Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thankful for You

We want to wish a very happy holiday to all our friends, including visitors to the Center or those who know us from afar; all those who have donated time, energy and resources to us; and our dedicated volunteers. We have a lot to be thankful for because we wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

When It Comes to Wolves, It's Feast or Famine

The term "feast or famine" refers to the diet of wolves and many other large predators. Prey isn't always abundant, so wolves have a metabolism that helps them store fat and energy for long periods while prey is scarce. The most a large gray wolf can eat at one time is about 22 pounds. That would be a great feast, but an adult can go almost two weeks without food, making up the "famine" part of their diet.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wolves and the Public Trust

The wildlife in our country is owned by its citizens. This legal concept implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in our wild animals. The government holds wildlife in trust for our benefit and it is empowered to manage it for the public good.

Thus, regardless of where we live, we all have the responsibility to learn about the issues that affect wildlife and to share our newly gained knowledge with others so that our circle of influence continues to grow. If you live in a 'wolf state,' we hope you actively participate in the debate. If you don't live in a 'wolf state,' we hope you participate in citizen campaigns across the country via calls, letters, etc. and urge others to join you. We all can vote for the candidates that reflect our values, and we can support our favorite organizations with our time, our talents and/or our contributions, too.

The greatest danger to the future of wolves and all wildlife is apathy. As always, we appreciate your help and active support. Thank you.

Predators and the public trust
  By Adrian Treves1, Guillaume Chapron, JoseV.L´opez-Bao, Chase Shoemaker, Apollonia R. Goeckner and Jeremy T. Bruskotter

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Wolves Get Off On the Right Feet!

With blocky feet and long pliable toes that conform to uneven terrain, wolves are well adapted to long-distance travel. The paws of a wolf are large, almost the size of an adult human hand, and thus able to perform like snowshoes carrying wolves effortlessly atop the crusty layer of deep snow.

Friday, November 20, 2015

My...What Big Teeth Wolves Have!

Wolves have 42 teeth. There are 20 teeth in the upper jaw (6 incisors, 2 canine, 8 premolars, and 4 molars), and 22 teeth in the lower jaw (6ncisors,2 canine, 8 premolars, and 6 molars). The canine teeth, or fangs, can be 2.5 inches long and are used for puncturing and gripping their prey. The front incisors are for nibbling small pieces of meat off the bone; the sharp carnaissial teeth work like scissors to sheer meat away from bones. Molars are for grinding and crushing.

They also make for a wild toothy grin!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Let Wolves Continue To Recover

By Maggie Howell / Executive Director, Wolf Conservation Center
Thursday, November 19th, 2015
Originally published by Albuquerque Journal

As representatives of facilities that breed endangered Mexican gray wolves in captivity in order to help re-establish this unique subspecies of the gray wolf in the wild, we urge the New Mexico Game Commission to allow the Ladder Ranch in Sierra County to resume holding wolves in pens that are remote from human contact.

The Ladder Ranch is one of only three Mexican gray wolf pre-release facilities in the U.S. Adjoining the eastern boundary of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness within the Gila National Forest, Ladder Ranch is uniquely situated to assist federal authorities in the recovery of Mexican wolves.

Through the generosity of owner Ted Turner, ever since reintroduction began in 1998 the Ladder Ranch’s secure pens and dedicated personnel have saved taxpayers money by holding wolves immediately after their removal from the wild and before releases into the wild.

The New Mexico Game Department’s May 7 denial of the Ladder Ranch’s permit to continue holding wolves – which the game commission is expected to uphold or overturn today in Roswell – comes just when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is finally, after 15 years of reviews and public meetings, poised to release captive-bred wolves into the Gila.

We do not speak for Ladder Ranch, but as partners in the American Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan we have long worked to breed Mexican wolves. Captive breeding kept the Mexican wolf from going extinct after the last five wolves were caught alive in Mexico between 1977 and 1980.

Three of these were successfully bred, and in 1995 their descendants were bred with those of four other Mexican wolves captured previously and until then maintained separately. By that time, there were no Mexican wolves known in the wild.

Recovery of the Mexican wolf must occur in the wild, and that is consistent with the Endangered Species Act’s first statement of purpose to conserve the ecosystems on which endangered species depend.

Wolves help maintain the health of their ecosystem through honing the fitness of the animals they seek as prey, ensuring the most alert and best runners pass on their genes; through keeping elk moving rather than sedentary and browsing on saplings along streams; through providing carrion for scavenging animals such as eagles and bears; and through controlling the number of coyotes, which the wolves regard as competitors, and thus helping keep smaller species of animals from over-predation by coyotes.

Mexican wolves in the wild face not only illegal shootings but also inbreeding from too few animals with few choices of mates. Inbreeding results in smaller litter sizes and fewer pups surviving to adulthood — one reason only eight breeding pairs of wolves survive in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

The solution is a resumption of releases that dwindled to just four captive-bred animals let go during the entirety of the Obama administration thus far. The Ladder Ranch’s facilities and personnel that have held over 90 wolves since reintroduction began, and its proximity to the recovery area, make it a trusted partner for federal biologists in both releasing and removing wolves.

Notwithstanding that in 2011 the New Mexico Game Commission withdrew from the cooperative interagency wolf management team, ceding the state’s place at the decision-making table, the commission should now affirm the value of cooperation and philanthropy in endangered species recovery.

Approving Ladder Ranch’s permit to hold wolves would demonstrate that these appointees of Gov. Susana Martinez recognize the broad public support for Mexican wolf recovery in New Mexico, nationwide and internationally, and do not want to get in the way of federal officials accepting the help that the Ladder Ranch continues to offer.

Also signed by Erin Hunt, director of operations, California Wolf Center; Virginia Busch, executive director, Endangered Wolf Center, Eureka, Mo.; and Darlene Kobobel, founder and CEO, Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. The Wolf Conservation Center is in South Salem, N.Y.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wolf Conservation Center Among Conservation Groups Calling for Veto of Extinction Riders

Letter Asks President Obama to Reject Attacks on the Endangered Species Act

The Wolf Conservation Center is among the 150 conservation groups that have signed a letter to President Obama asking him to oppose all policy “riders” that would undermine the Endangered Species Act during negotiations on final funding legislation for Fiscal Year 2016.

Congressional attacks on the Endangered Species Act and other critical environmental protections have increased with alarming frequency in recent years, and both the Senate and the House of Representatives included a record number of riders that weaken the Endangered Species Act in appropriations bills to fund the Department of the Interior for Fiscal Year 2016. These riders would remove vital protections for species at risk of extinction, prevent future protection for imperiled species, and otherwise dramatically undermine the Endangered Species Act.

This letter follows two recent letters from both the House and the Senate in which 92 members of the House and 25 senators, respectively, urged the president to steadfastly reject all riders that undermine the Endangered Species Act in Fiscal Year 2016 spending legislation.

From the conservation groups’ letter released today:

“The conservation challenges America faces today are far greater and more complex than they were when the Endangered Species Act was enacted over four decades ago. We face the reality of climate change and other enormous threats to our planet’s biodiversity—which in turn threaten our own survival as a species. Scientists predict that as many as 30 to 50 percent of all species could be heading toward extinction by mid-century.[1] Clearly, now is not the time to weaken the best tool our nation has to combat the planet’s sixth great wave of extinction.”

“As your Administration works with Congress to negotiate the Fiscal Year 2016 omnibus appropriations bill, we urge you to flatly reject all riders that undermine the Endangered Species Act in any way, including weakening or preventing protection for specific species. These harmful measures have no place in the appropriations context and only serve to chip away at one of America’s most popular and effective environmental laws. We look forward to working with your Administration to uphold the Endangered Species Act, continuing the legacy of conservation for which this great country is known.”

While Western governors, Congressional leaders, and lobbyists have spoken for major corporations and special interests, YOUR individual voice as a voting American counts just as much. Please urge your representatives to protect and preserve one of our nation's most effective environmental laws!