Ten of the images come from WCS’s zoos and aquarium in New York, and ten images are from WCS’s Global Conservation Programs taken by WCS staff working around the world.
Photos from WCS'S Global Conservation Programs
2022 began with the Lunar New Year celebration of the Year of the Tiger. And there was reason to celebrate: since 2016, tiger numbers have been increasing—today there may be as many as 4,500 occurring across 10 countries, including Russia, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.
WCS conservationists working in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert recently put satellite tags on khulan, a type of wild horse. Khulan are endangered and impacted by ongoing infrastructure development in Mongolia. The data gathered will inform protection measures.
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This summer, a WCS team found that bottlenose dolphins are using New York City’s near shore waters as a feeding ground. The team deployed underwater listening devices at six locations off Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and New Jersey, to detect where and when dolphins fed. Dolphins produce a series of rapid clicks called “foraging buzzes” which can reveal feeding activity.
Tanzania's Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism (MNRT) released the results of a second-ever landscape wildlife survey confirming that elephant numbers have stabilized in an area that was among the hardest hit by ivory poachers in the last decade. Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI), Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority (TAWA), Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and WCS worked together to coordinate the census revealing some 19,884 elephants recorded during the 20-day aerial survey of the Katavi-Rukwa and Ruaha-Rungwa landscape.
WCS Nigeria conservationists captured this hopeful image of a Cross River gorilla with a baby in Nigeria’s Mbe Mountains. WCS works with local communities to protect the most endangered large primate with perhaps 300 remaining in the wild.
This amazing drone shot shows hundreds of giant South American river turtles at a nesting beach on the Guapore River on the border of Brazil and Bolivia in October. As many as 80 thousand will eventually nest here. WCS works with local partners to protect this largest remaining congregation of freshwater turtles left on the planet from illegal hunting.
WCS researchers in Mozambique used a baited underwater video camera to detect a great white shark that had previously been tagged off the coast of South Africa some 1100 miles away. They made the ID based on facial scars and other unique features.
In August, the Republic of Congo, with the support of the WCS and other organizations, officially announces the creation of the country’s first three Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), protecting marine coastal habitats across more than 4,000 square kilometers (1,544 square miles) thus safeguarding marine wildlife such as this spectacular humpback whale.
WCS scientists working in the vast Amazon Basin contributed more than 57,000 camera trap images for a 2022 study that represented the largest photo database to date of the Amazon’s staggering array of wildlife. The images show 289 species from 143 field sites including this stunning pair of jaguars from Bolivia.
The white-rumped shama, found in Southeast Asia, is known for its incredible singing ability but has been decimated by the illegal live bird trade. It is one of many species now protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species which met in Panama in November. The shama is now regulated and monitored to ensure that trade does not threaten wild populations.
In 1906, when the American bison was on the verge of extinction, the Bronx Zoo sent zoo-bred bison to Oklahoma to help begin the process of rebuilding bison populations in the American West. In 2022 the Bronx Zoo’s bison conservation work saw six Bronx Zoo-bred bison transferred to the Osage Nation in Oklahoma where they joined a larger conservation herd where they will live wild on a massive 43,000-acre range.
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African penguins at the New York Aquarium can now be viewed underwater. Sea Change is a new exhibit at the aquarium that focuses on climate change and its effect on coastal ecosystems. The exhibit features underwater viewing of the aquarium’s Sea Cliffs exhibits including the African penguin habitat.
These Andean bear cubs were born at the Queens Zoo last year. Now one-year-olds, they are active and playful. Andean bears are the only species of bear native to South America. The species is also known as spectacled bears due to their facial markings that sometimes resemble eyeglasses.
A gelada grooms her baby in the Ethiopian Highlands exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. Geladas are a large, terrestrial monkey that live at elevations of up to 14,000 feet. Their diet primarily consists of grass and vegetation which is abundant in their Central Ethiopian range.
The Bronx Zoo’s gaur herd has grown considerably over the past few years as a result of a successful breeding program. Gaurs are native to Southeast Asia and are largest wild cattle species in the world. Males are larger than females and can grow to 11 feet in length and weigh more than 2,200 pounds.
Matschie's tree kangaroo joey peeks out of its mother’s pouch. The joey is the first of its species born at the Bronx Zoo since 2008. Tree kangaroos are marsupials, and like their kangaroo and wallaby cousins, the majority of the newborn’s physical development occurs in the mother’s pouch.
These tiny Rote Island snake-necked turtle hatchlings are part of an important breeding program that reached a key milestone in 2022. Thirty-six zoo-bred turtles were sent from the Bronx Zoo to the Singapore Zoo. Those turtles will become candidates for release into their native range on Rote Island in Indonesia where the species is functionally extinct. These turtles are bred at both the Bronx Zoo and the Prospect Park Zoo.
Sand cats, a new species for the Prospect Park Zoo, made their Brooklyn debut in 2022. Sand cats are one of the smallest species of wild cat. Native to the deserts of Africa and Asia, their small stature and unique tan and grey coloration keep them well camouflaged among sparse vegetation in sandy and stony deserts.
The Central Park Zoo participates with other AZA accredited zoos in a cooperative breeding program for Western red pandas. This male is a 2022 addition to the zoo and a future participant in the breeding program.