Op-Eds, Blogs & Podcasts

Lula and Biden Face a Historic Opportunity to Protect the Amazon
by Dan Zarin, Carlos Nobre
As Brazilian President Lula prepares to meet with US President Biden in Washington this month, WCS's Dan Zarin and his colleague Carlos Nobre argue that the U.S. government should be asking Lula and his Environment Minister Marina Silva to specify their priorities for U.S. support. And Biden should respond with ambition and urgency to help the current Brazilian leadership to do what’s needed to reclaim effective governance and halt and reverse the destruction in the Amazon.
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Protecting Belize’s Macaws with Boris Arevalo
by Boris Arevalo
Scarlet macaws are icons of the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. But in the Central American country of Belize, scarlet macaws are disappearing as poachers steal their chicks for the international pet trade. For the premiere episode of the Wild World podcast, Scott Solomon speaks WCS's Boris Arevalo, who is working to protect these spectacular birds by any means possible, including camping at the base of the trees where they nest and rearing chicks until they're large enough to be safe from poachers.
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Documenting the Extraordinary Biodiversity in Bolivia’s Madidi National Park
by Rob Wallace
Madidi National Park, in northeastern Bolivia, boasts a jaw-dropping concentration of some of the richest biodiversity on the planet. The vast landscape ranges from the Amazon River basin up nearly 6,000 meters to the peaks of the Andes. A comprehensive WCS survey has documented thousands of plants and animals, some new to science, that are informing conservation in the region. Wild Audio spoke to WCS Bolivia’s Rob Wallace to learn more.
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Protecting Africa’s Rarest Great Ape, the Elusive Cross River Gorilla
by Inaoyom Imong
The Critically Endangered Cross River gorilla is the rarest and most elusive of Africa’s four subspecies of gorilla. Found exclusively in the densely forested jungles between Nigeria and Cameroon, it is thought that there are as few as 300 animals left in the wild. But despite the persistent threats of habitat loss, gene fragmentation, and poaching, there is hope, says WCS Nigeria Director of Cross River Landscapes, Inaoyom Imong. WCS Wild Audio's Hannah Kaplan has this report.
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Using Drones to Assess World’s Largest Mass Gathering of Giant River Turtles
by Omar Torrico, Enrique Domic, Gonzalo Jordan
The use of drones to monitor turtle populations gives us a broader view of the applications of technologies for the near future, note Omar Torrico, Enrique Domic and Gonzalo Jordan in a new essay for PBS Nature. Such technology, they say, helps us to do more with fewer resources. "In a rapidly changing world," they conclude, "conservation and technology must go hand in hand for a common goal: the protection of nature."
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Protecting Marine Species in the Canadian Arctic’s Increasingly Noisy Waters
by Bill Halliday, Steve Insley
Across the globe, climate change is reshaping land and seascapes. In the Arctic, melting sea ice is opening up shipping traffic into and out of the region. The increasingly noisy underwater environment created by these commercial vessels now threatens marine mammals that rely on sound for communication, food, and safety. WCS Canada’s Bill Halliday and Steve Insley have been studying this growing problem
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Advancing Community-Led Conservation Through Social Safeguards
by Kasper Agger
In a new essay, WCS's Kasper Agger describes an initiative with several wildlife corridor villages in Tanzania to pilot policies and procedures — known as social safeguards — to mitigate unintended negative impacts that the corridors might have on the local population.
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A Tenacious Predator Faces an Unrelenting Opponent—Climate Change
by Martin Robards, Tom Glass
The Arctic is currently warming four times faster than the rest of the planet. Drastic changes are happening. We still don’t know all the different ways this is impacting local wildlife. WCS Wild Audio spoke with WCS's Martin Robards and his colleague Tom Glass of the University of Montana about what they’ve learned about one unheralded species in particular: wolverines.
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Coral Reefs Need a Big Win in Montreal. What Will It Take?
by Emily Darling, Kim Fisher
Governments are poised to make new commitments to biodiversity-rich ecosystems like coral reefs this month in Montreal, note WCS’s Emily Darling and Kim Fisher in a new essay for PBS Nature during CBD CoP15. To make good on those promises, they say, countries will need access to clear, timely data to monitor their progress. Platforms like MERMAID stand ready to support governments and institutions to take action for coral.
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Driving Finance for Coral Reef Resilience
by Simon Cripps, Angelique Brathwaite, Yabanex Batista
Coral reefs cover less than 1% of the ocean," writes WCS's Simon Cripps and colleagues in a new essay for The Economist, "yet they support more than a quarter of all marine species. Moreover, coral reefs elicit US$36bn annually in tourism spending, support global fisheries, and prevent storm-related flood damage to the value of US$4bn globally each year. What we stand to lose if we lose coral reefs is hard to imagine—but it is fast becoming a reality. Reefs face existential threats from climate change and human activities."
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Global Biodiversity Protection Must Center Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities’ Human Rights
by Sushil Raj
"As CBD Parties debate and finalize a post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework," writes WCS's Sushil Raj in a new essay for PBS Nature, "we must acknowledge and embrace the outsized role Indigenous Peoples and local communities play, and have always played, in sustaining our planet."
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Canada Is Identifying Key Biodiversity Areas, or KBAs, Critical to Protecting Species and their Habitats
by Peter Soroye
In 2016, thirteen of the world’s leading nature conservation organizations launched an ambitious new Key Biodiversity Areas partnership to identify sites that are important for the persistence of biodiversity. With the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity taking place in Montreal, WCS Wild Audio checked in with WCS Canada's Peter Soroye to hear how the KBA initiative is going in his country.
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The EU Must Maintain Its Ambition on Biodiversity
by Janice Weatherley-Singh, Hilde Eggermont, Noor Yafai-Stroband
For the COP15 biodiversity conference in Montreal to succeed, writes WCS's Janice Weatherley-Singh with her colleagues Noor Yafai-Stroband and Hilde Eggermont, a massive increase in political commitment will be needed.
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The Meeting in Montreal That Could Help Save the Planet
by Sue Lieberman, Justina Ray, Alfred DeGemmis
After two years of delay due to the COVID pandemic, the long-awaited 15th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity is upon us. As we look to the start of the meeting in Montreal, Canada, WCS Wild Audio spoke with WCS's Sue Lieberman, Justina Ray, and Alfred DeGemmis to find out what it all means and gain some insights into what to expect.
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Conserving Species in Extreme Environments
by Joel Berger
In a new episode of the People Behind the Science podcast, WCS's Joel Berger discusses his long career in conservation, including his efforts to establish the only Federally designated wildlife corridor in the U.S., getting arrested in Russia, and his work to protect species in some of the world's species in remote areas.
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We Need to Protect Endangered Ecosystems to Protect Endangered Species
by Dan Kraus
In a new op-ed for Canada's National Observer, WCS Canada's Dan Kraus explores how we can break through the bottleneck of all the species that need protection under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) and, more importantly, what can we do now to halt and reverse the loss of Canada’s biodiversity.
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