Online mapping tool tracks land-use changes down to the farm

first_imgConservation Solutions, Deforestation, Deforestation Alert System, Forests, Governance, Mapping, Monitoring, Rainforests, Remote Sensing, Satellite Imagery, Saving Rainforests, Sensors, Technology, Tropical Forests, Wildtech The online mapping platform MapHubs stores maps and spatial data and makes them available to user groups for viewing, analyzing, and sharing with stakeholders.Users purchase a portal on the platform that allows the group to combine various public and private data sets in one secure place, produce maps, customize how the portal presents information, and receive support when needed.Groups have used the platform to identify deforestation from oil palm and cacao plantations and generate products such as time-lapse videos to show how regional deforestation can shift and expand. Online mapping platform MapHubs has recently launched a new service, MapHubs Forest, which combines automated forest change visualization and alerts with tools for making maps online, analyzing spatial data, producing reports and storing information in a secure online portal.The “hubs” of MapHubs are mini websites, or portals, that a company or other user group purchases for a project or specific topic, such as monitoring a national park in Côte d’Ivoire or land-use change around a set of oil palm concessions in Liberia. The group can use its portal, basically a customizable online space on the MapHubs platform, to upload, store and access information; create projects; assemble data; and produce data reports and maps.West African forest in Ghana’s Kakum National Park. Image by George PowellThe new forest reporting service allows the group to access forest change data and automated weekly GLAD alerts of tree cover loss, generated by the University of Maryland, directly from its portal and in combination with other spatial data sets. Companies or property owners can monitor tree cover at a scale of an individual farm, plantation, or project, and produce interactive maps of forest status.This capacity would also help watchdogs, commodity traders, and investors verify that a company’s local suppliers are meeting international obligations, MapHubs founder and CEO Leo Bottrill told Mongabay-Wildtech.“If companies are going to make good on their zero deforestation commitments,” Bottrill said, “they’re going to have to map and monitor at the farm level. If they don’t get to grips with their supply chains, they’re going to find themselves blocked from the European Union marketplace” due to the potentially high carbon emissions associated with oil palm and other industrial agricultural production.Assessing land-use change around oil palm and cocoa productionAs an example, MapHubs recently partnered with Feronia, a palm oil producer in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to monitor its concessions and provide maps as evidence of compliance toward its commitment to zero deforestation.The company’s portal offers stakeholders access to the company’s land-use data, nearby logging concessions, REDD+ projects, protected areas, and other plantations, social investments such as health clinics and schools, and infrastructure, including roads.A screenshot of an interactive map on Feronia’s MapHubs portal shows the company’s Lokutu concession in Democratic Republic of Congo with GLAD 30-meter forest loss alerts and vector polygon data, including the concession boundary, overlaid on a Sentinel satellite base image. Image courtesy of MapHubs / Feronia.Through its portal, Feronia and its stakeholders receive regular reports on deforestation within its three concessions. It first used freely available Sentinel-2 satellite images to establish a baseline map of forest inside each concession.The recently added GLAD deforestation alerts indicate where, when, and how much forest is lost within the forested areas of each concession. MapHubs verifies Feronia’s alerts with the most recent Sentinel imagery. It sends Feronia a forest report each month so the company can identify the areas being cleared and respond appropriately. Feronia creates maps and makes them publicly available.“MapHubs helps us identify degradation hotspots around Feronia’s concessions and make maps to communicate landscape concerns to our investors,” Hugues Ekani, Feronia’s director of social and environmental responsibility, said in a statement.The U.S. nonprofit Mighty Earth and MapHubs team have also assembled multiple map layers — including tree cover, tree cover loss, protected areas, roads, and settlements — from a variety of sources to assess the scale of deforestation in Côte d’Ivoire due to cocoa production.The project quantified annual forest loss between 2001 and 2014 using a tree cover baseline map and areas designated as tree cover loss, both produced by the University of Maryland’s Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab. The MapHubs team aims to provide support when needed; in this case, it helped to recreate and check government maps of deforestation going back to 1990.It then overlaid the tree cover map with a map layer of national protected areas and verified forest loss within Peko and Scio National Parks using high-resolution nano satellite imagery donated by satellite-imaging firm Planet. They traced features from DigitalGlobe’s premium high-resolution base map now available on OpenStreetMap to map roads and settlements inside the park, which confirmed that encroaching cocoa growers were driving deforestation.Map from Mighty Earth’s MapHubs portal of tree cover loss within the Scio National Park and surrounding natural areas, including chimpanzee habitat, in Côte d’Ivoire. Image by Mighty Earth.Mighty Earth stored and managed the more than 50 map layers and 25 interactive maps for this project on the MapHubs platform, which lets users such as Mighty Earth find its information by keyword and group it by project, campaign, location, or other category.“The first most useful thing [in using MapHubs] was helping pinpoint where I should go for my undercover investigation,” Etelle Higonnet, senior adviser at Mighty Earth, told Mongabay-Wildtech. “The second was being able to show the government authorities in time lapse videos how deforestation shifted and expanded, year by year. It was a game changer in our advocacy. Then I juxtaposed the deforestation maps with maps of rainfall loss to show how the two were connected, and it had an electrifying effect.”Even the combination of image products the MapHubs platform makes available could not rapidly differentiate between plantations of cacao versus those for rubber or coffee, Higonnet said. This limited her team’s ability to quickly determine which tree crop commodity was responsible for specific deforestation.Nevertheless, after several awareness-building campaigns, most of the cocoa industry has now pledged to largely end deforestation from cocoa production. Part of that pledge included a promise to set up a “joint monitoring mechanism” for Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, which would include deforestation alerts in real time for the whole industry. If this collaborative monitoring really happens, Higonnet said, then the MapHubs platform could enable a rapid response to deforestation for cocoa.Customizing online mapping MapHubs Forest is meant to allow users new to geographic information systems technology, or GIS, to access various public data sets, upload their own spatial data in several formats, and combine them in one secure online location.An image of the interactive map of POSCO Daewoo’s Bio Inti Agrindo oil palm concession in Indonesia, showing the various blocks within the concession boundary, remaining forest, and the areas land cleared in different years, overlaid on a Sentinel-2 satellite image. Image courtesy of MapHubs.A group can combine several data sets to generate a forest report, which presents remaining tree cover, annual tree cover loss between 2001 and 2016, and GLAD alerts of loss. Users can verify loss by uploading high-resolution imagery, if they have access to it, or by overlaying loss with Sentinel radar imagery.“Before MapHubs existed,” Bottrill said, “you would need to combine a GIS type of software system, you’d need to visit Global Forest Watch to view the alerts, you’d have to go to an imagery provider to find the images you need, you’d typically need a pretty highly trained GIS specialist, and possibly also a developer, someone who knows how to handle some aspects of coding, to pull this all together.”MapHubs Forest offers the features at three levels of service, with higher levels aimed at for-profit companies in natural resources industries that want to verify their supply chains and identify risks on the ground.All customers can access and manage up-to-date forest change information from optical satellite imagery — the same data available on Global Forest Watch — upload their own content, and make maps. They can encrypt project information and offer specific people access to it.MapHubs provides mid-level customers access to the most recent freely available radar imagery from the European Union’s Sentinel-1 satellite and/or the integration of the user’s high-resolution imagery, and sends automated monthly project-specific forest reports for one or multiple properties.The premium version of the platform offers companies or groups interested in monitoring multiple locations an automated monitoring and ranking of the areas of interest by deforestation totals. It also offers data from the Digital Globe high-resolution satellite imagery for a group’s area(s) of interest.Increasing transparency with cloud-based and on-the-ground monitoringMapHubs and other online mapping products may increase transparency of activity by private agricultural and resource extraction companies. “Our maps were pivotal in stopping the highest deforesting oil palm concession in Indonesia [POSCO Daewoo] from clearing any further forest and getting Boots — the largest drugstore company — to end their business relationship with the plantation owner,” Bottrill said.A MapHubs forest dashboard of one of POSCO Daewoo’s oil palm concessions in Indonesia showing a map and associated calculations of of tree cover loss, including clearing of intact forest landscapes (IFL). Image courtesy of MapHubs.As part of the group’s focus on farm-level monitoring, MapHubs is currently developing a smartphone app that will sync with MapHubs Forest, Bottrill said. “It is a mobile version of MapHubs that lets you create monitoring layers, download alerts, and imagery, etc.” The app will be free to download but users will need a MapHubs portal to use it. Users can also upload georeferenced photos or data collected using another mobile tool such as Forest Watcher or Open Data Kit into MapHubs.The mobile app and upload capacity offer users on the ground a method of assessing drivers of deforestation within a specific farm or plantation and incorporating social or other environmental information.“I think we will see more platforms offering plantation level analysis because credible zero deforestation commitments depend upon it,” Bottrill said. “Some companies have invested in sustainability dashboards, which show certification commitments and perhaps mill level results, but ultimately, they will need to go further for full plantation-level disclosure.” Article published by Sue Palmintericenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Wildlife detectives link smuggled African elephant ivory to 3 major cartels

first_imgAnimals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Elephants, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Ivory, Ivory Trade, Mammals, Research, Wildlife, Wildlife Trade, Wildlife Trafficking Article published by Shreya Dasgupta By matching DNA from elephant tusks found in major illegal ivory shipments, and using information on the ports of origin of the shipments, researchers have pinpointed three major cartels that moved most of Africa’s large illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014.These three cartels operated from Entebbe in Uganda, Mombasa in Kenya, and Lomé in Togo.The researchers hope that links established in the study will help tie ivory-trafficking kingpins to multiple large ivory seizures, and strengthen the case against them. Around 40,000 African elephants are illegally killed for their tusks every year. But catching ivory poachers, and successfully convicting them, has remained incredibly hard.In 2016, for instance, Kenyan businessman Feisal Mohamed Ali was found guilty of dealing in ivory worth $433,000, equivalent of killing at least 120 elephants, and sentenced to 20 years in prison. But a Kenyan judge recently acquitted Feisal based on trial irregularities, referring his case to a lower court for retrial. Feisal and his co-conspirators had been originally tried for only one ivory seizure, but the case against him could have been stronger had he been tied to multiple large ivory shipments that he’s suspected of being associated with.A new study has found a way to do that.By matching DNA from elephant tusks recovered from major illegal ivory shipments, and using information on the ports of origin of the shipments, Samuel Wasser, a conservation biologist at the University of Washington, U.S., and colleagues have pinpointed three major cartels that moved most of Africa’s large illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014. These three cartels operated from Entebbe in Uganda, Mombasa in Kenya, and Lomé in Togo, the researchers report in the study published in Science Advances.“What we have realized is that the poachers are difficult to find because they operate in these large areas that they know really well, and even when they’re apprehended, they only have as much ivory as they can carry. And what they do is they sell their ivory to this pyramid of middlemen who move it up the crime chain to the ports where it’s consolidated and shipped in large volumes,” Wasser told reporters in a teleconference. “So the tools described in this new paper developed ways to link individual trafficking cartels to multiple shipments and to each other.”African elephants at watering hole, Okavango Delta, Botswana. Image by Art Wolfe/Art Wolfe Inc.Over the past decade, Wasser has pioneered the use of genetic methods to match ivory seizures to their points of origin. He started by collecting elephant dung across Africa, and used the DNA in the dung to create a genetic map of elephants across the African continent. This has been instrumental in mapping shipments: by matching DNA from unknown tusks in seized ivory to the DNA reference map of elephants, Wasser’s team has been able to determine the geographic origin of the seized ivory within 300 kilometers (186 miles) of the poaching source. Using these methods, the team in 2015 showed that there were two major elephant poaching hotspots in Africa: a hub for forest elephant ivory that includes Gabon, the Republic of Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, and a hub for savanna elephant ivory that includes Tanzania and Mozambique.During the course of their investigation, Wasser’s team observed that more than half the tusks in the large ivory seizures they sampled from shipments appeared to be unpaired — that is, only one of the two tusks from an individual elephant was present in a shipment, while its pair was in another one. They found that in every case they examined, the two shipments containing matching tusks passed through a common port, and were shipped close together in time. Moreover, there was high overlap in the geographic origin of tusks in the shipments.By linking the matching seizures to the shipments, the team was able to identify what they think are the three largest cartels that were involved in illegal ivory shipments between 2011 and 2014, a period when the illegal ivory trade was at its peak.“These three characteristics suggest that the same major trafficking cartel was actually responsible for shipping both of the shipments,” Wasser said. “The overlapping origin of the tusks in the matching seizures also suggested that these cartels were probably supporting the poaching operations on the ground. When you think about this, it costs about $25 for a bullet to kill an elephant and these poachers don’t have a lot of money. And so someone needs to be supporting them and the fact that all this ivory was being drawn out of the same locations suggests that that was indeed the case.”Samuel Wasser and his team do forensic analysis of a 4.6-ton ivory seizure in Singapore in 2015. The containers were being shipped from Mombasa, Kenya, to Vietnam. Image by Kate Brooks/The Last Animals.Wasser’s team was also able to establish links between the three cartels, suggesting the cartels could sometimes be working together across the continent. For example, the researchers found that a 6-ton ivory shipment — with 4 tons of savanna elephant ivory and 2 tons of forest elephant ivory — that was intercepted in Malaysia in 2012 had passed through both Mombasa and Togo ports. Genetic matching of tusks revealed that the Mombasa cartel had shipped savanna elephant ivory from East Africa, which was offloaded in Togo in West Africa. The Lomé cartel in Togo then added tusks from Central and West African forest elephants to the shipment, before the final export to China via Malaysia. The Malaysia seizure, in fact, included tusks with matches in two other seizures in Togo in 2013 and 2014.The researchers hope the links they’ve identified will help tie ivory-trafficking kingpins like Feisal and his co-conspirators to multiple large ivory seizures, and help strengthen the case against them.“It takes a long time to catch these guys, and Feisal is a great example,” Wasser said. “He was tried, the data that we provided was important to that case, but now he’s since appealed and been acquitted. But now because of the connections that we’ve continued to gather, we have the opportunity to build a much stronger case against him as well as his co-conspirators, all of whom were acquitted.”Strong DNA evidence also allows law enforcement officials to uncover some of the tricks that cartels use to mask their illegal activities. For instance, there may be two different names on two different shipments, and this may make one think that there’s not really a link between those two shipments, Wasser said. “But if you have strong evidence from the DNA linking these two shipments together, that allows you to explore deeper and see — are those names on those bills of landing really real. And so, that really helps you uncover those kinds of trickery.”Making the connection between multiple seizures is also useful for tracking financial links and transactions associated with the illegal shipments, said John Brown, a special agent with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “The connections through the DNA analysis have facilitated the financial investigations into these transactional criminal organizations which in the end will help us facilitate recuperating the assets that were illegally gained through this illegal activity,” he said.However, the success of the genetic matching and geographic origin assignment tools depends on the willingness of countries making large seizures to submit samples for DNA analysis as close as possible to the time of the seizure, the researchers say.In 2013, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) passed a decision urging countries making large ivory seizures to turn that ivory over for DNA testing for origin analysis to appropriate labs within 90 days of the seizure.“Almost no country complied with that directive,” Wasser said. “And since then, we’ve worked very hard to try to compel countries to provide these data on a more timely basis because we know that these poaching hotspots are few in number and slow to change. It means that if we get a recent ivory seizure, and we know where the majority of that ivory is coming from, chances are that’s where the ivory is going to continue to be poached. And that’s a good place to direct law enforcement.“The same thing happens with developing these links between these different cartels,” he added. “The sooner we start to get strong linkages, then the sooner that law enforcement can go in and really start to dig deeper and see where that leads.”Tusks from an ivory seizure in 2015 in Singapore sorted into pairs by the process developed by Wasser and his team. Image by Center for Conservation Biology/University of Washington.Citation:Wasser et al. 2018. Combating transnational organized crime by linking multiple large ivory seizures to the same dealer. Science Advances. Vol. 4(9), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat0625.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more

Pesticides could be painting black howler monkeys yellow in Costa Rica

first_imgAgriculture, Animals, Biodiversity, Conservation, Ecology, Environment, Forests, Mammals, Monkeys, Pesticides, Pollution, Primates, Rainforest Animals, Rainforests, Research, Tropical Forests, Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Article published by John Cannon Mantled howler monkeys in Costa Rica are starting to appear with patches of yellow fur on their usually black coats.A team of scientists believes that the dappled monkeys are consuming sulfur-containing pesticides along with the leaves they eat.Sulfur from the pesticide ends up in the monkeys’ pigmentation, resulting in splashes of yellow on their coats. Pesticide use on agricultural plantations may be shifting the color palette of howler monkey fur in Costa Rica, a team of scientists has found.Mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata) are typically pretty understated in terms of color, often carrying a dark coat of fur with a few flecks of orange on their sides. But in just the past five years, more monkeys have been appearing with larger splashes of yellow fur.A male mantled howler monkey (Alouatta palliata) at the Caña Blanca wildlife sanctuary on the Golfo Dulce, Costa Rica. Image by Steven G. Johnson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).Since the early 2000s, scientists have been probing the genetics of primates in Costa Rica, including mantled howler monkeys. An early study revealed that these animals’ genes don’t vary very much, and all 205 monkeys in that study had the same genetic sequence, called a genotype, that codes for a fully dark coat.About five years ago, however, researchers began finding the peculiar yellow coloring. All told, the authors know of at least 21 individuals with it. At first, those splashes often just covered a small part of a monkey’s body, perhaps a hand or a section of the tail. But over time, researchers have noticed that more of the affected monkeys’ bodies are yellow. Some now have little black fur at all.A mantled howler monkey calling, in Tortuguero, Costa Rica. Image by Arturo de Frias Marques via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0).The team’s hypothesis, reported online Oct. 31 in the journal Mammalian Biology, is that sulfur in pesticides used on banana, pineapple and oil palm plantations — frequently applied in copious amounts — could be triggering the effect. Indeed, most of the monkeys with yellow fur live near these operations, where they likely pick up sulfur-containing chemicals when they eat the leaves of nearby trees. The researchers believe the yellow-colored monkeys are making less of the dark pigment called eumelanin and more of a compound called pheomelanin, which contains sulfur and produces lighter-colored skin cells and hair follicles.They write that further research could bring the causes of this change into sharper focus, as well as the ramifications to the monkeys themselves. They share the forests of Costa Rica with six cat species that may hunt howler monkeys, and it remains to be seen whether the yellow patches might make them a more visible target.Banner image of a mantled howler monkey by Scott Robinson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0).Citations Galván, I., Jorge, A., Sánchez-Murillo, F., & Gutiérrez-Espeleta, G. (2018). A recent shift in the pigmentation phenotype of a wild Neotropical primate. Mammalian Biology.Zaldivar, M. E., Glander, K. E., Rocha, O., Aguilar, G., Vargas, E., Gutierrez‐Espeleta, G. A., & Sanchez, R. (2003). Genetic Variation of Mantled Howler Monkeys (Alouatta palliata) from Costa Rica. Biotropica, 35(3), 375-381.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.center_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img read more