The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has released its favorite images of 2019. Ten of the images come from WCS’s Bronx Zoo and other wildlife parks, and ten images are from WCS’s Global Conservation Programs taken by WCS scientists working around the world.
WCS operates five wildlife parks in New York City (Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo) and works in nearly 60 countries and across the world’s ocean saving wildlife and wild places.
FAVORITE ZOO & AQUARIUM IMAGES
GORILLA TROOP HOLIDAY LANTERNS: A troop of gorilla lanterns are part of the Asian Lantern Safari at the Bronx Zoo’s Holiday Lights event. Holiday Lights returned to the Bronx Zoo in 2019 for the first time in 11 years. Advancements in LED technology enabled the holiday tradition to come back bigger, brighter, and greener than ever before. The event runs through January 5, 2020. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
AMERICAN BISON: Three members of the Bronx Zoo’s bison (Bison bison) herd walking side-by-side. A male, female, and calf line up just right demonstrating the massive size of the largest North American land mammal. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
STYAN’S RED PANDA: Two red panda cubs (Ailurus fulgens refulgens) debuted at the Prospect Park Zoo in Fall 2019. The births were part the Species Survival Plan, a collaborative breeding program with other AZA accredited zoos intended to maintain genetic diversity in the population. WCS has been successful breeding red pandas at the Bronx Zoo, Central Park Zoo, and the Prospect Park Zoo. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
ATLANTIC STURGEON: The New York Aquarium added Atlantic Sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrhynchus oxyrhynchus) to the Hudson Canyon’s Edge exhibit in the new Ocean Wonders: Sharks! building. The massive fish are classified as Endangered and have a storied history in New York City. They were once so plentiful in the Hudson River they were nicknamed “Albany beef” and were a major part of the city’s economy. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
GELADA: A gelada (Theropithecus gelada) baby and its mother in the Baboon Reserve at the Bronx Zoo. This baby was sired by a male that was the recipient of a wireless heart monitor through a surgical procedure. The cutting-edge technology was designed for humans but will help Bronx Zoo veterinarians monitor and treat cardiac issues in the geladas. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
AMUR TIGER: Even the biggest cats like a scratching post. This Amur tiger (Panthera tigris altaica) at the Bronx Zoo’s Tiger Mountain seems to blend with the fall colors as it takes its enormous claws to a fallen tree. Amur tigers are also known as Siberian tigers. They are found in the Russian Far East and northeastern China. Male Amur tigers are the world’s largest cat and can grow to weigh 650 pounds. The species is classified as Endangered. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
GAUR: A gaur calf (Bos gaurus) was born at the Bronx Zoo this year. Gaur are the world’s largest species of wild cattle and are classified as Vulnerable. The Bronx Zoo’s herd of gaur can be seen from the Wild Asia Monorail roaming their wooded habitat. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
AMERICAN FLAMINGO: The species is known as American or Caribbean flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) and can be seen outside of the Bronx Zoo’s Aquatic Bird House. Chicks are hatched with white downy plumage but develop trademark pink coloration from pigments in the algae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates that make up their diet. In the wild, these birds inhabit shallow bodies of salty water where food is plentiful. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
WOLF’S GUENON: This family of Wolf’s guenon (Cercopithecus wolfi) can be seen in the Congo Gorilla Forest at the Bronx Zoo. The colorful old world monkeys have a distinctive look reminiscent of a Dr. Seuss character and utilize a wide array of vocalizations. They are tree dwellers found south of Africa’s Congo River primarily between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
ANDEAN BEAR: The Queens Zoo welcomed two Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) cubs this summer. The pair debuted with their mother in May. Andean bears are the only bear species native to South America. They are also known as spectacled bears due to the markings on their faces that sometimes resemble eyeglasses. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
FAVORITE GLOBAL CONSERVATION IMAGES
AERIAL ELEPHANT HERD: In November of 2019, WCS announced the results of a massive African elephant (Loxodonta africana) survey in Tanzania. More than 20,000 animals were counted, showing that numbers had stabilized in a key landscape where poaching was rampant just a few years ago. Two other protected areas where WCS works — Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique and Yankari Game Reserve in Nigeria — have had a year of zero poaching. PHOTO CREDIT: Aaron Nicholas/WCS.
HUEMUL: The Arctic has polar bears; southern Patagonia has the huemul (Hippocamelus bisulcus) — the most endangered large mammal in the western hemisphere. Vanishing habitat, poaching and diseases from livestock are imperiling this deer species, which now hovers at only around 2,500 animals. In April of 2019, a team of veterinarians from WCS, University of California, Davis’ One Health Institute, along with partnering institutions in Chile and the U.S. published a study revealing that huemul are suffering from foot disease. WCS is working with partners to save it from extinction. PHOTO CREDIT: Joel Berger/WCS.
BOREAL OWL: In November of 2019 Afghanistan announced the establishment of the 4,200 square kilometer Bamyan Plateau Protected Area. WCS led camera-trap and observational surveys carried out between 2006 and 2018 have confirmed a variety of significant wildlife living there including this boreal owl (Aegolius funereus) never before seen in Afghanistan. Other wildlife include; Persian leopard, Himalayan ibex, urial, wolf, Eurasian lynx, Pallas’s cat, wild cat, red fox, stone marten, long-tailed marmot, and Afghan pika. PHOTO CREDIT: N. Mostafawi WCS Afghanistan.
NORDMANN’S CHICK: In August of 2019, a team of WCS and Russian researchers announced the discovery of a nest of one of the most endangered shorebirds in the world: Nordmann’s greenshank (Aegolius funereus). And though the nest was not successful, the team later captured and released seven adult greenshanks and eight chicks, helping the teams target further conservation efforts. PHOTO CREDIT: Vladimir Pronkevich.
BROWN-BLOTCHED BENGAL TREE FROG: In December of 2019, a team of WCS researchers and colleagues in India described a new species of frog, the brown blotched Bengal tree frog (Polypedates bengalensis,). The mid-sized frog was found in the state of West Bengal, Eastern India in a residential area. This underscores the need to establish protected areas to safeguard species we never knew existed before they are gone. PHOTO CREDIT: Anirban Chaudhuri.
GIRAFFE HERD: In June of 2019, WCS announced that key wildlife populations remained in South Sudan despite five and a half years of armed conflict. These included migrating antelopes, elephant, Nubian eland, oryx, lions — and the Nubian subspecies of northern giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis Camelopardalis) photographed from a WCS survey plane in Badingilo National Park. On the international trade front, WCS worked to pass additional protections on giraffes in CITES — the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. PHOTO CREDIT: Paul Elkan/WCS.
WHITE BISON: In October of 2019, WCS and Pueblo of Pojoaque co-hosted a conference to advance a bold vision: rewilding the North American continent with the American bison (Bison bison). The Pueblo of Pojoaque maintains its own herd of 100 bison including this extremely rare leucistic bison, which has a partial loss of pigmentation. Some Native American cultures consider a white bison to be among the most sacred things on earth. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS.
WILD OKAPI: In October of 2019, WCS took over management of the vast Okapi Wildlife Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The reserve, more than one and half times the size of Yellowstone National Park, lies deep in the heart of the Congo basin. It harbors the single largest remaining population of okapi (Okapia johnstoni), a shy and solitary forest animal captured in this camera trap image. Okapi are related to the giraffe, but in reality look more like the product of a vivid imagination that has stitched together the hindquarters of a zebra with the head of a giraffe and the body of a horse. PHOTO CREDIT: Okapi Conservation Project.
HUMPBACK WHALE: Last summer, there was an abundance of humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) within sight of New York beaches. This image shows a humpback “lunge feeding” on menhaden. This and other whale species are the focus of boat-based and acoustic research conducted by the New York Seascape Program and WCS’s Ocean Giants Program. PHOTO CREDIT: Image taken under NMFS MMPA-ESA Permit №18786–03.
AGAMI HERON: A spectacular Agami heron (Agamia agami) photographed in Belize. In June of 2019, Belize declared new plans to protect the Maya Forest Corridor — a critical link in Central America’s largest forest and a vital wildlife pathway. The Maya Forest is part of the 5 Great Forests Initiative, a collaboration among local and international NGOs — including Global Wildlife Conservation and Wildlife Conservation Society — to protect Mesoamerica’s five largest forests. PHOTO CREDIT: WCS.