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'Chaos' in the Rainforest Over Madagascar's Precious Gems

Environmental group is calling for military intervention over sapphire rush

(Newser) - A sapphire rush has brought tens of thousands of people into the remote rainforests of eastern Madagascar, disfiguring a protected environmental area and prompting calls for military intervention, the AP reports. More high-quality sapphires have been found in the biodiverse area known as Corridor Ankeniheny-Zahamena in the past six months... More »

Monkeys Help Man Survive 9 Days Lost in Amazon

The tourist doesn't know how he got lost; locals blame a mischievous sprite

(Newser) - Maykool Acuña spent nine days lost in the rainforest—possibly due the machinations of an evil tree sprite—but was kept alive by a group of helpful monkeys. National Geographic , whose reporter was embedded with the team searching for Acuña, has the highly improbable story. Acuña was... More »

Old-School Training for US Soldiers: Jungle Warfare

Army post in Hawaii puts soldiers through paces in tough rainforest environment

(Newser) - The Army soldiers finished wading across a stream in a Hawaiian rainforest, their boots and socks waterlogged, their clothes, hair, and ears caked with mud. The soldiers were training at the first jungle school the US Army has established in decades, designed to train for exercises and potential combat on... More »

Video of Woman Birthing Child in Creek Viewed 52M Times

Simone Thurber had long dreamed of giving birth in nature

(Newser) - Simone Thurber gave birth to her fourth daughter in a remote Australian creek—and the birth has been viewed 52 million times. The 23-minute birthing video was posted to YouTube (warning: graphic) in 2013, but is now getting press. Thurber, a birth therapist and trained doula whose three previous births... More »

An Entire Country Just Banned Deforestation

Norway to stop buying products that contribute to clear-cutting

(Newser) - Norway just became the world's biggest tree-hugger. The Independent reports the European country is the first in the world to ban deforestation, following a pledge by its parliament. That means the Norwegian government won't purchase anything that contributes to the destruction of the world's rainforests, especially beef,... More »

Scientists Begin Digging for Honduras' 'Lost Civilization'

Ruins, carved stones suggest the remote 'White City' was more than legend

(Newser) - For centuries locals, travelers, and Spanish conquistadors alike have spoken of the legend of the "Lost City of the Monkey God," or "White City," in a remote section of the Mosquitia jungle of Honduras. Now President Juan Orlando Hernandez is announcing a joint partnership with Colorado... More »

Scientist Stumbles Upon Spider as Big as a Puppy

Goliath birdeater has 2-inch fangs

(Newser) - Strolling through a Guyana rainforest one night, a scientist heard some rustling and thought he'd encountered a furry mammal. Well, he was right about the furry part. The creature was actually a Goliath birdeater spider, LiveScience reports—the world's biggest type of spider, according to the Guinness Book ... More »

Woman Chased by Croc During 17 Days Lost in Bush

Shannon Leah Fraser recovering in hospital after amazing tale of survival

(Newser) - Shannon Leah Fraser and friends visited a pond in the Australian bush last month to "chill out" after a "bender," her partner Heath Cassady says, per the Courier-Mail . But the relaxing escape soon turned into a nightmare when the mother of three became separated from her mates.... More »

Skyscraper Rising in Middle of the Amazon

Observatory is far from human settlement

(Newser) - At 1,066 feet, a tower rising in Brazil will be taller than New York City's Chrysler Building—or any skyscraper in South America—but it won't have any neighbors in sight. The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory, around 100 miles from the city of Manuas, is designed to... More »

'Lost Rainforest' Yields Bizarre Species

And remote Australian rainforest could hold even more

(Newser) - A rainforest sits atop Australia's Cape Melville mountain range, surrounded by granite boulders—some as big as cars or houses—piled in walls as tall as 300 feet, making it quite challenging to explore. Researchers from Queensland's James Cook University had to travel there via helicopter; once in,... More »

Ecuador to China Oil Barons: Amazon Rainforest for Sale

Indigenous groups not happy

(Newser) - Tree-huggers will be really displeased to hear this: Ecuador is planning to auction off more than 7 million acres of the Amazon ... to Chinese oil companies. Politicians pitched bidding contracts to oil company reps in Beijing on Monday, the Guardian reports. Needless to say, indigenous groups living on the land... More »

How Many Trees in the Rainforest? Brazil to Count

Census to inform policy decisions

(Newser) - Brazil doesn't know enough about its tropical forest, says its environmental minister—so it's going to take a census of its trillions of trees. Over the next four years, officials will travel the country, stopping at 20,000 locations, each about 12 miles from the next. There, they'... More »

Disney Dumps Rainforest-Killing Paper Makers

Environmental activists applaud the move

(Newser) - It took a lot of cajoling—including some activists chaining themselves to the gates of its corporate headquarters—but Disney has at last agreed to stop using paper from a pair of controversial Asian companies accused of depleting Indonesia's rainforests, the Guardian reports. "The Jungle Book will no... More »

Amazon Destruction Sinks to Lowest Level

But lawmakers are looking to ease tough restrictions

(Newser) - Brazil's Amazon rainforest lost an area about the size of Delaware in the year ended in July, but there's a silver lining to that stat: It's the lowest level of destruction since tracking began in 1988, reports the AP . The deforestation peaked in 1995, with the staggering... More »

Jagger Named Peru Rainforest 'Ambassador'

Becomes regional 'ally' in fight to protect ecosystem

(Newser) - Now that he's saving the rainforest, maybe Mick Jagger will finally get that long-elusive satisfaction. The Rolling Stone has been dubbed an honorary ambassador for tourism to a region of Peru's Amazon, AFP reports. "You are our ally. Your presence is a great support in our fight... More »

Much of World's Tropical Forests Managed Poorly

Out of nearly 2B acres, 10% is being managed sustainably

(Newser) - Large swaths of the world's tropical forests have been officially shielded from deforestation, but an international organization says that may not be enough. Much of the land kept for permanent use as forests isn't being managed sustainably—or being managed at all, according to a new report by... More »

'Zombie Ants' Found in Brazil

Fungus takes over brain, forces ants to relocate

(Newser) - First, the fungus takes over the ant’s brain. Then, it uses “mind control” to force the ant to move to a new location—an ideal location where the fungus can grow and its spores can spread. Finally, the fungus kills the ant—and then grows out of its... More »

Threatened Spirit Bear's Best Hope: Photographers

'Canada's panda' symbolizes fight to preserve British Columbia's rainforest

(Newser) - Never heard of "Canada's panda?" Naturalists fighting to preserve the very rare bear's rainforest habitat in British Columbia want that to change. Only about 500 of the bears—a subspecies of black bear that has white fur—exist, and activists fear that a proposed pipeline through the Great Bear... More »

Pinocchio Frog Among Dozens of New Species

Discovered by expedition to 'Lost World' in New Guinea

(Newser) - Scientists on an expedition to a remote part of Indonesia known as the "Lost World" discovered over two dozen new species, including a "Pinocchio" tree frog with an inflatable nose and the smallest known member of the kangaroo family. The scientists say the finds, in a mountain range... More »

Brazil Using Condoms to Protect Rainforest

Sustainable condom project to use Amazon rubber

(Newser) - Brazil has unrolled an ambitious plan to preserve vast areas of the Amazon rainforest by tapping its rubber trees to make sustainable condoms. Most "rubbers" are now made from cheaper synthetic materials, but officials of the Brazilian government—which buys 1 billion condoms a year—say the project will... More »

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