From WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper:
I hope that you are taking good care of yourself, your loved ones, friends, and neighbors. While we all are experiencing significant disruptions to our lives, I am reaching out to let you know that the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is dedicated to carrying on with our important work—thanks to your steadfast support. Our community is strong, and we will get through this together.
We are doing our part to keep our animals, staff, and community safe here in New York. Among other measures, as of today, our four zoos and aquarium are temporarily closed. However, our zoo staff continue to work around the clock providing best-in-class care for the animals that depend on us.
With COVID-19-related challenges mounting, WCS’s mission becomes even more urgent—not only to protect wildlife, but also people—because we are all now suffering the consequences of the dangerous wildlife trade practices that WCS has been actively working to shut down.
Two-thirds of human infectious diseases originate from wildlife—including Ebola, SARS, MERS, and now COVID-19, which is thought to have originated in wildlife markets in Wuhan, China.
China recently announced a permanent ban on hunting, trading, transporting, and consuming wildlife, whether captive-bred or wild caught—which we applaud. But WCS analysis, covered in this New York Times article, revealed that the new policy does not ban trade in wildlife for fur, pets, zoos, medicine, or research, creating a potential loophole for traffickers to exploit. And many other countries continue the trade.
We will not stop until we have won a comprehensive global ban on the wildlife trade. With your partnership—and WCS’s expertise on wildlife trafficking and wildlife diseases at the human-wildlife-livestock interface—I know we will get there.
This period will be challenging as we continue to care for our animals while not being able to count on support from visitors to the parks. If you would like to offer additional support to help with WCS’s ongoing costs during the temporary closure, please follow this link.
In the coming days and weeks, my colleagues and I will provide you with regular updates. In the meantime, please reach out with any comments or questions. Thank you for standing with us. We have never needed your partnership more.
President and CEO