WCS Wild Audio

Welcome to our award-winning podcast.

Here you will find reported audio stories covering the latest news and newsmakers from WCS’s field sites, zoos and aquarium, and conservation partners. Listen here or wherever you get your podcasts.

S4 Episode 10: Assessing the Challenges and Opportunities for Jaguar Conservation

When the Cat Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, met in San Diego in 2019 they were keen to identify fresh insights in jaguar conservation. Delayed due to COVID, the effort got back on track in 2023 and this winter its findings were published. It seemed like a good moment to check in with some of WCS’s leading jaguar conservationists to see how Latin America’s biggest cat is faring.

Read the IUCN Cat Specialist Group jaguar status report.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guests: Esteban Payan, Rob Wallace, Mariana da Silva

Previous Episodes

S4 Episode 9: Empowering Fisherwomen in Belize's Marine Conservation Efforts

WCS supports the government of Belize in the management of two marine reserves in Belize, protected by a dedicated team of local rangers and monitored by experienced local and international scientists.

Beyond preserving marine ecosystems, their focus extends to supporting the livelihoods of fishing communities here.

Ralna Kay Lamb Lewis, WCS Belize's Assistant Director, says it's about ensuring that communities - especially women who have often been underrepresented - have the tools to manage resources, ensuring their own incomes and quality of life.

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Ralna Kay Lamb Lewis

S4, Episode 8: Earth Day Inspiration from an African-Led Initiative in Southern Africa

It’s been over 50 years since the first Earth Day in 1970. As we commemorate this year’s edition, says WCS’s John Calvelli, there is a great deal of concern about our future. But there is also reason for optimism. One example comes from the Miombo Woodlands in Southern Africa.

Reporter: Dan Rosen
Guest: John Calvelli

S4, Episode 7: Why Are the World’s Foremost Tiger Conservationists Gathering in Bhutan?

April 22 is Earth Day, which could not be a more fitting occasion for conservationists, ministers, and development experts to gather in Bhutan hosted by the Royal Govt of Bhutan, under the Patronage of Her Majesty The Queen, Jetsun Pema Wangchuck. The goal: to develop a long-term plan for sustainable funding to protect tigers across their range.

To understand the stakes and the opportunity, we turned to several representatives of the global Tiger Conservation Coalition, which includes: the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), Fauna & Flora International (FFI), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Natural State, Panthera, TRAFFIC, the United Nations Development Programme (UNPD), the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the World Wild Fund for Nature (WWF), and the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Reporter: Nat Moss
Guests: Stuart Chapman (WWF), John Goodrich (Panthera), Joob Jornburom (WCS), Phurba Lhendup (IUCN), Maxim Vergeichik (UNDP)

S4, Episode 6: Turns Out the World’s Second-Largest Animal is Found Off the Big Apple All Year Round

The waters off New York City are some of the busiest in the world with both ships and marine life. In fact, new research co-authored by WCS shows that fin whales can be found in these waters all 12 months. And that has important conservation implications.

Reporter: Dan Rosen
Guests: Carissa King-Nolan, Dr. Melinda Rekdahl

S4 Episode 5: Climate Change and Bear Conservation in Mongolia Come Together in an Award-Winning New Documentary

Winner of the Conservation Prize at this year’s New York Wild Film Festival, Hamid Sardar’s documentary film Mongolia: Valley of the Bears highlights a clash between the traditions of a nomadic community in northern Mongolia and one dedicated ranger’s mission to conserve wildlife in the boreal “taiga.”

Reporter: Nat Moss
Guest: Hamid Sardar

S4 Episode 4: Avian Influenza, Part 2 | Cambodia's Conservation Progress At Risk

In the second episode of our two-part series on the current avian influenza crisis, WCS Wild Audio’s Hannah Kaplan looks at the rise of this new, more deadly strain in domestic poultry farming.

In places like Cambodia, such farms have become a breeding ground for the virus, and the last five years have seen a dramatic increase in rates of infection of wild birds that share the same habitats.

Meanwhile, scientists continue to track the growing threat to mammals, with the recent transmission to dairy cows in the US causing new concerns of potential new spillover to wildlife and people.

Reporter: Hannah Kaplan
Guests: Dr Emily Denstedt and Robert Tizard

S4, Episode 3: Avian Influenza, Part 1 | A Deadly Virus Spills Over to Mammals

WCS’s Global Health team has been closely watching the spread of avian influenza—first as it decimated populations of bird species around the world, and more recently when it jumped to mammals. In this two-part series, we look at the potentially devastating impacts of this growing wildlife pandemic and what is being done to slow its spread.

Reporter: Hannah Kaplan
Guests: Dr Christian Walzer, Dr Paulo Colchao

S4, Episode 2: Protecting WCS's Video History to Inform Its Conservation Future

Film archivist Leopold Krist has been steeped in a century’s worth of WCS history as he catalogues and digitizes historic archive films documenting conservation work globally and across New York’s zoos and aquariums.

Thanks to funding from the Leon Levy Foundation, which allowed WCS to create the Shelby White and Leon Levy WCS Archives Film Initiative, he is preserving footage of everything from studies of the biomechanics of crabs to the growth of the Bronx Zoo to polar research expeditions.

To see the full catalogue of films, launching in Spring 2024, visit https://library.wcs.org/

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Leopold Krist

S4, Episode 1: The United Nations Development Programme Has a Nature Pledge

The United Nations Development Programme, or UNDP, works in 170 countries and territories around the world to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. Not surprisingly, that work aligns in a variety of ways with nature conservation. Leading the UNDP’s Nature Hub is Midori Paxton. WCS Wild Audio checked in with her to discuss the work of the hub and the implementation of its Nature Pledge.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guest: Midori Paxton

Special Episode: The Push to Unite the Amazon Basin Around a Pair of Catfish Species

Many people think of the Amazon as this vast, highly intact tropical forest, but it is also the largest freshwater system in the world. It’s the most biologically diverse place on Earth. Home to hundreds of Indigenous Peoples and traditional cultures. And also, two important species of catfish. Those will be up for discussion at the upcoming Convention on Migratory Species meeting.

Reporting: Dan Rosen, Hannah Kaplan
Guests: Mariana Montoya, Susan Lieberman

Special Episode: Assessing the Stakes of the UN Climate Conference | A Conversation with WCS President and CEO Monica Medina

This week representatives from across the globe will gather in Dubai for the 28th Conference of the Parties, or COP, of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Wildlife Conservation Society will have a large delegation attending. They’re focused on issues essential to addressing the climate crisis that range from preserving ecological integrity to the empowerment of Indigenous peoples. WCS President and CEO Monica Medina leads the delegation and spoke with Wild Audio for this report.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guest: Monica Medina

S3, Episode 14: Confronting the Illegal Trade of Mexican Spider Monkeys into the United States

For too many species, the rise of social media has created a growing market for the illegal smuggling and possession of wildlife. In the case of the Mexican spider monkey, whose status is Endangered on the Red List of threatened species maintained by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the growth of the illegal pet trade into the United States has reached a crisis point. WCS Wild Audio wanted to find out what’s driving this trade and how conservationists are responding.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guest: Keith Lovett

S3, Episode 13: A Bold Initiative to Leverage Public-Private Finance for Conservation

Protected and conserved areas across the globe safeguard critical biodiversity, contribute to local economies, and support U.S. development and foreign policy objectives. But too often they are underfunded. Making its way through the congress now is a bill that would leverage U.S. funding with philanthropic contributions to provide sustainable financing for protected areas. In this episode we hear from WCS’s John Calvelli and two Senate allies to learn more. Then, if you're in the U.S., speak out in support of the bill.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guests: John Calvelli, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham

S3 Episode 12: Pathogen Spillover and the Bigger Public Health Picture in Alaska

WCS researchers are embarking on a two-year study of Covid transmission in Alaskan wildlife. Working closely with Indigenous communities, the team is on a mission to better understand the overlap between human, environmental, and animal health. In doing so, they can gain a greater sense of the “big picture” of how pathogens develop, jump between species and, ultimately, how we can avoid the next global pandemic.

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Sarah Olson

S3, Episode 11: Too Important to Fail | Community Fisheries’ Critical Role in Marine Conservation

Small-scale fisheries are the cornerstone of livelihoods and economies across the world, providing essential micronutrients to more than 4 billion people. What's more, they also employ over 150 million people in the industry, the majority of whom live in the Global South, and are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

WCS Wild Audio's Hannah Kaplan sat down with Hoyt Peckham, WCS Director of Community Fisheries, who manages a team supporting 30 Country programs as they work to achieve a more sustainable and equitable approach to managing our marine resources.

Keep an eye out for additional WCS Wild Audio stories about sustainable fisheries, with insights and solutions from the communities who manage them, in Season 4.

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Hoyt Peckham

S3, Episode 10: NYC Climate Week Series, Part 3 | Investing in At-Risk Forests with the REDD+ Framework

WCS Executive Director of Markets, Todd Stevens, wants to find sustainable, financially viable incentives for protecting nature. Linking field-based conservation to private sector funding under the REDD+ framework, his goal is to use capital to ensure positive, environmentally friendly economic development in and around conservation sites.

This model rewards restoration and protection of the environment, ultimately linking healthy ecosystems to healthy economies. At the heart of this markets-based approach, says Todd, lie at-risk forests, which absorb harmful Co2 emissions. Hannah Kaplan has the story.

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Todd Stevens

S3, Episode 9: NYC Climate Week Series, Part 2 | Why We Need Climate Adaptation

The most important thing we can do to address climate change is reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting intact nature can also be a big part of the solution. But let’s say we do those things and we manage to constrain climate change. What type of world will be left for us to live in, if we don't intentionally change our conservation strategies now? That’s where climate adaptation has a part to play.

Reporting: Dan Rosen
Guests: Liz Tully, Paul Elsen

S3, Episode 8: NYC Climate Week Series, Part 1 | Why Is Forest Integrity So Important?

In anticipation of New York Climate Week taking place later this month during the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, WCS Wild Audio presents the first in a 3-part series exploring bold approaches to the growing climate crisis. For Part 1, we look at why maintaining the ecological integrity of forests is so important and what can be done both to avoid further degradation and restore what’s been lost.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guests: Tom Evans, Kemen Austin

S3, Episode 7: A Wildlife-Friendly Farming Approach with Ibis Rice | An Interview with Nicholas Spencer and Keo Socheat

At a time when 80 percent of the world’s forests have been degraded for agriculture and other human activities, a new approach is taking shape in Cambodia’s Northern Plains. There, an initiative to support sustainable rice production is reducing deforestation and helping to protect endangered bird species like the giant and white-shouldered ibis. The WCS-managed Ibis Rice links jasmine rice farmers to international consumer markets to achieve environmental protection and fair trade prices to local communities.

Reporting: Hannah Kaplan
Guest: Nicholas Spencer and Keo Socheat

For more information on Ibis Rice and its products, visit: https://ibisrice.com/

S3, Episode 6: Posing for the Iconic “Jaws” Poster: An Interview with Allison Maher Stern

While shark incidents with people are statistically very rare, each event understandably creates fear among beachgoers contemplating a swim in the ocean. Nothing has influenced the public’s attitude toward sharks more than the 1975 film Jaws. WCS Life Trustee Allison Maher Stern was the model for the swimmer in the film’s famously provocative marketing campaign. WCS Wild Audio recently caught up with her to ask about that historic modeling job half a century ago, and how it has affected her life since then.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guest: Allison Maher Stern

S3, Episode 5: Hand Raising Scarlet Macaws in Guatemala

The 5 Great Forests from Mexico to Colombia contain 7.5% of the world’s biodiversity and support 5 million people. One of the iconic species there is the scarlet macaw. In Guatemala, protecting these bright red birds from habitat destruction and poaching for the pet trade is a major challenge. WCS has taken an interesting approach.

Reporting: Dan Rosen
Guests: Rony Garcia, Gabriela Ponce, Jeremy Radachowsky

S3, Episode 4: This World Lion Day, the King of the Jungle Is Vulnerable, But WCS Has a Strategy for Recovery

August 10 is World Lion Day. To learn more about how these majestic felines are doing across their range in Africa, and how WCS is working to conserve them, we turned to WCS’s chief big cat expert and his colleagues in Uganda, where anti-poaching efforts and community-based conservation to reduce human-wildlife conflict are part of a larger strategy to recover lion populations across east and central Africa.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guests: Luke Hunter, Joshua Mabonga, Caroline Twahebwa

S3, Episode 3: ICCB 2023 is held in Kigali, Rwanda

This week, the biennial International Congress for Conservation Biology is happening in Kigali, Rwanda. It’s a meaningful event. For only the second time in its history, ICCB is being held in Africa. WCS has a big presence there, which includes over 40 young conservationists from across the continent. We spoke with WCS senior conservationist Tony Lynam about the significance.

Reporting: Dan Rosen, Margaret Cyr
Guests: Tony Lynam, Onajite Okagbare, Yves Londza

S3, Episode 2: Can We Ride the Wave of Momentum in Time to Help Sharks?

As top predators, sharks help maintain healthy and productive ocean ecosystems. They also play important roles in coastal livelihoods and food security through fisheries and tourism. But time is running out to save them, says WCS’s Luke Warwick. We must turn recent international progress into on-the-ground results.

Reporting: Dan Rosen
Guest: Luke Warwick

S3, Episode 1: Costa Rica Points the Way on Energy and Environmental Policy | In Conversation with GEF CEO & Chair Carlos Manuel Rodríguez

At its annual gala, the Wildlife Conservation Society recently honored Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, the CEO and Chair of the Global Environment Facility, or GEF. WCS Wild Audio’s Nat Moss sat down with Carlos Manuel to discuss his long career of conservation leadership, the work of the GEF, and the extraordinary example set by Rodríguez’s home country of Costa Rica for environmental stewardship, climate change mitigation, and biodiversity protection.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guests: Carlos Manuel Rodríguez

A Great Day for Conservation: WCS Has a New President and CEO, Monica Medina

This week, the Wildlife Conservation Society welcomes a new president and CEO, Monica Medina. She arrives from the U.S. State Department, where through this April she served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, and was the nation’s first Special Envoy for Biodiversity and Water Resources. WCS is thrilled to have at its helm a new leader with vast experience and a passion for conservation.

Reporting: Nat Moss
Guest: Monica Medina

Special Endangered Species Day Episode: Why It Matters That So Many Species Are Vulnerable to Extinction

You may have heard about the large scale of the current extinction crisis. It’s unprecedented and dangerous according to experts. For Endangered Species Day on May 19, WCS’s Elizabeth Bennett explores why it matters and what we can all do to help stop it.

Reporting: Dan Rosen
Guest: Elizabeth Bennett

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WCS Wild Audio

Executive Producer, Co-Host, Reporter: Nat Moss
Associate Producer, Co-Host, Reporter: Hannah Kaplan
Associate Producer and Reporter: Dan Rosen

Thank you for listening to the WCS Wild Audio podcast. To receive an episode when posted, email Nat Moss. More episodes are coming soon.

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