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Interview: The Need to Think Big
In Global Conservation Efforts

Steven E. Sanderson, who stepped down as president and CEO of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) this summer, has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly in his 12 years as head of one of the world’s largest conservation groups. Although global emissions have soared and deforestation has
Steve Sanderson
Julie Larsen Maher © WCS
Steven E. Sanderson
intensified, the WCS — which employs 200 staff scientists coordinating 500 conservation projects in more than 50 countries — has savored some victories, including helping set aside 10 percent of Gabon in a system of national parks, acquiring 750,000 acres of key habitat in Tierra del Fuego in Chile, and carrying out successful conservation projects in strife-torn nations such as South Sudan, Afghanistan, and the Republic of Congo. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Sanderson discusses the importance of not just creating protected areas but actively managing them; the urgent need for conservation groups to coordinate their efforts across sprawling regions facing intense development pressure, such as the western Amazon; the imperative of more effectively marshaling science in conservation battles; and the importance of enlisting zoos — such as WCS’s Bronx Zoo — to help protect endangered species and reintroduce them into the wild.
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