Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
There are twice as many Sumatran orangutans than previously thought. But they’re not safe
Secondo uno studio pubblicato su Science Advances il numero di questi rari primati sarebbe maggiore di quanto stimato in precedenza, deforestazione e bracconaggio ne mettono però a serio rischio la sopravvivenza.
Sumatran orangutans (Pongo abelii) are calm great apes living in the Indonesian island’s rainforests, known for their think red fur. These animals, which name means “person of the forest” in Malay, are extremely rare, being listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN Red List.
Their conservation status is even more unstable than that of Bornean orangutans (Pongo pygmaeus), which represent about 90 per cent of all orangutans in the wild and are considered some of the most endangered animals. The number of Sumatran orangutans dramatically decreased, with over 80% of the population wiped out over the past 75 years. However, their number was underestimated: it’s actually over twice as many as the previously accepted count.
This is what a comprehensive international study has revealed. The study was led by Serge Wich, biologist of the Liverpool John Moores University, and published in Science Advances. It shows that the number of Sumatran orangutans is close to 14,600 individuals, in opposition to 6,600 previously counted. Researchers analysed nests to estimate densities across the Indonesian island and found individuals in new areas once thought devoid of orangutans, at higher elevations.
3,166 nests have been analysed in an area of 305 kilometres. This monitoring technique, despite it’s not always precise, provides precious information on primates’ demographic trends. The news is good, but the future of these mild, arboreal mammals is riddled with threats.
If deforestation continues at the current pace, over 4,500 orangutans could be wiped out by 2030, the study shows. The main threat is habitat loss, as these animals spend 90% of their time on trees. Other threats are poaching and illegal wildlife trade.
“It was very exciting to find out that there are more Sumatran orangutans than we thought, but this does not mean that we can be complacent”, said Serge Wich. “Numerous development projects are planned in the area that – if they are not stopped – could sharply reduce the number of orangutans over the coming years”.
A historic win for the Ashaninka of Brazil as they receive compensation for deforestation on their land
On top of a 2.4 million dollar compensation, the indigenous Ashaninka people will receive an official apology from the companies who deforested their lands in the 1980s.
The tapir was reintroduced into Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, the country’s most at-risk ecosystem. The species can play a key role in the forest’s recovery.
Forests are home to 80 per cent of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. This year’s International Day of Forests highlights the urgent changes needed to save them.
After a legal battle that lasted two years, Indonesia’s Supreme Court has revoked the permit to mine for coal in the forests of South Kalimantan in Borneo.
The list of human and animal victims of the Australia wildfires keeps growing – one species might already have gone extinct – as the smoke even reaches South America.
Areas where the FARC guerrilla used to hold power in Colombia have faced record deforestation. Farmers cut down trees, burn land and plant grass for cows. Because, “what else can we do for a living here in the Colombian Amazon”? An intimate report from the heart of the felled forest in Caquetá.
Refusing the anthropocentric vision and respecting the laws of ecology is the only way to safeguard the future of our and all other species, Sea Shepherd President Paul Watson argues in this op-ed.
The 2019 edition of International Mountain Day is “Mountains matter for youth”, highlighting the need to bring young people back to highland areas to take care of their cultural and natural resources.