from the week.
  • If you think we’ve missed something, feel free to add it in the comments.
  • Mongabay does not vet the news sources below, nor does the inclusion of a story on this list imply an endorsement of its content.

Tropical forests

A photographer snapped black leopards, which haven’t been seen in the wild in Africa since 1909, with a set of camera traps (The New York Times, National Geographic).

A Nigerian presidential candidate has promised to develop a controversial superhighway through the country’s forested Cross River state (Channels Television).

Deforestation in Brazil could be to blame for a rise in scorpion stings in the country’s cities (Sputnik News).

A Liberian community is asking for legal help to hold off timber companies (FrontPage Africa).

Scientists have identified a new species of spider that lives in groups with other species in Indonesia (University of London/Phys.Org).

A palm oil industry group has responded to the EU’s move toward banning palm oil, arguing that growers have not deforested lands in Malaysia for the crop since 1990 (The Sun Daily).

Dow Jones has removed Golden Agri-Resources from its sustainability index in the wake of a corruption scandal (Friends of the Earth).

New research finds that more smallholder oil palm growers are expanding into Borneo’s peatlands (CIFOR Forests News).

Other news

Appalachian towns near coal mines say mining has left their water contaminated with chemicals (BBC News).

A border wall between the U.S. and Mexico could hamper work at a butterfly sanctuary in Texas (Smithsonian).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency moves to restrict the use of toxic “forever chemicals,” but activists argue that the agency isn’t going far enough (The Washington Post).

Scientists believe that microbe-promoting probiotics could help bolster the immune response of corals in warming seas (Hakai Magazine).

The Galápagos Islands are increasingly accessible to tourists, but that may be causing problems for the islands’ delicate ecosystems and wildlife (The New York Times).

Legal crackdowns on wildlife trafficking haven’t diminished Hong Kong’s role in the global trade of animal parts (The New York Times).

Other countries are taking the lead on cutting climate change-inducing chemical emissions — a lead that experts say the U.S. should follow (The New York Times).

Less polar ice is opening up the Arctic to orcas, but they’re also getting trapped when the waters refreeze (Hakai Magazine).

A Russian military encampment in the Arctic has been overrun with polar bears (The New York Times).

Illegal logging remains an issue in Romania, Greenpeace has said (Romania Insider).

Growing roses and other flowers in warmer climates would produce less carbon than growing them in greenhouses in colder countries, researchers say (The New York Times).

Walter H. Munk, a prominent deep-sea oceanographer, died Feb. 8 (The New York Times).

The U.S. Senate has authorized permanent conservation funding and set aside more than 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 square miles) of wilderness with the passage of a bill (The New York Times).

Scientists debate whether to define the Himalayan wolf as a separate species (Smithsonian).

Authorities in Taiwan have arrested six people for illegal deforestation in the mountains near the city of Taichung (Focus Taiwan).

Thousands of students are expected to march Feb. 15 instead of going to school to call attention to the need for action on climate change (The New York Times).

A new video shows how rescuers disentangle whales caught in fishing gear and other marine debris (NOAA).

The acting head of the U.S. Department of the Interior may be backing policies that would remove protections of endangered fish in California, which is what the group of farmers that he formerly represented wanted (The New York Times).

Is it possible to be a “green traveler?” (The New York Times).

Banner image of a melanistic leopard (Panthera pardus) taken at Laikipia Wilderness Camp in Kenya with a Camtraptions camera trap. Image courtesy of Will Burrard-Lucas, Camtraptions Ltd.

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South Africa Today – Environment

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