WCS Wild Audio

Welcome to the WCS Wild Audio podcast, where 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.

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

Previous Episodes

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. WCS Wild Audio’s Nat Moss recently caught up with her as she steps into her new role.

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.

S2, Episode 15: Earth Day Inspiration from Pope Francis on How to Frame Our Future

In November 2021, the Wildlife Conservation Society launched a new campaign to address the crisis of climate change called Framing Our Future. The effort was premised on partnerships with a wide range of civic, cultural, and academic institutions across the United States. One of those partners, the Bronx’s Fordham University, has embraced the campaign as part of its own Green Plan to live out the inspirational call to protect nature found in Pope Francis’s 2015 Laudato si encyclical.

S2, Episode 14: Our Oceans Are Our Natural Capital - Conserving Madagascar's Marine Biodiversity

Subsistence fishing has long been a staple of Malagasy culture. The rich biodiversity that makes Madagascar so famous also underpins local economies, providing not only food, but income through for-profit fishing and tourism.

However, a host of threats are not only putting pressure on ecosystems, but the very communities who are so intrinsically tied to them. Ravaka Ranaivoson, Marine Conservation Director for WCS Madagascar, believes that the solution lies in supporting “natural capital” – training communities to identify and manage natural resources for healthy, sustainable economies.

Wild Audio’s Hannah Kaplan spoke with Ravaka about the challenges, and opportunities, in working to protect the country’s rich ecosystems.

Read the transcript of this epsiode here.

S2, Episode 13: When Pandas Skirted the Pearl Harbor Attack and other Stories from the WCS Library & Archives

For over 125 years, the Wildlife Conservation Society has been protecting species and their habitats across the globe—all the while inspiring visitors to care about conservation at the Bronx Zoo and WCS’s other wildlife parks in New York City. Recording those efforts is the focus of the WCS Library and Archives. WCS Wild Audio’s Nat Moss recently spoke to archive director Madeleine Thompson to learn how she and her team are working to preserve a rich and dynamic history.

You can purchase mugs, t-shirts, hats, pillows, shower curtains and other items with illustrations WCS Department of Tropical Research at the WCS Archive Red Bubble online shop.

S2, Episode 12: Inside the Largest Global Conservation Hub in the World, The Cambridge Conservation Initiative

At the heart of the University of Cambridge sits a collaborative center that's changing the way that organizations and academic institutions work together to address immediate environmental challenges. The Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI) takes an innovative approach, bringing together world-class researchers and 11 leading NGOs in one creative hub. It’s mission is to change how we approach science-based conservation models. Hannah Kaplan spoke to Executive Director of CCI, Dr. Mike Maunder, to learn more.

S2, Episode 11: How Forests Can Help Us Address Earth’s Pressing Crises

We need to act fast to address the three interrelated crises facing our planet—climate change, biodiversity loss, and the threat of zoonotic pandemics. We must not only protect the last of the wild, but also actively restore wildlife and wild places. WCS Wild Audio recently spoke with John Lotspeich, Executive Director of Trillion Trees—a conservation partnership attempting to meet the scale needed at this critical time. You can also read their new 2022 Impact Report for more.

S2, Episode 10: Climate Change and Walrus Habitat Come Together in Oscar-Nominated Short Doc “Haulout”

This week a 25-minute documentary, “Haulout,” will headline the New York Wild Film Festival as its Best in Festival winner. That prize can be added to prestigious awards for “Haulout” from the International Documentary Association and the American Film Institute on its way to the Academy Awards, where it competes for best documentary short on March 12. WCS Wild Audio spoke to representatives of the film, the festival, and WCS’s scientific programs to learn more. Watch the film at The New Yorker.

[NOTE: This episode contains spoilers]

S2, Episode 9: Stemming the Tide of the Illegal Jaguar Trade through Community-Based Conservation

Jaguars are the Americas’ mightiest big cat, with roughly 150,000 of this extraordinary species scattered across its range from southern Arizona to northern Argentina. Today they face a growing threat from the illegal wildlife trade in their teeth, skin, and other parts. Wild Audio recently spoke to Kurt Duchez, the Counter-Wildlife Trafficking Officer for the WCS Mesoamerica region, to learn about the scope of the problem and what can be done to confront it.

S2, Episode 8: The Edge of Known Things—Will Hudson Canyon be Named a National Marine Sanctuary?

“With all this strangeness, there is also beauty beyond words.” That’s how the famous scientist and explorer William Beebe described an underwater marvel off the coast of New York and New Jersey in the late 1920s . Today, Hudson Canyon has been nominated as a National Marine Sanctuary. But, as WCS Wild Audio learned from Noah Chesnin and Dr. Merry Camhi, there’s still a lot we don’t know about this massive canyon.

S2, Episode 7: Documenting the Extraordinary Biodiversity in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park

Madidi National Park, in northeastern Bolivia, boasts a jaw-dropping concentration of some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. The vast landscape ranges from the Amazon River basin up nearly 6,000 meters to the peaks of the Andes.

A comprehensive WCS survey has documented thousands of plants and animals, some new to science, that are informing conservation in the region. Wild Audio spoke to WCS Bolivia’s Rob Wallace to learn more.

S2, Episode 6: Protecting Africa’s Rarest Great Ape, the Elusive Cross River Gorilla

The Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla is the rarest and most elusive of Africa’s four subspecies of gorilla. Found exclusively in the densely forested jungles between Nigeria and Cameroon, it is thought that there are as few as 300 animals left in the wild.

But despite the persistent threats of habitat loss, gene fragmentation, and poaching, there is hope, says WCS Nigeria Director of Cross River Landscapes, Inaoyom Imong. WCS Wild Audio's Hannah Kaplan has this report.

S2, Episode 5: Protecting Marine Species in the Canadian Arctic’s Increasingly Noisy Waters

Across the globe, climate change is reshaping land and seascapes. In the Arctic, melting sea ice is opening up shipping traffic into and out of the region. The increasingly noisy underwater environment created by these commercial vessels now threatens marine mammals that rely on sound for communication, food, and safety. WCS Canada’s Bill Halliday and Steve Insley have been studying this growing problem and spoke to WCS Wild Audio for this report.

S2, Episode 4: A Tenacious Predator Faces an Unrelenting Opponent—Climate Change

The Arctic is currently warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. Drastic changes are happening. We still don’t know all the different ways this is impacting local wildlife. WCS Wild Audio spoke with Tom Glass of the University of Montana and Martin Robards from WCS about what they’ve learned about one unheralded species in particular: wolverines.

S2, Episode 3: Canada Is Identifying Key Biodiversity Areas, or KBAs, Critical to Protecting Species and their Habitats

In 2016, thirteen of the world’s leading nature conservation organizations launched an ambitious new Key Biodiversity Areas partnership to identify sites that are important for the persistence of biodiversity. With the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity taking place in Montreal, WCS Wild Audio checked in with Peter Soroye of WCS Canada to learn how the initiative is going in his country.

S2, Episode 2: The Meeting in Montreal that Could Help Save the Planet

After two years of delay due to the COVID pandemic, the long-awaited 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is upon us. As we look to the start of the meeting in Montreal, Canada, WCS Wild Audio spoke with Sue Lieberman, Justina Ray, and Alfred DeGemmis to find out what it all means and gain some insights into what to expect.

S2, Episode 1: “Together for Conservation” in the Amazon

Our second season launches in conversation with Mariana Varese, the Peru-based director of WCS’s Amazon Landscapes Program. Mariana describes a new initiative, “Together for Conservation,” that seeks to conserve biodiversity while preventing environmental crime in the Amazon. The project brings Indigenous Peoples and local communities together with journalists, private companies, and civil society groups to develop conservation solutions that can be expanded or replicated across the Amazon.

Special CITES Episode 2: A Push to Expand Global Protections for Sharks and Rays

On Nov 14, conservationists from across the globe will come together in Panama City, Panama for the triennial meeting of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species—or CITES. In this special Wild Audio rebroadcast, WCS Executive Director for Shark and Ray Conservation Luke Warwick discusses anticipated action for sharks and rays at CITES, including a proposal to list the entire family of Requiem Sharks for protection. Nat Moss reports.

Special CITES Episode 1: In Panama, Attention Turns to the International Wildlife Trade

This month representatives from across the globe will gather in Panama City, Panama. It’s the 19th convening of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora—or CITES. WCS’s Sue Lieberman leads WCS’s delegation to the meeting. She recently spoke to Wild Audio’s Nat Moss to share her thoughts on what’s to come.

Last Season on WCS Wild Audio

Thanks for joining us for Season One of WCS Wild Audio. We'll be back on November 29th with new stories from our the Wildlife Conservation Society’s field sites, zoos and aquarium, and conservation partners. In the meantime, check out some of the highlights of the Wildlife Conservation Society’s our conversations with WCS staff from across the world working to protect wildlife and wild places.

S1 Episode 14: Talking Climate Adaptation During the United Nations Climate Week

Timed to the annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly New York, UN Climate Week brings together global leaders in business, government, and the climate community. This year, the theme is “Getting It Done,” so Wild Audio asked WCS climate adaptation scientist Lauren Oakes what she thinks about when it comes to adaptive strategies to confront the climate crisis.

S1 Episode 13: More Trees, Fewer Cows—Protecting Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve for People and Wildlife

The Selva Maya represents the largest continuous forest in Central America. Encompassing parts of Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala, it includes Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, where a government campaign to target illegal ranching is reversing years of destructive deforestation. Wild Audio checked in with WCS Guatemala Country Director Gabriela Ponce Santizo to find out what that means for the people of the region and the wildlife that lives there.

S1 Episode 12: Protection of Big Cat Prey in Laos Might Aid a Return of the “Big Guy”

Big cats today face multiple threats—from poaching and habitat loss to snares and human conflict. But also key to their survival is the presence of preferred prey. The WCS Laos program’s Akchousanh Rasphone knows which species are prized on the menu of the country’s clouded leopards and, one day, might help sustain a return of “the big guy,” as she refers to the tiger—now functionally extinct in Laos.

S1 Episode 11: Monitoring Biodiversity at the Top of the World

More and more scientists today are using environmental DNA—or eDNA—to identify species or organisms inhabiting a particular area by measuring genetic traces found in water, soil, or air. In 2019, a group of researchers co-led by WCS’s Tracie Seimon surveyed Mt. Everest to explore high elevation biodiversity there using eDNA. Now that they have begun publishing their findings, WCS Wild Audio checked in with Tracie to find out what they learned.

S1 Episode 10: A New Internship Program to Promote Greater Equity and Diversity in the Conservation Field

Internships in the science and conservation field have for too long failed to reach the full diversity of young people. To address that inequity, the WCS Education Department—based at the Bronx Zoo and led by Karen Tingley—recently launched a new internship program designed to proactively help more young people get a head start on a conservation career. Nat Moss spoke with Karen for WCS Wild Audio to learn more.

S1 Episode 9: From Climate to Cannoli—Leveraging Conservation Science in the Policy Arena

Science is at the heart of effective conservation. It factors into everything WCS does at its global field sites and its New York City-based zoos and aquarium to better understand wildlife and wild places. But translating that knowledge into policy and action requires creative engagement with the public and lawmakers. Executive Vice President for Public Affairs John Calvelli oversees that effort in the U.S. and recently discussed with Wild Audio why it’s so important.

S1 Episode 8: Peatlands—The Carbon Storage Powerhouse Protecting Us from Climate Change

Any discussion of climate change must consider the role of peatlands. These water-soaked ecosystems comprised of decaying mosses and other plant matter cover a mere 3 percent of the earth’s surface yet store more carbon than all of the world’s forests. But a debate in Canada now pits the mining of minerals essential to renewable energy against protection of critical peatlands. To learn more, WCS Wild Audio checked in with Lorna Harris, a scientist and the program lead for WCS Canada’s national program for Forests, Peatlands, and Climate Change.

S1 Episode 7: Good News for Wild Tigers

When the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, recently reported that wild tiger numbers had increased by 40 percent since 2010, WCS Tiger Species Coordinator Dale Miquelle wasn’t surprised. He was one of several scientists who contributed to the report. WCS Wild Audio’s Nat Moss recently caught up with him to find out what’s making the difference in tiger conservation today.

S1 Episode 6: A Push to Expand Global Protections for Sharks and Rays

This November scientists, policymakers, and advocates from across the globe will gather in Panama for the next meeting of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). WCS Executive Director for Shark and Ray Conservation Luke Warwick has his eye on a proposal to list the entire family of requiem sharks for protection. WCS Wild Audio recently sat down with him to understand the urgency and strategy behind that goal.

S1 Episode 5: How New Technology Is Transforming Conservation

Whether it's drones recording video in previously inaccessible areas, artificial intelligence sorting through thousands of camera trap images, or microphones in the ocean recording whale sounds to determine which species are present, technology is transforming the practice of conservation today. To find out how WCS is using technology to up its conservation game, Nat Moss checked in with Jonathan Palmer and Danielle LaBruna from WCS's Conservation Technology team.

S1 Episode 4: Reducing Human-Elephant Conflict in Thailand

WCS Thailand’s Manoon Pliosungnoen describes a unique fencing structure that has been successfully deployed to deter elephants from raiding local farmers’ cropland adjacent to Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park. Since the fencing went up, the number of human-elephant conflict incidents has fallen from more than 400 in 2005 to about 40 incidents in 2020. WCS's Nat Moss has the story.

S1 Episode 3: Preventing Pandemics at the Source

Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, we’ve developed strategies to confront the crisis where we live—expanding supplies of protective equipment and following guidelines to avoid catching the virus. But as the pandemic continues, WCS Executive Director for Health Chris Walzer and WCS Vice President for International Policy Susan Lieberman say we now need to focus on reducing pathogen spillover at the source. Wild Audio’s Nat Moss spoke to them for this story.

S1 Episode 2: The Bronx Zoo Is Working to Save Some of the World’s Most Threatened Turtle Species

After serving as the Bronx Zoo’s Curator of Herpetology for 11 years, Don Boyer retired this year. Before he left, WCS Wild Audio’s Nat Moss toured the Bronx Zoo’s Turtle Propagation Center with Don to discuss some of the highlights of his inspiring career and the Bronx Zoo’s efforts to breed highly threatened turtle species and return them to the wild.

S1 Episode 1: Protecting Coral Reefs Amidst a Global Bleaching Crisis

Emily Darling directs WCS's global coral reef conservation program. Working with WCS programs in roughly a dozen countries, she thinks a lot about how to save these sensitive ecosystems—most importantly from climate change. Wild Audio’s Nat Moss checked in with her to learn more about the recent bleaching event on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and what it suggests about the larger goal of reef conservation.

WCS Wild Audio

Executive Producer, Co-Host, Reporter: Nat Moss
Associate Producer, Co-Host, Audio Engineer: Hannah Kaplan
Web 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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