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 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.

Return to the top of the page




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.


Return to the top of the page




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.


Return to the top of the page




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.