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Wildlife Conservation Society

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The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild places worldwide. We do so through science, global conservation, education and the management of the world's largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony. WCS is committed to this mission because it is essential to the integrity of life on Earth.

China’s Ivory Ban Has Played a Significant Role in De-Valuing Ivory

As the government rolls out the closing of the market, WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) is observing hopeful results as in the Save the Elephants report issued this week. We believe that the ban has played a significant role in de-valuing ivory. We also believe that the ban has increased motivation for enforcement agencies to enhance actions on illegal ivory trade.

Paraguay Plans to Protect Jaguars in Perpetuity

In late December of 2016, Paraguay launched an initiative to balance the ecological needs of the jaguar—the world’s third largest big cat species—with those of ranchers who raise cattle in the same landscapes. Paraguay’s Secretary of Environment (SEAM) announced the completion of a 10-year national plan that contains the contributions of a unique mix of NGOs, researchers, and ranchers who seek to maintain jaguars as the symbol of wild across the productive landscapes and protected areas of Paraguay.

Halting Global Cheetah Decline

Our recent report on global cheetah decline provides alarming reading. Using the best available information, we estimate that there are only about 7,100 wild cheetah left in the world. The species is now restricted to less than 10% of its historical distribution, and survives in just 33 populations, most of which number fewer than 100 individuals

In Search of Shirin: Tracking a Collared Snow Leopard in the Afghan Pamirs

The WCS team in Wakhan decided to undertake an expedition to visit the last known location of snow leopard named ‘Shirin’ that had been fitted with a satellite GPS and radio collar in Tajikistan by our colleagues with Panthera. The search had to be organized in a great hurry as high passes leading to Afghanistan’s Little Pamir can be blocked by snow as early as mid-November, rendering the area inaccessible until spring.

As Nations Gather in Mexico to Discuss Biological Diversity, Global Habitat Loss Still Rampant Across Much of the Earth

As 196 signatory nations of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) meet this week in Cancun, Mexico, to discuss their progress towards averting the current biodiversity crisis, researchers from a range of universities and NGOs report in the international journal Conservation Letters that habitat destruction still far outstrips habitat protected across many parts of the planet.

New Threats Emphasize Need for Proactive Amazon Jaguar Conservation Planning

Now facing hunting pressure to meet a growing demand for trade in its parts, the jaguar occupies a special place in the history, culture, and traditions of Latin America. Revered for centuries by indigenous peoples for its strength and agility, the jaguar may well depend for its continued existence upon the care and cooperation of those who continue to live with this extraordinary animal.

PNAS Paper Suggests Global Ivory Sales Being Driven by New Ivory Rather Than Ivory Stockpiles

Notes WCS VP for Species Conservation Dr. Elizabeth Bennett, “What the authors of the new PNAS study have shown us is that ivory, once it’s poached from elephants in Africa, is going very rapidly straight into the trade. This is all new ivory that is getting caught going into the illegal markets. It’s not old ivory from stockpiles. And that’s somewhat of a surprise. We thought that stockpiles were probably leaking into the market. But it appears that stockpiled ivory is either being protected or has been destroyed in one of the many initiatives to burn or crush that material.”

Why International Snow Leopard Day Matters

It is amazing that we still know so little about one of the world’s great cats. However, our knowledge and efforts on behalf of what was once a near mountain phantom are growing, even as the snow leopard helps to bring communities, government, and the international community together. On this International Snow Leopard Day, there is a growing sense that we may be able to save one of the last great wildernesses in Asia, and the great cat that defines it.

Translating Survey Findings Into Effective Elephant Protection Results

The Great Elephant Census showed that important elephant populations persist in several key range areas that historically supported large numbers of elephants – so there is still much to fight for in the battle to save Africa’s elephants. Fortunately, there are some signs of hope – both in sites covered by the GEC and other elephant sites.

CITES CoP17 Concludes on the Side of Wildlife

Notes Susan Lieberman, Wildlife Conservation Society VP for International Policy and head of the WCS CITES delegation, “Science and wildlife conservation prevailed at CITES CoP17. The decisions made by the gathering countries were based on the best available scientific information. Further, we were encouraged that governments fully embraced the precautionary principle by making decisions in the best interest of the species in the wild. After attending 11 CoPs, I strongly believe this was among the most successful CoP ever for wildlife.”

CITES Parties Extend Protections to the African Grey Parrot

In a statement in response to action taken today to transfer the African grey parrot to CITES Appendix I, WCS VP for International Policy Susan Lieberman said, “We congratulate the Parties to CITES for agreeing to transfer the African grey parrot from Appendix II to Appendix I, thereby prohibiting all international commercial trade. If this bird could talk – and it certainly can – the African grey parrot would say thank you. With the protection of Appendix I, and the enhanced enforcement that is needed, the voice of the African grey parrot will not be silenced across the great forests of Africa.

World’s Nations Take A Stand To Save The Helmeted Hornbill From Extinction

Governments at CITES CoP17 took action today calling for stricter enforcement from all nations to prevent the extinction of the helemted hornbill. The CITES Parties agreed to adopt a strong Resolution and Decisions calling for urgent and integrated conservation and law enforcement measures, as well as coordinated efforts on the part of both consumer and range States as necessary to prevent the species from going extinct.

CITES CoP17 Delegates Adopt Resolution Recommending Closure of Domestic Elephant Ivory Markets Globally

The global community today further chipped away at the elephant ivory market. The countries gathered at CITES CoP17 adopted a resolution recommending the closure of domestic elephant ivory markets around the world. Traffickers and criminal networks are losing their markets and losing their financial incentives to illegally kill Africa’s elephants for their ivory.

WCS Cheers Adoption of CITES CoP17 Corruption Resolution

The 17th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) today saw passage of the resolution: Prohibiting, Preventing and Countering Corruption-Facilitating Activities Conducted in Violation of the Convention. This historic resolution marks the first time CITES Parties have addressed this issue. To mark the resolution’s adoption, this statement was released by the Wildlife Conservation Society on behalf of Dr. Susan Lieberman, WCS VP of International Policy and head of the WCS CITES Cop17 delegation.

The Ploughshare Tortoise’s Countdown to Extinction

The ploughshare tortoise, which has hung on for millennia, is now on the very verge of extinction in the wild—possibly within the next two years. As the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) convenes its 17th Conference of the Parties (CoP17) in Johannesburg, we urge the government of Madagascar and the other Parties to CITES to prioritize putting a swift end to the illegal international trade of this critically endangered species.