By Lauren Oakes | February 23, 2021

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Tree seedlings for reforestation, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Credit: Wolfgang Gaehler Getty Images

[Note: this story was originally published at Scientific American]

In Senegal’s Siné-Saloum and Casamance deltas, green seedlings poke through the water’s surface, standing on end like string beans reaching to the sky. There, in spindly clusters and lines, is the next generation of mangroves: six native species selected, seed collected from mature groves, then planted directly, or sometimes grown first in nurseries.

Some villagers say that without reforestation, they would have left their ancestor’s lands. Mangroves, reaching down into the salty water, provide habitat for fish and oysters that support local diets and…


By Rebecca McGuire | January 28, 2021

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The Dunlin breeds in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Credit: Getty Images

[Note: This commentary was originally published at Scientific American.]

Collaboration has almost become a dirty word in America, tending more toward a definition of “traitorous cooperation with an enemy” and away from “working with others to create something.” This saddens me, as it should you. We need to find common ground to work together and to share-at all levels.

Although election angst is on many of our minds, I am not pointing simply at our politicians here, but to people in all walks of life, and to my fellow scientists in particular. …


By Simon Cripps | January 4, 2021

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Ocean sunfish (Mola mola). Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay.

[Note: a version of this story was published originally at Mongabay.]

The world is on the brink of an important break-through. At the upcoming meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), nations will soon pledge to expand the area of our oceans that must be covered by Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to at least 30 percent. This signifies a growing understanding of the need to manage the seas more sustainably and sensitively.

We need more than the current 10 percent protection target because species and their habitats continue to decline at an…


By Jonathan Slaght | January 4, 2021

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[Note: this story was originally published at Scientific American]

After weeks of delays, I’d finally reached the wild. I was in the Samarga River basin, a mountainous, roadless corner of the Russian Far East inhabited by indigenous Udege hunters, Amur tigers and-most importantly for me-Blakiston’s fish owls. These were the largest owls in the world; endangered giants that hunt for salmon in rivers and nest in enormous trees. Joined by Sergey Avdeyuk, an experienced woodsman, I was dipping my toe into my first year of fish owl fieldwork, the first of many. …


Their superpowers could help us protect them.

By Cori Lausen | December 28, 2020

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Image: © Joe McDonald via Getty Images

(Note: This commentary was originally published at Live Science.)

Many of us might struggle to see a moose on a moonless night, let alone a mosquito. But some bats have a nifty trick — they use their ears to locate their bug prey. It’s not that can’t see — many have excellent full-color vision — but most don’t depend on their eyes to navigate. For many bats, the challenge they must overcome to survive is detecting prey that move in the dark.

Enter echolocation. Many bats can use returning echoes to detect objects…


By Annie Mark | December 4, 2020

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[Note: this story was published originally by Mongabay]

As an American living in Germany and working for an international conservation organization, I find that most everyday people I speak with do not realize that in 2008, Chancellor Angela Merkel made a commitment of €500 million per year to implement the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), with a focus on protected areas.

That was an extraordinary commitment by the German government — something worth knowing and to be proud of. …


November 25, 2020

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As 2020 draws to a close, let’s take a moment to thank one entity that rarely gets the full measure of gratitude it deserves: Nature. Nature-based solutions to the global environmental challenges we face are at the heart of WCS’s mission to save wildlife and wild places.

Strategies designed to keep nature intact and undegraded help it to continue performing the many ecosystem services so critical to our survival — from storing carbon and protecting biodiversity to containing pandemic disease and sustaining the livelihoods of people in communities across the globe.

Here are just 10 reasons to…


Bat Week 2020

By Sarah Olson | October 27, 2020

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A pair of Townsend’s big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii), a species found in the western U.S., show off the size of their ears which they use to locate insect prey (Credit: N. Fuller).

Bat Week represents an international effort to raise awareness and appreciation for the role of bats in our world. At a moment when bats have captured our attention because of their association with the viral disease spillover responsible for COVID-19, it is time for us to reimagine and build a healthier relationship with nature and these magnificent winged mammals.

The mid-twentieth century marked the historic end of WWII, and it was also the time when scientists think SARS-CoV-2 probably diverged from its closest-known bat virus relative. Since then, the world’s urban population has…


By David Wilkie, Susan Lieberman & James Watson | October 19, 2020

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In northeastern DR Congo, as in many places around world, the forest produces a bounty of delicious and nutritious caterpillars that are a seasonally important food for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. Photo © David Wilkie/WCS

[Note: this story was originally published at Mongabay.]

Humanity today face multiple crises. A pandemic grips societies around the globe and with each passing year greed, poor governance, and naivete push us further toward a climate change forced sixth great extinction and the collapse of ecosystems.

It may already be too late to prevent the looming catastrophe of climate change. But there is an overlooked and undervalued blueprint for our survival. …


To reduce the likelihood of crises like COVID-19, a comprehensive national approach is essential

By Christian Walzer & John Calvelli | October 19, 2020

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Live animal market in Bali, Indonesia. Credit: Amilia Roso Getty Images

[Note: this story was originally published at Scientific American.]

It is no small task to predict which of the hundreds of thousands of unknown pathogens existing naturally in animals will spill over to people and cause the next pandemic. But one thing is clear: A major factor driving spillover events such as the current COVID-19 pandemic is the trade in live and fresh wildlife for human consumption (whether legal or illegal).

Removing wild animals from nature and transporting them to commercial markets where the close proximity of animals and people…

Wildlife Conservation Society

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

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