CONTACT: STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; ssautner@wcs.org

JOHN DELANEY: (1-718-220-3275; jdelaney@wcs.org)

LABOR DAY: WCS lists hard-working wildlife

From busy beavers to ants that farm their own crops…

PHOTOS: Captions and credits below – hi res available.


NEW YORK (September 4, 2015) – Just in time for Labor Day, WCS has released a list of some of our favorite hard-working wildlife:  

1.)    Weaverbirds:  The ultimate urban dweller, these diminutive birds construct intricate “cities” from grasses, small twigs, and leaf fibers.  Some of these woven condos can house up to 300 pairs of birds.  PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

2.)    Beavers:  Busy.  Industrious.  Able to change the course of mighty streams with stick-and-mud engineering marvels. Dam(n). PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

3.)    Leafcutter Ants:  Ants are already known to be hard-working, but these guys take it to a whole new level, harvesting bits of leaves and then growing nutritious fungus from them in underground gardens. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

4.)    Humpback Whales: How about a nice 8,000-mile swim?  Some populations of humpback whales do this round trip every year without batting a fluke.  PHOTO CREDIT: ©Julie Larsen Maher

5.)    Chipi Chipi Catfish:  Let’s call it the world’s smallest, longest fish migration.  The tiny chipi chipi, an obscure species of pencil catfish, swims more than 200 miles upstream to the foothills of the Andes in Bolivia.  No one is exactly sure why, but scientist believe it has something to do with breeding.  PHOTO CREDIT: Mileniusz Spanowicz/WCS

6.)    Arctic Terns: These four-ounce winged wonders log an amazing 44,000 miles each year as they wander between their respective winter and summering grounds in Antarctica and Greenland.  PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Zack

7.)    Naked Mole Rats: What they lack in good looks, they make up for with their handsome work ethic, forming ant-like colonies and constructing intricate subterranean chambers and tunnels, complete with a queen and workers. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

8.)    Alpine Swifts: Boy, are their arms tired.  I mean their wings. Who can blame them, flying six months at a clip without ever stopping. PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Zack

9.)    American Eels: Adult eels make heroic migrations from rivers to the middle of the Atlantic Ocean to spawn once and die.  Once the young hatch, they must ride the currents on their own across half an ocean to coastal rivers where they will grow up over the next 20-30 years. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS

10.)  Monarch Butterflies:  Not only do these colorful marathoners make a two-way migration just like birds – the only insect to do so – they do it multi-generationally, meaning that their birthright is to keep flying north (or south as the case may be). Royally impressive. PHOTO CREDIT: Julie Larsen Maher/WCS


Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. VISION: WCS envisions a world where wildlife thrives in healthy lands and seas, valued by societies that embrace and benefit from the diversity and integrity of life on earth. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in more than 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City,  visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: www.wcs.org; http://www.facebook.com/TheWCS; http://www.youtube.com/user/WCSMedia  Follow: @thewcs.