**NEWS FROM WCS**
CONTACT: MARY DIXON: (1-347-840-1242; firstname.lastname@example.org)
STEPHEN SAUTNER: (1-718-220-3682; email@example.com
NEW YORK (Feb. 25, 2016) – The following statement was issued by Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristián Samper:
“Our hearts are extended to the people of Fiji as the island nation mobilizes relief efforts to those hardest hit by Cyclone Winston.
“We have been honoured to work with communities across Fiji since 2001. Our Fiji team is reaching out to as many of our partners in Bua, Lomaiviti, Tailevu, and Ra Provinces. These areas are facing great challenges due to the force of this Category 5 storm.
“We know Fijian communities can be very strong in the face of such devastation. And while there is great sadness and uncertainty associated with such destruction, there is the underlying hope of recovery.
“Our staff is mobilizing to help by reaching out to community and government partners to determine how best to support them over the longer term through the recovery.
“We will continue to work with our partners to ensure the people and the ecosystems and biodiversity they rely on recover from this storm.
“Places across the globe have been facing unusually powerful climate events – such as Cyclone Winston. Our staff, as residents of Fiji, will first focus on recovery but also know this storm reminds us all of the importance of understanding the effects of climate change on our families, communities and environment.
“We encourage all around the globe to help with recovery. Here is a link to the Fiji government’s assistance page: http://www.fiji.gov.fj/Media-Center/Press-Releases/FIJIAN-GOVERNMENT-ESTABLISHES-DISASTER-RELIEF-FUND.aspx
“I extend great appreciation to our team in Fiji for their resilience and actions to help others.”
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 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: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.
The Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji program works with communities and the Fiji Government to protect biodiversity and natural resources through sound management practices. With our conservation partners, we have pioneered the use of an ecosystem-based management approach in Fiji through development of ridge-to-reef protected area networks designed to maintain ecological connectivity and improve resilience to climate change. Through our research we are learning how marine and freshwater systems in Fiji respond to disturbance and environmental change in order to provide science-based recommendations to local managers.