A Planet in Trouble: Humankind’s fractured relationship with nature is on the face of this Guatemalan black howler monkey. With forest rangers sheltering due to the COVID-19 crisis, fires raged uncontrolled across Mesoamerica on Earth Day last week. This infant monkey lost its home in northern Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, which WCS has worked to conserve for more than two decades. It was found in the community forests of San Miguel la Palotada.

When the young monkey’s mother could not be found, it was sent by CONAP (Guatemala National Council of Protected Areas) to the ARCAS Wildlife Rescue Center in Petén, and will require care and some growth prior to being returned to the wild.

The fires in Mesoamaerica bring into focus the intersecting crises of the pandemic, climate change, and biodiversity loss. The blazes, exacerbated by drought, have released massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere—contributing further to the climate crisis while threatening innumerable wildlife species like the young howler. What we increasingly know: the degradation of nature across the globe is driving catastrophic threats to our very survival.

The image will be included in a WCS web feature launched on Earth Day called “Seeing is Believing” – a virtual photo album showing the impacts of climate change that WCS staff and friends are seeing on the ground right now.