VOICES Ideas and Insight From Explorers
By John F. Calvelli Last June, more than a ton of ivory was crushed in New York City’s Times Square. With the crush, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), and other conservation groups sought to call attention to the slaughter of 96 elephants by poachers every day in Africa and…
By Cori Lausen
Bat Week culminates on Halloween this year. It’s a fitting opportunity to recognize how important these nocturnal flying animals are to our planet. The cave-dwelling mammals have been increasingly at risk from White Nose Syndrome, or WNS, a lethal malady has been spreading westward since its first occurrence in 2006.
By Jeremy Radachowsky
In the run-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris next month, countries are promoting research into new climate-friendly technologies – things like capturing carbon emitted from smokestacks and storing it underground, increasing efficiency of energy use and the transportation sector, and even wilder ideas such as changing the reflectivity of earth’s surface. Yet, there are two existing technologies that are ready to be acted upon today, whose collective impact could be larger than any future technological breakthrough.
By Rob Wallace
Three in One! The dramatic and breathtaking mountains of the Apolobamba range provided the backdrop for our third, fourth, and fifth Identidad Madidi expedition study sites. Expected to take two years to complete, Identidad Madidi is a scientific expedition intended to draw attention to the wonders of Bolivia’s Madidi National Park. Our team of conservationists is investigating fourteen different habitats spanning 6,000 meters – from the Andes down to the Amazon – in what is the most biodiverse protected area on the planet. The most recent leg of the trip was planned to document the biodiversity at three of the four highest sites on our transect.
By Cristián Samper
At the Wildlife Conservation Society today we unveiled our WCS: 2020 strategy and, along with it, a new WCS.org website and brand identity. This announcement advances our 120-year mission to save wildlife and wild places. As the world rapidly changes, our approach to conservation must adapt and evolve. Our WCS: 2020 strategy represents our response to that change and a way to scale up our impact. Our choices today can give us a fighting chance to preserve the intricate balance of species and ecosystems that all lives depend upon.
There is now clearer recognition that sustainable development and biodiversity conservation are inextricably linked and that one cannot succeed without the other. The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals address conservation of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The new agenda specifies that UN member states will “conserve and sustainably use oceans and seas, freshwater resources, as well as forests, mountains and drylands and to protect biodiversity, ecosystems and wildlife.” And SDG targets specifically refer to endangered species, calling for an end to wildlife poaching and trafficking.
By Rob Wallace
We are in the midst of an altitudinal transect of Bolivia’s Madidi National Park: visiting 14 habitats over two years. The dry montane forests of the upper Tuichi river valley provided the setting for our second Identidad Madidi study site in July, allowing us to experience glorious changes in color. Most of the trees in these forests lose their leaves in June and July and an abundance of drier forest plant taxa abounds. One of the aims of Identidad Madidi is to significantly increase knowledge on vertebrate diversity and distribution in this globally outstanding protected area.
By Katie Dolan [Note: This is the third and final blog about Cycle Adirondacks, which ran from August 23-29.] The final three days of Cycle Adirondacks brought bears, Blue Mountain Lake, lessons in building community, and beautiful scenery both on and off our bikes. Residents from the towns along our route welcomed riders with big…
For the past few days, Cycle Adirondacks participants have seen beautiful biking habitats, rolling hills, green-hued farm fields, and quiet back roads of the Tug Hill Plateau, just west of the Adirondacks.
My sister, Amy, and I stop to admire the quiet vistas and look for loons and other majestic wildlife. As we pedal out of Saranac Lake in upstate New York, I start focusing on the placid waters reflecting puffy clouds rather than thinking of the 68 rolling miles ahead.
By John Calvelli
August 12th has been designated as World Elephant Day, an opportunity for all of us to celebrate this iconic species. Hopefully, it will also serve as a reminder that each of us can make a difference. By supporting the proposed ESA 4(d) rule we will make sure that our voices are being heard and we are playing our part to make sure that there is a future for elephants.
By Lilian Painter
On August 9 the world will commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This year the focus is on health and wellbeing. That topic engages me particularly as a conservationist working in the Amazon. The Bolivia program of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) has shown that the interests of indigenous peoples and conservation are not only compatible but also dependent on each other.
On World Ranger Day, we laud the men and women who risk their lives to protect wildlife and wild places around the world.
Dragons have been present in human folklore for centuries, appearing as heroes and villains in the pages of children’s books, Hollywood summer blockbusters, and popular television shows. But to me, dragons are just another part of my day job. As the senior wild animal keeper for the Herpetology Department at the Bronx Zoo in New York City, I am responsible for the care and management of the four Komodo dragons that are currently part of our collection. While these dragons do not breathe fire and have not stolen away princesses, they still possess the beauty, power, and majesty of their fictional brethren.