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Borough of Bronx, NY, United States

The Wildlife Conservation Society was founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society and currently works to conserve more than two million square miles of wild places around the world. Based at the Bronx Zoo, the organization maintains approximately 500 field conservation projects in 65 countries, with 200 PhD scientists on staff. WCS manages four New York City wildlife parks in addition to the Bronx Zoo: the Central Park Zoo, New York Aquarium, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo. Together these parks receive 4.5 million visitors per year. All of the New York City facilities are accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums . Wikipedia.

Gubbi S.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Biological Conservation | Year: 2012

Success stories in Indian conservation also carry opportunity costs in the form of human-wildlife conflicts, especially to people living in close proximity with wildlife. In India, human-wildlife conflict is a serious challenge to wildlife conservation, which needs a much-improved scientific and social understanding. In this study, I assess the patterns and correlates of human-elephant conflicts around Nagarahole National Park, southern India. I hypothesised that human and livestock demographic variables, and factors such as cropping patterns, availability of irrigated land around the national park, and protected area frontage to be the underlying correlates of conflict. Using applications and documents filed with the wildlife department by affected farmers during the period 2006-2009, I analysed crops affected, compensation payments made by the Government, spatio-temporal patterns of conflict and identified the key correlates of human-elephant conflict. 98.8% of the conflict incidences occurred in villages that lie within 6. km from the national park boundary. Of the 26 crop types affected by elephants, finger millet, maize, cotton, paddy and sugarcane formed 86.34% of the total crop losses. Conflict frequencies were highest during August-November, a period when there was a decrease in rainfall and important crops such as finger millet, maize and paddy were ripening. Multiple linear regression results suggest that villages with higher protected area frontage and unirrigated land were key variables underlying conflict frequency. However, results from this study suggests that there are other probable factors such as elephant behaviour, movement patterns and/or maintenance of physical barriers which could be more important determinants of conflict. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Bennett E.L.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservation Biology | Year: 2015

Illegal hunting of African elephants (Loxodonta africana) for ivory is causing rapid declines in their populations. Since 2007, illegal ivory trade has more than doubled. African elephants are facing the most serious conservation crisis since 1989, when international trade was banned. One solution proposed is establishment of a controlled legal trade in ivory. High prices for ivory mean that the incentives to obtain large quantities are high, but the quantity of tusks available for trade are biologically constrained. Within that context, effective management of a legal ivory trade would require robust systems to be in place to ensure that ivory from illegally killed elephants cannot be laundered into a legal market. At present, that is not feasible due to corruption among government officials charged with implementing wildlife-related legislation. With organized criminal enterprises involved along the whole commodity chain, corruption enables the laundering of illegal ivory into legal or potentially legal markets. Poachers and traffickers can rapidly pay their way out of trouble, so the financial incentives to break the law heavily outweigh those of abiding by it. Maintaining reliable permitting systems and leak-proof chains of custody in this context is challenging, and effective management breaks down. Once illegal ivory has entered the legal trade, it is difficult or impossible for enforcement officers to know what is legal and illegal. Addressing corruption throughout a trade network that permeates countries across the globe will take decades, if it can ever be achieved. That will be too late for wild African elephants at current rates of loss. If we are to conserve remaining wild populations, we must close all markets because, under current levels of corruption, they cannot be controlled in a way that does not provide opportunities for illegal ivory being laundered into legal markets. © 2014 Society for Conservation Biology. Source

Harvey C.A.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2014

Across the tropics, smallholder farmers already face numerous risks to agricultural production. Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect smallholder farmers and make their livelihoods even more precarious; however, there is limited information on their overall vulnerability and adaptation needs. We conducted surveys of 600 households in Madagascar to characterize the vulnerability of smallholder farmers, identify how farmers cope with risks and explore what strategies are needed to help them adapt to climate change. Malagasy farmers are particularly vulnerable to any shocks to their agricultural system owing to their high dependence on agriculture for their livelihoods, chronic food insecurity, physical isolation and lack of access to formal safety nets. Farmers are frequently exposed to pest and disease outbreaks and extreme weather events (particularly cyclones), which cause significant crop and income losses and exacerbate food insecurity. Although farmers use a variety of risk-coping strategies, these are insufficient to prevent them from remaining food insecure. Few farmers have adjusted their farming strategies in response to climate change, owing to limited resources and capacity. Urgent technical, financial and institutional support is needed to improve the agricultural production and food security of Malagasy farmers and make their livelihoods resilient to climate change. Source

Warmer, and sometimes drier, conditions associated with global climate change are driving many species to shift poleward and/or upslope. I hypothesized that microclimatic changes related to deforestation cause similar shifts for forest species persisting within degraded landscapes. This appears to be the first study to examine this novel hypothesis. I examined elevational distributions of dung beetle communities along parallel intact and disturbed elevational gradients from 290 to 3450masl in the Andes of southeastern Peru. Deforested sites were consistently warmer and drier than forested sites. To maintain the same ambient temperature as in forest, species in a deforested landscape would need to shift on average 489±59m upslope. Dung beetle species showed a mean upslope range shift of 132±64m (maximum=743m) in the deforested landscape. Eight species occurred farther upslope in the degraded landscape, while none shifted downslope. In addition to upper range limit expansions, six species shifting upslope also showed range contractions or population declines at their lower range boundary. High elevation and disturbance-tolerant species did not show range shifts. These findings suggest that land-use change may both confound and compound the influence of global climate change on biodiversity. Synergies between habitat degradation and climate change could more than double previous range shift projections for this century, leading to unexpectedly rapid changes in biodiversity, especially for sensitive organisms such as tropical insects. On the other hand, range shifts caused by habitat degradation may be mistakenly attributed to global climate change. © 2011 The Author(s) Journal compilation © 2011 Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation. Source

Robinson J.G.,Wildlife Conservation Society
Conservation Biology | Year: 2012

The conservation community increasingly views the corporate sector as a positive force for conservation. Collaborations between corporations and nongovernmental conservation organizations (NGOs) seek to mitigate the negative effects of corporate activities and augment positive conservation outcomes. I reviewed the establishment of corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies by corporations; the emerging focus on environmental practices and sustainability; and the history of engagement between corporations and nongovernmental organizations. I considered the ethical and reputation vulnerabilities of these collaborations, which depend especially on the financial nature of the relationship and reviewed how CSR approaches have influenced corporate practices. I concluded that whereas CSR practices can act to mitigate negative environmental impact, to date they have had limited positive effect on biodiversity conservation. ©2012 Society for Conservation Biology. Source

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