Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "conservation" ...

  • The Wet Prince of Bel Air

    During a time of severe drought, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting wanted to learn more about the users of the most water in California. Reporters found that one homeowner in Los Angeles’ posh Bel Air neighborhood had used 11.8 million gallons of water in a single year during a drought emergency and that 4 of the top 10 known mega water users were also in Bel Air. But city officials wouldn’t reveal who those customers were. So in a follow-up story, Reveal used satellite analysis and public records to identify the seven most likely culprits. https://www.revealnews.org/article/the-wet-prince-of-bel-air-who-is-californias-biggest-water-guzzler/
  • Blood Lions

    BLOOD LIONS is a journey to the heart of darkness that lies within the predator breeding and canned lion hunting industries in South Africa. The film follows Ian Michler, a South African environmental journalist and safari operator, and Rick Swazey, an American hunter as they explore the reality of the multi-million dollar canned hunting business. It is a story that blows the lid off the claims made by operators in attempting to justify what they do in the name of conservation. https://vimeo.com/137413334
  • Green Going Gone: The Tragic Deforestation of the Chaco

    This corporate accountability story combined original satellite analysis with traditional on-the-ground investigative reporting to examine links between deforestation and the world’s largest agricultural commodities traders: The U.S.-based Cargill, Bunge and ADM. The story paid special attention to Cargill, North America’s largest private corporation and the commodities trader that has spent millions on its corporate sustainability program and aggressively promotes itself as a nature conservationist. Reported from Paraguay, the story compared the Big Ag traders’ soybean export operations in Paraguay with those in Brazil, where the three companies have won praise for upholding the Soy Moratorium, a voluntary ban on expanding the Amazon’s soybean frontier. The Moratorium is widely credited with slowing rainforest clearing in Brazil over the last eight years. In neighboring Paraguay during roughly the same timeframe, however, the country’s soybean cropland has expanded by nearly one-third with an additional 2.5 million acres brought into cultivation. This rapid expansion has set off a land rush that is, among other things, propelling the rapid disappearance of South America’s second most bio-diverse forests, the Gran Chaco.
  • Most trafficked mammal

    The pangolin -- a little-known, scale-covered mammal -- is thought by scientists to be the most trafficked mammal in the world. Conservationists fear it could go extinct before most people realize it exists. To try to ensure that doesn’t happen, CNN’s John Sutter traveled, at times undercover, to Vietnam and Indonesia to introduce readers and viewers to this loveably introverted creature, and to expose the massive, illegal trade in its meat and scales. Traveling alone, and at times using hidden cameras and recording devices, Sutter met with wildlife traffickers and pangolin in Sumatra, Indonesia. He followed undercover wildlife cops in Hanoi, Vietnam, to a number of restaurants and markets that deal in pangolin products. This work exposed the ease with which pangolin traders are able to operate in these countries, in part because the pangolin has maintained a lower profile than rhinos and elephants. It also helped explain the rise in demand for pangolin scales and meat in Southeast Asia. Sutter’s work also humanized and popularized the pangolin, a creature he described as “elusive, nocturnal, rarely appreciated and barely understood.”
  • The Congressman, the Safari King, and the Woman Who Tried to Look Like a Cat

    The specific focus of this series was the International Conservation Caucus Foundation and the lawmakers, polluting corporations, and environmental groups who benefit from it. The political genius of the foundation is that it has allowed ICCF member companies such as ExxonMobil to greenwash their reputations by funding ICCF member nonprofits, such as the Nature Conservancy. Meanwhile, corporate and nonprofit contributions to the foundation paid for "educational" lunches, dinners, galas and junkets, giving foundation members access to grateful members of Congress. These events -- and the foundation itself -- make a conscious effort to avoid discussing politically contentious topics like climate change, arguably the biggest conservation challenge of our time. The ICCF, which was founded by the former lobbyist of a Nigerian dictator who ordered the execution of nine nonviolent environmental protesters, is certainly notable in its own right. But what makes this series more important than a simple expose about a deeply conflicted foundation is that the ICCF is just one of many congressionally affiliated nonprofits that have popped up in part to skirt lobbying reforms instituted after the Jack Abramoff scandal. The most shocking thing about the ICCF and its ilk, according to government transparency advocates, is that most of what they are doing appears to be completely legal.
  • Outdoors grant investigation

    The investigation detailed how a handful of political insiders engineered a $500,000 hunting and fishing grant in perpetuity for some of their friends and political supporters. The taxpayer-funded grant from the state of Wisconsin went for teaching and promoting the sports of hunting and fishing, but the newly created receiving organization, the United Sportsmen, didn’t have any experience doing that work. Instead, the group had been doing political work and lobbying, often for goals at odds with those of some other outdoors groups, such as supporting a massive proposed pit mine in an area used by hunters and anglers. In spite of that, lawmakers wrote the grant qualifications to exclude more experienced groups and target their ally, which had the support of one of the state’s wealthiest and most influential campaign donors. In doing so, the lawmakers knowingly but surreptitiously put at risk millions of dollars in federal conservation funds for Wisconsin.
  • Aquifer at Risk

    In the series “Aquifer at Risk,” The Desert Sun revealed significant declines in groundwater levels in the Palm Springs area and exposed how water agencies in the California desert haven’t adequately addressed the problem of falling water tables. Through an analysis of water agencies’ records, the newspaper found that the aquifer’s levels have plummeted over the years despite imported flows of water – a situation that poses serious long-term risks for an area that has sold itself as a desert oasis for tourists and retirees. The series examined the causes and impacts of groundwater depletion in California, and pinpointed groundwater pumping by golf courses as a major contributor to the problem in the Coachella Valley. The series prompted the area’s largest water district to make a major policy shift, led to the formation of a golf water conservation task force, and magnified concerns that California’s approach to managing groundwater has serious flaws.
  • Green, Not So Green

    The AP spent 11 months examining the hidden environmental costs of the nation’s green-energy boom: undisclosed eagle deaths at wind farms; untracked loss of conservation lands and native prairies created by the ethanol mandate; and the government’s unadvertised support of more oil drilling with money to clean up coal-fired power plants. All energy has costs, and in the case of fossil fuels those costs have been well documented. But when it comes to green energy, the administration, the industry, and environmentalists don’t want to talk about. The AP series shows how the Obama administration has at times looked the other way and in other cases made environmental concessions for so-called green energy to make headway in its fight against global warming.
  • Poisoned

    “Africa’s lions are in trouble” and the reason why was because they are being poisoned. The lions are found outside protected game reserves, where they mingle with cattle. The lions kill the cattle and eat them; the cattle are a large percent of revenue for the population and puts food on the table. As a solution, cattle herders have begun using pesticides to kill the lions and protect their cattle.
  • Chainsaw Scouting

    This series “examines the long-running logging and land use practices conducted by Boy Scouts of America groups across the nation for the past two decades”. Some of the major findings include: instead of preserving the land they often sold woodlands to make money, sold property given to them by donors, ruined habitats for a number of protected species, and used the revenue from these deals to compensate for lost funding.