The Wildlife Conservation Society began as the New York Zoological Society in 1895. The organization was created to encourage the protection of wildlife and to advance zoological study, and its scope has grown far beyond New York City.
The organization’s first major accomplishment occurred in the early 20th century, when the Wildlife Conservation Society took action to save the American Bison. When they began, the bison population was alarmingly low at only about 1,000 bison across the country. The WCS began to place bison in wildlife refuges across the country, and while most of today’s bison live under private protection, their numbers have nevertheless grown to about 450,000.
This success marked the first of many for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Today they run New York City’s five major parks: the Bronx Zoo, the Central Park Zoo, the New York Aquarium, the Prospect Park Zoo, and the Queens Zoo. Beyond these parks, the WCS manages more than 500 conservation projects across 60 countries that protect endangered populations like gorillas in the Congo or tigers in India.
The WCS recognizes that by focusing their work on climate change; how wildlife health and human health interact; the exploitation of natural resources; and the development of human livelihoods, they will be able to better conserve the world’s wildlife.