Research Publications

Since our founding as the New York Zoological Society in 1895, one of WCS’s core strengths has been the quality of our research. Our world-class scientific staff—based in our zoos, aquarium, and conservation programs around the globe—produce hundreds of research publications each year. We use this science to discover and understand the natural world. This knowledge helps us engage and inspire decision-makers, communities, and millions of supporters to take action with us to protect  the wildlife and wild places we all care about.


WCS-authored publications from this year are listed below and updated weekly. For annual bibliographies of WCS-authored publications or to search our database of WCS publications, use the links above. Media inquiries about these and other WCS publications can be directed to WCS Communications staff. For all other inquiries, please contact the WCS Library.




Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 2

Crooks, G. C., P. P. Calle, R. P. Moore, C. McClave, P. Toledo, N. Auil Gomez, V. B. Perez, A. Tewfik et al. (2023). "Hematologic and biochemical values of free-ranging hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) in Glover's Reef, Belize." Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 54(1), 49-55. 

Abstract: Blood samples were obtained from the dorsal cervical sinus of free-ranging hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata) collected at Glover's Reef Marine Reserve, 42 km east of the coast of Belize, for hematology and plasma biochemistry analysis. Unknown sex, subadult turtles (N = 32) were sampled in 2013 (n = 22) and 2017 (n = 10). To provide a more robust data set, parameters that did not have statistically significant differences were pooled and treated as a single population. Eleven hematologic parameters were evaluated; of these, five were pooled. Twenty-three plasma biochemical parameters were evaluated; of these, 15 were pooled. The PCV observed in this study (mean 33.44%) was double that observed in two studies of juvenile hawksbills in Dubai (means 17% and 16%), whereas the total WBC count was half that observed in immature and adult hawksbills sampled in the Galápagos (mean 2.91 × 103 versus 5.3 × 103/µl). Total protein and albumin were lower than regionally similar, adult female hawksbills in Brazil (means 3.36 versus 5.45 g/dl and 0.93 versus 2.11 g/dl, respectively). Globulins were higher (mean 2.43 versus 1.06 and 0.5 g/dl), driving the albumin:globulin ratio lower than that observed in two studies of juvenile hawksbills in Dubai (0.4:1 versus 1.1:1 and 1:1, respectively). These findings represent a geographically distinct population from previous reports, highlight the variability in blood parameters from disparate populations, and reaffirm the vital importance of considering a multitude of variables when interpreting reptilian blood values. The similarities in the majority of values observed in 2013 and 2017 provide confidence in the stability of these parameters in this population.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 2

Munsch, S. H., F. L. Beaty, K. M. Beheshti, …, J. K. O'Leary et al. (2023). "Northeast Pacific eelgrass dynamics: Interannual expansion distances and meadow area variation over time." Marine Ecology Progress Series 705, 61-75. 

Abstract: Ecosystems constantly change, yet managers often lack information to move beyond static habitat assumptions. As human impacts and geographic information systems advance, it is important and feasible to quantify past habitat boundary shifts to inform management decisions (e.g. protective perimeters) robust to near-term habitat changes. This is the case in eelgrass (Zostera spp.), an ecosystem engineer that forms dynamic, often protected meadows. Practitioners protect areas to avoid human stress to eelgrass, but they can lack quantitative descriptions of the near-term potential for eelgrass meadows to shift into unprotected areas. Here, we quantified interannual eelgrass meadow boundary shifts within 23 sites spanning 9 decades and 19° latitude. Eelgrass meadow boundaries typically shifted into areas tens of meters away from previous meadow edges, but sometimes much farther. Also, eelgrass meadows often vacated and later recolonized the same areas. By implication, eelgrass protection efforts may be enhanced by considering that presently vacant areas may be inhabited in the future, especially near currently existing meadows. Additionally, eelgrass meadows changed less over time at sites less modified by people within temperate landscapes compared to sites located within human-dominated, warmer, and drought-prone landscapes with limited water turnover. We thus hypothesize that eelgrass meadows change more over time within landscapes exposed to greater stressor regimes because they more frequently or intensely cycle through disturbance and recovery phases. These results inform tactical decisions seeking to mitigate impacts of human activities to eelgrass and underscore the potential synergy of monitoring, research, and adaptive management approaches to protect dynamic habitats. 

Grey Literature

Grey Literature Citations 1 of 4

Wilkie, D. and H. E. Kretser (2023). Jeda dan Refleksi Alat Sederhana untuk Tim Belajar dan Menyetujui Cara Melakukan Sesuatu dengan Lebih Baik. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society.  

Grey Literature Citations 2 of 4

Wilkie, D. and H. E. Kretser (2023). Pausa e Reflexo Uma ferramenta simples para as equipas aprenderem e Concordar Como Fazer Melhor as Coisas. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society.  

Grey Literature Citations 3 of 4

Wilkie, D. and H. E. Kretser (2023). Pausa y Reflexión una Herramienta sencilla para que los equipos aprendan y acordar cómo hacer mejor las cosas. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society. 

Grey Literature Citations 4 of 4

Wilkie, D. and H. E. Kretser (2023). Pause Et Réflexion un Outil Simple Pour Permettre aux Équipes d'Apprendre et se Mettre d'Accord sur la Manière de Mieux Faire les Choses. Bronx, NY: Wildlife Conservation Society.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 9

Alston, J. M., D. A. Keinath, C. K. R. Willis, C. L. Lausen et al. (Early View). "Environmental drivers of body size in North American bats." Functional Ecology.

Abstract: 1. Bergmann's rule—which posits that larger animals live in colder areas—is thought to influence variation in body size within species across space and time, but evidence for this claim is mixed. 2. We used Bayesian hierarchical models to test four competing hypotheses for spatiotemporal variation in body size within 20 bat species across North America: (1) the heat conservation hypothesis, which posits that increased body size facilitates body heat conservation (and which is the traditional explanation for the mechanism underlying Bergmann's rule); (2) the heat mortality hypothesis, which posits that increased body size increases susceptibility to acute heat stress; (3) the resource availability hypothesis, which posits that increased body size is enabled in areas with more abundant food; and (4) the starvation resistance hypothesis, which posits that increased body size reduces susceptibility to starvation during acute food shortages. 3. Spatial variation in body mass was most consistently (and negatively) correlated with mean annual temperature, supporting the heat conservation hypothesis. Across time, variation in body mass was most consistently (and positively) correlated with net primary productivity, supporting the resource availability hypothesis. 4. Climate change could influence body size in animals through both changes in mean annual temperature and resource availability. Rapid reductions in body size associated with increasing temperatures have occurred in short-lived, fecund species, but such reductions will be obscured by changes in resource availability in longer-lived, less fecund species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 9

Farhadinia, M. S., P. J. Johnson, V. Kamath, ..., Z. Alom, ..., B. Buuveibaatar, ..., A. Lynam, ..., A. Rasphone et al. (Early View). "Economics of conservation law enforcement by rangers across Asia." Conservation Letters, e12943.

Abstract: Biodiversity targets, under the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, prioritize both conservation area and their effectiveness. The effective management of protected areas (PAs) depends greatly on law enforcement resources, which is often tasked to rangers. We addressed economic aspects of law enforcement by rangers working in terrestrial landscapes across Asia. Accordingly, we used ranger numbers and payment rates to derive continental-scale estimates. Ranger density has decreased by 2.4-fold since the 1990s, increasing the median from 10.9 to 26.4 km2 of PAs per ranger. Rangers were generally paid more than the minimum wage (median ratio = 1.9) and the typical salaries in agriculture, forestry, and fishing sector (median ratio = 1.2). Annual spending on ranger salaries varied widely among countries, with a median of annual US71 km−2 of PA. Nearly 208,000 rangers patrolling Asian PAs provide an invaluable opportunity to develop ranger-based monitoring plans for evaluating the conservation performance. As decision-makers frequently seek an optimum number of law enforcement staff, our study provides a continental baseline median of 46.3 km2 PA per ranger. Our findings also provide a baseline for countries to improve their ranger-based law enforcement which is critical for their Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework targets.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 9

Groeneveld, M. J., J. D. Klein, R. H. Bennett and A. E. Bester-van der Merwe (2023). "Characterization of the complete mitochondrial genomes of two Critically Endangered wedgefishes: Rhynchobatus djiddensis and Rhynchobatus australiae." Mitochondrial DNA Part B: Resources 8(3), 352-358.

Abstract: We present the complete mitochondrial genomes of the Critically Endangered whitespotted wedgefish, Rhynchobatus djiddensis (Forsskål, 1775), and bottlenose wedgefish, Rhynchobatus australiae (Whitley, 1939), with the R. djiddensis mitogenome documented for the first time. The genomes for R. djiddensis and R. australiae are 16,799 and 16,805?bp in length, respectively. Both comprise 13 protein-coding regions, 22 tRNA genes, two rRNA genes, and a non-coding control region. All protein-coding regions consistently start with the ATG start codon; however, the alternative start codon GTG is observed at the start of the COX1 gene. NADH2, COX2, and NADH4 have incomplete stop codons: T or TA, and tRNALeu and tRNASer, have atypical codons: UAA, UGA, GCU, and UAG. The phylogenetic analysis places R. djiddensis and R. australiae within the Rhynchobatus genus, separate from other families in the order Rhinopristiformes. We also highlight the most variable gene regions to expedite future primer design, of which NADH2 was the most variable (4.5%) when taking gene length into account. These molecular resources could promote the taxonomic resolution of the whitespotted wedgefish species complex and aid in the genetic characterization of populations of these and related species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 9

He, X., A. D. Ziegler, P. R. Elsen et al. (2023). "Accelerating global mountain forest loss threatens biodiversity hotspots." One Earth 6(3), 303-315.

Abstract: The frontier of forest loss has encroached into mountains in some regions. However, the global distribution of forest loss in mountain areas, which are home to >85% of the world’s birds, mammals, and amphibians, is uncertain. Here we combine multiple datasets, including global forest change and selected species distributions, to examine spatiotemporal patterns, drivers, and impacts of mountain forest loss. We find 78 Mha of montane forest was lost during 2001–2018 and annual loss accelerated significantly, with recent losses being 2.7-fold greater than those at the beginning of the century. Key drivers of mountain forest loss include commercial forestry, agriculture, and wildfire. Areas with the greatest forest loss overlap with important tropical biodiversity hotspots. Our results indicate protected areas within mountain biodiversity hotspots experienced lower loss rates than their surroundings. Increasing the area of protection in mountains should be central to preserving montane forests and biodiversity in the future.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 9

Latinne, A., N. T. Nga, N. V. Long, P. T. Ngoc, H. B. Thuy, P. Consortium, ..., C. Walzer, S. H. Olson and A. E. Fine (2023). "One health surveillance highlights circulation of viruses with zoonotic potential in bats, pigs, and humans in Viet Nam." Viruses 15(3), e790.

Abstract: A One Health cross-sectoral surveillance approach was implemented to screen biological samples from bats, pigs, and humans at high-risk interfaces for zoonotic viral spillover for five viral families with zoonotic potential in Viet Nam. Over 1600 animal and human samples from bat guano harvesting sites, natural bat roosts, and pig farming operations were tested for coronaviruses (CoVs), paramyxoviruses, influenza viruses, filoviruses and flaviviruses using consensus PCR assays. Human samples were also tested using immunoassays to detect antibodies against eight virus groups. Significant viral diversity, including CoVs closely related to ancestors of pig pathogens, was detected in bats roosting at the human–animal interfaces, illustrating the high risk for CoV spillover from bats to pigs in Viet Nam, where pig density is very high. Season and reproductive period were significantly associated with the detection of bat CoVs, with site-specific effects. Phylogeographic analysis indicated localized viral transmission among pig farms. Our limited human sampling did not detect any known zoonotic bat viruses in human communities living close to the bat cave and harvesting bat guano, but our serological assays showed possible previous exposure to Marburg virus-like (Filoviridae), Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever virus-like (Bunyaviridae) viruses and flaviviruses. Targeted and coordinated One Health surveillance helped uncover this viral pathogen emergence hotspot.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 9

Leupold, M., M. Pfeiffer, T. K. Watanabe, ..., T. McClanahan et al. (2023). "Mid-Holocene expansion of the Indian Ocean warm pool documented in coral Sr/Ca records from Kenya." Scientific Reports 13(1), e777.

Abstract: Proxy reconstructions suggest that mid-Holocene East African temperatures were warmer than today between 8 and 5 ka BP, but climate models cannot replicate this warming. Precessional forcing caused a shift of maximum insolation from boreal spring to fall in the mid-Holocene, which may have favored intense warming at the start of the warm season. Here, we use three Porites corals from Kenya that represent time windows from 6.55 to 5.87 ka BP to reconstruct past sea surface temperature (SST) seasonality from coral Sr/Ca ratios in the western Indian Ocean during the mid-Holocene. Although the Indian monsoon was reportedly stronger in the mid-Holocene, which should have amplified the seasonal cycle of SST in the western Indian Ocean, the corals suggest reduced seasonality (mean 3.2 °C) compared to the modern record (mean 4.3 °C). Warming in austral spring is followed by a prolonged period of warm SSTs, suggesting that an upper limit of tropical SSTs under mid-Holocene conditions was reached at the start of the warm season, and SSTs then remained stable. Similar changes are seen at the Seychelles. Bootstrap estimates suggest a reduction in SST seasonality of 1.3 ± 0.22 °C at Kenya and 1.7 ± 0.32 °C at the Seychelles. SST seasonality at Kenya corresponds to present-day SST seasonality at 55° E–60° E, while SST seasonality at the Seychelles corresponds to present day SST seasonality at ~ 65° E. This implies a significant westward expansion of the Indian Ocean warm pool. Furthermore, the coral data suggests that SST seasonality deviates from seasonal changes in orbital insolation due to ocean–atmosphere interactions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 9

Melanidis, M. S., S. Hagerman, G. P. St-Laurent, L. E. Oakes and M. S. Cross (Accepted Article). "Exploring the emergence of a tipping point for conservation with increased recognition of social considerations." Conservation Biology.

Abstract: Despite a common understanding of the harmful impacts of Western conservation models that separate people from nature, widespread progress towards incorporating socio-economic, political, cultural, and/or spiritual considerations in conservation practice continues to lag behind. For some, the concept of “nature-based solutions” (NbS) is seen as an interdisciplinary and holistic pathway to better integrate human wellbeing in conservation. Using the Wildlife Conservation Society's Climate Adaptation Fund as a case study, we examine how conservation practitioners within the United States view NbS and how social considerations are (or are not) incorporated into conservation adaptation projects. Based on data from 28 semi-structured interviews with individuals representing 15 different projects, our findings reveal that many practitioners see this moment as a tipping point for the field—one in which the perceived value of social considerations is increasing in practice, and social justice concerns and the need to overcome the racist and colonial roots of Western conservation have risen to the forefront. However, despite individual intention and awareness, structural barriers including limited funding and inflexible grant structures continue to constrain systemic change. Practitioners tentatively agree that NbS in conservation could support social and ecological outcomes for conservation, but this is far from guaranteed. Ultimately, systemic changes that address power and justice in policy and practice are required to leverage this moment to more fully address social considerations in conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 9

Rao, C., C. Pusapati, M. M, N. Kale et al. (Early View). "Distribution patterns of nearshore aggregations of olive ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys olivacea) in Rushikulya, Odisha, India: Implications for spatial management measures." Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems.

Abstract: 1. Sea turtles are known to migrate large distances between their foraging and breeding grounds. Olive ridley turtles migrate annually in November to the east coast of India from their foraging grounds in the Bay of Bengal and form large aggregations at Gahirmatha and Rushikulya, two globally significant mass nesting rookeries in Odisha. However, little is known about the spatial and temporal variation in their nearshore distribution prior to the mass nesting events, which typically occur between February and April. 2. Inter- and intra-annual variations in the density and distribution of olive ridley turtles were examined in the nearshore waters of Rushikulya from 2012 to 2022. The densities of turtles were estimated for each field season and aggregations were spatially delineated using minimum convex polygons. 3. There was considerable interannual variation in turtle abundance, which typically increased from December to February in Rushikulya. Turtle densities in nearshore waters did not correspond to the presence or absence of mass nesting, thus suggesting that management decisions cannot be based only on nesting beach estimates. 4. Turtle aggregations in Rushikulya were spatially and temporally dynamic and were typically concentrated around the nesting beach. However, they occupied only a small fraction of the area designated as a no-fishing zone, which suggests that these regulations need to be reassessed. As the no-fishing zones impose high costs on fishers, it is critical to look at alternative protection measures, such as dynamic spatial closures, developed in consultation with local fishers.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 9

Slough, B. G., D. G. Reid, D. S. Schultz and M. C. Y. Leung (2023). "Little brown bat activity patterns and conservation implications in agricultural landscapes in boreal Yukon, Canada." Ecosphere 14(3), e4446.

Abstract: Agriculture can threaten the persistence of bat populations by removing forests and wetlands and by intensifying production. Both processes are underway in expanding agricultural landscapes of boreal North America. To inform land planning and agricultural practices aimed at maintaining a viable population of the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), we assessed the use by bats of human-modified (open fields, forest-field edges, and cleared edges of ponds) and unmodified (forest ponds and forest interior) habitat features in agricultural landscapes in southern Yukon, Canada (60° N–61° N), using acoustic recordings. We summarized bat activity (number of 3-s acoustic files with ≥1 pass/night) and bat feeding (files with >1 feeding buzz/night) at grouped sets of habitat features (sites) and used generalized linear mixed models to test predictions about relative use of habitats. The active season for bats was late April to early October. Little brown bat feeding was strongly correlated with general activity, but feeding comprised a significantly higher proportion of all activity at forest ponds and forest interiors compared to field edges, open fields, and ponds in fields. Total bat activity was highest at forest ponds, followed by field edges, and substantially less in forest interiors and open fields. Forest ponds were used more than the edges of nearby ponds with some riparian clearing for fields. Bats increased use of forest interiors and decreased use of fields as duration of darkness decreased close to summer solstice. We recommend exclusion of ponds, lakes, and other wetlands from future agricultural land disposition, and retention of a riparian forested buffer of ≥40 m around current water bodies on farms. We also recommend retention of strips or patches of forest bordering fields and connected to riparian areas and to more extensive forests on public lands. A relatively young agricultural landscape can avoid some of the risks of intensive agriculture with proactive planning and stewardship.


Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 3

Agger, C. (2023). The Status of Key Species in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary 2022. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodia.

Grey Literature Citation 2 of 3

Harper, S., D. Kleiber, S. Appiah, ..., S. Mangubhai et al. (2023). “Towards gender inclusivity and equality in small-scale fisheries.” In Illuminating Hidden Harvests: The Contributions of Small-Scale Fisheries to Sustainable Development, 127-144. Rome, Italy, Durham, NC, USA, Penang, Malaysia: FAO, Duke University, and WorldFish.

Abstract: An estimated 44.7 million women worldwide participate in small-scale fisheries value chains or engage in subsistence activities, which translates into 39.6 percent of the total people active in the subsector. Women represent 15.4 percent of total employment in the pre-harvest segment of the small-scale fisheries value chain (e.g. gear fabrication and repair, bait and ice provisioning, boat-building), 18.7 percent in the harvesting segment (including vessel-based and non-vessel-based activities), 49.8 percent in the post-harvest segment (e.g. processing, transporting, trading, selling) and 45.2 percent of the total actors engaged in small-scale fisheries subsistence activities. Women participate in small-scale fisheries most commonly through informal and unpaid activities, limiting their social protections and security. While this participation can be partially highlighted through estimates of engagement in subsistence activities, much of it continues to be systematically excluded from official fisheries data collection and analysis, and thus women’s contributions are insufficiently considered in fisheries decision-making. Women are over-represented in intertidal, low-gear, invertebrate fisheries due to limitations in access to gear and fishing habitats. These fisheries are less likely to be defined as fishing, and thus may not be monitored, resulting in underestimations of catch, social importance and environmental impact. Women in many contexts have less access to small-scale fisheries, but also stand to significantly benefit from that access, with broad societal implications for food security and nutrition and poverty alleviation. Women continue to be under-represented in small-scale fisheries governance systems, and those who do participate are typically only able to engage in limited ways. Barriers include gender-blind small-scale fisheries policy, and lack of capacity to implement existing policy. The Illuminating Hidden Harvests (IHH) study illustrates that gender-disaggregated fisheries data are still rare, especially in official national-level fisheries statistics. Gender disaggregation should be the minimum requirement for all monitoring and research that informs fisheries policies and programmes. Gender-blind data or biased data collection methodologies overlook women in fisheries, obscuring the full contributions of small- scale fisheries towards the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and towards achieving gender-inclusive fisheries policies and practices, as called for by the Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines).

Grey Literature Citation 3 of 3

Vitkalova, A. V., Y. A. Darman, T. V. Marchenkova, ... and D. Miquelle (2023). Camera Trap Monitoring of the Far Eastern Leopard in Southwest Primorsky Province, Russia (2014-2020). Vladivostok, Russia: Land of the Leopard, ANO Far Eastern Leopards, WWF, and Wildlife Conservation Society, Russia.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  28 February-6 March 2023


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Barrile, G. M., D. J. Augustine, L. M. Porensky, ..., C. R. Hartway et al. (Early View). "A big data–model integration approach for predicting epizootics and population recovery in a keystone species." Ecological Applications, e2827. 

Abstract: Infectious diseases pose a significant threat to global health and biodiversity. Yet, predicting the spatiotemporal dynamics of wildlife epizootics remains challenging. Disease outbreaks result from complex non-linear interactions among a large collection of variables that rarely adhere to the assumptions of parametric regression modeling. We adopted a non-parametric machine learning approach to model wildlife epizootics and population recovery, using the disease system of colonial black-tailed prairie dogs (BTPD, Cynomys ludovicianus) and sylvatic plague as an example. We synthesized colony data between 2001–2020 from eight USDA Forest Service National Grasslands across the range of BTPD in central North America. We then modeled extinctions due to plague and colony recovery of BTPD in relation to complex interactions among climate, topoedaphic variables, colony characteristics, and disease history. Extinctions due to plague occurred more frequently when BTPD colonies were spatially clustered, in closer proximity to colonies decimated by plague during the previous year, following cooler than average temperatures the previous summer, and when wetter winter/springs were preceded by drier summer/falls. Rigorous cross-validations and spatial predictions indicated that our final models predicted plague outbreaks and colony recovery in BTPD with high accuracy (e.g., AUC generally > 0.80). Thus, these spatially-explicit models can reliably predict the spatial and temporal dynamics of wildlife epizootics and subsequent population recovery in a highly complex host-pathogen system. Our models can be used to support strategic management planning (e.g., plague mitigation) to optimize benefits of this keystone species to associated wildlife communities and ecosystem functioning. This optimization can reduce conflicts among different landowners and resource managers, as well as economic losses to the ranching industry. More broadly, our big data–model integration approach provides a general framework for spatially-explicit forecasting of disease-induced population fluctuations, for use in natural resource management decision-making.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Eppley, T. M., C. Borgerson, E. R. Patel, ..., A. Bóveda, ..., F. Ratelolahy, J. Razafindramanana, C. Spira et al. (Early View). "A habitat stronghold on the precipice: A call-to-action for supporting lemur conservation in northeast Madagascar." American Journal of Primatology, e23483. 

Abstract: The northeast of Madagascar is as diverse as it is threatened. The area bordering the Analanjirofo and SAVA regions contains six protected areas and at least 22 lemur species. Many applied research and conservation programs have been established in the region with the aim of ensuring both wildlife and people thrive in the long term. While most of the remaining humid evergreen forest of northeast Madagascar is formally protected, the local human population depends heavily on the land, and unsustainable natural resource use threatens this biodiversity hotspot. Drawing from our collective experiences managing conservation activities and research programs in northeast Madagascar, we discuss the major threats to the region and advocate for eight conservation activities that help reduce threats and protect the environment, providing specific examples from our own programs. These include (1) empowering local conservation actors, (2) ensuring effectively protected habitat, (3) expanding reforestation, (4) establishing and continuing long-term research and monitoring, (5) reducing food insecurity, (6) supporting environmental education, (7) promoting sustainable livelihoods, and (8) expanding community health initiatives. Lastly, we provide a list of actions that individuals can take to join us in supporting and promoting lemur conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Frixione, M. G., N. Lisnizer and P. Yorio (In Press). "Year-round use of anthropogenic food sources in human modified landscapes by adult and young Kelp Gulls." Food Webs, e00274. 

Abstract: Predictable anthropogenic food subsidies attract species with generalist and opportunistic feeding habits, often resulting in conflicts with human populations. We assessed the spatio-temporal distribution and abundance of Kelp Gulls (Larus dominicanus) during the annual cycle at anthropogenic food sources located along 70 km of urban and agricultural-livestock landscapes in the lower Chubut River valley, Argentina. We quantified the seasonal abundance of adult and young Kelp Gulls through monthly counts from July 2021 to June 2022 at six identified anthropogenic food sources, complemented with strip transect sampling along cultivated land and cattle grazing areas. In addition, we analysed the differential use of waste types by adult and young Kelp Gulls at a mixed livestock waste dump where different food remains (cattle remains, poultry remains and urban waste) are disposed in independent pits. The total number of Kelp Gulls counted each month along the river valley was variable, with a mean number of 2585 ± 822.7 individuals (range = 276 in December and 8958 in June). The highest gull abundance was recorded at a pig farm (mean = 1784.5 ± 640.1 individuals). The transect survey showed a relatively low use by gulls of the cultivated land and cattle grazing areas, with a mean of 29.7 ± 11.2 individuals recorded per survey (range = 0–96). Kelp Gull abundance patterns recorded in the river valley throughout the annual cycle evidenced a contrasting seasonal use of anthropogenic food sources between the breeding and non-breeding seasons, being clearly less abundant during the former, when gulls move to their main breeding grounds and adjacent marine habitats in coastal Chubut. At the mixed livestock waste dump, Kelp Gull numbers varied among the three waste patches, with higher numbers and a significantly higher proportion of adults at the cattle remains pit. This study shows the high trophic plasticity of Kelp Gulls and their use of alternative foraging habitats. Further monitoring and evaluations of the use by Kelp Gulls of predictable anthropogenic food sources along the Chubut River valley, particularly those related to the growing livestock production, are needed to support management decisions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Meißner, R., S. Winter, U. Westerhüs, ..., L. T. B. Hunter et al. (2023). "The potential and shortcomings of mitochondrial DNA analysis for cheetah conservation management." Conservation Genetics 24(1), 125-136. 

Abstract: There are only about 7,100 adolescent and adult cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) remaining in the wild. With the majority occurring outside protected areas, their numbers are rapidly declining. Evidence-based conservation measures are essential for the survival of this species. Genetic data is routinely used to inform conservation strategies, e.g., by establishing conservation units (CU). A commonly used marker in conservation genetics is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here, we investigated the cheetah’s phylogeography using a large-scale mtDNA data set to refine subspecies distributions and better assign individuals to CUs. Our dataset mostly consisted of historic samples to cover the cheetah’s whole range as the species has been extinct in most of its former distribution. While our genetic data largely agree with geography-based subspecies assignments, several geographic regions show conflicting mtDNA signals. Our analyses support previous findings that evolutionary forces such as incomplete lineage sorting or mitochondrial capture likely confound the mitochondrial phylogeography of this species, especially in East and, to some extent, in Northeast Africa. We caution that subspecies assignments solely based on mtDNA should be treated carefully and argue for an additional standardized nuclear single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker set for subspecies identification and monitoring. However, the detection of the A. j. soemmeringii specific haplogroup by a newly designed Amplification-Refractory Mutation System (ARMS) can already provide support for conservation measures.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Moeller, A. K., S. J. Waller, N. J. DeCesare et al. (2023). "Best practices to account for capture probability and viewable area in camera-based abundance estimation." Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 9(1), 152-164. 

Abstract: A suite of recently developed statistical methods to estimate the abundance and density of unmarked animals from camera traps require accurate estimates of the area sampled by each camera. Although viewshed area is fundamental to achieving accurate abundance estimates, there are no established guidelines for collecting this information in the field. Furthermore, while the complexities of the detection process from motion sensor photography are generally acknowledged, viewable area (the common factor between motion sensor and time lapse photography) on its own has been underemphasized. We establish a common set of terminology to identify the component parts of viewshed area, contrast the photographic capture process and area measurements for time lapse and motion sensor photography, and review methods for estimating viewable area in the field. We use a case study to demonstrate the importance of accurate estimates of viewable area on abundance estimates. Time lapse photography combined with accurate measurements of viewable area allow researchers to assume that capture probability equals 1. Motion sensor photography requires measuring distances to each animal and fitting a distance sampling curve to account for capture probability of <1.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Moheb, Z., M. F. Nelson, S. Ostrowski et al. (In Press). "Factors influencing the diurnal spring distribution of sympatric urial and Siberian ibex in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Wakhan National Park, Afghanistan." Global Ecology and Conservation, e02423. 

Abstract: Patterns of habitat selection for sympatric urial Ovis vignei and Siberian ibex Capra sibirica are poorly known, in part because there are few places where such overlap exists. Using envelope modeling methodology, we analyzed location data of these species in the Hindu Kush range along the Wakhan Valley of the Wakhan National Park (10,950km2) in northeastern Afghanistan, recorded during field surveys in April-May of 2011, 2015, and 2018. Distribution models showed significant ecological niche differences (P<0.05) between urial (a true sheep species) and ibex (a true goat species) for most variables. Urial stayed at lower elevations compared to ibex, both species tended to avoid flat areas, but urial avoided slopes above 60%. Urial used southeast-facing slopes more, and west-facing slopes less, than available, whereas ibex had a slightly more than expected use of southwest-facing slopes. Urial preferred terrains with ruggedness index (~20-40) of the values available (15-60), whereas ibex were more generalist in terrain preference. Urial utilized habitats closer to human activity areas compared to ibex. Both species utilized the higher quality vegetation areas (NDVI > 0) and showed the same avoidance of lower quality areas. Understanding selection criteria of habitat use by urial and ibex in Wakhan Valley, inhabited by over 14,000 people and their livestock (ca. 78,000), will enable adjustments to the protection schemes regarding the requirements of two key mountain ungulate species critical to the sustainability and conservation of this unique ecosystem. This type of information is very scarce in the literature for the sympatric mountain ungulates in Asia.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Nuttall, M., E. Olsson, H. Washington, ..., O. Griffin, K. Hobson, A. Diment and R. G. Kroner (Early View). "Protected area downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement in Cambodia: Enabling conditions and opportunities for intervention." Conservation Science & Practice, e12912. 

Abstract: Protected area (PA) sustainability is challenged worldwide by legal downgrading, downsizing, and degazettement (PADDD). National and local case studies of ecologically destructive PADDD events provide useful insights that may help respond to or prevent future events. Using information from legal documents and expert input, we identified 37 PADDD events that affected two adjacent PAs in northeastern Cambodia differently despite similar economic, environmental, and social conditions. Important differences in local context led to the eventual degazettement (100% loss) of one PA and downsizing (10.49% loss) of the other, the rest of which remains protected. This case study confirms the contribution of secure Indigenous land tenure to durable conservation governance and demonstrates the importance of investing in site-level capacity to ensure that social and ecological conditions are monitored and proposed PADDD events can be successfully challenged.


Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 1

Leguia, M., A. Garcia-Glaessner, B. Muñoz-Saavedra, ..., P. Colchao-Claux et al. (Prepublication). “Highly pathogenic avian influenza A (H5N1) in marine mammals and seabirds in Peru.” bioRxiv.  

Abstract: Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A/H5N1 viruses (lineage are rapidly invading the Americas, threatening wildlife, poultry, and potentially evolving into the next global pandemic. In November 2022, HPAI arrived in Peru, where massive pelican and sea lion die-offs are still underway. We report complete genomic characterization of HPAI/H5N1 viruses in five species of marine mammals and seabirds (dolphins, sea lions, sanderlings, pelicans and cormorants) sampled since November 2022. All Peruvian viruses belong to the HPAI A/H5N1 lineage, but they are 4:4 reassortants where 4 genomic segments (PA, HA, NA and MP) position within the Eurasian lineage that initially entered North America from Eurasia, while the other 4 genomic segments (PB2, PB1, NP and NS) position within the American lineage (clade C) that was already circulating in North America. These viruses are rapidly accruing mutations as they spread south. Peruvian viruses do not contain PB2 E627K or D701N mutations linked to mammalian host adaptation and enhanced transmission, but at least 8 novel polymorphic sites warrant further examination. This is the first report of HPAI A/H5N1 in marine birds and mammals from South America, highlighting an urgent need for active local surveillance to manage outbreaks and limit spillover into humans.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 12

Burgos-Vázquez, M. I., V. H. Cruz-Escalona, C. J. Hernández-Camacho, R. Peña, B. P. Ceballos-Vázquez and P. A. Mejía-Falla (2023). "Contrasting the reproductive potential of Narcine entemedor and Rhinoptera steindachneri: 2 viviparous batoid species with different reproductive strategies." Ciencias Marinas 49, e3303.  

Abstract: Narcine entemedor and Rhinoptera steindachneri are 2 viviparous batoid species of commercial importance on the Pacific coast of Mexico. However, no adequate management plan has been set forth for either of them to ensure sustainable use. The aims of this study were to assess the reproductive potential and the potential rate of population increase (rʹ) of both species, as well contrasting their reproductive strategies, to infer how susceptible they are to fishing exploitation. Comparatively, among batoids, N. entemedor females have an early age at maturity, relatively high fecundity, and an intermediate lifespan, while R. steindachneri females have an early age at maturity, low fecundity, and a relatively short lifespan. According to our estimates, however, both species have relatively high reproductive potential, which N. entemedor exhibits by investing energy in maximizing fecundity and R. steindachneri by increasing the embryo’s body mass. Therefore, N. entemedor has better capacity to recover from relatively high overfishing (rʹ = 0.48) in comparison with R. steindachneri (rʹ = –0.18). The methodology used in this study proved to be a good option to assess the risk of overfishing in species for which there is limited data.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 12

Canti, S., P. González, N. Suárez, P. Yorio and C. Marinao (2023). "Interactions between breeding gulls and monofilament lines at one of the main recreational fishing sites in Argentina." Marine Pollution Bulletin 188, e114720.

Abstract: Monofilament fishing lines lost or discarded during recreational fishing activities often result in negative impacts on marine organisms. We assessed the interactions between Kelp and Olrog's gulls (Larus dominicanus and L. atlanticus, respectively) and recreational fishing at Bahía San Blas, Argentina. Monofilament lines constituted 61 and 29 % of total debris items recorded along beaches in the low and high fishing seasons, respectively. A total of 61 balls of tangled lines were also found within Kelp and Olrog's gull colonies. No Olrog's Gulls but nine Kelp Gulls were found tangled with monofilament lines within colony boundaries, seven of which were caught in vegetation. No Kelp or Olrog's gulls foraging in recreational fishing areas were observed tangled with lines. Monofilament lines did not negatively affect gull populations during the study period, but actions are needed to correctly manage their disposal given the relevance of Bahía San Blas as a recreational fishing area in the region.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 12

Cholima, R., A. Echeverria, D. Lizarro, ..., J. Molina-Rodriguez, F. Moreno-Aulo and G. Miranda-Chumacero (2022). "Ictiofauna del río Iruyañez, cuenca del río Mamore, Amazonía Boliviana / Ichthyofauna of the Iruyañez River (Mamoré River basin, Bolivian Amazon)." Neotropical Hydrobiology and Aquatic Conservation 3(2), 37-52.

Abstract: Se presenta el primer inventario de la Ictiofauna para el río Iruyañez (Llanos de Moxos, cuenca del río Mamoré). Se realizaron colectas en tres puntos utilizando distintos métodos de pesca. Se colectaron un total de 1 953 ejemplares, pertenecientes a 108 especies de peces distribuidas en seis órdenes, 23 familias y 79 géneros. Se reportan tres nuevas especies para Bolivia, además de la ampliación de la distribución de la especie invasora Semaprochilodus insignis en la cuenca del río Mamoré. / We present the first check-list of fish species in the Iruyañez river (Llanos de Moxos, Mamoré River Basin). Fish sampling was done in three localities. Overall, 1 953 specimens were collected, corresponding to 108 species, 6 orders, 23 families and 79 genera. We report three new records for Bolivia, as well as a new site record for the invasive species Semaprochilodus insignis in the Mamoré River Basin.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 12

Dragone, N. B., L. B. Perry, A. J. Solon, A. Seimon, T. A. Seimon and S. K. Schmidt (2023). "Genetic analysis of the frozen microbiome at 7900 m a.s.l., on the South Col of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest)." Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 55(1), e2164999.

Abstract: Microbial communities in alpine environments >7,500 m.a.s.l. have not been well studied using modern cultivation-independent sequencing approaches due to the challenges and danger associated with reaching such high elevations. For this reason, we know little about the microorganisms found in sediments on Earth's tallest mountains, how they reach these surfaces, and how they survive and remain active at such extreme elevations. Here, we explore the microbial diversity recovered from three sediment samples collected from the South Col (~7,900 m.a.s.l.) of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest) using both culturing and next generation sequencing approaches (16S rRNA gene, internal transcribed spacer [ITS] region, and 18S rRNA gene sequencing). Both approaches detected very low diversity of bacteria, protists, and fungi that included a combination of cosmopolitan taxa and specialized microorganisms often found at high elevations like those of the genera Modestobacter and Naganishia. Though we managed to grow viable cultures of many of these taxa, it remains likely that few, if any, can be active in situ at the South Col. Instead, these high-elevation surfaces may act as deep-freeze collection zones of organisms deposited from the atmosphere or left by climbers scaling the Earth?s highest mountain.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 12

Geary, M., M. Hartley, Z. Ball, S. Wikles, M. Khean et al. (2023). "Camera traps and genetic identification of faecal samples for detection and monitoring of an endangered ungulate." Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 71, 120-127.

Abstract: Almost all Indochinese ungulates are classified as globally threatened but efforts to assess and monitor population status have been hampered by their rarity, cryptic nature, and uncertainty in accurate identification from sightings. An improved approach is urgently needed to gather information about threatened ungulate species in order to effectively conserve them as a lack of reliable monitoring methods means that basic information such as population sizes, distribution and habitat associations is currently unknown. Here, we used a combination of camera trapping and genetic detection of the endangered Eld’s deer, Rucervus eldii, to investigate the utility of these methods to infer intensity of site use within a protected Cambodian dry forest. We asked: 1) Are Eld’s deer present in our study area?; 2) How is site use influenced by local habitat?; and 3) Do camera traps or genetic detection perform better in terms of detection and monitoring? Camera traps were deployed and faecal samples collected from Chhaeb Wildlife Sanctuary in northern Cambodia during the 2017 dry season. Faecal samples were identified as Eld’s deer using newly developed species-specific mitochondrial DNA primers. Camera traps recorded 20 Eld’s deer observations across 3,905 trap-nights and 44 out of 71 collected faecal samples, identified by fieldworkers as likely to belong to Eld’s deer, were positively identified to be so. Camera trap surveys and genetic detection demonstrated that Eld’s deer were present in Chhaeb Wildlife Sanctuary, although the number of detections relative to sampling effort was low in both methods (detected at 29% and 1% of sample sites, respectively). Occupancy models showed that water level and tree diameter both had positive relationships, whilst human and domestic or feral pig activity had a negative relationship, with the relative intensity of Eld’s deer site use. Overall, our data suggest that both of our methods can prove effective for monitoring Eld’s deer but that repeated sampling is necessary to account for their low detectability in this area. We suggest that faecal samples are collected during future camera trap monitoring visits to maximise efficiency, increase detectability, and provide the most information to support conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 12

Kluke, C., G. L. Lescord, T. A. Johnston et al. (In Press). "Spatial patterns and environmental factors related to arsenic bioaccumulation in boreal freshwater fish." Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

Abstract: To better understand the spatial patterns in arsenic (As) bioaccumulation in freshwater systems, we investigated ecological, physical, and chemical factors associated with total arsenic concentrations ([As]) in lacustrine and riverine fish across Ontario, Canada, using a dataset of 3200 fish across 152 waterbodies. Assembled data of water chemistry, landscape characteristics, and stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in muscle tissue were then used to assess factors related to As bioaccumulation. Results show that [As] were generally low across most species and waterbodies (i.e., <1 µg·g?1 wet in many inland fish). However, fish from northern coastal rivers had up to 23-fold higher [As] when compared with fish from landlocked sites. As concentrations increased slightly with the proportion of pelagic carbon in a fish's diet, although relationships varied among species and sites. Furthermore, principal component scores, representing landscape and water chemistry variables, were related to [As] in fish, but these relationships varied among species. These results will help improve the efficacy of fish contaminant monitoring by further identifying key physical and ecological variables related to higher [As] in fish.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 12

Oke, T. A., D. Stralberg, D. G. Reid, ..., H. A. Cooke and C. S. Mantyka-Pringle (Early View). "Warming drives poleward range contractions of Beringian endemic plant species at high latitudes." Diversity and Distributions.

Abstract: Aim: Species are expected to disperse poleward in response to climate change. For species that are endemic to the high latitudes, this implies that many in the future would face a “no-where-to-go” situation as they are currently occupying the northernmost portion of the continent. Further, because endemism may arise from a combination of physical barriers, climate and geological history, the persistence of many species may require spatial matching of multiple environmental factors within a limited dispersal space. Thus, it is not clear how endemic species might spatially adjust their distributions in response to climate change and whether there are future climate change refugia for these species. Location: Northwest North America. Taxa: Plants. Time Period: Current and the future (2040). Methods: We used ensemble bioclimatic models to evaluate drivers and directional patterns of future change in the distributions of 66 North American Beringian and amphi-Beringian species currently occurring in Alaska and the Yukon. We explored the spatial pattern of species richness, losses and climate change refugia across the region. Results: More than 80% of the species showed northward shifts in their latitudinal centroids under intermediate warming and are expected to shift their range northward by more than 140 km on average by 2040. Additionally, more than 60% were projected to experience range contractions and up to 20% of the species would have the potential to expand their ranges by more than 100%. Main Conclusions: Suitable habitat for endemic species in northwest North America is expected to decline significantly, especially for species occupying the Arctic tundra. Although the models identified several potential refugia from future climate change, especially at high latitude and elevation, whether the species would be able to colonize new habitats on their own and/or capitalize sufficiently on in situ refugia remains a pertinent conservation question.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 12

Platt, S. G., S. Boutxakittilah, O. Thongsavath, S. C. Leslie and L. McCaskill (2022). "Restoring the critically endangered Siamese crocodile to the Xe Champhone Wetlands in Lao PDR (2019-2022)." Crocodile Specialist Group Newsletter 41, 6-13.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 12

Puri, M., A. Srivathsa, K. K. Karanth et al. (In Press). "Safe space in the woods: Mechanistic spatial models for predicting risks of human–bear conflicts in India." Biotropica.

Abstract: Human–wildlife interactions can have negative consequences when they involve large carnivores. Spatial risk modelling could serve as a useful management approach for predicting and pre-emptively mitigating negative interactions. We present a mechanistic modelling framework and examine interactions between humans and sloth bears (Melursus ursinus) in a multi-use forest landscape of central India. We first assessed patterns and determinants of bear distribution across the landscape using indirect sign surveys. At the same spatial scale, we then estimated spatial probabilities of bear attacks on people using information from 675 interviews with local residents, incorporating estimates of distribution probabilities from the previous step. We found the average occupancy probability across 128 grid-cells to be 0.77 (SE = 0.03). Bear occupancy was influenced by terrain ruggedness, forest composition and configuration, vegetation productivity and size of human settlements. The average probability of a bear attack in any given grid-cell was 0.61 (SE = 0.03), mostly determined by bear occurrence patterns, forest cover, terrain ruggedness, and size of human settlements. Using spatial information on people's dependence on forest resources, we identified locations with the highest risk of bear attacks. Our study demonstrates that human attacks by bears—generally believed to be random or incidental—in fact showed deterministic patterns. Our framework can be applied to other scenarios involving human–wildlife conflicts. Based on our findings, we propose that a proactive co-management approach which involves collaboration between wildlife managers and local residents could help better manage human–bear conflicts in central India and elsewhere across the species' range.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 10 of 12

Saranholi, B. H., A. Sanches, J. F. Moreira-Ramírez et al. (2022). "Long-term persistence of the large mammal lowland tapir is at risk in the largest Atlantic forest corridor." Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation 20(3), 263-271.

Abstract: Forest corridor has been considered the main strategy for maintaining gene flow between isolated populations, yet their effectivity is poorly tested. Assessing signatures of genetic variation loss, gene flow reduction and inbreeding may be helpful for conservation of the biodiversity that needs large continuous areas. Here we evaluated the genetic structure and diversity of the largest neotropical mammal, the lowland tapir (Tapirus terrestris), living in the largest Atlantic forest corridor in Brazil. We used fecal-derived DNA, genotyped nine polymorphic microsatellite loci of 75 tapirs, and quantified genetic differentiation, genetic diversity, and landscape resistance to gene flow. We found genetic differentiation between the inland and coastal populations, which may be explained by elevation. Expected heterozygosity ranged between 0.64 (inland population) and 0.78 (coastal population), and a small Ne was observed in both populations. We demonstrated that even large continuous rainforests are not totally permeable to the gene flow of large organisms. Our study also changes our perception about the pristine of continuous corridors and their role for long-term survival of large mammals, suggesting that tapir conservation efforts should be taken even for populations in the large protected areas.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 11 of 12

Surve, N. S., S. Sathyakumar, K. Sankar, D. Jathanna, V. Gupta and V. Athreya (2022). "Leopards in the city: The tale of Sanjay Gandhi National Park and Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary, two protected areas in and adjacent to Mumbai, India." Frontiers in Conservation Science 3, e787031.

Abstract: Recent studies in the last decade have recorded obligate carnivores adapting to human dominated landscapes. Leopards, amongst other large carnivores, are highly adaptable and survive in a range of environments from the arid regions of Africa and the Middle East to the cold regions of the Russian Far East. They are also highly adaptable in their diet and consequently are present close to and even within high-density human landscapes. These also include the edges of urban areas such as Nairobi and Mumbai. Our study, to better understand the coexistence of leopards and humans, was conducted in 104 km2 of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP), which is surrounded on three sides by the urban landscape of Mumbai and Thane cities. The study area also included 85 km2 of an adjoining protected area, Tungareshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWLS), which is surrounded by a combination of forests, rural areas and agricultural lands. Based on spatial capture—recapture framework we observed that leopard densities in SGNP (26.34 ± 4.96 leopards/100 km2) and TWLS (5.40 ± 2.99 leopards/100 km2) were vastly different. We found that density estimates of wild prey and domestic dogs were higher in SGNP in comparison to TWLS. In both the protected areas (PAs), domestic dogs formed a major proportion of leopard diet and were the single highest species contributors. Our study shows that despite extremely high human density around SGNP (~20,000 people/km2), leopard density is also much higher than the adjoining TWLS which has a comparatively lower surrounding density of people (~1,700 people/km2). Leopard density reported from SGNP is amongst the highest ever reported. This interesting result is probably due to much higher biomass of potential food resources in and around SGNP. Studying this relationship between leopards and their prey (both wild and domestic) in a human dominated landscape will give us valuable insights on human—leopard interactions. The two adjacent and connected PAs are similar ecologically, but differ widely in almost all other aspects, including human densities along the periphery, leopard densities, prey densities as well as management regimes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 12 of 12

Treglia, M. L., T. McPhearson, E. W. Sanderson et al. (2022). "Examining the distribution of green roofs in New York City through a lens of social, ecological, and technological filters." Ecology & Society 27(3), e20.

Abstract: Green roofs provide multiple benefits including reducing the urban heat island effect, absorbing stormwater and air pollution, and serving as habitat for wildlife. However, many cities have not taken advantage of green roofs as a nature-based solution. In New York City (NYC), approximately 20% of the landscape is covered by buildings, thus rooftops present a substantial opportunity for expanding green infrastructure. Spatial data on green roofs are critical for understanding their abundance and distribution, what filters may drive spatial patterns, and who benefits from them. We describe the development of a green roof dataset for NYC based on publicly available data and classification of aerial imagery from 2016. Of the over one million buildings in NYC, we found only 736 with green roofs (<0.1%), although there may have been others we did not detect. These green roofs are not evenly distributed in NYC - they are most common in midtown and downtown Manhattan, while most other areas have few to none. Green roofs tend to be more prevalent in parts of NYC with combined sewer systems, but some such areas, and those with the most heat-vulnerable communities, have few if any despite their potential to help ameliorate stormwater and urban heat challenges. Though green roofs are providing some benefits within NYC, we anticipate they are filtered based on dynamics of infrastructure, institutions, and perceptions, rather than targeted to address climate and weather-related challenges. There is substantial opportunity in NYC to increase green roofs, and equity of them. The dataset we developed is publicly available and can serve as a baseline for tracking these assets through time, while supporting further research, conversations, and policies related to the benefits and distribution of green roofs. The underlying methods can also be applied to help fill similar data gaps in other cities.


Grey Literature and Prepublication Citations

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

Agger, C. (2022). The Status of Key Species in Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary 2022. Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Cambodia.

Grey Literature and Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

Prasetyo, A. P., M. Cusa, J. M. Murray, F. Agung, E. Muttaqin, S. Mariani and A. D. McDevitt (Prepublication). “Universal closed-tube barcoding for monitoring the shark and ray trade in megadiverse conservation hotspots.” bioRxiv.

Abstract: Trade restrictions for many endangered elasmobranch species exist to disincentivise their exploitation and curb their declines. However, the variety of products and the complexity of import/export routes make trade monitoring challenging. We investigate the use of a portable, universal, DNA-based tool which would greatly facilitate in-situ monitoring. We collected shark and ray samples across the Island of Java, Indonesia, and selected 28 species (including 22 CITES-listed species) commonly encountered in landing sites and export hubs to test a recently developed real-time PCR single-assay originally developed for screening bony fish. We employed a deep learning algorithm to recognize species based on DNA melt-curve signatures. By combining visual and machine learning assignment methods, we distinguished 25 out of 28 species, 20 of which were CITES-listed. With further refinement, this method can provide a practical tool for monitoring elasmobranch trade worldwide, without the need for a lab or the bespoke design of species-specific assays.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Akhilesh, K. V., S. J. Kizhakudan, M. Muktha, ..., V. Patankar, ..., Z. Tyabji et al. (2023). "Elasmobranch conservation, challenges and management strategy in India: Recommendations from a national consultative meeting." Current Science 124(3), 292-303.

Abstract: Historically, India has been projected as one of the major elasmobranch fishing nations in the world. However, management and conservation efforts are not commensurate with this trend. Along with the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, several generic conservation measures are in place at the regional/local level. But India is still a long way from meeting global conservation commitments. We present here the status of elasmobranch management and conservation in India, with the specific objective of identifying the gaps in the existing set-up. We also present recommendations based on a national consultative workshop held at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi, in February 2020. We recommend the implementation of a National Plan of Action (NPOA-Sharks) and more inclusive governance and policymaking for elasmobranch conservation in India.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Jardine, A. M., J. F. Provencher, S. J. Insley, L. Tauzer, W. D. Halliday et al. (2023). "No accumulation of microplastics detected in western Canadian ringed seals (Pusa hispida)." Marine Pollution Bulletin 188, e114692.

Abstract: Ringed seals (Pusa hispida) play a crucial role in Arctic food webs as important pelagic predators and represent an essential component of Inuvialuit culture and food security. Plastic pollution is recognized as a global threat of concern, and Arctic regions may act as sinks for anthropogenic debris. To date, mixed evidence exists concerning the propensity for Canadian Arctic marine mammals to ingest and retain plastic. Our study builds on existing literature by offering the first assessment of plastic ingestion in ringed seals harvested in the western Canadian Arctic. We detected no evidence of microplastic (particles ≥80 μm) retention in the stomachs of ten ringed seals from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) in the Northwest Territories, Canada. These results are consistent with previous studies that have found that some marine mammals do not accumulate microplastics in evaluated regions.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Priyono, D. S., F. Sofyantoro, W. A. Putri et al. (2023). "A bibliometric analysis of Indonesia biodiversity identification through DNA barcoding research from 2004-2021." Natural and Life Sciences Communications 22(1), e20230006.

Abstract: Indonesia is well-known for having a vast and rich endowment of unique and genetically diverse biodiversity resources. Currently, initiatives are taking place around the world to generate DNA barcode libraries to make these data available to better understand biodiversity. The objectives of this study are to document DNA barcode research trends and detect the extent to which its application has evolved in Indonesia. The analysis was investigated using a compilation of 446 published papers, obtained from Harzing's Publish or Perish 8. The number of DNA barcode publication records has increased by a geometric average of 15.4/year. The number of studies involving molecular identification (30.1%), species and genetic diversity (10%), and evolutionary or phylogenetic studies (10%) appears to have driven much of the publication activity. The top three taxa studied include fishes (32.7%), plants (24.8%), and invertebrates (12.5%; except insects). We discovered that using a single molecular marker is still dominant (62.8%). We conclude that the practices of DNA barcoding data are likely to become a valuable resource in many sectors and focuses. However, the number of Indonesian DNA barcode records in public databases is relatively lower than in other mega biodiversity countries. The establishment of DNA barcoding initiatives and a national DNA barcode reference library in Indonesia would promote DNA barcoding applications to help conserve Indonesia biodiversity.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Srivathsa, A., D. Vasudev, T. Nair et al. (In Press). "Prioritizing India’s landscapes for biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being." Nature Sustainability.

Abstract: Biodiversity conservation and human well-being are tightly interlinked. Yet, mismatches in the scale at which these two priority issues are planned and implemented have exacerbated biodiversity loss, erosion of ecosystem services and declining human quality of life. India houses the second largest human population on the planet, while < 5% of the country’s land area is effectively protected for conservation. This warrants landscape-level conservation planning through a judicious mix of land-sharing and land-sparing approaches combined with the co-production of ecosystem services. Through a multifaceted assessment, we prioritize spatial extents of land parcels that, in the face of anthropogenic threats, can safeguard conservation landscapes across India’s biogeographic zones. We found that only a fraction (~15%) of the priority areas identified here are encompassed under India’s extant Protected Area network, and furthermore, that several landscapes of high importance were omitted from all previous global-scale assessments. We then examined the spatial congruence of priority areas with administrative units earmarked for economic development by the Indian government and propose management zoning through state-driven and participatory approaches. Our spatially explicit insights can help meet the twin goals of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in India and other countries across the Global South.


Prepublication Citations

Prepublication Citation 1 of 2

Flores Turdera, C., R. Wallace, Á. G. Zavala, C. Maldonado, C. Jurado, ..., G. Ayala, I. Gómez, M. Hayes, C. Molina, E. Salinas and O. Torrico (Prepublication). “Reto Ciudad Naturaleza La Paz: Una experiencia de observación y registro de la biodiversidad urbana / Reto Ciudad Naturaleza La Paz: An example of observingand registering urban biodiversity / Reto Ciudad Naturaleza La Paz: Uma experiência de observação e registo da biodiversidad eurbana.” SciELO Preprints.

Abstract: La ciencia ciudadana incentiva la participación de las personas en proyectos de investigación científica.  Una  de  las  iniciativas  más  conocidas  es  el  concurso  City  Nature  Challenge, dirigidaa registrar la biodiversidad en las ciudades mediante la aplicación iNaturalist. La región metropolitana de La Paz, Bolivia,participó de este concurso en 2019 y 2022 con el nombre de Reto Ciudad Naturaleza, gracias al impulso de Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Bolivia,la Carrera de Biología y el Instituto de Ecología de la Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA), y el Museo Nacional de Historia Natural (MNHN), que conformaron un Comité Organizador. El objetivo fue fortalecer los vínculos de la población urbana con la naturaleza para generar datos sobre el conocimiento y conservación de la biodiversidad. Las actividades se basaron en la promoción y difusión del concurso, eventos de capacitación en el manejo deaplicacióniNaturalist, registro fotográfico, identificación taxonómica y entrega de certificados a los participantes. En 2019, La Paz compitió con 158 ciudades y consiguió el octavo lugar en número de especies (3.005), el tercer lugar en número de participantes (1.500)  y  el  segundo  en  número  de  observaciones  (46.931).  En  2022,  participaron  447 ciudades. La Paz lideró en las tres categorías del concurso, con 137.345 observaciones, 5.320 especies y 4.296 participantes. Más allá de estos resultados, destaca el compromiso de la ciudadanía paceña con su biodiversidad, lo que repercute en un vínculo cada vez más estrecho entre la población urbana y su entorno natural. / Citizen science encourages people to participate in scientific research projects. One of the best-known initiatives is the City Nature Challenge contest, aimed at recording biodiversity in cities through the iNaturalist application. The metropolitan region of La Paz, Bolivia, participated in this contest in 2019 and 2022 under the name Reto Ciudad Naturaleza, promoted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Bolivia, the Biology Department and the Ecology Institute of the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA), and the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN), who together formed an Organizing Committee. The objective was to strengthen the links between the urban population and nature so that they can contribute in improving knowledge about biodiversity and help to conserve Nature. The activities were based on the promotion and dissemination of the contest, training events in the use of iNaturalist, photographic registration, taxonomic identification events, and delivery of certificates to participants. In 2019, La Paz competed with 158 cities and achieved eighth place in number of species (3,005), third place in number of participants (1,500) and second place in number of observations (46,931). In 2022, 447 cities participated. La Paz led in all three categories of the contest, with 137,345 observations, 5,320 species and 4,296 participants. Beyond these results, the outstanding commitment of La Paz citizens to their biodiversity is resulting in an increasingly close link between the urban population and their natural environment.

Prepublication Citation 2 of 2

Mendgen, P., N. Dejid, K. Olson, B. Buuveibaatar et al. (Prepublication). “Nomadic ungulate movements under threat: Declining mobility of Mongolian gazelles in the Eastern Steppe.” bioRxiv.

Abstract: Increasing habitat fragmentation and disturbance threaten long distance movements of ungulates. While the effects of impermeable barriers on ungulate migrations have been well researched, quantitative evidence for gradual and long-term changes of mobility in response to anthropogenic disturbance remains relatively rare. We investigated changes in movement behavior of Mongolian gazelle Procapra gutturosa, a nomadic ungulate species native to the Mongolian steppe. Using GPS tracking data collected from 62 gazelle individuals between 2007 and 2021, we quantified 16-day displacement distances for each individual as a metric for long-distance movements. We used generalized linear mixed models, generalized additive models and additive quantile mixed models to assess how anthropogenic and environmental factors affected gazelle movement behavior. Long distance 16-day movements decreased significantly by up to 36 %, from 142 km in 2007 to 92 km in 2021. Changes in gazelle mobility were affected by the increasing number of vehicles in Mongolia, but could not be explained by concurrent changes in other environmental factors like temperature, precipitation or vegetation greenness that often drive ungulate migration behavior. Moreover, we found that gazelle movement decreased close to roads, and that gazelles stayed further away from roads during the snow-free season, when vehicular traffic likely is most intense. Conserving landscape permeability is essential for maintaining populations of highly mobile species. Our study provides evidence for a gradual decline in gazelle mobility over fifteen years as a response to increasing anthropogenic impact. To date, the transportation infrastructure permeating the Eastern Steppe does not pose physical barriers, yet our findings suggest that increasing traffic volume may create semipermeable barriers to gazelle movement. As human activity is increasing throughout the Eastern Steppe, interactions between ungulates and vehicle traffic need to be closely monitored in order to identify, localize, and mitigate semipermeable barrier effects before landscape permeability is severely altered.

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WCS-AUTHORED PUBLICATIONS,  31 January-6 February 2023


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 8

Arona, E. and A. Schiavini (In Press). "Free-roaming dogs in Ushuaia City, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. How many and why?" Urban Ecosystems.

Abstract: Free-roaming dogs (FRD) in cities represent an increasing problem. Authorities need numbers of FRD to evaluate policies implemented and to monitor the dog population. We estimated the number of FRD in Ushuaia city, Argentina, using a photographic capture-recapture methodology. We estimated an abundance index, the power to detect changes in the index, and modeled factors that may explain the spatial distribution of FRD and their welfare status. We also infer whether if they are represented by partially supervised or unsupervised dogs, using a health and welfare index based on body fat coverage and skin condition, as well as on the presence of collars or accessories as a proxy of evidence for tenure. During three surveys, covering 72 transects along streets (9.9% of the street layout of Ushuaia), we recorded 539 different FRD. A model with individual heterogeneity in capture-recapture probability gave 12,797 FRD (95% CI 10,979—15,323), reflecting a dog:human relation of 1:6, higher than the relation recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The abundance index was similar between surveys (8.13 ± 1.36, 8.38 ± 1.46 and 9.55 ± 1.28 dogs/km). The difference needed to detect changes in the index is about twice the standard error of estimates. The best model explaining dogs’ abundance included only geographical location, although two neighbourhoods with 9 transects stand out with 181 different FRD identified. Together with the good overall dogs’ welfare status, modeling suggests that the behavior of owners is the main driver for the presence of FRD. We recommend the use of photographic capture-recapture methodologies instead of simple index estimation, due to the small additional effort required and the improved accuracy and precision obtained. We also recommend a permanent systematic design for future surveys, increase the number of survey occasions, and improve the survey process.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 8

Kraus, D., A. Enns, A. Hebb, S. Murphy, D. A. R. Drake and B. Bennett (2023). "Prioritizing nationally endemic species for conservation." Conservation Science & Practice 5(1), e12845.

Abstract: Over 90% of recent human-caused extinctions are wild species known from only one nation. These nationally endemic species represent one of the greatest global conservation responsibilities for any country. To meet this responsibility, we must first identify nationally endemic species. We developed the first comprehensive inventory of the 308 plant, animal, and fungi species and infraspecies only found in Canada, of which approximately 90% are of global conservation concern. Our analysis also identified 27 spatial concentrations of endemic species, many of which are associated with glacial refugia, islands, coasts, and unique habitats. Nationally endemic species have not been the primary focus of endangered species conservation in Canada and other countries. Our analysis provides a case study on how national inventories of endemic species can be developed and applied to support species assessments and place-based conservation. Prioritizing endemic species for conservation can build on sentiments of sense of place and national responsibility to foster public interest. We propose a species conservation framework that highlights the critical role of national endemism in preventing global extinctions. Greater conservation focus on endemic species will support national and international biodiversity conservation targets, including the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 8

Ladino Archila, F., D. Cardeñosa, S. Bessudo, A. Cuellar, F. Muriel, J. Carvajal, D. Amariles and A. Duarte (2023). "Monitoreo de fauna pelágica de los Montes submarinos del Pacífico colombiano usando BRUVS / Monitoring of pelagic fauna of the seamounts of the Colombian Pacific using BRUVS." Biota Colombiana 24(1), e1103.

Abstract: En diciembre de 2021 se desarrolló la primera expedición a los montes submarinos de las dorsales de Malpelo y de Yuruparí. En total se exploraron ocho montes submarinos por medio de BRUVS (Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems). Se desplegaron 48 BRUVS, registrando cinco especies pelágicas (Sphyrna lewini, Mobula birostris, Pteroplatytrygon violácea, Kajikia audax y Istiophorus platypterus), donde Pteroplatytrygon violácea constituyó un nuevo registro para la región. En todas las zonas se registraron especies pelágicas, aunque los tiburones se asociaron exclusivamente a los montes al oeste de las dorsales, en especial al monte conocido como Bajo Navegador, el más somero de la región. Este trabajo es un primer paso para orientar las siguientes exploraciones de estos ecosistemas. / In December 2021, we conducted the first expedition to the seamounts of the Malpelo and Yuruparí ridges. Eight seamounts were explored using Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems (BRUVS). A total of 48 BRUVS were deployed, registering five pelagic species (Sphyrna lewini, Mobula birostris, Pteroplatytrygon violacea, Kajikia audax and Istiophorus platypterus) where Pteroplatytrygon violacea constituted a new record for the region. Pelagic species were recorded in all seamounts, although sharks were exclusively associated with the seamounts to the west of the ridges, especially in the area known as Bajo Navegador, the shallowest seamount in the region. This work is a first step to guide the following explorations of these


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 8

Rajabi, A. M. and S. Ostrowski (2022). "First confirmed record of red-headed falcon Falco chicquera from Afghanistan." Sandgrouse 44(2), 438-439.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 8

Valencia, I. F., G. H. Kattan, L. Valenzuela, L. Caro, F. Arbelaez and G. Forero-Medina (FirstView). "Evaluation of alternative conservation strategies for the blue-billed curassow Crax alberti in the Middle Magdalena Valley, Colombia." Oryx.

Abstract: The blue-billed curassow Crax alberti is an endemic Colombian species categorized as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List because of the effects of hunting and habitat loss. Conservation and management actions are required to ensure its persistence in the forest remnants across its range. We conducted a population viability analysis for a population in the municipality of Yondó, Antioquia, based on data collected in the field and available information on the reproductive ecology of the species. We evaluate seven realistic conservation scenarios by comparing the effects that changes in mortality from hunting, carrying capacity and initial population size have on the survival probability of the population. Our results indicate that: (1) the studied population is not viable over a 100-year period under current conditions; (2) mortality as a result of hunting and the size of the initial population have the greatest impacts on the mean time to extinction; (3) a strategy based on eliminating hunting in the two sites with the largest forest remnants in the landscape could ensure the viability of the population over a 100-year period; and (4) other strategies (i.e. population supplementation with captive-bred individuals, reduction of deforestation in the landscape) do not guarantee the viability of the population if mortality from hunting remains constant, even at low levels. These results confirm the susceptibility of the blue-billed curassow to the threats it faces in this landscape, particularly hunting, and provide information on the conservation actions that could allow this remaining population to prevail in the long term.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 8

Villalba, L., L. Maffei and M. Belén Ortiz (2022). "Linear camera trapping design for jaguar population surveys in the largest forest remnant of the Paraguayan Chaco / Diseño lineal para estudios poblacionales del jaguar." Mastozoología Neotropical 29(2), e0681.

Abstract: The jaguar (Panthera onca) is of great concern throughout its entire range due to the decline of its populations and the loss of its natural habitats, which is why protected areas, like the Defensores del Chaco National Park in Paraguay, play such an important role in the conservation of this feline. However, the dense vegetation of the Chacoan dry forest can make it difficult to conduct studies beyond existing road networks to learn about wild populations. In this study, we propose a method for calculating jaguar density estimations based on a linear distribution of camera trap stations, considering the limitations of this approach given the standard assumptions of capture-recapture models. We obtained an initial density estimate of 1.14 (0.35-3.8) jaguars/100 km², in addition to recording 14 potential jaguar prey species; of which, Dolichotis salinicola, Sylvilagus brasiliensis, and Mazama gouazoubira were the most abundant. / El jaguar o yaguareté (Panthera onca) es motivo de preocupación en su área de distribución debido a la disminución de sus poblaciones y a la pérdida de sus hábitats naturales; por ello, las áreas protegidas, como el Parque Nacional Defensores del Chaco en Paraguay, cumplen un papel preponderante en la conservación de estos felinos. Sin embargo, la poca accesibilidad al bosque seco chaqueño dificulta los estudios fuera de los caminos ya establecidos para conocer las poblaciones silvestres. En este estudio proponemos una metodología para la estimación de la densidad de los jaguares basada en una distribución lineal de las estaciones de trampas cámara, siendo conscientes de las limitaciones que tiene este tipo de distribución y considerando los supuestos de los modelos de captura y recaptura. Obtuvimos una densidad inicial estimada de 1.14 (0.35-3.8) individuos/100 km², además de registrar 14 especies presa potenciales del jaguar, entre las cuales Dolichotis salinicola, Sylvilagus brasiliensis y Mazama gouazoubira son las más abundantes.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 8

Voiklis, J., K. Flinner, S. Field, ..., S. Rank and K. Nock (In Press). "Seeing the forest, not the trees – Crowdsourced data collection methods for sector-wide research." Visitor Studies.

Abstract: Research that involves a large and broad sample of museums can produce a representative picture of the entire museum sector and lead to global insights that may not be attainable through a more local lens. However, many museum research projects use a small sample of museums, meant to represent the entire field. We propose a research method that distributes data collection across a broad swath of museums to provide local detail that can be used to assemble a collective picture on a topic of interest to the field. This method, called crowdsourced data collection, was used in a yearlong study of zoos and aquariums in North America, in which 95 institutions were asked to collect data for one to two survey modules per month. We hoped this approach would produce data comparable to data gathered with conventional methods and reduce burden on participating institutions. We found the method replicated nationally representative studies with two validated scales. While only one third of the institutions completed all modules, institutions typically did 8-9 modules, with only slight decreases in the probability of completing the study over time. These results suggest researchers can use crowdsourced data collection to reliably study the museum sector. We also discuss the challenges of this method for researchers and institutions participating as data collection sites.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 8

Williams, B. A., J. E. M. Watson, H. L. Beyer, H. S. Grantham, J. S. Simmonds, S. J. Alvarez et al. (2022). "Global drivers of change across tropical savannah ecosystems and insights into their management and conservation." Biological Conservation 276, e109786.

Abstract: All tropical savannahs are experiencing extensive transformation and degradation, yet conservation strategies do not adequately address threats to savannahs. Here, using a recently published ecosystem intactness metric, we assess the current condition of tropical savannahs across Earth, finding that <3 % remain highly intact. Moreover, their overall levels of protection are low, and of the protected savannahs, just 4 % can be considered highly intact while the majority (>60 %) are in poor condition. In order to address the clear mismatch between the decline in tropical savannah ecosystems’ condition and the response to manage and conserve them, we reviewed the current drivers that lead to tropical savannah degradation and identified conservation approaches being used to address them. Many successful conservation approaches address multiple drivers of change but are applied across small areas. We argue these approaches have the potential to be up-scaled through integrated land-use planning.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 6

DeGroot, T. L., J. D. Wolfe, L. L. Powell, ..., C. Barrientos et al. (Early View). "Human impacts on mammal communities in Rio Campo Nature Reserve, Equatorial Guinea." African Journal of Ecology.

Abstract: Equatorial Guinea in central Africa hosts rich biodiversity and a network of protected areas (PAs). However, infrastructure development has facilitated access to previously remote forests. This has likely increased poaching in PAs, thereby complicating efforts of agencies tasked with protecting threatened mammals. Reserva Natural de Río Campo (RNRC) in Equatorial Guinea was previously identified as a priority area for large mammals due to the presence of elephants and great apes and includes habitat for a diverse mammal community of commonly hunted species. To assess mammalian diversity in RNRC, we conducted a camera trap survey in 2017 and 2019. We used a two-step modelling approach to quantify environmental and anthropogenic factors influencing mammal groups. We detected 32 terrestrial mammal species, including endangered forest elephant, western gorilla, chimpanzee, giant pangolin and white-bellied pangolin. We found bushbuck and sitatunga closer to human-dominated areas, while other common species were, in general, further from development. Monkey and pangolin abundance increased inward from the RNRC boundary. Endangered species appear restricted to northeast RNRC which connects to Campo Ma'an National Park in Cameroon. We recommend using our inventory and distributions of threatened mammals as starting points to determine effectiveness of future anti-poaching and management strategies on mammal populations.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 6

Kearney, S. G., J. E. M. Watson, A. E. Reside et al. (2023). "Threat-abatement framework confirms habitat retention and invasive species management are critical to conserve Australia's threatened species." Biological Conservation 277, e109833.

Abstract: Earth's extinction crisis is escalating, and threat classification schemes are increasingly important for assessing the prominent drivers and threats causing species declines. However, a complementary framework for assessing the conservation responses needed to abate these threatening processes is lacking. Here we draw on expert knowledge and published literature to develop a threat-abatement framework which groups threats based on the shared conservation goal of the actions needed to abate their impact and apply it to 1532 threatened species across the Australian continent. Our analysis shows that the most important conservation actions across Australia are to retain and restore habitat, due to the threats posed by habitat destruction and degradation (via logging, mining, urbanisation, roads, and agriculture) to 86 % of Australia's threatened species. Most species also require the effective control of invasive species and diseases (82 %) and improved fire management (66 %). Countering individual threats will not be enough to support species survival or recovery, because almost all species (89 %) require multiple, integrated management responses to redress their threats. Our threat abatement framework enables rapid identification of broad conservation responses to aid recovery of threatened species and can be applied in other regions, scales and contexts.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 6

Maslovsky, K. S., P. N. Maleko, V. V. Pronkevich, J. C. Slaght and A. N. Powell (2023). "First nests of Endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer found in over 40 years indicate nesting plasticity." Bird Conservation International 33, e43.

Abstract: Knowledge of the breeding ecology of Endangered Nordmann’s Greenshank Tringa guttifer is necessary to develop a comprehensive species-specific conservation plan. We found nine greenshank nests in Schaste Bay, Russian Far East during the summers of 2019–2021. These are the first nests found in over 40 years and the only discovered to date on mainland Russia. In contrast to previous nest descriptions, we found greenshanks do not exclusively nest in trees, but also place nests on the ground at the base of mature or sapling larches. Our results indicate greenshanks may be larch obligates during the breeding season, and protecting coastal larch forest ecosystems near bogs, meadows, and mudflats throughout the Russian Far East may be critical to the species’ conservation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 6

Peters, N. M., C. J. Kendall, J. G. Davies, C. Bracebridge, A. Nicholas, M. P. Mgumba and C. M. Beale (2023). "Identifying priority locations to protect a wide-ranging endangered species." Biological Conservation 277, e109828.

Abstract: 1. Medium and large scavengers often move long distances to locate sufficient foraging areas, often including buffer zones of protected areas, putting them at considerable risk from geographically dispersed threats. 2. Vultures are declining worldwide with poisoning being the greatest threat in Africa. Using a novel capture-recapture model applied to carcasses found by 51 GPS tracked vultures, we estimated the exposure, threat, and risk of poisoning to vultures in southern Tanzania. Exposure to poisoning was defined as the areas that vultures use and where carcasses are likely to be found by a given individual. We used a human footprint map as a proxy for threat, identifying locations where poisoning was possible. Risk of poisoning was determined as areas with an overlap of exposure and threat. 3. We found that locations with the greatest risk of poisoning were within 20 km of protected areas. Although most high-risk areas we identified fell within this buffer, our risk assessment method identified additional hot-spots including some high-risk areas that fell outside nearby buffers. 4. We found that our risk assessment allowed us to identify more localised, high-risk areas that cover a much smaller total area. This gives more precise insight into where conservation management should be prioritised and limited resources should be focused.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 6

Polisar, J., C. Davies, T. Morcatty, M. Da Silva, S. Zhang, K. Duchez, J. Madrid, A. E. Lambert, A. Gallegos, M. Delgado, H. Nguyen, R. Wallace, ..., J. Ramnarace, R. Pennell, Y. Novelo, ..., Y. Murillo, M. Nuñez Salas, H. E. Kretser and A. Reuter (2023). "Multi-lingual multi-platform investigations of online trade in jaguar parts." PLoS ONE 18(1), e0280039.

Abstract: We conducted research to understand online trade in jaguar parts and develop tools of utility for jaguars and other species. Our research took place to identify potential trade across 31 online platforms in Spanish, Portuguese, English, Dutch, French, Chinese, and Vietnamese. We identified 230 posts from between 2009 and 2019. We screened the images of animal parts shown in search results to verify if from jaguar; 71 posts on 12 different platforms in four languages were accompanied by images identified as definitely jaguar, including a total of 125 jaguar parts (50.7% posts in Spanish, 25.4% Portuguese, 22.5% Chinese and 1.4% French). Search effort varied among languages due to staff availability. Standardizing for effort across languages by dividing number of posts advertising jaguars by search time and number of individual searches completed via term/platform combinations changed the proportions the rankings of posts adjusted for effort were led by Portuguese, Chinese, and Spanish. Teeth were the most common part; 156 posts offered at least 367 teeth and from these, 95 were assessed as definitely jaguar; 71 of which could be linked to a location, with the majority offered for sale from Mexico, China, Bolivia, and Brazil (26.8, 25.4, 16.9, and 12.7% respectively). The second most traded item, skins and derivative items were only identified from Latin America: Brazil (7), followed by Peru (6), Bolivia (3), Mexico (2 and 1 skin piece), and Nicaragua and Venezuela (1 each). Whether by number of posts or pieces, the most commonly parts were: teeth, skins/pieces of skins, heads, and bodies. Our research took place within a longer-term project to assist law enforcement in host countries to better identify potential illegal trade and presents a snapshot of online jaguar trade and methods that also may have utility for many species traded online.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 6

Seimon, T. A., M. Lim, B. Nightingale, ... and A. Seimon (2022). "First report of Pallas's cat in Sagarmatha National Park - Mount Everest Region, Nepal." CATnews 76, 41-42.

Abstract: We present the first report of Pallas’s cat Otocolobus manul in eastern Nepal, within Sagarmatha National Park, Mount Everest Region, based on genetic evidence from scat samples. We collected the samples from two locations 6 km apart at 5,110 and 5,190 m elevation. DNA metabarcoding analysis identified two individuals from the collected samples. Prey species identified in the scat samples consisted of pika Ochotona roylei (in all samples) and mountain weasel Mustela altaica (in one sample). Red fox Vulpes vulpes scat was identified from the same location as the Pallas’s cat, indicating an overlap in predator territory. These findings extend the range of Pallas’s cat into eastern Nepal and add a new species to the list of known mammals in Sagarmatha National Park.


Grey Literature and Preprint Citations

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 1 of 8

Agger, K. (2022). Images and Key Messages for Human Rights and Social Safeguards Training for Rangers Across Africa. Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 2 of 8

Anderson, E. P., S. B. Correa, T. B. A. Couto and M. Goulding (2022). Conservando los Ecosistemas Acuáticos de la Amazonía. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 3 of 8

Anderson, E. P., S. B. Correa, M. Goulding and T. B. A. Couto (2022). Conservando os Ecossistemas Aquáticos na Amazônia. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 4 of 8

Anderson, E. P., S. B. Correa, M. Goulding and T. B. A. Couto (2022). Conserving Aquatic Ecosystems in the Amazon. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 5 of 8

Antelo, R., M. Vargas-Ramírez, G. Preciado, C. A. Saavedra Rodríguez and G. Forero-Medina (2022). Inter-Institutional Action Plan for the Conservation of the Llanero Caiman (Crocodylus intermedius) in Colombia / Plan de Acción Interinstitucional para la Conservación del Caimán Llanero (Crocodylus intermedius) en Colombia. Cali, Colombia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Colombia, Estación de Biología Tropical Roberto Franco, Gobernación de Casanare, and Universidad Nacional.

Abstract: The Action Plan aims to "Establish three wild populations in protected areas within the historical distribution of the species, with at least 5 reproductive females in a period of 15 years." In order to propose the strategies that allow this objective to be met, the most outstanding current threats that prevent its recovery were identified: extinct populations, small populations (vortex of extinction), loss of unrecognized in situ populations, hunting due to conflict, looting of nests, inbreeding. and bycatch in fishing nets. To face these threats, six conservation strategies are proposed: evaluation of wild populations, captive breeding, newborn rescue, reintroduction, genetic management and environmental education; which in turn are subdivided into 16 activities that are recommended to be carried out in an articulated manner between public and private actors, including: Corporinoquia, Cormacarena, Parques Nacionales Natulares de Colombia, Estación de Biologia Tropical Roberto Franco (EBTRF), Fundación Palmarito Casanare, Gobernación de Casanare and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS-Colombia). / El caimán llanero (Crocodylus intermedius) constituye un auténtico cocodrilo de agua dulce que se distribuye las tierras bajas de la Orinoquia, compartida por Colombia y Venezuela. Durante el primer tercio del siglo pasado (1929-década de los 60) la especie estuvo sometida a una fuerte presión por cacería comercial que la llevó al borde la extinción. A pesar de que la caza cesó hace más de 40 años y de que el Programa Nacional para su conservación está vigente desde 1998, el caimán continúa en Peligro Crítico en toda su área de distribución. Este Plan de Acción tiene como objetivo “Establecer tres poblaciones silvestres en áreas protegidas dentro de la distribución histórica de la especie, que cuenten con al menos 5 hembras reproductivas en un lapso de 15 años”. Para proponer las estrategias que permitan cumplir este objetivo se identificaron las amenazas actuales más destacadas que impiden su recuperación: poblaciones extintas, poblaciones pequeñas (vórtice de la extinción), pérdida de poblaciones in situ no reconocidas, cacería por conflicto, saqueo de nidos, endogamia y captura incidental en redes de pesca. Para enfrentar estas amenazas se plantean seis estrategias de conservación: evaluación de las poblaciones silvestres, cría en cautiverio, rescate de neonatos, reintroducción, manejo genético y educación ambiental; que a su vez se subdividen en 16 actividades que se recomienda realizar de manera articulada entre actores públicos y privados, incluyendo: Corporinoquia, Cormacarena, Parques Nacionales Natura- les de Colombia, Estación de Biología Tropical Roberto Franco (EBTRF), Fundación Palmarito Casanare, Gobernación de Casanare y Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS-Colombia).

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 6 of 8

Dudley, N., M. Kettunen, J. Gorricho, ..., J. Robinson and N. Sekhran (Preprint). "Area-based conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals: a review." Zenodo.

Abstract: Area-based conservation is more than just a contribution to protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Establishment and effective management of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation mechanisms (OECMs) could accelerate progress for a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for which progress is currently too slow to meet targets by the 2030 deadline. We report the first global analysis of the wider role of protected areas and OECMs in SDG implementation. Our analysis focusses on 11 of the 17 SDGs, assessed in three main groups: (i) cornerstones of conservation, underpinning all prosperity (SDGs 14 and 15); (ii) fundamentals for well-being (SDGs 2, 6 and 13); and (iii) sustainable, healthy and peaceful societies (SDGs 1, 3, 5, 10, 11 and 16). Better representation of area-based conservation in the SDGs will require us to take four steps: (i) recognition of wider SDG targets addressed by protected and conserved areas; (ii) integration of ecosystem services into site-level policies and national SDG strategies; (iii) enhancement of the relevant values through management approaches; and (iv) consistent reporting of these as a contribution to the SDGs.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 7 of 8

Kretser, H. E., S. E. Reed, A. J. K. Calhoun et al. (2023). Conservation Design and Stewardship Guidelines for Local Land-Use Regulations. Bronx, NY and Fort Collins, CO: Wildlife Conservation Society and Conservation Development Working Group at Colorado State University.

Abstract: Our goal is to support and encourage land-use planners, decision makers and conservation scientists and practitioners to participate in local land-use policy by providing them with guidelines that translate their scientific knowledge into a planning and development decision-making context.

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 8 of 8

Rae, J., C. Lausen and B. Paterson (2022). North American Bat Monitoring Program in British Columbia: 2021 Data Summary and Activity Trend Analyses (2016 – 2021). Toronto, Canada: Wildlife Conservation Society, Canada and North American Bat Monitoring Program.

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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 4

Cooksey, K. E., C. Sanz, J. M. Massamba, T. F. Ebombi, P. Teberd, G. Abea, G. Mbebouti, I. Kienast, S. Brogan et al. (In Press). "Predictors of respiratory illness in western lowland gorillas." Primates.

Abstract: Infectious disease is hypothesized to be one of the most important causes of morbidity and mortality in wild great apes. Specific socioecological factors have been shown to influence incidences of respiratory illness and disease prevalence in some primate populations. In this study, we evaluated potential predictors (including age, sex, group size, fruit availability, and rainfall) of respiratory illness across three western lowland gorilla groups in the Republic of Congo. A total of 19,319 observational health assessments were conducted during daily follows of habituated gorillas in the Goualougo and Djéké Triangles over a 4-year study period. We detected 1146 incidences of clinical respiratory signs, which indicated the timing of probable disease outbreaks within and between groups. Overall, we found that males were more likely to exhibit signs than females, and increasing age resulted in a higher likelihood of respiratory signs. Silverback males showed the highest average monthly prevalence of coughs and sneezes (Goualougo: silverback Loya, 9.35 signs/month; Djéké: silverback Buka, 2.65 signs/month; silverback Kingo,1.88 signs/month) in each of their groups. Periods of low fruit availability were associated with an increased likelihood of respiratory signs. The global pandemic has increased awareness about the importance of continuous monitoring and preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks, which are also known to threaten wild ape populations. In addition to the strict implementation of disease prevention protocols at field sites focused on great apes, there is a need for heightened vigilance and systematic monitoring across sites to protect both wildlife and human populations.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 4

Riley Koenig, C. M., B. L. Koenig and C. M. Sanz (2023). "Portrayals of wild primates in documentary films: Reason for concern?" Primates 64(1), 177-189.

Abstract: Documentaries are the primary means by which many people observe the behavior of wild primates. By influencing layperson perceptions of wild primates, documentaries could impact viewer conservation-related beliefs and behaviors and, therefore, the well-being of wild primates. To investigate such portrayals, we examined documentaries depicting the four species that were most represented in documentaries: rhesus macaque, chimpanzee, ring-tailed lemur, and mountain gorilla. For each documentary, we continuously coded behavior, conducted scan samples of age-sex classes at 3-min intervals, and made ad libitum observations of inaccuracies and misleading content. We expected that representation of age-sex classes and activity budgets in documentaries would differ from those reported in the primary literature for the same species in the wild. In addition, we expected inaccurate depictions for every species. For ring-tailed lemurs, adult males were underrepresented in documentaries. For macaques, chimpanzees, and gorillas, representation of age-sex classes did not differ significantly from observations in the wild. Documentary depictions of activity budgets differed from researcher accounts of wild primate behavior for rhesus macaques, chimpanzees, and mountain gorillas, but not for ring-tailed lemurs. In general, documentaries overrepresented traveling and social behaviors such as play and grooming. Documentaries, especially docudramas, may have emphasized traveling because such footage allows storyline narration, whereas the emphasis on social behavior was likely due to the appeal of such footage to audiences. Inaccuracies were documented for all four species, with rhesus macaques having the most inaccuracies. We propose that primatologists have an ethical imperative to enhance the accuracy of primate portrayals to audiences.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 4

Sultaire, S. M., Y. Kawai-Harada, A. Kimmel, ..., J. P. Beckmann et al. (Early View). "Black bear density and habitat use variation at the Sierra Nevada-Great Basin Desert transition." The Journal of Wildlife Management, e22358.

Abstract: In the first 2 decades of the twenty-first century, American black bear (Ursus americanus) populations rebounded with range expansions into areas where the species was previously extirpated. While there are a number of factors that limit range expansion, habitat quality and availability are among the most important. Such factors may be particularly important in western Nevada, USA, at the transition zone of the Sierra Nevada and the Great Basin Desert. We deployed a multi-faceted data collection system including motion-sensitive cameras, noninvasive hair sampling and genotyping, and global positioning system (GPS) tracking. We analyzed data using spatial capture-recapture to estimate population density and dynamic occupancy models to estimate habitat use. Black bear habitat use and density were substantially higher in the Sierra Nevada than the Great Basin Desert and had strong positive relationships with the presence of conifer land cover in the transition zone. The average black bear density was >4 times higher in the mixed-conifer forests of the Sierra Nevada (12.4 bears/100 km2) than in desert mountain ranges with piñon (Pinus monophylla)-juniper (Juniperus spp.) woodland (2.7 bears/100 km2). The low-elevation shrub and grassland portions of the study area had even lower estimated black bear density (0.6 bears/100 km2) and probability of use (0.03, 95% CI = 0.00–0.09). Across these spatially variable configurations in black bear density, we estimated the population size to be 418 individuals (95% CI = 239–740). Declining density towards the range edge, coupled with a relatively stable range of black bears in Nevada observed since 2000, suggests that further species range expansion into the western Great Basin may be limited by habitat quality and availability.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 4

Voiklis, J., R. Gupta, S. J. Rank et al. (2023). "Believing zoos and aquariums as conservation informants.” In J. Fraser, J. E. Heimlich and K. Riedinger [eds.], Zoos and Aquariums in the Public Mind, 113-127. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.

Abstract: Zoos and aquariums play a pivotal role in conservation, including educating the public about a range of conservation topics, such as endangered species, wildlife conservation, animal well-being, environmental issues, and relevant science. Based on a half-century of research on communication and persuasion, the credibility people ascribe to these conservation messages depends on the authority people ascribe to the messengers—zoos and aquariums—as sources of knowledge. That epistemic authority combines people’s judgments about the trustworthiness of zoos and aquariums (are they competent, reliable, sincere, etc.?) and their feelings of favorability (do I like them?) and affinity (is it my kind of place?) toward these conservation institutions. In this chapter, we report on how we modeled these dependencies between message credibility and epistemic authority. Using data from two national representative surveys, we show that each aspect of epistemic authority contributes substantially to the credibility of conservation messages. We then describe the implications of our findings for zoo and aquarium leadership and provide some practical recommendations. Specifically, for conservation messages to be seen as credible, zoos and aquariums need to pay attention to all three aspects: trustworthiness, favorability, and/or affinity.


Grey Literature and Preprint Citations

Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 1 of 2

Cameron, K. N., J.-V. Mombouli, F. R. Niama, B. Hayes, S. H. Olson, ..., D. O. Joly et al. (Preprint). “Orbivirus RNA in a banana serotine (Afronycteris nanus) Bat in the Republic of the Congo.” Zenodo.

Abstract: Orbiviruses are arthropod borne viruses of vertebrates, with some of them being important pathogens of veterinary, conservation and economic importance, while others are occasionally associated with human disease. Some apparently bat specific orbiviruses have been detected, but little is known about their distribution and diversity. We thus sampled and screened 52 bats living in the Congo Basin, and detected RNA indicative of a novel orbivirus in a single banana serotine (Afronycteris nanus) by PCR. The detected RNA clusters with epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus, bluetongue virus, and others. The findings highlight the need for more studies into arbovirus presence and diversity in bat species.


Grey Literature and Preprint Citation 2 of 2

Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru (2022). Ciencia Ciudadana para Fortalecer la Ciudadanía Ambiental en la Provincia de Sandia 2020-2022. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru.


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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 7

Caldas, B., M. L. Thieme, N. Shahbol, ..., C. K. Fagundes, ..., M. Montoya et al. (2023). "Identifying the current and future status of freshwater connectivity corridors in the Amazon Basin." Conservation Science and Practice 5(1), e12853.

Abstract: The Amazon Basin features a vast network of healthy, free-flowing rivers, which provides habitat for the most biodiverse freshwater fauna of any basin globally. However, existing and future infrastructure developments, including dams, threaten its integrity by diminishing river connectivity, altering flows, or changing sediment regimes, which can impact freshwater species. In this study, we assess critical rivers that need to be maintained as freshwater connectivity corridors (FCCs) for selective freshwater species—long-distance migratory fishes and turtles (both with migrations >500 km) and river dolphins. We define FCCs as river stretches of uninterrupted river connectivity that provide important riverine and floodplain habitat for long-distance migratory and other species and that maintain associated ecosystem functions. We assessed more than 340,000 km of river, beginning with an assessment of the connectivity status of all rivers and then combining river status with models of occurrence of key species to map where FCCs occur and how they could be affected under a scenario of proposed dams. We identified that in 2019, 16 of 26 very long (>1000 km) rivers are free-flowing but only 9 would remain free-flowing if all proposed dams are built. Among long and very long rivers (>500 km), 93 are considered FCCs. Under the future scenario, one-fifth (18) of these long and very long FCCs—those that are of critical importance for long-distance migrants and dolphins—would lose their FCC status, including the Amazon, the Negro, Marañón, Napo, Ucayali, Preto do Igapó Açu, Beni, and Uraricoera rivers. To avoid impacts of poorly sited infrastructure, we advocate for energy and water resources planning at the basin scale that evaluates alternative development options and limits development that will impact on FCCs. The results also highlight where corridors could be designated as protected from future fragmentation.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 7

Cameron, K. N., J.-V. Mombouli, F. R. Niama, B. Hayes, S. H. Olson, ..., D. O. Joly et al. (In Press). "Orbivirus RNA in a banana serotine (Afronycteris nanus) Bat in the Republic of the Congo." EcoHealth.

Abstract: Orbiviruses are arthropod borne viruses of vertebrates, with some of them being important pathogens of veterinary, conservation and economic importance, while others are occasionally associated with human disease. Some apparently bat specific orbiviruses have been detected, but little is known about their distribution and diversity. We thus sampled and screened 52 bats living in the Congo Basin, and detected RNA indicative of a novel orbivirus in a single banana serotine (Afronycteris nanus) by PCR. The detected RNA clusters with epizootic haemorrhagic disease virus, bluetongue virus, and others. The findings highlight the need for more studies into arbovirus presence and diversity in bat species.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 7

Dudley, N., M. Kettunen, J. Gorricho, L. Krueger, K. MacKinnon, J. Oglethorpe, M. Paxton, J. Robinson and N. Sekhran (In Press). "Area-based conservation and the Sustainable Development Goals: A review." Biodiversity.

Abstract: Area-based conservation is more than just a contribution to protecting biodiversity and ecosystem services. Establishment and effective management of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation mechanisms (OECMs) could accelerate progress for a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), for which progress is currently too slow to meet targets by the 2030 deadline. We report the first global analysis of the wider role of protected areas and OECMs in SDG implementation. Our analysis focusses on 11 of the 17 SDGs, assessed in three main groups: (i) cornerstones of conservation, underpinning all prosperity (SDGs 14 and 15); (ii) fundamentals for well-being (SDGs 2, 6 and 13); and (iii) sustainable, healthy and peaceful societies (SDGs 1, 3, 5, 10, 11 and 16). Better representation of area-based conservation in the SDGs will require us to take four steps: (i) recognition of wider SDG targets addressed by protected and conserved areas; (ii) integration of ecosystem services into site-level policies and national SDG strategies; (iii) enhancement of the relevant values through management approaches; and (iv) consistent reporting of these as a contribution to the SDGs.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 7

Liang, M., M. González-Roglich, P. Roehrdanz et al. (2023). "Assessing protected area’s carbon stocks and ecological structure at regional-scale using GEDI lidar." Global Environmental Change 78, e102621.

Abstract: Protected areas (PAs) serve as a critical strategy for protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating climate change. While there is a critical need to guide area-based conservation efforts, a systematic assessment of PA effectiveness for storing carbon stocks has not been possible due to the lack of globally consistent forest biomass data. In this study, we present a new methodology utilizing forest structural information and aboveground biomass density (AGBD) obtained from the Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) mission. We compare PAs with similar, unprotected forests obtained through statistical matching to assess differences in carbon storage and forest structure. We also assess matching outcomes for a robust and minimally biased way to quantify PA efficacy. We find that all analyzed PAs in Tanzania possess higher biomass densities than their unprotected counterfactuals (24.4% higher on average). This is also true for other forest structure metrics, including tree height, canopy cover, and plant area index (PAI). We also find that community-governed PAs are the most effective category of PAs at preserving forest structure and AGBD – often outperforming those managed by international or national entities. In addition, PAs designated under more than one entity perform better than the PAs with a single designation, especially those with multiple international designations. Finally, our findings suggest that smaller PAs may be more effective for conservation, depending on levels of connectivity. Taken together, these findings support the designation of PAs as an effective means for forest management with considerable potential to protect forest ecosystems and achieve long-term climate goals.


Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 7

Naing, T. Z., N. Lin, P. P. Aung, H. L. Kyaw, N. Lin, L. Win and T. Htut (2022). "Nest surveys and conservation of the Sarus Crane Antigone antigone sharpii in the Ayeyarwady Delta, Myanmar." Journal of Asian Ornithology 38, 93-99.

Abstract: Until recently, the status and breeding biology of the Sarus Crane Antigone antigone sharpii in Myanmar was poorly known. The objective of our survey was to determine the current breeding status of Sarus Cranes in the Ayeyarwady Delta to inform conservation management action. We found a total of 356 nests during the three-year study (33 in 2016, 138 in 2017 and 185 in 2018). Most nests were in rice-paddies (79.5%) and grassland (20.5%), and had a clutch size of two eggs. The incubation period was 29–32 days. Hatching success was generally high. The key threats to the survival of the Sarus Crane in our study area are habitat loss and degradation due to conversion of land for aquaculture. In our surveyed area, we conducted conservation awareness activities between 2017 and 2020, and we advised and encouraged the establishment of a civil society organisation to strengthen the conservation of the cranes in 2016. Our results demonstrate that the Ayeyarwady Delta is of high national and global significance for the conservation of the Sarus Crane.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 7

Pandit, P. S., S. J. Anthony, T. Goldstein, ..., A. Latinne, ..., S. Olson, L. Keatts, A. P. Mendoza, A. Perez, C. Dejuste de Paula, ..., E. Shiilegdamba, ..., E. A. Robles, ..., N. T. T. Nga, P. L. Hitchens, D. O. Joly, K. Saylors, A. Fine et al. (2023). "Author correction: Predicting the potential for zoonotic transmission and host associations for novel viruses." Communications Biology 6(1), e25.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 7

Wainger, L. A., E. O. Murray, C. H. Theiling, A. M. McMurray, J. A. Cushing, S. B. Komlos and A. F. Cofrancesco (In Press). "Broadening benefits and anticipating tradeoffs with a proposed ecosystem service analysis framework for the US Army Corps of Engineers." Environmental Management.

Abstract: Would-be adopters of ecosystem service analysis frameworks might ask, ‘Do such frameworks improve ecosystem service provision or social benefits sufficiently to compensate for any extra effort?’ Here we explore that question by retrospectively applying an ecosystem goods and services (EGS) analysis framework to a large river restoration case study conducted by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and comparing potential time costs and outcomes of traditional versus EGS-informed planning. USACE analytic methods can have a large influence on which river and wetland restoration projects are implemented in the United States because they affect which projects or project elements are eligible for federal cost-share funding. A new framework is designed for the USACE and is primarily distinguished from current procedures by adding explicit steps to document and compare tradeoffs and complementarity among all affected EGS, rather than the subset that falls within project purposes. Further, it applies economic concepts to transform ecological performance indicators into social benefit indicators, even if changes cannot be valued. We conclude that, for large multi-partner restoration projects like our case study, using the framework provides novel information on social outcomes that could be used to enhance project design, without substantially increasing scoping costs. The primary benefits of using the framework in the case study appeared to stem from early comprehensive identification of stakeholder interests that might have prevented project delays late in the process, and improving the communication of social benefits and how tradeoffs among EGS benefits were weighed during planning.


Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature Citation 1 of 2

Gobiernos Autónomos Municipales de Trinidad y Loreto (2022). Plan Estratégico de Turismo para las Áreas Protegidas Municipales Ibare-Mamoré y Gran Mojos 2022-2031. Trinidad, Bolivia: Grupo de Trabajo para los Llanos de Moxos and Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia.

Grey Literature Citation 2 of 2

Wallace, R., C. Maldonado, C. Flores-Turdera, M. Hayes, C. Jurado, ..., E. Salinas and O. Torrico (2022). Reto Ciudad Naturaleza La Paz: Informe de Resultados 2022. La Paz, Bolivia: Wildlife Conservation Society, Bolivia, Instituto de Ecología at UMSA, Museo Nacional de Historia Natural, and Carrera de Biología at UMSA.


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Peer-Reviewed Literature Citations

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 1 of 9

Adhiasto, D. N., I. Exploitasia, I. Giyanto, P. Fahlapie, P. Johnsen, M. I. Andriansyah, N. Hafizoh, Y. D. Setyorini, S. Mardiah, U. Mardhiah and M. Linkie (Accepted Article). "A criminal justice response to address the illegal trade of wildlife in Indonesia." Conservation Letters, e12937.

Abstract: The global illegal wildlife trade (IWT) is a multi-billion dollar annual trade that threatens numerous species. Understanding ways to improve the law enforcement response is an essential component in addressing this trade. Yet, quantifying the impacts of such conservation measures is often hindered by a lack of long-term and reliable datasets. Here, we evaluate a 15-year multi-stakeholder collaboration that aimed to detect, report and robustly respond to IWT across the vast Indonesian archipelago. Our results demonstrate the performance of site-based monitoring networks in reliably reporting a widespread IWT of hundreds of nationally protected species. It revealed highly responsive government law enforcement agencies, high prosecution and conviction rates and increasing penal sanctions over time, which significantly differed by province, year of arrest, and the number of unique protected species seized in a case. From these results, we formulate management recommendations for key agencies working in the criminal justice system.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 2 of 9

Devlin, A. L., J. L. Frair, P. G. Crawshaw Jr, L. T. B. Hunter et al. (2023). "Drivers of large carnivore density in non-hunted, multi-use landscapes." Conservation Science and Practice 5(1), e12745.

Abstract: Protected areas serve as population strongholds for many large carnivores, with multi-use landscapes along their borders forming the front-lines of wildlife conservation. Understanding large carnivore population dynamics within working landscapes is difficult where anthropogenic mortality is high and unregulated. This study focused on working ranches, where killing jaguars (Panthera onca) and their prey was prohibited, to gain insight into jaguar population potential across multi-use landscapes. Faced with forest fragmentation, presence of domestic livestock, and dynamic land-use practices, we expected jaguar populations in working landscapes to be predominantly male and transient, with low cub production, and inflated population densities in remnant forest patches, versus protected areas where we expected native forest habitat and stable jaguar territories. Using camera traps and spatial-capture recapture analyses, we observed that male jaguars demonstrated larger-scale movements and were more detectable than females (0.07 ± 0.01 SE vs. 0.02 ± 0.01 SE) in both working and protected landscapes. Female jaguars in ranches traveled farther than females in parks. Carnivore density increased with forest cover and wild prey activity, decreased with domestic prey activity, and was marginally higher in ranches (4.08 individuals/100 km2 ± 0.73 SE) than in parks (3.59 individuals/100 km2 ± 0.64 SE). Females outnumbered males in both landscapes (2.20–2.60 females/100 km2 vs. ~1.60 males/100 km2), although local male density reached up to 11.00 males/100 km2 in ranches (vs. 3.50 males/100 km2 in parks). While overall jaguar density was patchier in protected areas (̿ = 0.69 parks, 0.54 ranches), inter-annual patchiness was higher within ranches (Moran's I = 0.49–0.60 ranches, 0.69–0.70 parks), reflecting changes in cattle management. Despite major habitat alterations, working landscapes can support carnivore densities equivalent to (or exceeding that of) unmodified forest habitat, provided that wildlife-tolerant ranching practices are maintained.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 3 of 9

Eppley, T. M., S. Hoeks, C. A. Chapman, ..., J. Martínez, ..., R. B. Wallace et al. (2022). "Factors influencing terrestriality in primates of the Americas and Madagascar." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 119(42), e2121105119.

Abstract: Among mammals, the order Primates is exceptional in having a high taxonomic richness in which the taxa are arboreal, semiterrestrial, or terrestrial. Although habitual terrestriality is pervasive among the apes and African and Asian monkeys (catarrhines), it is largely absent among monkeys of the Americas (platyrrhines), as well as galagos, lemurs, and lorises (strepsirrhines), which are mostly arboreal. Numerous ecological drivers and species-specific factors are suggested to set the conditions for an evolutionary shift from arboreality to terrestriality, and current environmental conditions may provide analogous scenarios to those transitional periods. Therefore, we investigated predominantly arboreal, diurnal primate genera from the Americas and Madagascar that lack fully terrestrial taxa, to determine whether ecological drivers (habitat canopy cover, predation risk, maximum temperature, precipitation, primate species richness, human population density, and distance to roads) or species-specific traits (body mass, group size, and degree of frugivory) associate with increased terrestriality. We collated 150,961 observation hours across 2,227 months from 47 species at 20 sites in Madagascar and 48 sites in the Americas. Multiple factors were associated with ground use in these otherwise arboreal species, including increased temperature, a decrease in canopy cover, a dietary shift away from frugivory, and larger group size. These factors mostly explain intraspecific differences in terrestriality. As humanity modifies habitats and causes climate change, our results suggest that species already inhabiting hot, sparsely canopied sites, and exhibiting more generalized diets, are more likely to shift toward greater ground use.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 4 of 9

Halliday, W. D., N. Le Baron, J. J. Citta, ... and S. J. Insley (2022). "Overlap between bowhead whales (Balaena mysticetus) and vessel traffic in the North American Arctic and implications for conservation and management." Biological Conservation 276, e109820.

Abstract: Collisions between vehicles and wildlife is a global conservation concern, and vessel strikes are a leading cause of serious injury and mortality for baleen whales. Yet vessel strikes have rarely been studied in the Arctic. Vessel traffic is increasing throughout the Arctic as sea ice is declining, leading to increased overlap between vessels and whales. We examined hypothetical vessel strike risk for the Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort (BCB) and Eastern Canada-West Greenland (ECWG) populations of bowhead whales during the open-water shipping season. We used satellite telemetry and aerial survey data to calculate monthly relative density of both populations, and satellite vessel tracking data to calculate monthly vessel density and speed. We estimated vessel strike risk by multiplying whale density by vessel density corrected by vessel speed. For the BCB population, the highest relative risk was near Utqiaġvik and Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, USA, and near Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, Canada. For the ECWG population, the highest risk was in the Gulf of Boothia, Cumberland Sound, and near Isabella Bay, Nunavut, Canada. Strike risk was highest in August and September, corresponding with monthly trends in vessel traffic. This study provides important information for focussed monitoring and to minimize/mitigate the threat of vessel strikes to bowhead whales. Although vessel strike risk is presently lower for these populations than for other temperate large cetacean populations, bowhead whale behaviour and projected increases in traffic elevates their risk in the Arctic. Measures to mitigate vessel strike risk to bowhead whales will likely benefit other Arctic marine mammals like beluga and narwhal.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 5 of 9

Harris, S., K. Pütz, T. Mattern, G. Scioscia and A. Raya Rey (2023). "The role of conspecifics during pelagic foraging of Magellanic and benthic foraging of Gentoo penguins in the Beagle Channel, Argentina." Marine Biology 170(2), e17.

Abstract: Seabirds coexist within colonies yet the role of conspecifics, whilst foraging is still poorly understood. In the 2019/20 and 2020/21 breeding seasons Magellanic penguins Spheniscus magellanicus and Gentoo penguins Pygoscelis papua were equipped with video loggers and GPS devices (n = 3 and n = 2, respectively) or only GPS devices (n = 11 and n = 2) at Martillo Island (54°54′ S, 67°23′ W), Argentina and compared with GPS tracks from previous seasons (2014, 2015 and 2017). Magellanic penguins transited in groups with conspecifics to the feeding grounds (up to 13 individuals were recorded simultaneously) in search of pelagic Fuegian sprat Sprattus fuegensis, but then were not filmed in close company of conspecifics during prey capture. Gentoo penguins generally fed on Nototheniid sp. at the seafloor. Contrary to predictions, Gentoo penguins foraged with conspecifics in small groups of 2–4 individuals, they coordinated to dive down, search and ambush prey. Gentoo penguins were also recorded foraging pelagically on Fuegian sprat. Conspecifics play an important role either during the initial search for prey patches, particularly when searching for elusive pelagic prey or during the small-scale search and hunt for benthic prey hidden in the seafloor substrate. The presence of conspecifics seems to be important during foraging for Magellanic and Gentoo penguins and this may be reflecting a positive aspect of coloniality.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 6 of 9

Lausen, C. L., P. Lentini, S. Dulc et al. (2022). "Bat boxes as roosting habitat in urban centres: ‘Thinking outside the box’". In L. Moretto, J. L. Coleman, C. M. Davy et al. [Eds.], Urban Bats: Biology, Ecology, and Human Dimensions, 75-93. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

Abstract: Bats in urban environments depend on human-made structures or remnant natural habitats for roosting. Bat boxes are commonly used artificial structures that aim to replace lost tree or building roosts, but they are not a universal solution, or panacea, as few species use them, and other options exist that more closely mimic natural tree cavities. As long-lived mammals, bats may be lured into human-built structures with unstable conditions. These structures could act as ‘ecological traps’ if they suddenly become inaccessible with few other roost options available. Problems arising from the use of bat boxes, such as mortality events resulting from overheating, may reflect limited roost availability rather than inherent flaws in bat box designs. Mimicking a natural roosting area requires accommodating requisite roost switching. This can be accomplished in urban centres by manipulating existing trees or erecting multiple, varied bat boxes in close proximity, which could require purposeful urban planning. Engaging the public in community-driven bat conservation initiatives may hold the key to ensuring bats thrive in human-dominated landscapes. Here, we discuss problems associated with bat boxes and propose solutions, using case studies from Canada and Australia.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 7 of 9

Meißner, R., S. Winter, U. Westerhüs, ..., L. T. B. Hunter et al. (In Press). "The potential and shortcomings of mitochondrial DNA analysis for cheetah conservation management." Conservation Genetics.

Abstract: There are only about 7,100 adolescent and adult cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus) remaining in the wild. With the majority occurring outside protected areas, their numbers are rapidly declining. Evidence-based conservation measures are essential for the survival of this species. Genetic data is routinely used to inform conservation strategies, e.g., by establishing conservation units (CU). A commonly used marker in conservation genetics is mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Here, we investigated the cheetah’s phylogeography using a large-scale mtDNA data set to refine subspecies distributions and better assign individuals to CUs. Our dataset mostly consisted of historic samples to cover the cheetah’s whole range as the species has been extinct in most of its former distribution. While our genetic data largely agree with geography-based subspecies assignments, several geographic regions show conflicting mtDNA signals. Our analyses support previous findings that evolutionary forces such as incomplete lineage sorting or mitochondrial capture likely confound the mitochondrial phylogeography of this species, especially in East and, to some extent, in Northeast Africa. We caution that subspecies assignments solely based on mtDNA should be treated carefully and argue for an additional standardized nuclear single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) marker set for subspecies identification and monitoring. However, the detection of the A. j. soemmeringii specific haplogroup by a newly designed Amplification-Refractory Mutation System (ARMS) can already provide support for conservation measures.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 8 of 9

Pande, A., A. Anand, S. Saini and and K. Sivakumar (2023). "Geospatial tools for monitoring vertebrate populations in Antarctica with a note on the ecological component of the Indian Antarctic Program." In M. Pandey, P. C. Pandey, Y. Ray, et al. [Eds.], Advances in Remote Sensing Technology and the Three Poles, 144-154. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Abstract: The Antarctic marine ecosystem serves as home to innumerable life forms including marine mammals, seabirds, fish, and a diverse invertebrate community. Several of these animal populations are monitored as indicators of ecosystem health. In the past, multiple methods have been utilized for surveying and monitoring the wildlife populations in Antarctica, which includes traditional ground surveys and aircraft or vessel-based surveys. With a steep improvement in availability of cutting-edge tools in Antarctic research, the monitoring methods are changing with an increased use of drones and remote-sensed imagery. This chapter details, with examples, the utility of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and satellite imagery for wildlife monitoring in Antarctica. Also briefly discussed is the seabird monitoring being conducted under the Indian Antarctic Program and recommendations are given for upscaling the techniques being currently used.

Peer-Reviewed Literature Citation 9 of 9

Sutcliffe, S., J. D. Lau, M. L. Barnes, ..., I. Mulwodo Muly, S. Wanyonyi, N. A. Muthiga et al. (2023). "COVID-19 impacts on food systems in fisheries-dependent island communities." Ecology & Society 28(1), e1.

Abstract: Policies designed to contain the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted food systems worldwide. How impacts played out in local food systems, and how these affected the lived experiences of different people is only just coming to light. We conducted a structured analysis of the impacts of COVID-19 containment policies on the food systems of small-scale fishing communities in Kenya, Papua New Guinea, and Saint Lucia, based on interviews with men and women fishers, fish traders, and community leaders. Participants reported that containment policies lead indirectly to reduced volumes of food, lower dietary diversity, increased consumption of traditional foods, and reduced access to fish for food and income. Although the initiating policy and food and nutrition security outcomes often appeared similar, we found that the underlying pathways and feedbacks causing these impacts were different based on local context. Incorporating knowledge of how context-specific factors shape food system outcomes may be key to tailoring strategies to mitigate the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and designing timely, strategic interventions for future systemic shocks.


Grey Literature Citations

Grey Literature 1 of 1

Loreto Gobierno Regional, Gerencia Regional del Ambiente, Área de Conservación Regional Comunal Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo, and Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru (2022). Plan Maestro del Área de Conservación Regional Comunal Tamshiyacu Tahuayo y su Zona de Influencia 2022 - 2027. Lima, Peru: Wildlife Conservation Society, Peru.

Abstract: El Área de Conservación Regional “Comunal Tamshiyacu Tahuayo” (ACR CTT) está ubicada en los distritos de Fernando Lores, en la provincia de Maynas; Yavarí, en la provincia Mariscal Ramón Castilla; así como Saquena y Yaquerana, en la provincia de Requena, en el departamento de Loreto. Tiene una extensión de 420 080.25 ha, fue establecida en mayo del 2009 mediante Decreto Supremo N.º 010-2009-MINAM y tiene como particularidad una alta diversidad de primates neotropicales. En el establecimiento del ACR se priorizaron como objetos de conservación el Cacajao calvus ucayalii “huapo rojo”, Trichechus inunguis “vaca marina”, tres especies de “guacamayos” (Ara macao, A. ararauna, A. chloroptera), poblaciones de mamíferos mayores (como Tayassu pecari “huangana” y Pecari tajacu “sajino”), comunidades de Lepidocaryum tenue “irapayales”, palmerales de Mauritia flexuosa “aguajales”, cochas y tahuampas (planicies de inundación), así como los bosques de colinas bajas. Este Plan Maestro recoge los acuerdos tomados para la cogestión del ACR CTT y su zona de influencia, incluye los compromisos de aliados estratégicos y es el resultado de un esfuerzo conjunto entre las comunidades organizadas y la jefatura del área. Constituye el instrumento de planificación que orientará las acciones conjuntas a implementarse en el periodo 2022-2027. Es producto de un proceso participativo liderado por la Gerencia Regional del Ambiente (GRAM), a través de la Subgerencia Regional de Conservación y Diversidad Biológica (SGRCDB). La cogestión del ACR CTT está orientada a las acciones que se desarrollan para conservar y manejar sosteniblemente los ecosistemas y las distintas especies de flora y fauna que brindan el sustento diario y contribuyen a mejorar la calidad de vida de la población. El ACR CTT tuvo dos Planes Maestros previos, el último de los cuales estuvo vigente en el periodo 2017-2021 y fue aprobado mediante Resolución Gerencial Regional N.º 004-2017-GRL-GGR-ARA LORETO. En este proceso de actualización se recogieron las lecciones aprendidas de la implementación del segundo Plan, lo que permitió establecer metas que no se habían percibido en los años anteriores y que ahora se manifiestan como necesidades de implementación. Asimismo, cuenta con los compromisos por parte de los distintos aliados estratégicos, como las comunidades, los grupos de gobernanza, las empresas, el municipio distrital y ONG.