The Wildlife Conservation Society began its field conservation work in 1897 with the first-ever survey of Alaskan wildlife. Since then WCS has helped create more than 30 U.S. parks and reserves, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Olympic and Wind Cave National Parks, formed the American Bison Society to protect bison from extinction, and supported pioneering field studies on key wildlife such as bighorn sheep, black-footed ferrets, grizzlies, mountain lions and bald eagles.Today, WCS continues to turn wildlife science and research into positive conservation results. This includes health-related research and the development of conservation strategies based around disease mitigation measures. Our conservation health work spans the continent and includes studies on migratory shorebird health in Alaska’s Arctic Beringia region, studies of bison disease impacts in the Rocky Mountain west, research on bog turtle and loon health in the northeast, and research into the devastating spread of white-nose syndrome that is killing off bat populations across the continent, from the boreal forests of the Rockies to the temperate forests of the eastern US to the desert southwest.WCS is able to provide objective science to our conservation colleagues and partners, ranging from resource agencies to Native American/First Nations, and build bridges between academic scientists and conservation partners. The growing impact from development and climate change is leading to disturbed ecosystems that are more susceptible and often less resilient to disease threats from native or new pathogens. The WCS Health Programs are able to bring together research partners, community stakeholders, and federal and state government agencies and provide evidence-based disease management recommendations to help find solutions to these emerging threats.
Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher