Author Archives: wcsarchivesadmin

The Red Light Room

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.

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A Familiar Scene [Wild View]

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. 

WCS Department of Education 90th Anniversary [Instagram]

We are celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the WCS Department of Education! In this photo, the first Curator of Education, Claude Leister, lectures school children in 1931. Today, the Education Department works to inspire a diverse, inclusive movement of conservation advocates through their programs and activities across the five WCS parks.

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Red Light for Nocturnal Animals [Instagram]

In the 1960s, the Mammalogy Department at the Bronx Zoo invented an exhibit specially for housing nocturnal animals. The Red Light Room in the Small Mammal House opened in 1961, and it used Red Lights to help create a day cycle for the animals. Red light is bright for humans and dim for the animals, so the room allowed visitors to see the animals being active in their nighttime environment. White light at night simulated day time, when the animals sleep. This method was then implemented in the World of Darkness exhibit at the zoo that opened in 1969, which is featured in this photo.

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William Beebe’s 142nd Birthday [Instagram]

William Beebe, the first curator of Ornithology at the Bronx Zoo and founder of WCS’s Department of Tropical Research, was born on this day in 1877. He’s photographed here in Venezuela where the DTR took part in three expeditions between 1945 and 1948.