The year in Mongabay: 2021

It was a challenging year, but as 2021 draws to a close, I wanted to share a few highlights from Mongabay.

Dip in traffic; big jump in engagement

Like many news outlets, Mongabay experienced a dip in traffic relative to 2020 when lockdowns drove a surge in online activity during the first phase of the pandemic. 

But despite a ~20% drop in pageviews, the total amount of time users spent on Mongabay websites rose 125% from 7.3 million hours in 2020 to 16.4 million hours in 2021, a sign of higher quality engagement.

Hours spent on Mongabay sites, by month

Geographic expansion

In the past year, Mongabay expanded its original content production to two new languages: Hindi and French, which collectively have more than 800 million speakers worldwide. 

The Hindi bureau, which officially launched in late Nov 2020, has produced over 200 stories this year and is set to expand significantly in 2022.

French, which we hope to develop into a full-fledged bureau as we secure resources, has produced over 100 stories in 2021. Our two main aims are to: (1) build a stronger reporting presence in West and Central Africa by enabling us to work with more local journalists, and (2) better inform audiences in the E.U. on the topics we cover.

New offerings

In 2021 we continued to expand our multimedia, including new podcasts, new short-form video series, and data visualizations. We’ve produced more than 500 videos and hundreds of maps, graphics, and other visualizations that have been used on Mongabay and beyond.

We further developed our tree planting transparency tool,, which aggregates information on hundreds of reforestation projects worldwide. We anticipate adding many more projects to the database and rolling out new features and functionalities next year.

On the education front, we launched a new version of our environmental education site for kids. Mongabay Kids aims to inspire and inform young people on ecology, wildlife, and conservation.


Across our bureaus, Mongabay produced dozens of investigations in 2021 from abusive labor practices by a Chinese fishing company against Indonesian workers, to corruption in Brazil’s palm oil industry.

For several of these investigations, we partnered with other media outlets to maximize the scope, reach, and impact of the reporting.

New partnerships

Beyond joint investigations, Mongabay formed or strengthened several partnerships in 2021.

For example, we formally unveiled a partnership with NowThis, the most-watched mobile news globally, to bring environmental news to young audiences via NowThis Earth.

We also are a story provider for EarthHQ, an environmental data dashboard that was recently launched by the Global Commons Alliance.

Mongabay story layer on EarthHQ

Closing out 2021

Mongabay is poised for further growth in its impact next year. We plan to launch new reporting projects, expand into new geographies, and unveil some exciting new initiatives. 

Until then, we wish everyone a happy and healthy close to 2021!

By Rhett Ayers Butler

Rhett Ayers Butler is the Founder and CEO of Mongabay, a non-profit conservation and environmental science news platform. He started Mongabay in 1999 with the mission of raising interest in and appreciation of wild lands and wildlife.