Ever wondered how New York used to look like before it was a city? The Manhatta project through 1999 – 2009 discovered that one of the world’s most build-up cities once used to be very rich in terms of landscapes and wildlife community for thousands of years before Europeans arrived on the scene in 1609. The Welikia Project (2010 – 2013) goes beyond Manahattan to encompass the entire city, discover its original ecology and compare it to what we have today; they give a chance to anyone to walk in past through the map on their website.
The Welikia Project also includes a focus on measuring the modern biodiversity of the city, in terms of the communities and species of 400 years ago, so that we can say what is doing well, what we lack, and where we can improve, and translating that information into websites, educational materials, and experiences that enable New Yorkers from all boroughs to discover the special ecology of their place.
The Mannahatta and Welikia Projects are projects of the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which main goal is to save wildlife and wild places worldwide.
We do so through science, global conservation, education, and the management of the world’s largest system of urban wildlife parks, led by the flagship Bronx Zoo. We also manage the New York Aquarium and under arrangement with the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, the Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo and Queens Zoo in New York City. Together, these activities change attitudes toward nature and help people imagine wildlife and humans living in harmony.