On April 26, 1895, 125 years ago today, WCS was founded as the New York Zoological Society. Today, we celebrate over a century of successes at saving wildlife and wild places, powered by the expertise and science in our zoos, aquarium, and global conservation program.
We mark our anniversary with heavy hearts, as our world suffers from a pandemic tearing apart our communities. With much hope, we will continue to use our mission to help prevent future pandemics.
Today we join the world in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Since 1970, WCS has been marking the day by advocating for the conservation of wildlife and wild places. The first year included the Bronx Zoo’s first “graveyard” of extinct animals, lectures and film screenings for Bronx Zoo visitors, and an all-day teach-in at the New York Aquarium. Shown here is the Bronx Zoo Children’s Zoo in 1970. For more on this history, check this link.
Over on WCS’s photo blog Wild View, check out a post from WCS Staff Photographer Julie Larsen Maher on WCS’s history of helping in times of need. Shown is the American Red Cross set up in the Bronx Zoo Lion House during World War I.
For this month’s Archives Hashtag Party theme of “Archives Ladies Who Lead” in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re celebrating Constance Carter. Immediately following her graduation from Smith College, Connie traveled to Trinidad in 1960 to work as a member of WCS’s Department of Tropical Research, conducting ecological research. Shown here is Connie at work with caterpillars in the DTR’s Simla lab. Connie went on to become Head of the Science Reference Section for the Library of Congress. Even post-retirement, Connie has been a force, continuing to lead the way through information for scientists, historians, and other researchers.
In its early days, the Bronx Zoo received many animals as donations. In 1914, the Bronx Zoo received an animal gift that stands out today as it was from a former President of the United States. On March 26th, the zoo became home to Teddy, a Brazilian giant tortoise, and the gift of Theodore Roosevelt.
In this week’s Throwback Thursday on WCS’s photo blog Wild View we look back at the 1948 opening of Jackson Hole Wildlife Park in Wyoming, which WCS played an active role in developing. Research done by field scientists at Jackson Hole helped with the management of future wildlife Parks, like Grand Teton, of which JHWP would later become part of.
The Wildlife Conservation Society has a collection of approximately 54,000 historical photographic negatives that date back to the opening of the Bronx Zoo in 1899. In order to preserve the integrity of these negatives and enhance access to their historic imagery, the WCS Archives has undertaken an enormous negative re-housing and evaluation project, which began in 2016. The bulk of the collection features photographs of the various inhabitants of the zoo but also documents other aspects of WCS’s history, including images of the New York Aquarium and of early field expeditions. The chronological assessment of these negatives has illuminated important milestones in the Bronx Zoo’s history and evolution to the zoological park it has become today. One such milestone occurred in 1961 in the Small Mammal House.
Over on WCS’s photo blog Wild View, we highlight how sea lions have been part of the Bronx Zoo since the Wildlife Conservation Society opened the park in 1899, and sea lions are part of all five zoos and the aquarium that WCS operates.