Thursday, October 1, 2015

Assessing The Federal Government's State Of Scientific Integrity

Do you feel like scientific work is too politicized? Based on its own employees' assessments, 73% of scientists working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reported that the agency gives too much weight to political interests.

A new report released today by Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Progress and Problems: Government Scientists Report on Scientific Integrity at Four Agencies, reveals results of a survey of 7,000 scientists at four federal agencies—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The survey asked scientists about scientific integrity, communications, and agency effectiveness.

A significant number of scientists (46 to 73 percent of respondents across agencies) reported that political interests at their agencies were given too much weight in their agencies.  At 73% ,USFWS is the agency with the biggest problems with scientific integrity.  Many scientists told UCS that scientific decisions were being swayed by politics or that political influence inhibited their ability to carry out agency missions.  One respondent from NOAA said that scientific integrity could best be improved if the agency could “stop giving in to political and industry pressure when making scientific decisions.”

You can also find the report methodology, results, comparison with past UCS surveys, all of the open-ended responses to questions, and the survey instrument all online at

Read more here.

USFWS: The Federal Agency Charged With Conserving Endangered Species

Science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of climate change and human-caused Sixth Mass extinction. Today we are faced with the growing challenge of helping imperiled species heal and flourish and supporting biodiversity for future generations. To succeed, it's essential that science drives Endangered Species Act decisions, not backroom politics.

Despite its success and public support, the ESA is under attack like never before. Some members of Congress have introduced dozens of legislative proposals that seek to gut the ESA, block its protections for wolves, other imperiled species and habitat, and obstruct our ability to enforce this federal law.

Please urge your congressional representative and senators to preserve the spirit and integrity of this robust federal law and to oppose any legislation that takes aim at imperiled wildlife!

Take Action Today

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Eleven Year Old Running Like a Wolf to Raise Awareness

Eleven year-old Peyton from New Hampshire is running a half marathon on October 4th to raise awareness for wolves and support the Wolf Conservation Center!

Peyton has felt a strong connection to wolves ever since he watched an episode of the Wild Kratts 4 years ago. He learned that wolves are loyal, family oriented, and have an aptitude for running long distances. But, he was alarmed to hear that some wolves remain critically endangered.

After seeing his mom run the Marine Corps Marathon to support 96 Elephants, and his older sister earn a spot as Nickelodeon’s spokesperson for environmental awareness, Peyton knew he wanted to do something for the wolves. Running was a natural fit!

Please join the WCC and throw back your head and let out a long supportive howl for Peyton - an inspirational kiddo who exemplifies the amazing potential of his generation to make this world a better place!

Please visit Peyton’s CrowdRise page to support his effort!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

New Mexico Game Commission Deals Another Blow To Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery

In another blow for Mexican gray wolf recovery, the New Mexico Game Commission, under Governor Susana Martinez, voted unanimously today to DENY the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) permission to release wolves in the Gila National Forest. New Mexico Game and Fish withdrew its support for the Mexican wolf program in 2011. Now, the Commission and Department are refusing to allow any Mexican gray wolves to be released from captivity into the wild.

The state's Game Commission and it's agenda is clearly out of step with the majority of New Mexico voters who support wolf recovery and is pushing the critically endangered lobo even closer to extinction.

Do you think it's time for USFWS to exercise its federal authority to ensure the recovery of endangered Mexican gray wolves? What say you?

Read more via Center for Biological Diversity.

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 109 individuals.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse and Wolves. Awesome.

Protect the Endangered Species Act

Right now, Western Governors are visiting Washington, D.C. to engage with Congressional leaders on critical issues and policy affecting the West, including state authority and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Their intent is to recommend reforms to the Act that benefit large corporations and other special interests.

The ESA was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines. Today, many politicians have forgotten the values Congress embraced four decades ago, and they now attempt to undermine one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.

With extinction there is no turning back, no second chance. Thankfully, the ESA has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance for over four decades and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A national poll conducted this year found that the Endangered Species Act is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite its success and public support, the ESA is under attack like never before. Some members of Congress have introduced dozens of legislative proposals that seek to gut the ESA, block its protections for wolves, other imperiled species and habitat, and obstruct our ability to enforce this federal law.

Please urge your congressional representative and senators to preserve the spirit and integrity of this robust federal law and to oppose any legislation that takes aim at imperiled wildlife!


This action is open to U.S. residents only.

Friday, September 25, 2015

You Cannot Love Game and Hate Wolves

One of the most common objections to predators on the landscape is their impact on prey populations. As far back as 1938, Aldo Leopold set the record straight. While the best-available science may indicate that we have the technical ability to "manage" a wolf hunt without endangering the population viability, there is no science, past or present, that concludes it is absolutely necessary to hunt wolves.

From Aldo Leopold's "Conservation" (1938):

"Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators; you cannot conserve the waters and waste the ranges; you cannot build the forest and mine the farm.

The land is one organism. Its parts, like our own parts, compete with each other and cooperate with each other. The competition is as much a part of the inner workings as the cooperation. You can regulate them - cautiously - but not abolish them."

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Wolf Conservation Center's Red Wolf Pups: Essential, Healthy, and Full of Surprises

On May 2, 2015, red wolf F1563 (a.k.a. Salty) gave birth to a litter of pups. All of them adorable and each a valuable contribution to the recovery of his and her rare and at-risk species. Under Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) protocols, captive born pups must be checked during certain milestones in their development. On September 21st, we conducted the most recent health-check.


The Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers gathered early in the morning to locate, capture, and “process” the pups. Our goal is to record heart rates and weights and administer wormer and the final of a series of three Distemper/Parvo vaccinations. As newborns, each pup could fit in the palm of one's hand. Now at four and a half months old, the kiddos look less like pups and more like mini wolves.

Wolf Pup f2120, aka Charlotte
Once they were all captured, Paul Maus, DVM, our veterinarian who donates his time and expertise to the WCC, thoroughly examined the kiddos and they all looked robust (weights listed below), healthy, and terribly to cute! And to our surprise, we discovered one pup is not who we thought… Wolf pup f2120, aka Charlotte, is alive.

In mid-July one of the pups passed away at just 10 weeks old. A necropsy (autopsy for animals) revealed that the youngster died of trauma, a puncture to the intestine. The injury was likely an accident, but tragic nonetheless. Although the body of the pup was partially decomposed, we were confident that the pup was the lone female of the litter who we affectionately called “Charlotte.”  It turns out we were wrong.  Charlotte is alive! While this is wonderful news, we remember the loss of her brother – an adorable and endangered pup who unknowingly touched the hearts of WCC staff, volunteers, and supporters following the pups’ progress via webcam. RIP, Pup.

Pup Weights as of September 21, 2015
  • Wolf Pup m2116 - 25.4lbs
  • Wolf Pup m2117 - 27lbs
  • Wolf Pup m2118 - 29lbs
  • Wolf Pup m2119 – 31.8lbs
  • Wolf Pup f2120 – 29.2lbs
Earlier this summer all the pups received a microchip linking each to his/her alphanumeric name. Wild wolves and wolves associated with a recovery program are often given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history.  Letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate the sex of the animal and are capitalized for adult animals 24 months or older.  Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 24 months or pups.

Follow the pups’ progress via webcam and let us know what you see!

Take Action for Red Wolves

Red wolves remain among the world’s most endangered species. The current estimate puts the only wild population of red wolves at their lowest level (50 – 75) since the late 1990s.

Only one place on the planet are wild red wolf populations viable and secure – North Carolina. But the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission has asked U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to terminate the red wolf recovery program there, a move which would inevitably result in the loss of the last wild population of red wolves and render the species extinct in the wild.

While USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting the endangered species, continues to review the program, it has halted all captive-to-wild releases and management activity critical to the success of this recovery program.

Please sign the petition to urge USFWS to restore the Red Wolf Recovery Program.