Radiated tortoises are growing scarce across the red Malagasy soil. These Madagascar natives are now the most common tortoise for sale in Bangkok's infamous Chatuchak wildlife market. According to a new report by WCS and partners, more than 1,000 critically endangered radiated and ploughshare tortoises have been confiscated from smugglers in the first three months of 2013 alone.
In Chile, the Huemul deer earns national recognition as part of the country’s coat of arms, but the animals themselves are scarcely seen. Hunting and habitat loss have caused their numbers to plummet to just 2,500 in the wild.But a recent study by Cambridge, WCS and CONAF, the Chilean national forestry commission, offers hope for the Huemul. The deer appear to be returning to areas of Patagonia from which they had completely disappeared.Efforts to control the spread of cattle farming and ongoing work to reduce poaching led to a resurgence of Huemul deer in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, covering more than 8 million acres at the southern tip of South America.
For the first time, researchers in the Brazilian Pantanal have photographed white-lipped peccaries eating fish. These forest mammals are generally known as fruit-eaters, so conservationists were surprised to discover this behavior. Here, a peccary competes with a southern crested caracara for a limited stock of fish, trapped in small ponds created by receding waters in the Pantanal’s dry season.
Don’t ignore the wildebeest, urge the authors of a new paper about abundant wildlife and their importance to ecosystems and humans worldwide. “Many once abundant species are currently in decline, yet conservationists and institutions often take notice and action only when they become rare,” says lead author and longtime WCS scientist Kent Redford, now head of Archipelago Consulting. Abundant species provide vital ecosystem services on which nature and humans rely. For their part, wildebeest provide nutrient cycling, stimulating grass growth through their grazing habits.
In Montana, a portion of U.S. Highway 93 provides thoroughfare not just for motorists, but grizzly bears, too. In fact, 41 wildlife-crossing structures (underpasses and overpasses) dot this roadway for use by bear, elk, moose and other species. WCS has worked with the Montana Department of Transportation and various other partners to help ensure safe passage for wildlife along key migration corridors.
New marine protected areas in Argentina shelter some of the world’s most unique seabirds, as well as sea lions, dolphins, and other marine species. This handsome pair is part of the country’s largest colony of red-legged cormorants, now safeguarded within Makenke Coastal Marine Park. The park spans 230 square miles of shore and ocean. Click here to read more about Patagonia’s coastal haven.
A tiger cub meandering through India’s Bhadra Tiger Reserve couldn’t resist investigating a remote camera trap set up to monitor local wildlife like itself. Look closely, and you’ll see a second camera in the background, which likely snapped images of the curious creature’s rear. The more photos, the better. No tiger sports the same pattern of stripes, so researchers are able to use pictures to identify individual cats and track their movements. Our conservation efforts in India are led by tiger expert Ullas Karanth, and we’re delighted to report that Bhadra’s tiger numbers are on the rise.
Today, the world celebrates International Day of Forests, so we turn our attention to Madagascar’s Makira-Masoala Landscape. There, in the country’s largest remaining rainforest, creatures dwell at every level, including here in the leaf litter. Unfortunately, however, illicit logging and slash-and-burn agriculture threaten these havens of biodiversity. Take a moment to appreciate them by watching this stunning video, courtesy of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Cheetahs are the world’s fastest land animals, but they’re struggling to outpace looming threats. The spotted felines have gone extinct in many countries, and in East Africa they occupy only 6 percent of their historical range. In additional to threats stemming from habitat loss and human-wildlife conflict, cheetahs suffer at the hands of illegal pet traders. In 2011, the Cheetah Conservation Fund recorded 27 known cases involving trafficking of at least 70 cheetahs. Thankfully, global conservationists have just adopted a new proposal demanding investigation into this issue. Learn more about WCS’s work saving these big cats.
Renowned for their ribbits (actually, their bellows), American bullfrogs are less well known for their role in the international wildlife trade. The commercial trade in amphibians is especially prevalent in Southeast Asia, where frogs are sought as pets, food, bait, and for use in traditional medicine. American bullfrogs are a common species in the trade—and as it turns out, they’re also a vector for disease. WCS scientists recently teamed up with the National University of Singapore to study the spread of one of the most damaging amphibian pathogens, chytrid fungus. Learn more from our press release.
Elephants & Hippos – Saving Wildlife
Hoofed Mammals – Saving Wildlife
Ocean Wildlife – Saving Wildlife
Africa – Saving Wild Places
Latin America and the Caribbean