Changing Planet

A New Strategy for Wildlife Conservation

By Cristián Samper

At the Wildlife Conservation Society today we unveiled our WCS: 2020 strategy and, along with it, a new website and brand identity. This announcement advances our 120-year mission to save wildlife and wild places.

As the world rapidly changes, our approach to conservation must adapt and evolve. Our WCS: 2020 strategy represents our response to that change and a way to scale up our impact. Our choices today can give us a fighting chance to preserve the intricate balance of species and ecosystems that all lives depend upon.

With this strategy, we will stay focused on our mission to save wildlife and wild places, while emphasizing that our work cannot be implemented in a vacuum and without a large community of partners.

Last month, the United Nations General Assembly adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals are an action plan ‘for people, planet and prosperity.’ With our 2020 strategy, we commit to supporting this world agenda and we recognize that the health and welfare of people and communities across the globe are inextricably connected to our mission of protecting wildlife and wild places.

Our WCS: 2020 Goal

To conserve the world’s largest wild places in 15 priority regions, home to more than 50 percent of the world’s biodiversity.

To achieve this goal, we will partner with people, organizations, and governments to support their work and leverage our resources. Collaboration is vital to tackling today’s challenges.

WCS's six priority species groups include: tortoises & freshwater turtles, whales & dolphins, elephants, apes, big cats, and sharks & rays. Photos by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.
WCS’s six priority species groups include: tortoises & freshwater turtles, whales & dolphins, elephants, apes, big cats, and sharks & rays. Photos by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS.

Our Three Core Strategies: Discover, Protect, Inspire

  • We will Discover, generating the science to accelerate conservation success on the ground, in some of the most remote places on the planet.
  • We will Protect, working in 15 of the world’s most threatened terrestrial and marine areas with a concentrated focus on 6 global species groups spanning the globe—elephants, apes, big cats, sharks & rays, whales & dolphins, and tortoises & freshwater turtles.
  • We will Inspire, activating a movement around the globe that engages millions to ensure that our governments and all of us as individuals are the best stewards we can be to protect our earth now and long into the future.

There are parts of our WCS: 2020 strategy that are new for us, including building a movement of conservation champions. What remains the same is the relentless commitment of our staff to sound science, measurable results, and pragmatic conservation in the field and in our zoos and aquarium in New York City. That will never change.

The Meaning Behind Our New Logo

Over the next few months, you will see our new logo at our parks, in our field sites around the globe, and on our new website. WCS is an organization with an extraordinary breadth of activities and audiences.

The Wildlife Conservation Society's new WCS:2020 Strategic Plan is concentrated on 15 global priority regions where 50 percent of the world's biodiversity is found.
The Wildlife Conservation Society’s new WCS:2020 Strategic Plan is concentrated on 15 global priority regions, where 50 percent of the world’s biodiversity is found.

Connecting it all is a simple statement: We Stand for Wildlife. Our new logo visualizes this promise with a stylized W. Made of simple geometry, the logo can project a wide range of expressions from serious to lively, capable of containing colors and images, designed to speak to everyone from park visitors to policy makers.

Today it stands for WCS. Tomorrow it will represent a commitment to wildlife that we invite the world to share.


Dr. Cristián Samper is president and CEO of WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society). You can follow Cristián on Twitter at @CristianSamper.

WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature.

About the Blog

Researchers, conservationists, and others share stories, insights and ideas about Our Changing Planet, Wildlife & Wild Spaces, and The Human Journey. More than 50,000 comments have been added to 10,000 posts. Explore the list alongside to dive deeper into some of the most popular categories of the National Geographic Society’s conversation platform Voices.

Opinions are those of the blogger and/or the blogger’s organization, and not necessarily those of the National Geographic Society. Posters of blogs and comments are required to observe National Geographic’s community rules and other terms of service.

Voices director: David Braun (

Social Media