Monthly Archives: September 2018

Charles Haskins Townsend’s 159th Birthday!

Front cover of album

“N. end sea elephant rookery”

“Old male. Proboscis drawn up. Neck sore from fighting.”

Townsend’s writing on inside front cover

Charles Haskins Townsend was born on this date in 1859. Townsend served as the Director of the New York Aquarium at Battery Park from 1902 to 1937, and he was a leading voice for the protection of fur seals. This album features photos Townsend took of elephant seals on Guadalupe Island in March 1911 during an expedition on the U.S.S. Albatross. Fur seals later found by researchers on Guadalupe Island in the 1920s were aptly named Guadalupe Fur Seals, but their scientific name was made in honor of Townsend, Arctocephalus townsendi.

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World Gorilla Day [Instagram]

On #WorldGorillaDay, we’re remembering the pioneering mountain gorilla studies conducted by George Schaller in 1959 and 1960.  Sponsored by WCS, Schaller and John Emlen surveyed gorilla populations in Uganda and what was then the Belgian Congo. Their studies helped to establish population data that continues to guide conservationists today. Schaller also conducted further field research into the behavior and ecology of mountain gorillas. Approaching them with “empathy and respect,” as he has written, he spent several months making unprecedented observations of gorillas.  His groundbreaking work dispelled then-popular notions of gorillas as ferocious beasts, and helped to promote an understanding of the gorilla as shy, gentle, and vulnerable.

Image: Gorilla distribution map from Emlen, J. T. and G. B. Schaller. Distribution and status of the mountain gorilla (Gorilla gorilla beringei)—1959. Zoologica 45.5 (1960).

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Happy International Vulture Awareness Day! [Instagram]


Happy International Vulture Awareness Day! This beauty was illustrated by an unidentified artist working for the Department of Tropical Research during their ecological expeditions in British Guiana in 1916. Anyone recognize the species? We’re thinking yellow-headed vulture, which William Beebe described in some of his early writing.

Image from WCS Archives Collection 1039

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