Conservation News

Waratah Coal in bid to sidestep approval path for Queensland power station, conservationists say

$3.5bn project sent to local council for approval, which company insists is ‘absolutely a normal process’

Conservationists claim a company owned by Clive Palmer is trying to sidestep conventional approval processes for a proposed coal-fired power station in central Queensland.

Waratah Coal, a subsidiary of Palmer’s Mineralogy, has gone to the Barcaldine regional council seeking approval to build the new power plant.

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‘Earth looks fragile from space’: Jeff Bezos pledges $1bn to conservation

Donation from $10bn Bezos Earth Fund will go towards biodiversity hotspots in Congo Basin and Andes

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, has said he realised just how fragile the Earth was when he looked back down at it from space, while committing $1bn to conservation projects around the world.

The money , made through the $10bn Bezos Earth Fund that he formed last year, will go towards the conservation of nature in biodiversity hotspots such as the Congo Basin, the tropical Andes and the Pacific Ocean. It will help finance a goal to protect 30% of the world’s oceans and land by the end of the decade, a draft target in Paris-style UN agreement on nature being negotiated.

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Dancing, starry dwarf and narrow-mouthed: new species make India a frog paradise

Dozens of discoveries in recent years have shown the country to be a treasure trove of amphibians

It is barely the size of a thumbnail, so it may not come as a surprise that it took so long to spot the starry dwarf frog. It was discovered sitting next to some leaf litter by eagle-eyed researchers on a joint US-Indian expedition in thick shola forest in the Western Ghats in Kerala, south India, during a nocturnal hunt.

The starry dwarf frog, or Astrobatrachus kurichiyana, named after a tribe in Wayanad, Kerala, where the frog was found in 2019, is just one of dozens of new species found in recent years that have revealed India to be a frog paradise.

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Cape Verde’s ‘fish detectives’ try to keep extinction at bay

As boats from bigger islands flock to fish off Maio, locals take turns to safeguard their pristine waters

Older fishermen such as Boaventura Martins, 60, have noticed the fish have not only become more scarce, but smaller. Some species have disappeared, he says.

On a good day, Martins will catch 10kg (22lb) of fish, which is barely enough to cover his fuel costs. When he began fishing 40 years ago, he would bring home hundreds of kilos – enough to give away part of his catch to his community on the island of Maio in the Cape Verde archipelago, off the west African coast. He would throw back the small fish.

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Too much of a good home is bad for panda mating, say scientists

Success of species tails off if more than 80% of an area is ideal habitat, in line with Goldilocks principle

When it comes to creating the ideal habitat for giant pandas to settle down, it seems experts could do worse than heed the tale of the three bears.

Researchers have found there is a sweet spot when it comes to aiding gene flow of the animals: it is greatest when 80% of an area is considered an ideal environment for the bears – for example, containing bamboo forests. After that point, models suggest a rapid decline in the success of individuals in spreading out and reproducing.

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