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Top 10 WCS Wildlife Pics of 2017

December 29, 2017

From horned frogs to humpback whales, from soft-shelled turtles to Siberian tigers, we present our top 10 wildlife pics of 2017, taken by WCS scientists working around the world.

P8xjallia amazonian horned frog credit rob wallace wcs
Photo Credit: ©Rob Wallace/WCS

10. Take Me To Your Leader. The otherworldly Amazonian horned frog, just one of over 1,850 species of vertebrates confirmed by the innovative Identidad Madidi expedition within Bolivia's Madidi National Park.

8poij80a2q humpback whale credit howard rosenbaum wcs ocean giants program
Photo Credit: ©Howard Rosenbaum/WCS

9. The Other New York Giants. Recreational boaters in the waters off coastal Long Island are treated to a breathtaking wildlife spectacle: a lunge-feeding humpback whale. Humpbacks and other marine species in New York waters can often be seen pursuing and feeding on schools of fish such as menhaden.

6b6ek1ysry zanzibar red colobus monkey credit tim davenport
Photo Credit: ©Tim Davenport

8. Cheeky (Endangered) Monkey. A team of WCS scientists recently completed the first-ever range-wide population census of the Endangered Zanzibar red colobus monkey, finding three times as many individuals (more than 5,800 animals) than previously thought. The bad news: survivorship of young animals is very low. WCS is working with the Government of Zanzibar to initiate a flagship species program that will protect both primates and the archipelago’s remaining forests.

5ulg57rbuq common caiman credit daniela racines wcs
Photo Credit: ©Daniela Racines/WCS

7. Hidden Caiman. WCS researchers, working in Rio Lagartococha - the extreme north reaches of the Peruvian Amazon on the border with Ecuador - spotted this common caiman trying not to be seen.

4ab5jwrwho tiger groupers credit a tewfik
Photo Credit: ©A Tewfik

6. Underwater Tiger Sparring. Sparring male tiger groupers in full spawning colors at Belize’s Glover's Reef atoll. Several grouper species gather each year in large numbers in this area to spawn. Working in conjunction with the Belizean government, WCS monitors groupers for abundance and individual size to protect them from overfishing.

8tmpvj1nzg asian giant softshell turtle hatchling credit yoeung sun
Photo Credit: ©Yoeung Sung

5. Bundle of Soft-Shelled Joy. One of 150 baby Asian giant softshell turtles released into the Mekong River in Cambodia in June by WCS, in collaboration with Cambodia’s Fisheries Administration and the Turtle Survival Alliance. The hatchlings are part of a community protection program designed to increase the wild population of the species and had been collected from nests that were guarded by local communities.

25og2eq2gx asian elephants credit paul hilton
Photo Credit: ©Paul Hilton

4. The Other Elephant. While many rightly voice concern over the precipitous decline of African elephants, Asian elephants are facing a catastrophic, yet less well-documented, decline of their own. In April of 2017, WCS released photos by photographer Paul Hilton illustrating the challenges faced in conserving the Sumatran elephant. These include the conversion of forest habitat to oil palm plantations, degradation of forest habitat by illegal logging, conflicts with farmers through crop-raiding, and being illegally hunted for their ivory tusks.

42jvj7dhzq wolverine credit peter mather
Photo Credit: ©Peter Mather

3. A Wolverine Ready for Release. Will reductions in Arctic snow cover make tundra-dwelling wolverines more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought? That’s a question WCS scientists are working to answer, using both traditional scientific surveys as well as learning from local Iñupiat experts. Here, a wolverine peers out from a trap before being released back into the wild. Researchers are gathering new information from trapped wolverines to inform an assessment of the health of the population.

2srovy0uyf tiger credit proo tiger center
Photo Credit: ©PROO Tiger Center

2. Russian Tigers Recolonizing. A camera-trap photograph released by WCS partner PROO Tiger Center provided further evidence that Amur tigers are re-colonizing lost habitat in Russia’s Far East. The image shows Svetlaya, an adult Amur tigress that was orphaned in the wild, raised in captivity, and released back into the wild in 2014, walking along a trail in April 2017 with her back half caked in spring mud. But what really has scientists celebrating is that the photograph reveals the legs and shadow of a cub – one of three she produced this year.

7khp8pgkb6 jaguar credit wcs paraguay program
Photo Credit: ©WCS Paraguay Program

1. Paraguay Jaguar Saunters Past. A jaguar walks in front of a WCS camera trap in the gigantic Defensores del Chaco National Park (2,780 square miles) in Northern Chaco, Paraguay. WCS Paraguay is developing the first monitoring of jaguars and their wild prey in this public protected area working with the Minister of Environment and supported by US Fish and Wildlife Service.

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