October 30, 2002

Added 16 more pictures to the Madagascar photo collection in the black lemur, chameleon, and gecko sections.


October 27, 2002

Based on a suggestion from Dr. Stefan Schnitzer at the University of Minnesota Dept of Forest Resources, I reworked the page on vines and lianas in the tropical rainforest section of the site.


October 23, 2002

Did some work on the Madagascar photos section of the site resolving some link issues.

Monday the Wall Street Journal featured an article on the risks of the smallpox vaccine. The article discussed some of the potential adverse reactions to the vaccine along with some of the liability concerns on behalf of healthcare providers. [more]


October 21, 2002

Watercolor of a favela (slum) in Rio de Janeiro.


October 20, 2002

I wrote another brief column for the Polish aquarium hobby magazine, Magazyn Akwarium. This one covers travel in tropical rainforest countries.


October 15, 2002

Pictures from my 1995 trip to the Rio Napo and the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research (ACEER) in Peru.


October 14, 2002

Pictures from the rainforest in Malaysia (Borneo) are posted.


October 12, 2002

Pictures from my 1995 trip to the rainforest in Costa Rica. Photos from my 2001 trip are also still available.


October 10, 2002

I have been doing a lot of work behind-the-scenes -- hopefully users will notice the improvements as they use the site. I added pictures from the Daintree and Atherton tablelands rainforest in Australia. Some of these photos were taken in 1989 while others are from 2001.


October 2, 2002

New webstats for mongabay.com.


September 23, 2002

This past weekend I wrote this column on the role of aquariasts in conservation for a Polish aquarium hobby magazine -- Magazyn Akwarium. So for those of you who do not read Polish or subscribe to the magazine I have posted an English language version.


September 22, 2002

Added 60 profiles of freshwater aquatic plants in the tropical freshwater fish section of the site. Please keep in the mind that this text was written in 1994 and taxonomic nomenclature may be out-of-date.


September 20, 2002

Another disheartening story out of Indonesia. Raymond Bonner of the New York Times describes rampant illegal logging in "Indonesia's Forests Go Under the Ax for Flooring." An excerpt:

    Pekanbaru, Indonesia - On a verdant two-acre plot, where space has hastily been cleared for a few simple buildings, three heavy-duty band saws whine 24 hours a day, slicing huge logs into boards of varying lengths and widths.

    Down the road another sawmill, with eight band saws and more than 200 workers, also cuts up logs 24 hours a day. The owners said they cannot keep up with the demand, a claim that's easily believed - along a four-mile stretch of road, there are an estimated 50 sawmills.

    After being cut into long planks, most of this wood is bought by traders in Malaysia and Singapore, and then, after being further cut, sanded, molded and grooved, sold around the world - as flooring in China and Japan, office stationery in Europe and furniture in the United States.

    Indonesia's timber industry is booming, good news for a country suffering widespread unemployment and mired in economic stagnation. There is a dark side, however: nearly all of these sawmills operate without a license, and overall, according to government figures, 80 percent of Indonesia's timber trade is illegal, which means that the trees are felled without a license or under a concession that had been secured with a bribe.

    The corruption is rampant. Senior government officials insist on payoffs, from companies and big-time traders, in exchange for concessions. Military commanders take a cut or even have their own operations. The local policeman demands a payment to allow the trucks, laden with illegally cut logs, on the way to illegal sawmills, to proceed along the road.

    The upshot is that Indonesia's tropical forests, among the largest in the world, are rapidly disappearing. Vast tracts of once pristine forests have been reduced to barren and scarred wasteland. It is estimated that at least four million acres of forests - an area roughly the size of Connecticut - are being stripped of their trees every year, according to government statistics. It is estimated that the lowland natural forests here on the island of Sumatra, home to the endangered orangutan and the rare Sumatran tiger, will be gone within five years; those in Kalimantan, within 10. [more]


September 19, 2002

I have updated the aquarium biotopes page to include links to photos of specific habitats. In the next few weeks I'll post pictures from Malaysia (Borneo) and possibly add a section on freshwater aquatic plants in the tropical freshwater fish section of the site.


September 10, 2002

Marc Elieson has created an incredible resource on African Lake Cichlids. African Cichlids - Victorian & Malawi provides species profiles, pictures, and more. Check it out.


September 9, 2002

Today's WSJ features an article on veterinarians doing work on pet fish. An except:

    Three veterinarians stood over a $4.95 goldfish named Hot Lips, prepping her for surgery. The senior vet, Craig Harms, slipped a syringe into the nine-inch-long fish's swollen belly. He drew out clear fluid -- a bad sign.

    Dr. Harms retreated to the hallway, pulled out his cellphone and called the owners in New York's Catskill Mountains. It was Wednesday morning, Aug. 14.

    "Hot Lips is doing OK," he said, before delivering the bad news about the liquid. "It puts the possibility of liver disease or kidney disease back in the picture. ... We'll keep you posted as we move along."

    Dr. Harms and his colleagues are among about 20 vets in the nation who perform surgery on pet fish. Not one of them makes it his sole practice. But the need for such services is growing. Americans are building more backyard fishponds, stocking up on pets that they swear have their own personalities.

    Large "pond-kept fish" rank as the fastest-growing fish-pets in the nation, while the broader category of fish ownership grows faster than dogs, cats, lizards or any other pet type, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association in Greenwich, Conn., and pet fish tend to grow bigger when they have more room to swim. Koi, the goldfish's fancy and often-expensive cousin, are particularly popular. They can live well past 30. So when these much-loved pets grow lumps or quit swimming, some owners give surgery a shot.

    More are reaching out to Dr. Harms and his colleagues at North Carolina State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. One reason: Surgeons there have developed an advanced way to keep their patients alive on the operating table -- a portable device that pumps fluids, including anesthesia, into their mouths and out their gills.

    The North Carolina surgeons will take cases that other vets consider hopeless. In March, they fused two crushed vertebrae along the spine of a 21-inch, $900 koi named Ladyfish. The three-hour procedure followed X-rays and a CAT scan. Ladyfish's owner, a North Carolina Roto-Rooter manager named David Smothers, recently brought in a smaller koi named Wendy for similar work. "To see this little girl swimming again, it's just incredible," Mr. Smothers says. [more]


September 5, 2002

Added a profile of the Flowerhorn tropical fish hybrid since a large number of visitors to mongabay.com are from Malaysia and Singapore. The fish is immensely popular at the moment.


September 3, 2002

Some users complained of issues with the tropical freshwater fish site. I believe I have now resolved these problems and everything should be working properly. Thanks for your patience and I apologize for the inconvenience.


September 2, 2002

New web stats for mongabay.com. Over 200,000 people have visited the site since it was officially launched in early September 2001.


August 26, 2002

Posted pictures from my 1994 trip to Southern Africa. Most of the pictures are from Botswana and were taken by Nancy Butler. Including: Elephants, Lions, Zebra, Antelope, Repitles, Scenery, Giraffes, Fish Eagle, other mammals, and Scenery.

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