With Gratitude

A Note from WCS President and CEO Cristian Samper

As we celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. and reflect on what we are most grateful for, I would like to thank you for your commitment to protecting wildlife and wild places. Next year marks WCS’s 125th anniversary—and it is only because of supporters like you that we have been able to deliver conservation results for over a century.

Read on for highlights of some major 2019 achievements, none of which would have been possible without your partnership. With you by our side, I am confident that we will have even greater impact in 2020.

Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season.



Safeguarding Vulnerable Species

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

WCS has had a demonstrated impact on protecting at-risk species. Stable and recovering populations, reductions in poaching, and stronger international wildlife protections all prove that our efforts are succeeding.

Securing Nature's Strongholds

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

This year, WCS further scaled up our successful models to protect the planet’s five great forests, the ocean’s most climate change-resilient coral reefs, and other vital strongholds around the world—drawing on best-in-class science to identify the most critical areas for conservation and species recovery.

  • WCS helped triple the total area of legally safeguarded ocean habitat in Argentina, Belize, and Papua New Guinea.
  • WCS and partners supported the creation of a new Bolivian protected area, an 8,500-square-kilometer park that will serve the needs of local communities while safeguarding vulnerable wildlife, like Ollallae’s titi monkey and the Bolivian pink river dolphin.
  • In September 2019, WCS and four other leading organizations launched the new Forests for Life Partnership with the goal of halting and reversing forest degradation across 1 billion hectares of the most intact, life-giving forests worldwide

Conservation Science and Solutions

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Photo Credit: @Emily Darling/WCS

As the world’s premiere wildlife conservation organization, WCS has been turning science into action since 1895—developing evidence-based solutions to the most pressing threats to wildlife and wild places.

  • WCS led the largest study of coral reefs ever conducted, finding that the majority have functioning coral communities which we still have a chance of saving. Scientific American ran an op-ed I co-authored with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Antha Williams about our joint efforts to identify and save the world’s most climate change-resilient coral reefs.
  • WCS research published in Nature revealed that conserving the world’s remaining wilderness areas would cut extinction risk by half.
  • A new study co-authored by WCS scientists revealed that the climate impact from tropical forest loss is 600 percent higher than previously understood—underscoring the importance of saving the planet’s great forests.
  • Our Ebola research in Central Africa is helping to determine how the disease spreads and how it might be contained, while building prevention awareness.

Connecting People to Nature

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WCS’s five wildlife parks forge memorable, lifelong connections to nature and inspire millions of people to become conservation advocates.

  • The New York Aquarium hosted 800,000 visitors and received an award from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) for the best new exhibit in the United States. We are adding two new exhibits—PlayQuarium and Spineless—that will spark wonder and awe through up-close animal views and interactive experiences.
  • Season 3 of Animal Planet’s THE ZOO provided more behind-the-scenes glimpses at how our expert staff care for the 17,000 animals at our zoos and aquarium, bringing our critical conservation message to more than 200 markets around the world, with an average of more than 1 million viewers in the US per episode.
  • As of this year, WCS’s Queens Zoo has introduced 320 zoo-bred, Vulnerable cottontail rabbits to suitable habitats across New England; this project received the North American Conservation Award at the 2019 AZA Conference.

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