World Conservation Society

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The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) "saves wildlife and wild lands. We do so through careful science, international conservation, education, and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. Together, these activities change individual attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in sustainable interaction on both a local and a global scale. WCS is committed to this work because we believe it essential to the integrity of life on Earth." [1]

"Today WCS is at work in 53 nations across Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America, protecting wild landscapes that are home to a vast variety of species from butterflies to tigers."


"The Wildlife Conservation Society traces its origin to April 26th, 1895 when New York State chartered the organization as the New York Zoological Society. As one of the first conservation organizations in the United States, WCS began with a clear mandate: advance wildlife conservation, promote the study of zoology, and create a first-class zoological park.

"Among the founders of WCS were Andrew H. Green, best known as the father of greater New York City, and Henry Fairfield Osborn, Columbia University professor and curator of the American Museum of Natural History. Theodore Roosevelt and other notable New Yorkers were also involved in the Society's creation. ...

"After World War II, under the leadership of Fairfield Osborn, a best selling writer on conservation and son of WCS founder Henry Fairfield Osborn, the organization extended its programs in field biology and conservation. In 1946 WCS helped found the Jackson Hole Wildlife Park, which became part of the Grand Teton National Park in 1962.

"In the late 1950's WCS began a series of wildlife surveys and projects in Kenya, Tanganyika (now Tanzania), Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, Burma, and the Malay peninsula. In 1959 it sponsored George Schaller's seminal study of mountain gorillas in Congo. Since that expedition, Schaller has gone on to become the world's preeminent field biologist, studying wildlife throughout Africa, Asia and South America.

"The conservation activities of the Bronx Zoo and WCS continued to expand under the leadership of William Conway, who became director of the zoo in 1962 and President of WCS in 1992. Active as a field biologist in Patagonia, Conway promoted a new vision of zoos as conservation organizations, which cooperated in breeding endangered species. He also designed new types of zoo exhibits aimed at teaching visitors about habitats that support wildlife, and encouraged the expansion of WCS's field programs.

"Today, Dr. Steven Sanderson leads WCS as its President and Chief Executive Officer. With a background in biodiversity conservation and environmental change, as well as political science, Sanderson is guiding WCS's innovative approach to conservation that meets the needs of both wildlife and people, through nearly 300 field programs in more than 50 nations.

"In the mid-1980s, Sanderson served as Ford Foundation Program Officer in Brazil, where he designed and implemented the Foundation's Amazon program. An architect of international research on the human aspects of global environmental change, he has been deeply involved with the organization of scientific cooperation on the environment, through the Social Science Research Council, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program, and other bodies." [1]


According to their 2005 IRS 990 form they received $69 million in direct public support, and $39 million from government contributions. Their total revenue was $196 million.

Trustees [2]

Trustees (2005)

(as of October 31, 2005)







The Wildlife Conservation Society
2300 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, New York 10460

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. History, World Conservation Society, accessed October 7, 2008.
  2. World Conservation Society Trustees, organizational web page, accessed March 9, 2019.

External links