Op-Eds, Blogs & Podcasts

Studying Interactions Between Animals and Humans to Conserve Species in African Tropical Forests
by Boo Maisels
WCS's Fiona "Boo" Maisels reflects on her work, recent research, and career as a conservation scientist in an interview with Marie McNeely for the People Behind the Science podcast.
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Promoting the Values of Bolivia’s Llanos de Moxos Biocultural Landscape: Part 1
by Rob Wallace
In the first of a multi-part blog series at Medium documenting WCS Bolivia's Llanos de Moxos expedition, Rob Wallace discusses how WCS and several local organizations have formed the Llanos de Moxos Working Group, which collectively seeks to promote the conservation of the largest wetland in the Amazon while improving local livelihoods.
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“Scary” Animals Need Love, Too.
by George Gurgis
"I hope to encourage empathy towards 'scary' animals and maybe even a love for them," writes George Gurgis in a new essay PBS Nature for LGBTQ+ Pride Month, adding, "That is why every time I see someone become excited towards my favorite classroom animals—a collection of snakes and two precious rats—it makes me so genuinely happy. It’s not only a win for the misunderstood animals, but for all of us that were labeled as 'different.'"
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A Beautiful Tortoise Falls Victim to the Illegal Pet Trade
by Kevin Torregrosa, Susie Bartlett
Turtles and tortoises are facing extinction like few other species groups. Nearly half of the 300+ species are at risk. The international pet trade is a major reason why. This week, the WCS Wild Audio podcast explores how the Bronx Zoo, as a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is working to tackle the problem and why the case of the radiated tortoise is a good example.
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How the American Bison Became the U.S. National Mammal
by John Calvelli, Keith Aune, Dave Carter, Jim Stone
Last week in Part 1 of our series on bison conservation, we explored the historical role that WCS and Indigenous and other partners played in helping to save the American bison from extinction and begin to restore this iconic species on tribal lands in the west. In Part 2, we look at how critical partnerships across lines of geography, culture, and politics helped to establish the bison as the national mammal of the United States.
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Unusual Sheep Flock in Goa Raises Concerns over Climate-Driven Disease Spread
by Aaron Savio Lobo
While the movement of food animals has crucial implications on food and nutrition security and thereby the resilience of regions," writes WCS India's Aaron Savio Lobo, "there is another pernicious element that is receiving less attention than it should, the spread of disease – zoonoses. While they move particularly under the duress of climate they are prone to infections and parasites."
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Indigenous Peoples’ and Local Communities’ Rights in Conservation
by Dawa Yangi Sherpa
"I believe that WCS as an international conservation organization has started to bring a shift by centering the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and championing a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to conservation," writes WCS's Dawa Yangi Sherpa in a new essay at PBS Nature for Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, adding, "We premise our work on the understanding that biological and cultural diversity are interconnected, mutually reinforcing, interdependent, and often co-evolved. All of this provides the basis for the change we seek."
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Restoring the Prairie's
by Pat Thomas, Jason George, Madeleine Thompson
For millennia, tens of millions of bison roamed the plains of North America. By the end of the 19th century, westward expansion and overhunting at the hands of settlers had devastated these populations. The fate of one of the America’s most iconic animals teetered on the edge of extinction. In Part 1 of a two-part series on bison conservation, WCS Wild Audio looks at how the Bronx Zoo, working with many other organizations and Indigenous Peoples, helped pull one of North America’s most endangered species back from the brink. Next week in Part 2: How the bison became the US national mammal
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On World Oceans Day, Young Voices Are Speaking Out to Protect the Hudson Canyon
by Leslieann Peers-Roman, Brynn Heller
One of WCS’s priorities is protecting an underwater marvel off the coast of New York and New Jersey. Along the way, the goal is to deepen the connection of the more than 28 million local residents to our treasured ocean resources. There are a number of voices contributing to the effort, including young people. For a World Oceans Day episode of the WCS Wild Audio podcast, Dan Rosen speaks with Leslieann Peers-Roman and Brynn Heller.
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The Health of the Wild and Our Own as Inextricably Linked
by Chris Walzer
H5N1 now poses an existential threat to global biodiversity, having infected over 150 wild and domestic avian species worldwide, along with numerous mammalian species. And while it's a significant risk for biodiversity, it also presents a potential spillover risk for us. In a new episode of the Voices of Wilderness podcast, WCS's Chris Walter discusses what we can do to tackle this wildlife crisis and why it's crucial to consider the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.
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In Belize, a Team Comes Together to Protect Sharks and Rays
by Dana Tricarico
Highlighting the WCS Sharks & Rays Program's recent planning retreat in Belize, WCS's Dana Tricarico discusses the ‘10 x10' initiative—a comprehensive, science-based strategy, providing guidance for management reforms in 10 geographies over 10 years between 2020 and 2030.
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Assessing the Challenges and Opportunities for Jaguar Conservation
by Esteban Payan, Rob Wallace, Mariana da Silva
When the Cat Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, or IUCN, met in San Diego in 2019 they were keen to identify fresh insights in jaguar conservation. Delayed due to COVID, the effort got back on track in 2023 and this winter its findings were published. It seemed like a good moment to check in with some of WCS’s leading jaguar conservationists to see how Latin America’s biggest cat is faring. We talked to Esteban Payan, Rob Wallace, and Mariana da Silva for this report.
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At-Risk Bats in Race Against Speedway for Existence
by Susan Holroyd, Cory Olson
The Alberta government recently approved a proposal for a motor speedway in a sensitive river valley "at a speed that would make Mario Andretti blush," write WCS Canada's Susan Holroyd and Cory Olson in a new op-ed for the Calgary Herald. "As wildlife biologists," they note, "we are raising caution flags about the potential effects of this project on species at risk, from bats to bank swallows."
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The World Must Work Together to Tackle the Growing Avian Influenza Crisis
by Chris Walzer, Sarah Olson
Confronting the growing avian influenza crisis, write WCS's Chris Walzer and Sarah Olson in a new essay for PBS Nature, requires independent coordination and close collaboration between animal and human health disciplines in sectors across the globe—both north and south. "No single entity or agency can or should tackle this crisis. It demands rapid, comprehensive, transparent sampling, analysis, and reporting to the scientific community," note Chris and Sarah.
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Empowering Fisherwomen in Belize's Marine Conservation Efforts
by Ralna Kay Lamb Lewis
WCS supports the government of Belize in the management of two marine reserves in Belize, protected by a dedicated team of local rangers and monitored by experienced local and international scientists. Beyond preserving marine ecosystems, their focus extends to supporting the livelihoods of fishing communities there. In a new episode of the WCS Wild Audio podcast, WCS Belize’s Ralna Kay Lamb Lewis says it's about ensuring that communities—especially women who have often been underrepresented—have the tools to manage resources, ensuring their own incomes and quality of life.
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4 Years after COVID, We Are Still Lacking an International Prevention Plan
by Sue Lieberman, Chris Walzer, Christine Franklin
In a new op-ed for The Hill, WCS's Sue Lieberman, Chris Walzer, and Christine Franklin make an urgent call for the inclusion of explicit language on pandemic prevention at source in a new and legally binding World Health Organization (WHO) agreement for pandemic preparedness to be finalized this month. Their central argument is that preventing pathogen spillover where it occurs in the first place must be a companion to identifying response protocols once a viral pandemic is already upon us.
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