Wildlife Conservation Society WIO Programmes

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has programmes in Kenya, Tanzania and Madagascar.

In Mombasa, Kenya, the WCS Coral Reef Conservation Project was started in 1986 to study the effects of human influences on Kenyan coral reefs. The project is hosted in the country by Kenya Wildlife Service and through long-term research clearance authorized by Kenya’s Ministry of Science and Technology. The five major objectives of the Coral Reef Conservation Project are: 1) to determine the effects of marine parks, global climate change, fishing, and indigenous management on fisheries catches and species diversity and reef ecology, 2) to develop methods to restore coral reefs that have been degraded by heavy fishing, pollution or coral bleaching, 3) to assist the organization of relevant government agencies and social organizations in developing sustainable resource use for coral reefs, 4) to foster the professional development and training of marine scientists in coral reef ecology and management practices, and 5) contribute to the coordination and general development of coral reef conservation and science in the tropics.

The Project is lead by Drs. Tim McClanahan and Nyawira Muthiga of The Wildlife Conservation Society and approximately ten East Africans are employed by the project. Project employees and associates receive support for data collection, analysis, research and academic training. The Kenyans are researchers and managers, working with regional governments and in Kenya include Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, Kenya Wildlife Services, the Fisheries Department, and regional universities and societies. The project works closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service and most importantly through the annual monitoring of the four marine protected areas, a program that has been maintained since 1987. It also works closely with Kenya’s Fisheries Department through monitoring fish catches and the ecology of fished reefs in southern Kenya since 1991.

The project maintains relationships with foreign and local universities and supports graduate work and an internship program for African nationals. From 1991 to the present the project has partially supported the completion of 20 Msc projects and 8 doctoral dissertations. During this time the project has also supported the internships of 20 western Indian Ocean nationals from Eritrea, Kenya, Tanzania, Mauritius, Zanzibar, Mozambique and India. Interns learn and participate in the coral reef and fisheries monitoring methods, the analysis of the data and production of reports and publications. The project has produced over 140 are peer-reviewed journal publications. Research intends to lend insight into the effects of fishing and biological factors affecting species diversity, population dynamics, extinction, climate change disturbances, social adaptations to disturbances, and fisheries productivity and management of coral reefs.

The WCS Tanzania Program (www.wcstanzania.org) has historically focused largely on terrestrial conservation issues. However, there are now plans to develop a WCS Tanzania Marine Program in collaboration with WCS, government and community partners.

WCS Madagascar marine programs have focused on establishing and monitoring the marine protected areas of the Masoala region and planning and implementing MPAs on the western coast of Madagascar. Marine Species programs include humpback whale and other marine mammal population and migration studies where genetics and connectivity between Madagascar and other populations in Africa have been examined. In collaboration with REBIOMA (www.rebioma.net) WCS Madagascar has also been central in the on-going national program for marine protected area prioritization.

Contact details: 

Tim McClanahan, PhD
Senior Conservation Zoologist
Wildlife Conservation Society
Coral Reef Conservation
Kibaki Flats no.12
Bamburi, Kenyatta Beach
P.O. Box 99470
Mombasa, Kenya
Postal Code: 80107
Cell Phone: Kenya +254 734 774 225

Publications and slide shows available at

Web sites

Tim Davenport
email: tdavenport@wcs.org

Christopher Holmes
email: cholmes@wcs.org