Mongabay Latam and El Deber win prestigious El Rey Award
Feb19

Mongabay Latam and El Deber win prestigious El Rey Award

Mongabay Latam and its partners at the major Bolivian daily newspaper El Deber have won the El Rey Award, also known as the King of Spain International Journalism Award. A top prize recognizing the best in Spanish and Portuguese-language journalism in Ibero-America since 1983, the awards are announced annually by Agencia EFE and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development. The Mongababy-El Deber team was recognized for Roberto Navia Gabriel’s investigative report on illegal trafficking in jaguar fangs, which was produced and published by both media outlets. When the reporter first learned of jaguars being killed for their fangs, it felt like a horror novel: “It seemed to me that it was a topic that journalism definitely had to address so that people in power [would] hear about it [and] look for a solution,” Navia Gabriel said. “Unfortunately, it is true that [Chinese citizens] are pulling fangs out of jaguars. They are selling them in China and other Asian markets at prices as high as gold or cocaine, exorbitant prices. I discovered that it was not isolated hunting, but a mafia who is entering this area and is earning thousands or maybe millions of dollars, that was a sad finding.” “For me the award means a big boost, something that makes me see that I was not wrong, that it was worthy to investigate,” continued Navia Gabriel. “And also, to establish a relationship with Mongabay has been terrific. This work wouldn’t have been possible without the important support of Mongabay, at a time when it is more difficult to do investigative journalism because there is a big lack of resources and time, so I’m grateful to El Deber, to Mongabay, to all the team that has been part of this great project,” he said. Speaking on behalf of Mongabay Latam, María Isabel Torres, Program Manager for the Lima-based Spanish language bureau of Mongabay.com, said, “At Mongabay Latam we believe that [it] is key to promote collaborative alliances between journalists and other media in different countries, not only to integrate resources and capabilities, but also to broaden the impact of our stories. Our partnership with El Deber is a great example of that.” Agreeing with Torres, Navia Gabriel‘s editor at Mongabay Latam, Alexa Eunoé Vélez Zuazo, said, “The award confirms how powerful and necessary alliances [are] between the media in Latin America [and] among journalists to unveil issues of great relevance, and put them on the radar of the authorities. Mongabay Latam has followed the problem of  jaguar trafficking in Bolivia since the first complaints began in 2016, but it was with El Deber that we worked on the first special stories.” Of Roberto Navia...

Read More
Bioacoustics paper published in Science
Jan05

Bioacoustics paper published in Science

In 2017, Mongabay’s Conservation Effectiveness series looked at what the scientific literature tells us is working and not working in the field of conservation. The series produced award-winning reporting which generated wide-ranging discussions across conservation. One of the key conclusions from the project was that conservation studies generally haven’t been designed to rigorously assess effectiveness of projects, interventions, or strategies. After the series wrapped up, we kept thinking about this issue and whether there may be other ways to measure conservation outcomes. Zuzana Burivalova, the Princeton scientist we hired to oversee the academic research component of Conservation Effectiveness, uses bioacoustics in her field work. This prompted conversations about applying bioacoustics to evaluating conservation effectiveness and eventually spurred Burivalova, Mongabay Founder and CEO Rhett Butler, and Eddie Game from the Nature Conservancy to write a paper, which was published yesterday in Science: The sound of a tropical forest. “An increasing number of ecologists and conservation scientists are using bioacoustics in their research,” said Butler. “We argue that bioacoustics could be used to strengthen zero deforestation commitments, monitor biodiversity at scale, and provide a mechanism for evaluating the effectiveness of conservation projects and interventions. Our hope is that the paper raises visibility for everyone working on bioacoustics.” The paper calls out two opportunities: using bioacoustics to strengthen corporate zero deforestation commitments that are being adopted by companies in the palm oil, timber, and cacao sectors, among others; and creating a world-class central repository for bioacoustic data that can be used by researchers. “The dream is a scenario where zero deforestation companies are funding real-time monitoring of forests, with data fed into the cloud for use by scientists, giving us a better picture of what’s working and what’s not working in conservation and landscape restoration,” said Butler. “Combined with satellite data and networked camera traps, we’d have a much clearer picture for measuring trends in wildlife populations.” To date, the paper has attracted significant media attention, with more the 30 media outlets covering the study within 24 hours of publication. Butler also penned an op-ed for Singapore’s Straits Times about how bioacoustics could support zero deforestation commitments. And Mongabay covered the paper as...

Read More
Mongabay Latam story generates multiple impacts in Peru
Oct23

Mongabay Latam story generates multiple impacts in Peru

For the residents of remote rural areas like the Peruvian Amazon, Mongabay provides a vital service by covering issues that the mainstream media have neither the editorial budgets nor perhaps the political space to report on. However, local and international NGOs, a core constituency of civil society, increasingly use our reports to share information with their communities and advocate for policy changes from governmental officials. One example from Peru is particularly illustrative of Mongabay’s role in enabling consensus building. In September 2017, six farmers were murdered in the district of Nueva Requena. Their bodies were found floating in a river; they had been shot in the head, and their hands and feet bound. The initial reports of this incident that reached the capital in Lima were inaccurate, yet no journalists traveled to the area to follow up in the immediate aftermath. However, one of Mongabay’s reporters went there five days after the crime to produce the story “Ucayali Forests: a booty for land traffickers” (English version here). The report detailed serious problems associated with land trafficking, the development of new roads into forests, and the complicity of local authorities in the nontransparent “legalization” of these schemes. The information published in that story was then included in an investigation by Peru’s Public Prosecutor’s Office into illegal land grabs in Ucayali by palm oil companies. A prosecutor specializing in environmental crimes later said, “Media like Mongabay-Latam contributes knowledge of the true situation of the environment. With the information they provide, which is evaluated and verified, officials can make decisions.” As a result of Mongabay’s extensive reporting, the National Organization of Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Women of Peru (ONAMIAP) republished the Mongabay-Latam story on its website to share the news directly with its community. Then in March 2018, National Geographic published a report on infrastructure development in Ucayali and cited Mongabay’s reporting in the region. Finally, the Environmental Investigation Agency requested GPS coordinates for the disputed area to monitor the progress of deforestation in this area which had not previously been mapped. The same request was made by the Andean Amazon Monitoring Project to establish, through satellite maps, the increasing forest loss in the area. Keep up with all of Mongabay-Latam’s coverage at the website, https://es.mongabay.com or on social media (Facebook: @MongabayLatam, Twitter: @MongabayLatam, Instagram: @MongabayLatam).  Banner photo depicting the area in question by Mongabay-Latam reporter Yvette Sierra...

Read More
“Conservation Effectiveness” series wins award
Apr04

“Conservation Effectiveness” series wins award

  A feature on how conservation NGOs use evidence to guide their decisions, by staff writer Shreya Dasgupta, is the winner in the environment category of the 2018 Science Seeker Awards. Scientists have long urged conservation NGOs to make decisions based on scientific evidence, Shreya writes in the piece. However, big conservation NGOs run into many problems in trying to use the available science. So she sets out to explain what is known about the topic by looking at the published evidence: “Overall, there has been a rise in peer-reviewed studies looking into the effectiveness of conservation strategies. But NGOs don’t seem to be using them,” she writes in the piece. Read on for her full analysis of why this is and what can be done, here, Experience or evidence: How do big conservation NGOs make decisions? The feature was part 4 of “Conservation Effectiveness,” Mongabay’s multi-part series investigating the effectiveness of some of the most popular strategies to conserve tropical forests around the world. The series was the result of a collaboration between Mongabay staff reporters Shreya Dasgupta and Mike Gaworecki, their editor Rebecca Kessler, and a team of conservation scientists led by tropical forest ecologist Zuzana Burivalova of Princeton University. Wonderfully interactive infographics were created for most features in the series by GreenInfo Network, whose team was led by Tom Allnutt. Banner image: Crested black macaque. Photo by Rhett A. Butler /...

Read More
Mongabay investigation makes “Best Nonprofit Journalism of 2017” list
Dec26

Mongabay investigation makes “Best Nonprofit Journalism of 2017” list

Congratulations to the reporting team of Sue Branford, Maurício Torres, and Thais Borges: the third feature in their multi-part investigation from the Tapajós River Basin in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon carried out in cooperation with The Intercept-Brasil was selected by the Institute for Nonprofit News for their ‘Best Nonprofit Journalism of 2017‘ list. The feature, “Day of Terror,” revealed how a raid by federal police on an indigenous Munduruku village resulted in one death and multiple injuries, and prompted a prosecutor to open a new investigation and recommend the award of $2.9 million (US) in compensation to the village. Read the feature and watch the harrowing video here. Banner image: Adenilson Krixi Mundurku’s family watches in solemn grief as Mongabay journalists are told how he was killed by Brazil’s Federal Police. Photo by Thais...

Read More
Overcoming the fake news deluge: an opportunity to support Mongabay
Dec16

Overcoming the fake news deluge: an opportunity to support Mongabay

The “spirit of giving” has arrived at Mongabay’s doorstep this holiday season! With gratitude Mongabay is pleased to announce that another donor has offered $10,000 for an end-of-year matching gift opportunity. All donations will be matched one to one until we reach our $10,000 goal – this offer ends the first week of January. By supporting Mongabay, one can reassert the importance of real journalism and analysis as a methodology for tackling pressing environmental issues. Rhett Butler, founder and CEO of Mongabay, believes the organization’s accurate reporting results partly from its business model. “Because Mongabay is not for profit, we can focus on presenting the facts without bias or sensationalizing. We don’t need click bait to drive traffic for ad revenue. Our readers demand fact-based journalism, and they are the source of our income.” Over the years, Mongabay has garnered the respect of conservationists, policy makers, scientists and everyday citizens alike because of its reliable reporting. The rise and apparent ramifications of “fake news”, targeted misinformation campaigns, and an incoming US administration that is hostile to the media all threaten journalism as a primary mechanism that informs society. “It’s an alarming development”, says Dave Martin, director of partnerships for Mongabay. “It demonstrates that now, more than ever, is the time to support accuracy in reporting, science, and the predominance of factual information. I’m hoping that people who care about these issues really double down on supporting great organizations in order to counter balance such emerging threats”. Mongabay has years of experience offering high-quality reporting, and aims to continue to be a go-to resource for reliable conservation news and analysis. Take advantage of this opportunity by donating here Please contact Dave Martin (dave [at] mongabay.org) for all...

Read More