Sumatran elephants: Surrounded by palm oil and nobody knows how many are left alive!

Sumatran elephants in Indonesia’s North Aceh district are being increasingly encircled by shrinking patches of forest. Their home is being destroyed primarily for oil palm plantations.

Ongoing attempts of scientists to take a measure of their population have been hampered and oppressed by the Indonesian government, which has also attempted to prevent media coverage of the issue.

Between 924-1360 individual Sumatran elephants hang on for survival in Sumatra trapped on all sides by #palmoil #deforestation.
“Sustainable” palm oil is a lie. Fight for them and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

Palm oil: a recipe for disaster in India

Given the widespread destruction of rainforests and native biodiversity caused by oil palm plantations in Southeast Asia, environmental experts and politicians are warning that the move to promote palm oil cultivation in India’s northeastern States and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands could be disastrous. Other concerns include the impact on community ownership of tribalContinue reading “Palm oil: a recipe for disaster in India”

Helmeted Hornbill Rhinoplax vigil

Helmeted Hornbills are spectacular, large and intelligent birds native to SE Asia, known for their substantial helmet-like structure on their head called a casque made of ivory. This hefty head accounts for 11% of their 3kg body weight. They are found on the Malay Peninsula: Sumatra, Borneo, Myanmar and Thailand. They are critically endangered. Their main threats are illegal hunting and wildlife trade for their ivory casques along with palm oil and timber deforestation. Help them each time you shop and #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

Thousands more species at risk of extinction than currently recorded, suggests new study

New research suggests the extinction crisis may be even worse than we thought. More than half of species that have so far evaded any official conservation assessment are threatened with extinction. Some species that are not yet classified and are “data deficient” make up around 17% of the nearly 150,000 species currently assessed. according to predictions by researchers from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

What is causing the latest outbreak of Ebola in Uganda?

The answers to preventing future zoonotic diseases are staring us right in the face: we should stop eating animals and consuming animal products and we should stop destroying rainforests for palm oil, soy and other crops! Many research papers and books have been written about the connection between the relentless capitalist growth imperative of multinationalContinue reading “What is causing the latest outbreak of Ebola in Uganda?”

Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos

Indonesia manage to conserve two of the world’s five rhinoceros species. Both the Javan rhino Rhinoceros sondaicus and the Sumatran rhino Dicerorhinus sumatrensis still exist today, uniquely only in the country. Extractive industries and large-scale palm oil plantations have transformed the landscape of Sumatra. As a result, the Sumatran rhino’s populations were driven to theContinue reading “Celebrate #WorldRhinoDay by leaving the forests alone and #Boycottpalmoil to save imperilled Sumatran & Javan Rhinos”

Anthropologist and author of ‘In the Shadow of the Palms’ Dr Sophie Chao: In Her Own Words

Dr Sophie Chao is an environmental anthropologist and environmental humanities scholar interested in the intersections of capitalism, ecology, Indigeneity, health, and justice in the Pacific.

Palm Oil Detectives is honoured to interview to Dr Sophie Chao about her research into the impacts of palm oil on the daily lives of Marind people and other sentient beings in West Papua.

​I wrote In the Shadow of the Palms because I wanted the world to understand how deforestation and industrial oil palm expansion are undermining Indigenous ways of being in West Papua.

Climate change is forcing human and non-human beings to become climate refugees

The definition of refugee or displaced person is someone fleeing a life-threatening crisis. The emerging refugees of this century are fleeing unliveable environmental conditions brought about by climate change and other complex interrelated factors including conflict, disease and famine. Humans and non-human beings alike are becoming climate change refugees. The choices are stark and clear – move and live or stay where you are and perish.

What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities

Bob Jacobs, Colorado College Conservationists have designated August 12 as World Elephant Day to raise awareness about conserving these majestic animals. Elephants have many engaging features, from their incredibly dexterous trunks to their memory abilities and complex social lives. But there is much less discussion of their brains, even though it stands to reason thatContinue reading “What elephants’ unique brain structures suggest about their mental abilities”

Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild

The reintroduction of pangolins has not been easy. But it’s vital to prevent this shy, mysterious creature from being lost forever. Pangolins are one of the most illegally trafficked animals on the planet and are suspected to be linked to the current coronavirus pandemic. Pangolins are also one of the world’s most threatened species butContinue reading “Back from extinction: a world first effort to return threatened pangolins to the wild”

Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse

Most people probably think that the rainforest of central and west Africa, the second largest in the world, has been around for millions of years. However recent research suggests that it is mostly just 2,000 or so years old. The forest reached roughly its modern state following five centuries of regeneration after it was massivelyContinue reading “Chimpanzees once helped African rainforests recover from a major collapse”

Insect decline in the Anthropocene: Death by a thousand cuts

Although conservation efforts have historically focused attention on protecting rare, charismatic, and endangered species, the “insect apocalypse” presents a different challenge. In addition to the loss of rare taxa, many reports mention sweeping declines of formerly abundant insects [e.g., Warren et al. (29)], raising concerns about ecosystem function.

10 reasons why ecolabels & commodity certification are not a solution to stop the EU importing tropical deforestation

71 environmental and human rights groups from around the world – wrote to the EU Commission warning that certification schemes and ecolabels were not sufficient to prevent human rights abuses and deforestation from entering the European Union. Meanwhile industry lobbyists are attempting to weaken the proposed EU laws with these ineffective and corrupt certification schemesContinue reading “10 reasons why ecolabels & commodity certification are not a solution to stop the EU importing tropical deforestation”

Nigeria’s nature reserves need more help to protect biodiversity

Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Environment recently nominated Finima Nature Park in River State as a Ramsar site: a wetland of international importance. Tajudeen Amusa, University of Ilorin These sites are designated under the Ramsar Convention, an intergovernmental environmental treaty established in 1971 by UNESCO. It aims to protect representative, rare or unique wetlands, or thoseContinue reading “Nigeria’s nature reserves need more help to protect biodiversity”

Primates are facing an impending extinction crisis – but we know very little about what will actually protect them

From lemurs to orangutans, tarsiers to gorillas, primates are captivating and sometimes unnervingly similar to us. So it’s not surprising that this group of more than 500 species receives a great deal of research and conservation attention. But despite this effort, more than 60% of primate species are threatened with extinction mainly due to humanContinue reading “Primates are facing an impending extinction crisis – but we know very little about what will actually protect them”

How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?

With only 74 individuals left, the remarkable and beautiful Javan Rhino is on the brink of extinction and can be found on one of the most densely populated islands in the world – Java. Boycotting palm oil is how you can help them. Sunarto, Universitas Indonesia The Javan rhino was once found throughout many partsContinue reading “How do we protect the rapidly disappearing Javan Rhino?”

Ecocide: why establishing a new international crime would be a step towards interspecies justice

A movement of activists and legal scholars is seeking to make “ecocide” an international crime within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Stop Ecocide Foundation has put together a prestigious international panel of experts that has just proposed a new definition of the term. Heather Alberro, Nottingham Trent University and Luigi Daniele,Continue reading “Ecocide: why establishing a new international crime would be a step towards interspecies justice”

The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit

From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing how and why birds use vocal mimicry to further their own interests, as we discuss in Biological Reviews. Anastasia Dalziell, Cornell UniversityContinue reading “The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit”

A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants

Ask anyone the identity of the world’s most famed turtles, and the answer is likely to be those legendary heroes in a half-shell, the Teenage Mutant Ninjas. Since first appearing in comic book form in 1984, the pizza-eating, nunchuk-wielding characters have shown the world the tougher side of turtles. Louise Pryke, University of Sydney PartContinue reading “A fascinating history of warrior turtles: from ancient myths, warships and teenage mutants”

How deforestation helps deadly viruses jump from animals to humans

Amy Y. Vittor, University of Florida; Gabriel Zorello Laporta, Faculdade de Medicina do ABC, and Maria Anice Mureb Sallum, Universidade de São Paulo Many pandemics originate from wildlife that jumps from animal to human. These leaps often happen at the edges of the world’s tropical forests, where deforestation is increasingly bringing people into contact withContinue reading “How deforestation helps deadly viruses jump from animals to humans”