Whale Shark Photo
Marine conservationist Rachel Graham attaches a radio transponder to a whale shark in the waters of Nosy Be, Madagascar. Graham is studying the migratory routes of this species—the world’s largest fish.
©Julie Larsen Maher

A Kettle of Vultures in a Poisonous Mix

Vultures are known for their ability to respond quickly and in great numbers to carcasses. Their unique ability to identify recent death demonstrated by these Rüppell's Vultures as they crowd a dead Wildebeest. Unfortunately, in East Africa this talent has left the birds susceptible to the growing misuses of readily available poisons to kill wildlife under diverse circumstance.

Read Steve Zack’s full blog on the Huffington Post >>

African Elephants Wildlife Conservation Society

Dominant Tusk

Recently WCS photographer Julie Larsen Maher sent in this inspiring photo from Kenya, along with a bit of trivia she’s learned in the field. Elephants are either left- or right-tusked - you can tell the dominant tusk by its size, curve, and wear. So many young elephants and adults with ivory in tact is an inspiring sight, but one that we must continue working to protect.

Mid-Flight Check-Up

A member of a WCS surveillance team prepares to release a whooper swan on a Mongolian lake, following sample collection and fitting of a neck collar. The check-up was part of ongoing health studies, examining avian flu strains in wild birds. Researchers identified 116 avian flu strains in wild birds, more than 10 times the number found in humans.

Scientists are looking to better understand and monitor the diversity of all avian flu viruses – not just those known to cause disease. Completing the first global inventory of flu strains in birds is a key step in building that understanding.

Good Things Come in Small Packages

Even at this small size, it's impossible to ignore these turtle hatchlings. Over 200,000 giant South American river turtles were hatched in Brazil’s Abufari Biological Reserve. Even more impressive – approximately 15,000 of those hatchlings were marked and released by researchers in order to provide data that will help conserve these tiny treasures. This mass hatching was one of the largest known for the species, and the survey was part of a new WCS conservation program called Amazon Waters, an initiative focusing on saving aquatic wildlife in the Purus, Negro, and Solimões River basins.

Read the press release >>

Milestone for Madagascar

To help support local communities, protect wildlife, and fight climate change in Makira Natural Park, the Government of Madagascar is working to sell carbon credits. In an important milestone, the first of these credits has been sold to none other than Microsoft. The sale will help preserve the pristine ecosystem of Madagascar, including the many rare and threatened plants and animals that reside there.

Wood Ducks Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS

Ducks on Ice

Cold weather doesn’t deter these ducks from enjoying the Bronx River. After years of pollution and neglect, the New York waterway is once again home to alewife herring, egrets, and a multitude of waterfowl. The return of wildlife is proof of the river’s improving heath and the successful restoration efforts by WCS and other local groups. To encourage picturesque scenes like this for future generations, WCS is committed to conservation efforts in its own backyard.

Humpback Whale Tim Collins ©WCS

Helping Humpbacks

In the waters off the coast of Gabon, a humpback whale lunge-feeds in the near vicinity of an offshore oil platform. Recently, scientists from WCS and other organizations used satellite tags to track the movements of more than a dozen humpbacks as they traveled between breeding areas off western Africa and distant feeding grounds in sub-Antarctic waters. The research showed how often the whales came in contact with offshore oil rigs, major shipping routes, and potentially harmful toxicants.

“Throughout numerous coastal and offshore areas, important whale habitats and migration routes are increasingly overlapping with industrial development, a scenario we have quantified for the first time in the eastern South Atlantic,” said Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of WCS’s Ocean Giants Program.

Read the full press release

Manta ray © Kaile Tsapis

Rays at Risk

A recent global analysis from the International Union for Conservation of Nature found that overfishing is threatening more and more of the world’s cartilaginous fishes. Most alarmingly, the report revealed that one-quarter of all shark and ray species face extinction.

Five of the seven most threatened families identified are rays, a fact that is especially concerning since the needs of these animals are often overlooked. As a response to this new information, WCS is increasing its commitment to conserve sharks and rays over the next 10 years through our own work and through advocacy and engagement with others.

bird to bird Steve Zack

Protecting Plovers

America's national parks provide much-needed habitat to wildlife, of course -- but only while they're there. Migratory species like pronghorn, humpback whales, and the American golden plover, seen here, move in and out of protected area borders and conserving them requires a wide range of measures across landscapes and beyond. These plovers, for example, breed in Arctic Alaska and migrates to wintering grounds thousands of miles away in South America.

The national Park Service (NPS) and outside sources, including WCS, have developed recommendations to conserve these species across locations. Certain programs, like Path of the Pronghorn, provide an optimistic example of a solution for wildlife.

R. Pitman R. Pitman

A First for Marine Mammals

What do you get when you mix a spinner and striped dolphin? The answer isn’t a punch line, but a new species – the clymene dolphin. The new species is a product of natural hybridization, a process more commonly reserved for plants, fishes, and birds, but quite rare in mammals.

The classification of the clymene dolphin has been an ongoing process. Originally, it was considered a subspecies of the spinner dolphin; in 1981, scientists recognized it as a unique species. New genetic results have provided clear answers to some of the outstanding questions that clouded the distinction of the small, sleek dolphin.

Read the full press release >>

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