Top 10 Photos of 2018

December 20, 2018

So many images stick out from the past year in conservation. With the end of 2018 upon us, we tried to narrow it down to 10. What was your favorite? Let us know what we left out.

Photo Credit: ©Sarah Olson/WCS

Hammer-Headed Fruit Bat

To better understand the transmission of the deadly Ebola virus, WCS partnered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health in Central Africa last spring to place GPS collars on bats, including this moose-like hammer-headed fruit bat. Bats are suspected to be asymptomatic reservoirs Ebola, which threatens human health, and is linked to massive declines in populations of western lowland gorillas in Congo and Gabon. WCS is looking for a way to prevent Ebola outbreaks and help conserve these bats for future generations.

Photo Credit: WCS Ocean Giants/Image taken under NMFS MMPA/ESA Permit No. 14809

Big Gulp

WCS marine scientists surveying the waters of the New York Bight for marine mammals and other species are enjoying a banner year, encountering a wide array of marine life in the waters just beyond—and sometimes in sight of—New York City including humpback whales.

Photo Credit: ©Fabio Pupin

Fisher's Caecilian

Is it a worm? Is it a snake? No, it’s Fisher’s caecilian, a worm-like amphibian that is only found in Cyamudongo in Nyungwe National Park in Rwanda, and a species that could possibly go extinct in the next century due to climate change according to a WCS study released in early 2018.

Photo Credit: ©Carlos Cesar Durigan/WCS


A pink river dolphin is one of several charismatic species that will benefit from the creation of the Baixo Rio Branco-Jauaperi Extractive Reserve created last July in Brazil.

Photo Credit: ©WCS Tanzania

Two Trunks Are Better Than One

WCS conservationists working in Tanzania’s Tarangire National Park have not one but two good reasons to be hopeful for the park’s savanna elephant population: a pair of rare twin calves were born last April.

Photo Credit: ©Milieniusz Spanowicz/WCS

New to Science

A whiptail lizard—one of 124 species potentially new to science discovered during the two-and-a-half-year Identidad Madidi Expedition where WCS and Bolivian scientists visited 15 remote sites in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park.

Photo Credit: ©Phann Sithan

Stork Brings More Storks

In April, WCS, along with the Ministry of Environment (MoE) and community members, announced that since 2002, they have protected 3,800 nests of 11 globally threatened bird species in the Northern Plains of Cambodia. This has led to the fledging of 6,806 birds, like these black necked storks.

Photo Credit: ©Ivonne Kienast/WCS

Happy Birthday, Kingo!

In June, WCS celebrated the birthday of “Kingo” a silverback Western lowland gorilla estimated to be 40 years old and living in Nouabale Ndoki National Park, a protected area WCS helps manage in the Republic of Congo.

Photo Credit: ©Vinay Kumar/WCS India

Puff the Magic Elephant

In March, conservationists from WCS India were astonished to see this Asian elephant picking up ash with its trunk, closing its mouth and blowing it back out in a cloud of smoke. Charcoal has toxin-binding properties that may provide medicinal value. Charcoal can also serve as a laxative, thereby doubling its utility for animals that consume it after forest fires, lightning strikes, or controlled burns.

Photo Credit: ©Sophy Machaga/WCS

Return of the Zebras

In October, conservationists from WCS, Tanzania National Parks (TANAPA), and the Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute (TAWIRI) released 24 zebras into Tanzania’s Kitulo National Park in the Southern Highlands region—part of a bold effort to re-wild this once pristine landscape.

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