The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is a non-governmental, science-based conservation organization that works in over 50 countries around the world. Founded in 1896 as the New York Zoological Society, its mission is to conserve wildlife and ecosystems by generating and applying innovative scientific and field-based solutions to critical problems.
The WCS approach to conservation is rooted in our belief that good conservation requires a sound understanding of the ecology and threats to conservation targets. Our credibility is established through scientific work, which acts as a basis for the development of conservation plans that will work in the real world.
WCS has had a long and strong presence in Brazil, starting with George Schaller's studies of jaguar in the early 1970s and several expeditions investigating wildlife in the Amazon basin and Pantanal wetlands. WCS-Brazil expanded in the 1980s and 90s under the leadership of Brazilian primatologist Márcio Ayres. His work helped provide recognition for a huge mosaic of protected areas in the Central Amazon as a Biosphere Reserve, and contributed to the establishment of the first Sustainable Development Reserve in the Mamirauá region, which has become a global conservation model. Beginning in 2000, conservation efforts in the Pantanal expanded with long-term studies of jaguar, giant otters, and impacts of extensive cattle ranching.