T U R T L E  T A L L Y  O N  T H E  B R O N X  R I V E R

Kayaking on the Bronx River in search of turtles with top herpetologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has to be one of the highlights of my job as staff photographer.

WCS set out to gather baseline data on reptile and amphibian populations in the river that runs alongside the Bronx Zoo. We trapped and then released the herps that included snapping turtles (below) and red-eared slides. Species, location, age, and gender of the animals were recorded, and our vets collected blood samples for testing of disease and pollutants. This information will help to assess reptile and amphibian health in these local waters.

My role was to photo-document their work while staying upright in a kayak!

Today’s NY Daily News has a bigger story on our efforts.

TIP: If you are working on the river, take a waterproof bag and large, plastic ziplock bags to keep cameras dry, and wear OLD shoes!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


H O L I D A Y  G I F T S

Our wildlife at the Wildlife Conservation Society, like this red panda, get gifts during the holiday season. Their presents are boxes filled with food treats that are wrapped in paper. The activity of “opening” their gifts enriches the animals by encouraging behaviors they would use in the wild like searching and digging for their meals.

There is nothing cuter than a happy red panda at Prospect Park Zoo!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS


S T O P  W I L D L I F E  C R I M E 

Illegal wildlife products are very profitable on the black market with links to drug and weapons trafficking. The demand for things like big cat pelts, traditional medicines, and ivory carvings threaten the existence of tigers, elephants, and other animals.

Take the wildlife pledge at wildlifepledge.org to join in the fight to save our endangered wildlife.

Read more at wcs.org.

Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS


L E T  I T  S N O W !

At least that is what our snow leopards think!

If it looks like a good snowfall is coming, grab your down jacket and camera, and head to our Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) zoos. We are open all year.

For some animals at the WCS parks, the colder, the better. Wildlife like snow leopards (find them at the Bronx Zoo and Central Park Zoo,) polar bears, Amur tigers, baboons, snowy owls, and cranes are at their best when the temperatures fall below freezing.

Remember to bring extra batteries, and store them in your pocket where it is warm. The cold zaps battery life quickly!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS



T A K E  T I M E  F O R  T I G E R S

Like most kids, our Amur tiger cubs have toys and play things that enrich their lives at the Bronx Zooand like most kids, the cubs find things in their environment like falling leaves just as captivating.

Tigers may not have much time left. Poachers have devastated tiger populations across their range. They track down and kill tigers, then sell their skins and bones on the black market.

Take action by supporting the Save Vanishing Species stamp that has already raised a remarkable $1.58 million for projects that protect tigers by cracking down on poachers and protecting parks.

Photo credits: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Source: wcs.org




W I L D L I F E  T R A D E

Species like this pygmy marmoset (below) are declining because they are hunted from their homes for the international wildlife trade. This trade is mostly illegal and highly lucrative, spawning corruption.

Smuggling of wildlife across international borders bypasses quarantine and other health regulations that risk the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS, monkey pox, and others. These viruses and diseases have the potential of impacting human health.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is planning action to stop the demand.

Read more.

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Source: wcs.org


S T O P  W I L D L I F E  P O A C H I N G

Wildlife Conservation Society President and CEO Cristian Samper supports U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her focus on illegal wildlife trade.

Populations of the most charismatic wildlife species across the globe are in decline due to wildlife trafficking—among the world’s most lucrative illicit economies.

This year alone, 30,000 African elephants will be killed for their ivory.

Read more of the WCS statement here.

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS



S H O U L D  Y O U  G E T  Y O U R  K I D  A  C A M E R A?


My daughter Megan teethed on my DSLR camera as she grew up around photo shoots at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos and aquarium. In high school, during her science research on the Bronx Zoo lions, she stepped it up and took her own photos of animals in action (lion cubs, below.)

Nowadays, she is a freshman at Quinnipiac University taking sports and events photos with the Nikon D7000, a camera with nice capacity for stills and video that capture motion (a recent QU Bobcat hockey game, below middle.)

So, is a camera a good investment for your kid? I think so!

Photo credits: Megan Maher, Julie Larsen Maher



M A K E  T I M E  F O R  T I G E R S

Tigers are killed for their pelts, bones, and other body parts, even though selling them is illegal. Overhunting and habitat destruction have caused an alarming drop in tiger numbers. Today, tigers occupy only 7 percent of their historical range.

This Amur tiger lives at the Bronx Zoo, an ambassador for those in the wilds of Russia. He started out about the size of a house cat and could grow to 9 feet in length.

Best time to take the Bronx Zoo tigers’ pictures? First thing in the morning. There are fewer crowds, and the tigers are more active.

Conservation measures are underway to protect these big cats before their numbers and their wild lands shrink any further.

 Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Source: wcs.org


L E A F  L O O K E R S

Leaf lookers look no further. The Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos show off their fiery foliage during this peak week of the fall season.

Japanese macaques, or snow monkeys, are one of the most temperature-tolerant primates and like the chill that begins in autumn.

I used a shallow depth of field (a lower number on the aperture setting) when photographing this scene to keep the monkey as my focal point and the background soft, which makes it glow!

Photo credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS