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E.O. Wilson's full update on his Half-Earth initiative

On this episode we share a progress report on the Half-Earth Project (an ambitious effort to set aside half the world for nature) direct from legendary conservation biologist E.O. Wilson. In this return visit to the podcast, Dr. Wilson discusses their effort to map the world's 6,000 bee species, his enthusiasm for the new science of understanding ecosystems, and interesting ties with the business community. Host Mike Gaworeck met Dr. Wilson at Half-Earth Project's recent event at the...


Chasing penguins, a dispatch from Antarctica

In a dispatch from Antarctica’s McMurdo Station, Mongabay friend Dr. Michelle LaRue discusses her sixth deployment to the icy continent to document emperor penguin populations, a species that is an important indicator of the Southern Ocean’s health. Skype was down at the station so we spoke with her by phone about what she is looking for and what it's like to work in Antarctica. LaRue and team fly in helicopters and planes to make high-res photos of penguin colonies which allow them to...


Racing to save the world's amazing frogs

On this episode, we discuss the global outbreak of chytrid, which is probably the largest global wildlife disease event in recorded history, with an expert on the front lines fighting its spread. Our guest is National Geographic Explorer Dr. Jonathan Kolby, who founded the Honduras Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Center to study and save sick frogs. He also plays song recordings of the amphibians he studies and shares some positive news of disease resistance in certain populations and age...


Bats and Ebola: studying fruit bats to prevent future outbreaks

Sarah Olson is a researcher for the Wildlife Conservation Society and joins us at a moment when Ebola virus is very much in the news due to a recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A primatologist, Olson has lately been studying hammer-headed fruit bats to understand how Ebola is transmitted to apes and also humans — research which could potentially control or prevent future outbreaks of the deadly disease — beside revealing new details on the behavior of this fascinating...


Getting social for science and conservation

We take a look at how the social sciences can boost conservation efforts with guest Diogo Verissimo, one of the top researchers focused on adapting marketing principles for conservation. A Fellow with the University of Oxford and the Institute for Conservation Research at the San Diego Zoo, he designs and evaluates programs that aim to change human behavior to combat issues like the illegal wildlife trade. If you enjoy this podcast, please visit to pledge any amount...


'Godfather of biodiversity' says it's time to manage Earth as a whole system

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy coined the term “biological diversity” in 1980 and his work since has helped establish the preservation of global biodiversity as one of the most important conservation issues of our time. We discuss this and some of the most important environmental issues we currently face and why he believes the next decade will be the last decade of real opportunity to address those issues: “We really...need to think about managing the entire planet as a combined physical and...


The amazing song skills of the superb lyrebird

Sir David Attenborough says the superb lyrebird has one of “the most elaborate, the most complex, the most beautiful song[s] in the world.” In this episode we explore the incredible ability these creatures have to mimic sounds in their environment, ranging from predators and possums to squeaky trees and songbirds they compete with for forest habitat. Ornithologist Anastasia Dalziell joins us to discuss her trailblazing work with lyrebirds, and she plays amazing recordings of these...


Beavers, our brilliant ecosystem builders

You might not think of beavers as remarkable, but they are actually brilliant ecosystem engineers whose dams mitigate flooding, improve water quality, and boost groundwater levels, and they also provide habitat for species like salmon, moose, and mink. Environmental journalist Ben Goldbarb joins us to discuss his fascinating new book putting a bright shine on beavers, Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter. If you enjoy this podcast, please visit...


How dark money and shadow companies deforest Indonesia and derail its democracy

On this episode we explore the latest revelations about “shadow companies” and dark money associated with the palm oil sector, and how they factor into Mongabay’s ongoing investigation into the corruption fueling Indonesia’s rainforest destruction and land rights crises (plus how these factors derail democracy in this huge country). Host Mike Gaworecki speaks with guest Phil Jacobson, Mongabay's Indonesia editor. If you enjoy this podcast, please visit to pledge any...


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 or...


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 support...


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 you...


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 Soul...