Wild View http://blog.wcs.org/photo/ An Eye on Wildlife (c) 2017 Wildlife Conservation Society, All Rights Reserved en-us Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:13:21 +0000 Sun, 26 Mar 2017 09:13:21 +0000 Charge! http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/24/charge-bison-bronx-zoo-mammal/
“There’s more than meets the eye” is a phrase that we all have heard at least once in our lives. Our bison herd at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo certainly embodies it. Most bison seen at zoos, and in the wild, are hybrids of wild bison and domestic cattle. Private ranchers used hybridization to increase their ranch populations, and those may have also crossed with wild herds. The good news is that our new herd at the zoo is genetically pure American bison and has a very interesting story. Our female bison came from a conservation ranch that houses and breeds purebred bison in the state of Montana. Our alpha male (above), known as Chaska (which means ‘First Son’ in Sioux), is the successful result of an embryo transfer. In 2012, the zoo obtained a research herd of hybrid bison cows that would act as surrogates for the implantation of genetically pure embryos. This past summer, our hybrid surrogates were implanted with frozen embryos with the hope that they will produce a genetically pure calf – just like Chaska. The ultimate goal is to increase the population of genetically pure bison for AZA accredited zoos across North America. Recently, we introduced Chaska and his new herd of females to our 110-year-old bison exhibit. The results were very exciting to watch. The young bovines ran, jumped, and bucked in excitement while sticking together as a true herd. It was amazing to witness considering that the animals weigh between 1,100 and 2,000 pounds and can run up to 40 miles per hour. After an exhilarating morning, the herd decided to take a nice rest in their sand pit as our guests admired our national mammal. Our new herd is on exhibit every day at the Bronx Zoo directly across from the World of Birds where there is more than meets the eye as they explore their new home.

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Fri, 24 Mar 2017 10:00:18 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/24/charge-bison-bronx-zoo-mammal/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/24/charge-bison-bronx-zoo-mammal/#comments 0
One More Generation, One Less Straw http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/22/one-more-generation-one-less-straw/
In order to save our endangered species, we have to protect the planet on which they live. At my organization, One More Generation (OMG), our goal is to help save these animals and our environment for at least one more generation and beyond. At OMG, we have recently launched a new initiative called the OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign to get people to reduce the amount of plastic straws they use – an action that will help to protect sea turtles, sea birds, and countless other marine animals (above, a harbor seal). They are harmful because it is estimated that each year over 100,000 marine animals and over 1 million sea birds die from ingesting plastic. By signing the pledge, you agree to not use plastic straws for 30 days, and instead use alternatives like paper, metal, glass, or bamboo straws. One of the many reasons we are doing this is because in America alone, we use over 500 million plastic straws every single day. Restaurants can also join our campaign by promising to only hand out straws upon request. We even have cool campaign buttons that are free to for those that join. This is just one of the many things we are doing to help wildlife and our world. And remember that anybody can make a difference. If we can, you can, too. EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is International Day of the Seal. Help keep their marine homes safe from the impacts of plastic pollution including straws.

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Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:00:45 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/22/one-more-generation-one-less-straw/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/22/one-more-generation-one-less-straw/#comments 0
Perfect Landing http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/20/perfect-landing-spoonbill-florida-bird/
The T. M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area and Broadmoor Marsh Unit (known locally as the Stick Marsh) encompasses 6,270 acres of a wetland restoration project in the upper St. Johns River Basin in Florida. The objective of this area is to maintain a high quality wetland habitat for the migrating and wintering of resident waterfowl and other wildlife. In this fragile backdrop are a few small islands near the boat launch ramp where various marsh birds gather to nest and raise their young. It is here I captured this beautiful roseate spoonbill coming in to land to bring food to its recently hatched young. The morning sun made the pink wingspread glow. The roseate spoonbill is one of the most colorful wading birds found in Florida. The Stick Marsh is one of its local breeding areas. Bright scarlet pink patches of wing feathers are indicative of this marsh bird in its beautiful breeding plumage.

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Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:00:33 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/20/perfect-landing-spoonbill-florida-bird/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/20/perfect-landing-spoonbill-florida-bird/#comments 1
A Place Where Eagles Dare http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/16/where-eagles-dare-italy-camera-trap/
For years, I’ve seen golden eagles fly over me and land at this site during my treks through Valle Brembana in the Italian Alps. Last year, I put a trail camera on this crest to get a good picture of my avian friend. This photo was taken after a snowfall on my mountains. EDITOR’S NOTE: This photo was chosen as the top submission for Wild View When Animals Snap 2 Assignment. Sign up to receive our favorite camera trap shots from the field to share with your friends. Participate in our new Wild View assignment here.

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Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:00:39 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/16/where-eagles-dare-italy-camera-trap/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/16/where-eagles-dare-italy-camera-trap/#comments 1
Flight Plan http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/11/flight-plan-hawk-bird-new-york/
On this particular day, I was with a friend hoping to take photos of raptors and ducks at Croton Point Park on the east shore of the Hudson River in New York. As we stood on the top of a hill, we spotted a red-tailed hawk perched on a nearby pole. It stayed there for a while as if posing for us. Then, just as it took off, I got a few shots. I felt fortunate to get the hawk in flight. I enjoy taking bird photos. When I spot a bird, I try to get the picture first. Then, if I am unsure of the species, I will ask a bird watcher for help with identification. EDITOR’S NOTE: This photo was chosen as the top submission for Wild View The Color Red Assignment. Our new Animal Antics Assignment features a Patagonia Black Hole Backpack prize for the winning photo.

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Sat, 11 Mar 2017 11:00:01 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/11/flight-plan-hawk-bird-new-york/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/11/flight-plan-hawk-bird-new-york/#comments 2
Protecting Wildlife Runs in the Family http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/08/protecting-wildlife-runs-in-the-family-mongolia-wildlife-conservation-society-ranger/
Wolves, wild ass, mountain sheep, and snow leopards are among the wild nomads that wander the mountains, forests, and grasslands of Mongolia. In a region with some of the lowest human population densities in the world, it would seem that wildlife has few threats. But hunting happens – including an uptick in poaching during the winter months when carcasses can remain frozen as they make their way to illegal wildlife markets. Goitered gazelles are at the top of the trade list followed by wild ass, ibex, argali sheep, and snow leopards. Their fur, meat, skin, horns, antlers, and testicles are sought after for a range of uses from traditional medicine to bushmeat. The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) partners with a multi-agency inspection team, the Mobile Anti-Poaching Unit (MAPU) for the Small Gobi Protected Area (SPA) of Mongolia, that regularly patrols for poaching activities. They take the first steps toward stopping offenders. For the past seven years, Enkhchimeg Rashnyam has been a ranger with the MAPU. Her duties include car checks at vantage points, monitoring tip hotlines, and riding motorcycles to inspect the area. JLM: Why did you choose this career path? ER: I developed a passion for being a ranger because my parents loved the area with its unique wildlife. I started helping to investigate poaching activities when I was 16. My father, Rashnyam, was a ranger for the SPA for 22 years. I often joined him during monitoring to see Mongolia’s nature in this part of my country. When my father passed away, I was appointed to continue in his position. The area we patrol is located at the border with China. My mother, Sukhee, has been a member of Mongolia’s Border Defense since 1980. She works closely with border guards as they find and arrest offenders that illegally cross over from China. She also helps find domestic animals lost in the area. JLM: What kind of anti-poaching cases have you investigated? ER: We have recovered remains and carcasses of dead and possibly poached wildlife. When we encounter poachers with animals like goitered gazelles, their firearms are confiscated. JLM: Why is your work important? ER: I love the Gobi. I am proud to continue my father’s work. It is my duty to protect the wildlife that lives here. I work closely with local communities. Part of my role is to educate people in a positive manner, including the poachers, to help reduce and eliminate illegal activities.

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Wed, 08 Mar 2017 11:00:59 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/08/protecting-wildlife-runs-in-the-family-mongolia-wildlife-conservation-society-ranger/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/08/protecting-wildlife-runs-in-the-family-mongolia-wildlife-conservation-society-ranger/#comments 0
Expect the Unexpected http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/06/expect-the-unexpected-weasel-vole-manitoba-canada/
During the winter of 2014, I considered myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed and photographed the life and death struggle between the stoat, more commonly referred to as the short-tailed weasel, and the meadow vole, as it played out in real time before me. It was so rare an occasion to witness and even more rare to have the opportunity to take this photo. I had just finished a rewarding session observing and photographing a magnificent great gray owl, the official bird for the Province of Manitoba. For many years I have pursued these majestic owls of the boreal forest for these purposes. As much as I love all birds of the avian world, it is this owl that has earned its way to the top of my all-time favorites list Now more on the weasel and vole saga. As mentioned, I had very recently finished a photo session on a great gray owl as it, too, was foraging for meadow voles. I was on foot and headed back to my vehicle I had left parked on a remote road. When I was within 30 feet of it, I spotted the weasel frantically chasing down the vole on the snow-covered road. The real-time action was fast and furious as the two zigged and zagged all the while heading directly towards me. I had no time to waste. My only option was to raise and hand-hold my 600mm lens, locate the two blisteringly fast-moving subjects and attempt to photograph this amazing episode. The weasel soon captured its prey in the blink of an eye. Through my eyes, and through the lens of my camera, I have learned to always expect the unexpected in the world of nature photography.

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Mon, 06 Mar 2017 11:00:19 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/06/expect-the-unexpected-weasel-vole-manitoba-canada/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/06/expect-the-unexpected-weasel-vole-manitoba-canada/#comments 0
WCS Tanzania – Turning the Tide http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/03/elephant-world-wildlife-day-tanzania-africa/
Getting a good photo of an elephant is no easy task. They may be slow-moving and the world’s largest land mammal, but they are also one of Africa’s most photographed creatures. So being in any way original is a challenge. For me, the best time to watch elephants is when they are at play, and an elephant is rarely happier then when in water. I am proud to say that the Wildlife Conservation Society is doing more than anyone to help protect elephants in Tanzania. Our law enforcement that works across the landscapes of Ruaha-Katavi, southern Tanganyika, and Tarangire (where I took this photo) is making a huge difference. We are helping turn the tide against poaching. But the threat remains, and the vigilance continues. Everyone in the future should have the chance to see an elephant taking a bath.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Today is United Nations World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. Governments, law makers, enforcement officers, customs officials, and park rangers across every region are scaling up their efforts to protect wildlife.

Read more >>]]> Fri, 03 Mar 2017 11:00:34 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/03/elephant-world-wildlife-day-tanzania-africa/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/03/elephant-world-wildlife-day-tanzania-africa/#comments 0 Mates for Life http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/01/mates-for-life-wreathed-hornbill-prospect-park-zoo-asia/
Hornbills are named for the helmet-like structure at the base of their beak called a casque, the purpose of which is still speculated upon. Unlike many hornbill species that sport a more colorful protrusion, the casque of wreathed hornbills (Rhyticeros undulates) is much more subdued, taking the form of a succession of ridges or wreaths.  This has earned them the Javanese name “anggang tahon,” which translates to “year bird,” for the false supposition that a new ring appears each year like the rings of a tree. In actuality, more than one ridge may appear in a single year, and old ridges often fall off. Even though only up to nine ridges may be present at any time, wreathed hornbills can live over 40 years. Despite their flattened casque, these spectacular birds are no less flashy than their cousins. The sexes are easily distinguished by their brightly-colored gular pouches – yellow for males and blue for females – which can be used to store food. Their long and powerful beak helps them to reach food that would otherwise be inaccessible. Their eyes and the encircling bare skin are a vibrant red, adding to the overall brilliance of their appearance. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Prospect Park Zoo welcomes our pair of wreathed hornbills to their new exhibit. Wreathed hornbills mate for life, and our male dotes upon his mate offering her figs and grapes to strengthen their bond. After breeding, he will help seal her into the nest cavity leaving only a small opening through which he will feed her and their future offspring. After several months, the female will emerge with a single chick. While wreathed hornbill populations are currently stable in the rainforests of southeast Asia, they are threatened by the continual encroachment of man and the deforestation of their habitat. WCS is helping to fight for the survival of hornbills and all of the animals that share their habitat.

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Wed, 01 Mar 2017 11:00:14 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/01/mates-for-life-wreathed-hornbill-prospect-park-zoo-asia/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/03/01/mates-for-life-wreathed-hornbill-prospect-park-zoo-asia/#comments 0
It’s a Big Pond Out There http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/02/27/its-a-big-pond-out-there-alligator-reptile-bronx-zoo/
When thinking of alligators, the image most likely conjured up is of a large prehistoric-looking beast. American alligators are, indeed, very large reptiles which are decisively at the top of their food chain. However, alligators do not start out this way. When they hatch, alligators are only six inches long. At this small size, they are constantly under threat of being eaten by almost everything around them. Raccoons, birds, fish, snakes, other alligators, and even frogs can gobble down an alligator hatchling if they get the chance. Luckily, these fragile babies have several things to aid them in reaching their place at the top of the food chain. In addition to their natural camouflage provided by their yellowish crossbands, they are also protected by their mother. This may come as a surprise to find out that mother alligators not only guard their nests, they also defend their babies for more than a year after hatching. It would take a pretty brave heron to challenge an adult mother alligator. It’s easy to forget that even the largest predators most often start out as vulnerable youngsters. The next time you visit the Bronx Zoo’s World of Reptiles, be sure to stop by the baby alligator exhibit. You will find a whole new perspective on these “fierce” predators.

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Mon, 27 Feb 2017 11:00:31 +0000 http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/02/27/its-a-big-pond-out-there-alligator-reptile-bronx-zoo/ http://blog.wcs.org/photo/2017/02/27/its-a-big-pond-out-there-alligator-reptile-bronx-zoo/#comments 0