Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
The Wildlife Conservation Society, founded in 1895, has the clear mission to save wildlife and wild places across the globe. The story began in the early 1900’s when Wildlife Conservation Society successfully helped the American bison recover on the Western Plains. Today, Wildlife Conservation Society protects many of the world’s iconic creatures here and abroad, including gorillas in the Congo, tigers in India, wolverines in the Yellowstone Rockies, and ocean giants in the world’s amazing seascapes.
During the 115 years, Wildlife Conservation Society has forged the power of the global conservation work and the management of the five parks in New York City to create the world’s most comprehensive conservation organization. Wildlife Conservation Society currently manages about 500 conservation projects in more than 60 countries; and educate millions of visitors at the five living institutions in New York City on important issues affecting the planet. The parks include: the Bronx Zoo, New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo.
With a commitment to protect 25 percent of the world’s biodiversity, Wildlife Conservation Society address four of the biggest issues facing wildlife and wild places: climate change; natural resource exploitation; the connection between wildlife health and human health; and the sustainable development of human livelihoods. While taking on these issues, Wildlife Conservation Society manages more than 200 million acres of protected lands around the world, with more than 200 scientists on staff.
The WCS parks in New York City welcome 4 million visitors each year, including helping the city to educate millions of schoolchildren in science and conservation issues.
The history, dating back to ensuring the survival of the American bison, inspires the work each day. Wildlife Conservation Society hopes the work in turn inspires millions to take action to protect the natural resources that are so important to all life on the fragile Earth.
For WCS to be successful in its mission to save wildlife and wild places, the conservation work must benefit people as well as animals. Directly or indirectly, Wildlife Conservation Society all depends on Earth’s resources for the livelihoods and the survival. People around the world fish, farm, log, and hunt for food, shelter, and other necessities for their families and communities. However, these resources are finite. If Wildlife Conservation Society harvests and use them in unsustainable ways, the resources Wildlife Conservation Society needs will eventually run out.
WCS conservationists work with community leaders and members to develop ways people can use their land and water to generate income while promoting natural resource conservation. Wildlife Conservation Society helps local people create new agricultural products and practices, modify fishing techniques, generate ecotourism revenue, and provide recovery aid to areas devastated by violence and natural disasters. Investing in the current and future quality of life is the key to sound conservation practice.
Natural Resource Use
Human society is used to putting a price tag on natural resources—on timber, oil, animal pelts, and ivory. But as the demand outpaces the supply, a new challenge has arisen: Finding an economic value for slowing down the consumption of nature’s bounty and treading more gently on the planet. To balance the needs of people and wildlife, WCS is working with industries involved in natural resource extraction, to help them manage their concessions more sustainably. WCS also assists local communities whose livelihoods depend on hunting, fishing, and the extraction of other natural resources in finding new economic opportunities that promote both human wellbeing and animal conservation. Finally, Wildlife Conservation Society is working on-the-ground with law enforcement agencies to stem the harmful wildlife trade.
Recent outbreaks of swine and avian flu, Ebola hemorrhagic fever, and West Nile virus remind people that humans and wildlife are intimately connected—everywhere. Wildlife Conservation Society shares habitats as well as food and water sources. Wildlife Conservation Society can share similar biology, along with vulnerability to some of the same diseases. On the planet, Wildlife Conservation Society shares one health. Human well-being relies on the well-being of other species. Whether in the backyards, at the zoo, at the market, in the jungle, or flying overhead, wildlife is closer than they may realize.
WCS-Global Health strives to keep each aspect of the relationship between humans and animals healthy through wildlife health monitoring, clinical care, research in its zoos and in the field, and collaboration with communities, scientists, and policymakers around the world.
Climate change is arguably the most significant conservation challenge Wildlife Conservation Society face today. Global warming threatens the integrity of marine and terrestrial habitats and interrupts natural cycles such as migration and hibernation. WCS works across the globe to combat the effects of climate change on wildlife and wild places. The wide-reaching studies of this worldwide phenomenon inform decisions by the scientific community and policymakers, as well as local organizations. The conservationists work on the ground with communities that depend on natural resources to help them find mutually-beneficial solutions to relieve the stress on fragile ecosystems. Wildlife Conservation Society also works closely with governments and corporations to reduce and offset carbon emissions. Protecting the world’s remaining forests from destruction is an important tool for stemming the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions.