Shark Week 2021

By Jeanne Brown | July 16, 2021

Wide and beautiful estuary in the Bajo Baudo, Chocó. Photo credit: Javier Silva/WCS

A particular stingray species (Styracura pacifica) had been reported in Central America, but a recent study by Fundación MarViva, Fundación Squalus and WCS shows it is present in a coastal MPA in Colombia — a good sign that continued protection of this healthy ecosystem will safeguard this and other wildlife.

A species of stingray previously thought to be found only in Eastern Tropical Pacific coastal waters ranging from Mexico to Panama, has been observed south of its known range in a marine protected area (MPA) in coastal Colombia.

By Thomas Mutton | July 15, 2021

The Admiralty cuscusis is a nocturnal cat-sized marsupial found on the heavily forested tropical island of Manus. Photo credit: ©WCS Papua New Guinea Program

Manus Island is one of the world’s biodiversity jewels. It is the largest of the Admiralty Islands, located in the remote Bismarck Archipelago, and is the namesake of Papua New Guinea’s Manus Province. At its heart lies the largest remaining forest in the Admiralty Islands — the stunning Great Central Forest, which covers approximately one-third of the island (some 70,000 hectares).

The Great Central Forest is globally recognized as a Key Biodiversity Area, cementing its status as one of the most important places in the world for wildlife. It contains many unique and…

By Dale Miquelle & Martin Gilbert | December 24, 2020

Amur tiger. Photo ©WCS Russia

[Note: this story was originally published at Mongabay in December 2020.]

While the world focuses on the development of new vaccines against COVID-19, biologists are building the case for using vaccines for the conservation of wildlife. Our own research on the impact of canine distemper virus (CDV) in the Russian Far East concludes that vaccination of Amur tigers is a potentially important strategy to avoid extinction of small populations.

Historically, wildlife biologists paid little attention to the impact of diseases on wildlife populations. Pathogens and parasites were regarded as a…

World Oceans Day 2021

By Luke Warwick | June 8, 2021

Shortfin Mako shark. Photo credit: ©Andy Murch

The ocean’s top predators are in decline. We now know that sharks and their flattened relatives, rays, are one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates on the planet. A third of the one thousand-plus species are already at imminent threat of extinction, and some, such as open ocean shark populations, have plummeted 70 percent in the last 50 years.

The major threats are overfishing, with sharks and rays still poorly managed or un-managed throughout much of the world despite high levels of catch, and international trade in their products, such as fins…

World Oceans Day 2021

By Tim McClanahan | June 8, 2021

Dr. Tim McClanahan underwater surveying coral reefs in coastal Tanzania. Photo credit: ©Michael Markovina

“Everything is connected” is a truism frequently expressed by ecologists. It’s an adage that practicing ecologists like myself keep in mind. While practically speaking this aphorism rarely commands my daily attention, which is more frequently focused on more specific intricacies of nature, there are times when I look up and, once again, recognize its simple truth.

This aha moment recently resurfaced during my ongoing investigations into the drama of marine life in East Africa. I realized that Kilimanjaro and corals were connected, and to the benefit of corals. …


By Donna Doherty | May 28, 2021

[Note: this story was originally published at PBS Nature.]

There is a saying that you can’t go home again, but five years ago I returned “home” to the Bronx Zoo. The Bronx Zoo was literally my backyard when I was growing up. My father was a curator there for 37 years.

Growing up, I loved going to work with him on weekends and getting the chance to ride around the zoo and see the animals. The Children’s Zoo-the old Children’s Zoo-was one of the places that I have memories of visiting as a…

By Hugo Costa | May 21, 2021

Rhampholeon nebulauctor, a threatened chameleon (Vulnerable) endemic from Mount Chiperone KBA, credit: Harith Farooq

Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs) are the most important places in the world for the persistence of biodiversity. This year, Endangered Species Day and the International Day for Biodiversity (May 21 and May 22 respectively) are being celebrated in Mozambique in a very particular way: 29 KBAs are being presented to the country and the world by the Minister of Land and Environment of Mozambique.

Mozambique has a notable abundance of natural resources and biodiversity that are vital pillars for the country’s sustainable development. The country’s mostly rural population depends on biodiversity and ecosystem…


By Cora Kim | May 18, 2021

Cora with Przewalski’s horses in Wild Asia at the Bronx Zoo. Credit: Joanne McGillicuddy/WCS

[Note: this story was originally published at PBS Nature.]

By age 10, I knew my career would focus on animals and that nothing else would be as fulfilling or worthwhile. What I didn’t know at the time was how difficult that seemingly simple undertaking would become, how long I’d have to work to reach that point, or how lonely it would be.

As a native New Yorker, born and raised in Queens, my love of animals was unknowingly planted by my father, because he believed being in nature was the only worthwhile escape…

By Enkhtuvshin Shiilegdamba | May 14, 2021

In 2011 January, visiting Eastern Region right after FMD outbreak that affected livestock and Mongolian gazelle with Dr. Gavin Thomson, International FMD expert from South Africa. The local ranger and veteran with WCS team stopped to examine a sick Mongolian gazelle on the way. Photo ©WCS Mongolia.

[Note: this story was originally published at PBS Nature]

I am a Mongolian who was born and raised in the capital city Ulaanbaatar but also had the privilege of a childhood visiting my grandparents in the beautiful countryside. My parents were veterinarians and my mom used to go on surveillance work and bring me along on her fieldwork. So I was amazed by the veterinary profession from my childhood and decided to follow my parents’ legacy.

That journey took me to the U.S. for a graduate degree in the School of Veterinary Medicine…


By William Hana | May 14, 2021

William training a newborn stingray to take food from a diver to prepare it for future success on exhibit with other stingrays. Photo ©William Hana

[Note: this story was originally published at PBS Nature]

I grew up on an air force base surrounded by many canals and rivers in Bangkok, Thailand. Water is sacred to Thai culture. The traditional New Year, Songkran, is celebrated by pouring water on Buddha statues and each other to wash away sins and bad luck. Thai also celebrate the Loi Krathong festival at the end of every harvesting season, a tradition of thanking the water goddess for a plentiful harvest and asking for her forgiveness from polluting her water.

The pristine waters were…

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

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