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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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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