How forest elephants move depends on water, humans, and also their personality

African forest elephants roam the dense rainforests of West and Central Africa where they subsist largely on a diet of fruit. They shape forests by dispersing fruit and seeds, browsing, and creating an extensive trail network. John Poulsen, Duke University and Christopher Beirne, University of British Columbia But because it’s difficult to track animals inContinue reading “How forest elephants move depends on water, humans, and also their personality”

In the Atlantic Forest, the lowland tapir is at risk of extinction

Lowland tapir populations in the Atlantic Forest in South America are at risk of almost complete disappearance, scientists have estimated. Weighing up to 250 kg, the animal can adapt to most habitats in South America—but its populations continue to decline across its range. Today, its survival is seriously threatened: it can be found in justContinue reading “In the Atlantic Forest, the lowland tapir is at risk of extinction”

Promise, Divide, Intimidate and Coerce: 12 tactics used by palm oil companies intent on land-grabbing

The booklet “Promise, Divide, Intimidate and Coerce: 12 tactics palm oil companies use to grab community land” was created by World Rainforest Movement, GRAIN and an Alliance of community and local organisations united against industrial oil palm plantations in West and Central Africa, including RADD, SEFE, Synaparcam of Cameroon, Muyissi Environnement of Gabon and ERA/CommunityContinue reading “Promise, Divide, Intimidate and Coerce: 12 tactics used by palm oil companies intent on land-grabbing”

13 Reasons Why You Should Boycott Gold For The Yanomami People

Hunger for Gold in the Global North is fueling a living hell in the Global South. Here are 20 reasons why you should #BoycottGold4Yanomami

The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher: A flurry of feathers

September 3rd is Amazon Rainforest Day and The Nature Nook/Palm Oil Detective would like to celebrate. The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher is a member of a family of birds called the tyrant flycatchers, which occur throughout North and South America. This is the biggest family of birds in the world, with more than 400 species. AsContinue reading “The Amazonian Royal Flycatcher: A flurry of feathers”

Meet Chimbu, the blue-eyed, bear-eared tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroos are so unusual that when Europeans first encountered them in Australia in 1872, they were sceptical. Who would believe a kangaroo could climb a tree? The Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a threatened species found in forests in the Central Cordillera mountain ranges of Papua New Guinea, from sea level to high in theContinue reading “Meet Chimbu, the blue-eyed, bear-eared tree kangaroo”

Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours

Gisela Kaplan, University of New England Birds can certainly get very angry – and the owner of a galah or corella would be well advised not to get near this bird when the head feathers are raised — but birds can be joyful and playful, can get depressed and, as studies have shown, a neglectfulContinue reading “Laughs, cries and deception: birds’ emotional lives are just as complicated as ours”

Species Extinction: just how bad is it and why should we care?

Euan Ritchie, Deakin University “Dad, the world is missing amazing animals. I wish extinction wasn’t forever”. Despite my wife and I working as biologists, our five-year-old son came to make this statement independently. Euan Ritchie, Deakin University He is highlighting what I and many others consider to be society’s biggest challenge, and arguably failure: theContinue reading “Species Extinction: just how bad is it and why should we care?”

For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills

Carla Litchfield, University of South Australia Wild bonobos, like all Great Apes, spend long childhoods with their mothers, learning the skills they need to function as socially and emotionally stable members of their community. But orphaned bonobos at sanctuaries don’t have that kind of upbringing. Can they still learn the skills they need to getContinue reading “For primates, having a mother helps them learn social skills”

Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected

Martin Sullivan, University of Leeds; Oliver Phillips, University of Leeds, and Simon Lewis, UCL Around 2 million km² of Africa is covered by tropical rainforests. They are second only in extent to those in Amazonia, which cover around 6 million km². Rainforests are home to vast numbers of species. For example, the world’s tropical rainforestsContinue reading “Africa’s rainforests are different. Why it matters that they’re protected”

Demand for meat is driving deforestation in Brazil – changing the soy industry could stop it

Angela Guerrero, Stockholm University and Malika Virah-Sawmy, Humboldt University of Berlin Soy may have a pretty innocuous reputation thanks to its association with vegan food and meat alternatives. But don’t be fooled – crops of this pale legume are behind much of Brazil’s epidemic of deforestation. Since 2000, Brazil has doubled its total area ofContinue reading “Demand for meat is driving deforestation in Brazil – changing the soy industry could stop it”

A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species

Jim Radford, Deakin University Our planet is on the precipice of a sixth mass extinction event. But unlike the five previous mass extinctions, this one is man-made: a global biodiversity crisis in which species are disappearing three to 12 times faster than the “normal” rate of extinction. Australia is not immune from this crisis. InContinue reading “A global juggling act: feeding the world, saving species”

The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards

Sam Williams, Durham University A black leopard was recently spotted in Kenya’s Laikipia area by San Diego Zoo scientist, Nicholas Pilfold. Sam Williams, a conservation ecologist focused on African carnivores, asked Nicholas about the elusive cats. Where are black leopards found in Africa? There have been a number of reports of black leopard in Africa,Continue reading “The why, what and where of the world’s black leopards”

One-fifth of reptiles heading towards extinction

Almost one-fifth of the world’s reptiles are currently threatened with extinction. A recent study assessed 1500 species for extinction risks. From the 19% found to be in danger, 12% were classified as Critically Endangered, 41% as Endangered and 47% Vulnerable. Three of the species listed as being Critically Endangered are believed to be possibly extinct.Continue reading “One-fifth of reptiles heading towards extinction”

The rise of ultra-processed foods and why they’re really bad for our health

Phillip Baker, Deakin University; Mark Lawrence, Deakin University, and Priscila Machado, Deakin University Humans (and our ancestors) have been processing food for at least 1.8 million years. Roasting, drying, grinding and other techniques made food more nutritious, durable and tasty. This helped our ancestors to colonise diverse habitats, and then develop settlements and civilisations. ManyContinue reading “The rise of ultra-processed foods and why they’re really bad for our health”

Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?

Sebastian Leuzinger, Auckland University of Technology What would happen if we cut down the entire Amazon rainforest? Could it be replaced by an equal amount of reforestation elsewhere? Removing the entire Amazon rainforest would have myriad consequences, with the most obvious ones possibly not the worst. Most people will first think of the carbon currentlyContinue reading “Climate Explained: what would happen if we cut down the Amazon rainforest?”

Why you should stop buying new clothes

Alana James, Northumbria University, Newcastle The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world, producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of global carbon emissions – and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will have increased to 25%. A staggering 300,000 tonnes of clothes are sent to British landfills each year.Continue reading “Why you should stop buying new clothes”

How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests

Indonesia now has the has the fastest rate of deforestation in the world, driven largely by clearing for palm oil plantations. But the process began long ago, with one of the most common building materials: plywood. As far as commodities are concerned, it was plywood that defined the rainforests of Borneo in the 1970s andContinue reading “How plywood started the destruction of Indonesia’s forests”

Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study

We know that ecosystems under stress can reach a point where they rapidly collapse into something very different. The clear water of a pristine lake can turn algae-green in a matter of months. In hot summers, a colourful coral reef can soon become bleached and virtually barren. And if a tropical forest has its canopyContinue reading “Huge ecosystems could collapse in less than 50 years – new study”

What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young

Sunanda Creagh, The Conversation Wild parrots name their chicks by teaching them an individual sound to identify them, researchers have found. Humans and dolphins create unique sounds by which individuals are identified and there was some evidence to suggest captive parrots created ‘contact calls’ – special calls used to identify family and friends. But untilContinue reading “What’s my name? How wild parrots identify their young”