Wildlife Management

As humans develop the world, the risk of conflict between wildlife and people increases. From the expansion of agricultural frontiers to habitat fragmentation by roads and buildings, to the commercialization of wildlife as food, trophies, ornaments, medicine, and pets, threats abound. Managing wildlife helps ensure they have a say in their future.

Our Goal

Minimize threats to wildlife in the best wild places on Earth so that their populations are stable or increasing, ensure that hunting and fishing is sustainable, and that conflicts between people and wildlife are resolved.

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Photo Credit: ©Rhett Butler/Mongabay.com

How will we get there?

Wildlife management is more about managing people. Except when wildlife populations are so small they need assistance finding food or mates, animals are perfectly capable of managing themselves. At WCS, we step in only when people's use of wild animals and their habitat puts the long-term survival of wildlife in jeopardy.

We look to:

  • Influence local, national, and international decisions about economic development and natural resource use so they benefit people but are friendly to wildlife.
  • Minimize the economic costs and safety risk to rural families living in close proximity to wildlife.
  • Partner with local communities and national agencies to prevent poaching and illegal fishing, ensuring that local families with legitimate rights benefit from the sustainable management of wildlife.
  • Ensure that commercialization of wildlife and fish can be managed sustainably across a species' geographic range and does not place the species at risk of being lost forever.

Why WCS?

SMART patrolling

WCS is pioneering development and deployment of SMART ranger patrolling in over 70 locations across Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Where SMART is deployed in Congo, forest elephant are not being poached for their ivory, and in Thailand, tiger numbers are increasing.

The Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network

WCS founded the network to help consumers choose products that are certified not to harm wildlife. By using consumer purchasing power, we are encouraging companies to adopt wildlife-friendly practices.

Local Sustainability

Around the world, WCS partners with local communities to manage their hunting and coastal fisheries to ensure that what they take is sustainable. We're training local resource scouts to keep track of the abundance of species that are hunted and fished, and to help the communities themselves use this information to set and comply with sustainable harvest levels.

The Wildlife Picture Index

WCS uses camera traps to assess the abundance, distribution, and diversity of animals in the places we work. We launched the Wildlife Picture Index to bring together in one place the vast and growing trove of camera-trap images collected by us and our partners. For the first time, we have a way to track how wildlife populations across the planet are doing, and to show that our investments in wildlife conservation are making a difference.

Established Rights

WCS has worked with dozens of indigenous, First Nation, and traditional peoples to secure their rights to benefit from wildlife. With a sense of ownership over their wildlife, the people we partner with are an important, vocal constituency for wildlife conservation in their nations.

Drones Extend the Reach of Fisheries Managers

In Belize, we are working with the Fisheries Department to patrol a closed-fishing area using small auto-piloted aircrafts. These little drones extend the reach of fisheries patrols, reduce the costs of law enforcement, and serve as a strong deterrent to illegal fishing. Using drones is helping Belize to detect and prevent illegal fishing that would destroy the reefs and harm local livelihoods dependent on sustainable fishing and tourism.

Bringing Bison Back

In 1913, WCS helped save bison from extinction in North America by reintroducing them from the Bronx Zoo to the U.S.'s Western Plains, where they had nearly been eradicated by hunters. Today, WCS works with the Blackfoot confederacy and other Tribal and First Nations peoples in the U.S. and Canada to re-wild their lands by bringing back pure-bred bison. In this way, WCS has helped to restore the prairies and retain the cultural heritage of native peoples in North America.

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