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How to use drones without stressing wildlife

On this episode of the podcast we discuss the increasing use of drones by wildlife lovers, researchers, and businesses, how these uses might be stressing animals out, and how drone users can make a meaningful contribution to science while avoiding wildlife harassment. Our guest is Alicia Amerson, a marine biologist, drone user ("pilot"), and science communicator. She tells us why it’s critical to have best practices for drones in place not only to guide hobbyists making videos of whales...


Indigenous knowledge and climate science

Traditional indigenous knowledge and climate change is this episode's topic, with Snowchange Cooperative's Tero Mustonen: “Often in the past, science has been seen as quite [a] colonial tool by indigenous peoples,” he says. “We are trying to say that we are co-researching, and these knowledge-holders in remote communities are scientists of their own kind.” We also hear about Snowchange’s ecological restoration and solar power projects, the latter of which empower women and kids in remote...


What can soundscapes tell us about animals and their home landscapes?

In this episode, professor Anne Axel of Marshall University makes the case for a new field of bioacoustics research: soundscape phenology, the study of cyclical life events of plants and animals via sound recordings. She'll be keynoting the biennial Ecoacoustics Congress in Brisbane, Australia later this month on the topic, and gives us a preview while playing just a few of the recordings that have informed this research from the forests of Madagascar. We'd be very glad to have your...


Mexico’s community forests find sustainability by including women and youths

On this episode, a special report on community-based conservation and agroforestry operations known as ejidos in Mexico. Ejidos have proven to be effective at conserving forests while creating economic opportunities for the local rural communities who live and work on the land, but have also faced a threat to their own survival over the past decade as younger generations, seeing no place for themselves in the rigid structure of ejido governance, have left in large numbers. A lack of...


Renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle on acting for the oceans

Legendary oceanographer and marine biologist Sylvia Earle, often called "Her Deepness," is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and former chief scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). She's a fierce champion for ocean conservation in general and marine protected areas in particular. "The ocean has given us everything, life itself, now it's time to give back," she says in this wide ranging conversation with Mongabay. Despite difficult trends, she...


Seabird secrets revealed by bioacoustics in New Zealand

Megan Friesen is a conservation biologist using bioacoustics technology to examine the breeding behavior of a secretive Pacific seabird called Buller’s shearwater, which breeds on the remote Poor Knights Islands, off of northern New Zealand. In this Field Notes segment, Friesen explains why bioacoustics techniques are critical to the research she's doing with the Northern New Zealand Seabird Trust, and she plays recordings of the birds from both of the main islands where it breeds. If...


Exploring Brazil’s biodiverse Cerrado region and the impacts of agriculture

On this episode we discuss the impacts of agriculture on Brazil’s Cerrado region, an incredibly biodiverse savannah supporting more than 10,000 plant species, 900 kinds of birds, and 300 different mammals. But it has long been overlooked by scientists and environmentalists alike, and as protecting the Amazon Forest became more of a priority, much agricultural production in Brazil has moved from the rainforest to the vast Cerrado. Mongabay sent two reporters there to learn about the effects...


Maroon 5 guitarist James Valentine on stopping illegal rainforest wood from becoming guitars

On this episode we speak with James Valentine, the multiple-Grammy-winning guitarist for Maroon 5 about his work to keep illegal and unsustainable rainforest wood out of musical instruments, and efforts to make concert tours more environmentally friendly. He has been to Peru and Guatemala to see the effects of illegal logging there, and he talks with us about his motivations for stopping this destructive trade. If you like what you hear, please subscribe via Android, Google Play, iTunes,...


Exploring our deep connection to water, plus the sounds of Sandhill crane migration

On this episode, we discuss humanity’s deep connection to water and hear sounds of one of the most ancient animal migrations on Earth, that of the Sandhill crane. Our first guest is marine biologist and sea turtle conservationist Wallace J. Nichols, the author of Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, & Better at What You Do. Then we speak with a team using bioacoustics to document the ecology and...


How effective is environmental restoration?

How effective is environmental restoration? On this episode, we seek answers to that question with Claire Wordley of Cambridge University, which has just debuted a much needed new project collecting the evidence, and examples of restoration from around the globe. We also speak with Becky Kessler, editor of Mongabay’s ongoing series that examines how well a range of other conservation efforts work, about what this project has revealed. Plus we round up the recent top environmental &...


Exploring the minds and inner lives of wild animals

On this episode we discuss the amazing minds and lives of animals — their memories, how even electric eels dream, the fact that some creatures like to get drunk (and why) — and we’ll hear all about Mongabay's newly launched bureau in India. Author Sy Montgomery teamed up with her friend and fellow animal writer Elizabeth Marshall Thomas to write Tamed and Untamed: Close Encounters of the Animal Kind. Sy is the author of numerous other fascinating animal behavior titles, including "The...


New eyes in the sky monitor Earth systems like never before

On this episode we dive into cutting-edge remote sensing technologies invented by Heinz Award-winner Greg Asner, the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, which his team uses to monitor ecosystems like rainforests and coral reefs. This airborne laser-guided lab can even see underwater to map reefs, find record-breaking individual rainforest trees that have escaped detection, and more. We also listen to bioacoustic recordings that are used to analyze species richness in tropical forests with a...


David Suzuki on why indigenous knowledge is critical for humanity's survival

On today’s episode we feature a conversation with iconic Canadian scientist, author, television presenter, and activist David Suzuki. Suzuki is a biologist who’s just as well known for his outspoken views on the need to protect nature. He is the author of more than 50 books and the host of the long-running science program The Nature of Things. He’s also the founder of the David Suzuki Foundation and the Blue Dot Movement, which aims to enshrine the right to a healthy environment in the...


Climate lessons from indigenous peoples, plus the mysterious night parrot

On the first episode of 2018, we speak with the author of a new book about the resilience of indigenous peoples in the face of climate change, and a researcher shares recordings of Australia's elusive night parrot. Plus we round up the recent top environmental news! Please help us improve the Mongabay Newscast by leaving a review on its page at Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or wherever you subscribe to it. And if you like what you hear, please subscribe and tell a...


Massive Amazonian medicine encyclopedia gets an update, and Madagascar conservation efforts examined

We speak with Christopher Herndon, a medical doctor who as co-founder and president of Acaté Amazon Conservation, has been helping indigenous Matsés people document their traditional healing and plant knowledge in a massive 1,000 page encyclopedia, and in creating living pharmacies for the future. Also on the show is Mongabay contributor Rowan Moore Gerety, the writer behind our recent series on the effectiveness of conservation projects in Madagascar. The island nation has been a global...


Margaret Atwood talks about birds, ecology, and her graphic novel series

Award-winning iconic writer Margaret Atwood recently tackled a medium she is not as well-known for: comic books. Her superhero series Angel Catbird "was a conservation project from the get-go," she tells us in this edition of the podcast, being an effort to shine a light on the plight of wild birds and the house cats who love to stalk them, plus other ecological themes. We also discuss her smash hit "The Handmaid's Tale" and other 'possible futures,' as she calls them. Then we speak with...


Jane Goodall on being proven right that animals have personalities, and more

Mongabay is lucky to have Jane Goodall on its Advisory Board, and just before founder and CEO Rhett Butler was scheduled to speak with her most recently, research came out that vindicated her contention, which she’s held for nearly 60 years, that animals have personalities, so we recorded her thoughts about that for the Mongabay Newscast. “Quite honestly I think almost everybody recognized that animals have personalities, whether they were in the wild or whether they weren't,” she says....


Gas drilling vs wildlife in Peruvian Amazon and a Goldman Prize winner on mercury contamination

In this episode we discuss new science on the impacts on birds and amphibians of drilling for natural gas in the tropics with a Smithsonian researcher, and a Goldman Prize winner discusses her ongoing campaign to rid mercury contamination from the environment, which is (still) having alarming human health effects. Plus we round up the top environmental news. Please help us improve the Mongabay Newscast by leaving a review on its page at Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or...


Bat calls from the Amazon plus how Indonesia's rainforests became palm plantations

Mongabay editor Phil Jacobson joins the Newscast to discuss a new investigative reporting project in collaboration with The Gecko Project called “Indonesia For Sale” about the land deals — and the powerful politicians and businessmen behind them — that have converted vast areas of Indonesian rainforest to industrial palm oil plantations for personal profit. Then we speak with Adrià López-Baucells, whose acoustic studies of bats in the central Amazon reveal the effects of Amazon forest...


Javan rhino calls and an analysis of 'green' forest certification

On this week's show we speak with Princeton University's Zuzana Burivalova about whether forest certification schemes like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are actually achieving their environmental, social, and economic goals. Whether they do or not has massive implications for forest conservation worldwide, and while the evidence is hard to find, this tropical forest ecologist has interesting findings to share. Our second guest is Steve Wilson, who has just written a new paper on...