April 30, 2004

A population explosion among koalas on Kangaroo Island, Australia has stripped the island of its native gum trees, damaging the ecosystem and causing a famine among the marsupials. To remedy the situation, Australia may cull 20,000 koalas.

In northern Paraguay, deforestation from logging, colonization, and infrastructure projects has caused the members of the Totobiegosode indigenous group to enter into contact with civilization for the first time in their history.

April 29, 2004

According to CNN a snakehead fish was found in Maryland lake. Snakeheads are of concern because they are voracious eaters that can rapidly ruin an ecosystem by consuming native species. Fish and wildlife officials plan to drain the lake to eliminate further snakeheads.

April 28, 2004

The west United States is facing a sixth year of drought and in some areas the conditions rival 1930s Dust Bowl according to The Christian Science Monitor.

April 27, 2004

A drought in Southeast Asia has more than tripled the death rate of Irrawaddy dolphins living in the Mekong. Scientists say that low water levels expose these endangered freshwater dolphins to fishing nets and pollution. The total population of Irrawaddy dolphins is estimated at around 100 individuals -- down from thousands that lived in the river just a generation ago.

April 26, 2004

Recommended books on rainforests & ecology -- a list of books I have read and enjoyed over the past couple of years.

April 25, 2004

Answer to a recent question on poison arrow frog predators.

April 23, 2004

Dennis Pfaff of the Daily Journal wrote an article on the legal battle over the Okinawa Dugong, a subspecies that may include as few as 50 animals. Environmentalists have moved to delay a proposed military base by filing a lawsuit (Okinawa Dugong v. Rumsfeld) under the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires compliance by the U.S. government in its overseas activities. The decision to the historic preservation law was necessary "because of the American military's general reluctance to abide by foreign countries' environmental statutes."

April 22, 2004

The Mekong River is dying -- dams are killing the river's fisheries. Governments are attracted by the prospect of abundant energy but ignore the fact that Mekong fish are a vital source of food and income for millions of the region's people. As Chris Barlow, the manager of the Mekong River Commission's fisheries research, puts it: "The only alternative they have, if the fisheries disappear, is working all hours in a textiles factory in Phnom Penh ... Full nets or crowded factories: that is the choice."

April 21, 2004

Madagascar biotope page added. Madagascar's fish species are some of the most threatened on the planet. Habitat loss -- especially the conversion of native vegetation to rice paddies -- combined with horrendous erosion resulting from deforestation and the introduction of exotic species have devastated endemic species. Several of Madagascar's unique species are no longer recorded in the wild.

Google's cool

April 19, 2004

Brazilian Indians killed at least 41 diamond miners in a dispute over land seizures in the Amazon. The mineral wealth of the Amazon have made it a deadly battleground between miners, colonists, and the native population. In this most recent case, Cinta Larga Indians in the northwestern state of Rondonia killed diamond miners who were encroaching on their reservation.

April 18, 2004

Brazilian environmentalists are criticizing president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva for not doing more to slow deforestation in the Amazon. Deforestation grew 2% to 9,169 square miles last year.

April 16, 2004

Added a Central American Mangrove Estuary Biotope description to the tropical fish section of the site. Still three or four new biotope descriptions to come.

April 15, 2004

The Wall Street Journall featured an article on Ben & Jerry's thermo-acoustic chiller [excerpt], a freezer that uses sound waves instead of ozone-depleting hydro chlorofluorocarbons and hydro fluorocarbons.

April 12, 2004

Added Central American Lowland Livebearer Biotope to the tropical fish section of the site.

April 11, 2004

Added a Central American Fast-Moving Stream, Atlantic Slope biotope page to the tropical fish section of the site. In the coming weeks, I will be adding 2-4 more biotope descriptions from the latest trip.

April 10, 2004

Recommended Web Hosts.

April 9, 2004

A new report in Nature suggests that conservation efforts the past decade have failed to safegaurd some 300 critically endangered species which are found wholly outside protected areas. The report also notes that the global network of protected areas now exceeded 11.5 percent of the planet's land surface.

April 8, 2004

Brazil is expected to account that more than 24,000 square km of Amazon rainforest were destroyed in 2003.

Conservation International estimates that the population of lowland gorilla has fallen 70 percent since 1994. Meanwhile the population of Virunga mountain gorillas has increased 17% since 1989 and now stands at 380 animals.

April 7, 2004

The Carnegie Institution at Stanford University released a report on a new method for remote monitoring of drought in the Amazon rainforest. Until recently, scientists used Landsat satellite images for studies, but the new technology gives researchers enough detail to quantify drought stress on tropical forests. Professor Gregory Asner at Stanford, who lead the study, said "We believe that space-based technology like this is the wave of the future for analyzing our planet."

April 6, 2004

According to a new report from the General Accounting Office more than 60% of U.S. corporations didn't pay any federal taxes for 1996 through 2000. For foreign-owned companies doing business in the U.S. the number was 70%.

April 5, 2004

Thousands of Vietnamese are making pilgrimages to a beach in southern Vietnam to worship a dead whale. Whales are revered as deities by some fishing communities along the coast who believe the mammals to be a sign of good fishing to come.

April 3, 2004

Traffic to the site hit a new record in March -- 711,774 visits.

April 2, 2004

Indonesia-based conservation group CIFOR (Center for International Forestry Research) released a study suggesting that Recent increases in Amazon deforestation largely result from Brazil's growth as a beef exporter. Brazil's beef exports "increased more than fivefold in the last six years ... and have caused a massive surge in the Brazilian Amazon's cattle population-from 26 million head in 1990 to 57 million in 2002." The report also cites currency devaluations, changes in infrastructure, and trends in livestock diseases as contributing to growth in Brazil's beef export market.

April 1, 2004

I updated the Rainforest Interview and FAQ page in response to the high number of requests for school project interviews.

March 31, 2004

BBC News provided an update on the Camisea Pipeline project in Peru. A leaked document from the Ministry of Energy and Mines concluded that the negative environmental impacts of the project were significant.

March 30, 2004

I added a new photo index for the site. It is available in German, Spanish, Italian, French, and Portuguese, but please excuse the errors caused by autotranslation. I would still recommend using travel or animal section for navigating through the pictures on the site since the photo index is not really organized.

March 26, 2004

Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal featured an article on stray dogs in Bangkok. Since Thailand is predominately Buddhist -- a faith that forbids killing any animal unnecessarily -- Bangkok is currently home to an estimated 150,000 strays whose care cost the city $825,000 in 2003.

March 25, 2004

The political turmoil in Haiti has lately been in the headlines, but even worse off economically is the population of the Island of La Gonave which consists of approximately 1,500 square kilometers located about 80 Km from Port au Prince in the Gulf of Gonāve. While the per capita GDP for Haiti stands at $1,340.00 per annum, the average income on La Gonāve is under $300.00 annually and more than 80% of the island is below the Haitian poverty line.

March 24, 2004

The Census Bureau released a study predicting that world population growth is slowing as a result of increasing mortality rates related to the AIDS epidemic and declining fertility rates. The report estimates that 40 million HIV-positive people will die within the next 10 years and the average life expectancy in several African countries will drop to around 30 years by 2010. AIDS statistics are broken down by selected country where the disease is having the greatest impact.

March 23, 2004

I am making a number of behind-the-scenes changes on mongabay so apparent updates may be a bit sparse over the next couple of weeks.

March 20, 2004

TRAFFIC -- the wildlife trade monitoring network -- released a new report on the plight of the Sumatran tiger. Their figures show that there are between 400 and 500 tigers left in the wild in Sumatra -- a number that continues to diminish due to poaching and habitat loss.

March 19, 2004

A new study lends support to the theory that Earth is entering into a 6th great extinction period. Published in this week in the journal Science, the survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54 percent to 71 percent.

March 18, 2004

According to The Rainforest Foundation the World Bank is looking at the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a source of income for rebuilding the war-torn country. Newly proposed legislation would allocate tens of millions of hectares of forest to logging companies.

March 16, 2004

Some interesting pictures of snow-capped mountains on the flights back from Central America.

March 15, 2004

The Christian Science Monitor featured an article on the rise of iguana meat on menus in the United States. The meat tastes like tough chicken and retails at $14 in the U.S. Most of this reptile meat comes from farm-raised iguanas in Central America.

March 14, 2004

The U.S. has banned longline swordfishing in the Pacific between the West Coast and Hawaii in an effort to help endangered sea turtles. Longlining -- which uses miles of line and thousands of baited hooks -- accidentally snags sea turtles, birds, sharks and dolphins. The ban is scheduled to take effect April 12.

March 13, 2004

I have launched a new version of the travel photos section of the site (travel.mongabay.com). Most of my travel pictures have been moved over to the new format.

March 12, 2004

Panama travel pictures are up: Morro Negrito and Panama Sunsets

March 11, 2004

Honduras travel pictures are now up: Pico Bonito, Honduran Flora, Cuero y Salado Refuge, Birds, Reptiles + Amphibians, Insects, Copan, Rio Cangrejal, Mammals, Roatan, and Roatan Sunsets. Biotope pages coming probably late next week.

March 10, 2004

Friends of the Earth released a report focusing on the impact of palm oil on tropical deforestation. In places like Borneo, Thailand, and Central America the area of forest cleared for palm oil plantations is staggering. Only a limited number of species can survive the transition from rainforest to palm oil plantation.

A new report in Nature suggests that growth patterns of trees in the Amazon rainforest are being affected by changing carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Scientists found that the growth of large trees have accelerated over the past two decades while the growth of smaller ones has slowed. Scientists believe that rising CO2 levels are increasing competition for light, water and nutrients in the soil, giving fast-growing trees an advantage over smaller trees. These changes could affect the distribution and abundance of certain key species in these increasingly threatened forests.

March 9, 2004

Apologies if you've had trouble accessing the site over the past few days. One of my web servers has been up and down. I have also been having email issues. I'm hoping everything should be back in order by tomorrow.

March 2, 2004

I am back from my trip to Central America. Despite some bad weather I managed to get some pictures which will be posted in the next few weeks along with new rainforest content. I will also be adding some biotope pages with new Central American habitats. Stay tuned.

| archives |

A Place Out of Time:
Tropical Rainforests - Their Wonders and the Perils They Face. Information on rainforests, biodiversity, and environmental concerns.

Tropical Freshwater Fish:
Information on tropical freshwater fish including species descriptions, tips on aquarium care, and more.

Travel Pictures:
Pictures of wildlife and landscapes from around the world.

Tropical Fish

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