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Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)

The Wildlife Conservation Society saves wildlife and wild lands through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world?s largest system of urban wildlife parks. Today WCS is at work in 53 nations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America. WCS? conservation efforts extend beyond the boundaries of protected into large relatively intact landscapes and seascapes where some of the worlds poorest most marginalized people live. Their dependence on the direct consumption of natural resources often makes local people strong advocates for conservation and important partners for WCS. Helping secure local livelihoods is a powerful means for WCS to maintaining a local constituency for conservation, and to conserve wildlife in wild places.


1. Community Markets for Conservation, Zambia: WCS works with over 50,000 households in the Luangwa Valley and Kafue regions of Zambia providing them with extension services to promote crop diversification and improved conservation farming methods and linking them to urban markets through the \"It's Wild\" brand. Since the project began in 2002, incomes of partner households have more than doubled, food security has improved markedly, and wildlife have increased significantly as a result of participating households' commitment to cease illegal hunting.
2. Ituri Landscape, DR Congo: WCS supports agricultural intensification and participative zoning and land-use planning in the Okapi Wildlife Reserve and across Ituri District to promote sustainable development and reduce deforestation as a result of shifting subsistence agriculture.
3. Northern Uganda: WCS supports land-use planning and land-titling for returning internally displaced people (IDPs) following the cessation of hostilities in northern Uganda.
4. Conservation Cotton Initiative, Africa: In collaboration with Edun, WCS supports local farmers in Uganda, Madagascar, and Zambia to shift from standard to organic cotton farming with environmental benefits for globally important wildlife areas. Conservation cotton is marketed by Edun and proceeds returned to farmers to promote sustainable rural development.
5. Ruaha Landscape, Tanzania: WCS is the formal technical advisor to three Wildlife Management Areas, new community managed protected areas, in the Ruaha Landscape, providing support for protected area management, infrastructure development, and ecotourism development. In the seven years since WCS has been assisting the first of the WMAs, MBOMIPA, the community's income from the WMA has increased more than tenfold.
6. Cross River Landscape, Nigeria: WCS is working to provide alternative livelihood opportunities, including bush-mango farming, bee-keeping, and giant African land-snail-farming to households in Cross River State who previously relied on unsustainable bushmeat hunting, including for the critically endangered Cross River gorilla.
7. Lac Tele Community Reserve, Republic of Congo: WCS is working with the 47,000 households of the Lac Tele Community Reserve to document each of their traditional areas for hunting and fishing and to secure rights to these areas and resources through the Reserves management planning mechanisms.
8. Siminjiro Plains, Tanzania: WCS, working with Tanzanian NGO the Community Resources Trust, has helped to facilitate direct payments from tourism operators in and around Tarangire National Park to Massai communities to compensate them for maintaining Siminjiro as the wet season dispersal area for elephants, wildebeest, and other wildlife from Tarangire.
9. Greater Madidi Tambopata Landscape Conservation Program: This programme builds capacity for territorial management at different scales and supports the efforts of Takana, Lecos and T'simane indigenous people to secure traditional land claims and increase household income through sustainable use of forest products (timber, honey, incense, wildlife) and agro forestry.
10. Maya Biosphere Reserve, Peten, Guatemala: WCS works with local communities in forest concessions surrounding national parks to plan sustainable extraction of timber and non-timber forest products (Xate palm, ocellated turkey), and helps local people to protect their lands and resources from illegal encroachment and fires.
11. Cambodia?s Northern Plains: WCS is working in cooperation with the government of Cambodia and local communities to promote wildlife conservation through eco-tourism, particularly for bird watching.
12. Improving Artisenal and Small Scale Fisheries, Global Marine Program: WCS works in targeted seascapes throughout the world?s oceans to improved small scale fisheries management for both conservation and improved livelihoods. In 2010, WCS released results from Kenya demonstrating a doubling of fisher profit from a long-term ecosystem approach to fisheries management, including reserves, gear-based management and improved nearshore fisher use rights.
13. TransLinks is a new USAID-supported programme at WCS in partnership with the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Enterprise Works/VITA, Forest Trends, and the Land Tenure Center at the University of Wisconsin. The programme is design to identify and support approaches that better integrate natural resource conservation, poverty reduction, and democratic governance. Core activities include applied research at WCS and partner field sites, developing decision support tools, holding training workshops, and disseminating lessons learned.
WCS has had a long running involvement in great ape conservation and poverty reduction projects in Africa:
? WCS? work in Cameroon mainly focuses on cross-river gorilla habitat and is primarily concerned with law enforcement (to address the bushmeat trade), protected areas creation and education. WCS sees poverty alleviation as necessary for achieving conservation goals and focus on alternative livelihoods interventions to address this.
? WCS works at all 3 sites in Nigeria where gorillas occur: Afi Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, Cross River National Park, and in the Mbe Mountains. In these sites WCS is engaged in alternative livelihoods projects as a means to reducing hunting pressure. It also generates employment through its eco guards scheme.
? WCS works with the Ministry of Forestry Economy (MEF) to manage protected areas in Congo. They operate in Nouabale Ndoki NP, Lac Tele Community Reserve (LTCR), and Conkouati-Douli NP. LTCR was established in 2001, and has 16,000 people and 10,000 western lowland gorillas, as well as chimpanzees at a lower density. The goal of the community land-use planning programme implemented in and around LTCR by WCS and MEF is to reinvigorate traditional land use rights and use customary laws, reinforced by modern laws, to provide communities with authority over their land.
? WCS? main activity in Rwanda is working with the RDB in support of the management of Nyungwe NP through their Nyungwe Project. WCS is working with local communities and leaders to find ways of preserving Nyungwe Forest through tourism development, awareness campaigns, capacity building, and policy development.
? WCS?s renowned Kibale Forest Project of the 1970s and 1980s pioneered studies of primates and the impact of logging, built the Makerere University Biological Field Station and led to the creation of the park in 1993. Since then, WCS has helped establish and manage the Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation in Bwindi Impenetrable NP and Bwindi Trust; improved park management across Uganda through training and help with management planning; catalyzed cross-border collaboration; and supported numerous Ugandan students.

Type of organisation: 
Conservation organisation
United States of America

Michael Painter

The Wildlife Conservation Society, 2300 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, New York 10460, USA
Phone: +1 718 220 5100