Saturday, August 1, 2015

New Species of Wolf Discovered in Africa?

Photo: Current Bilogy
New research reveals that although it looks remarkably similar to the Eurasian golden jackal, the African golden jackal isn’t a jackal at all!

The golden jackal of Africa (Canis aureus) has long been considered a conspecific of jackals distributed throughout Eurasia, with the nearest source populations in the Middle East. However, two recent reports found that mitochondrial haplotypes of some African golden jackals aligned more closely to gray wolves (Canis lupus) which is surprising given the absence of gray wolves in Africa and the phenotypic divergence between the two species. To test the distinct-species hypothesis and understand the evolutionary history that would account for this puzzling result, researchers analyzed extensive genomic data and results suggest that populations of golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia represent distinct monophyletic lineages separated for more than one million years!

They named the newly recognized species the African golden wolf, bringing the overall biodiversity of the Canidae family from 35 living species to 36.

 Learn more: Genome-wide Evidence Reveals that African and Eurasian Golden Jackals Are Distinct Species

Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Family Event on August 12 - Walk for Wolves

Free Family Event to Protect Our Wild Heritage

August 12, 2015 
1PM – 3PM 
6 Reservation Road Cross River, New York 10518

Notable author, Newbery award winner, and USFWS "Conservation Hero," Jean Craighead George wrote books for children. Children are still in love with the wonders of nature, and she was, too. She told stories about a boy and a falcon, a girl and an elegant wolf pack, about owls, weasels, foxes, prairie dogs, the alpine tundra, the tropical rain forest and the splendor and elegance of wildness. And when the telling was done, Jean hoped they would want to protect all the beautiful creatures and places she taught them about in her books.

We are so grateful for the many years of good memories, and for all her beloved books that will live on forever.

Thus, it is with great pleasure that the Wolf Conservation Center's dedicates its third annual service-learning event, "WCC's Family Walk to Protect America's Wild Heritage," to Jean Craighead George in celebration of her brave voice for wildlife and her powerful presence among us as she promoted peaceful coexistence with the natural world. Through her books, Jean opened doors to understanding the plight of endangered species and the importance of rewilding the hearts of our children - a new generation of environmental stewards whose energy and action can collectively become the critical catalyst needed to protect our nation's most important environmental law – the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - and all the imperiled species it helps to conserve.

During the event, participants will be introduced to at-risk species that have been given a chance at recovery thanks to the ESA. It will include learning activities, hikes, crafts, raffles and an appearance by the WCC's ambassador wolf, Atka, too! We hope you can join us onthis special day!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Movement to Save the Endangered Species Act

Don't Sink The Ark!

Join the Movement to Save the Endangered Species Act

According to a new national poll from Earthjustice and Defenders of Wildlife, 90% of American registered voters support the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and 71% of voters believe ESA listing decisions should be made by scientists, not by politicians.

And yet the ESA is under increased attack with a slew of legislation proposed this year — including dozens of budget riders tacked onto unrelated bills — aimed at restricting wildlife protection. Among the riders is language directing the Secretary of the Interior to end federal protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume within these regions. To add insult to injury, the rider includes “no judicial review” clauses thus prohibiting any legal challenge.

In response to these legislative attacks on America's cornerstone of environmental law, it's our hope we can come together with one common purpose - to raise awareness for the importance of the ESA - the law which is saving 1,500 plant and animal species from extinction.

#DontSinkTheArk Movement

Together we can broaden our reach to and create a national moment by harnessing the power of social media! It's simple to join the #DontSinkTheArk movement, just use the special badge and "#DontSinkTheArk" hashtag when posting about the ESA on social media. The background is transparent so the badge can be set on top of photos. The badge reflects no affiliation with a single org, so it’s a neutral tool that if used by a number of #DontSinkTheArk partners, will strengthen the impact of this educational movement.

Download the #DontSinkTheArk badge HERE.

Stop Lobo What's That Sound

16 year old Mexican gray wolf F613 (aka Mama) and her four 7-year-old children are among 28 wolves who call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home.

The Mexican gray wolf 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.

If you want to watch family yourself, visit our live webcams HERE. Music: "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stand up for Denali's Wolves

For five years now, there has been a notable decline in the number of wolf sightings in Denali National Park and Preserve.

New research indicates that wolf mortality rates in Alaska's Denali National Park have recently spiked to worrying levels, with the lowest estimated wolf density recorded this year since monitoring began in 1986.

And the percentage of sightseers who actually spot a wolf has dropped from 45% to only 6% percent as of last summer.

The wolves commonly seen by visitors to Denali National Park often leave the park to follow migrating prey species such as caribou. Prior to 2010, one of the areas at the boundary of the park most frequented by wolves was closed to hunting by the State of Alaska. However, in 2010, the NPS eliminated the zone making wandering wolves vulnerable as they slip into unprotected wilds.

With the disputed wolf hunt on state lands outside Denali National Park set to resume next month (August), we are calling for state officials to again make use of an emergency ban to block the hunt as they did earlier this year, when Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten closed the wolf hunt northeast of the park in May, 2015 - two weeks early after a hunter legally killed two wolves. This ban expired June 30; so come August 10, Denali wolves will once again be vulnerable to hunting and trapping.

Alaska Governor Walker and the National Park Service both have agreed to begin negotiations for a permanent solution. Until then, however, we're asking for emergency closures in the park and boundary areas before August 10th when wolf hunting resumes.

Please call on Governor Walker, Alaska Board of Fish and Game, and the representatives of the National Park Service to reinstate May’s emergency closure so that state and federal officials can finally negotiate a permanent conservation easement that will protect Denali’s wolves for future generations!

Take Action Here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Red Wolf Pup Passes Away at the Wolf Conservation Center

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of a special wolf. One of the 10-week-old red wolf pups has passed away. Although very few were lucky enough to meet her in real life, the lone female of the litter affectionately called “Charlotte,” has been melting the hearts of WCC staff, volunteers, and the hundreds of supporters following her progress via webcam since the moment she was born. We won’t know the cause of the young wolf’s death until a necropsy (autopsy for animals) is performed.

Our hearts go out to her family and those of you who she had unknowingly touched. 

RIP sweet pup.

Maggie Howell
Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in New York

 For Immediate Release, July 17, 2015
Contact: Maggie Howell, (914) 763 2372,

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in NY

NEW YORK: Under the auspices of Teaming with Wildlife, every 10 years all states update their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) for species of greatest conservation need (SGCN). These updates ensure that each state will receive critical federal funding to support species recovery.

The Northeast Wolf Coalition has called upon New York's  Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering the Eastern wolf (canis lycaon) and gray wolf (canis lupus) as additions to NY’s SGCN.

If you're a resident of NY, please tell the NYDEC that our state's Wildlife Action Plan should include wolves as it did in its 2005 plan.

Our state has viable habitat for the natural re-establishment of these creatures and they are critical to the restoration of NY's ecological integrity. Today is the last day NYDEC is accepting comments. The WCC's action alert makes it easy. ACT NOW

To: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
From: Northeast Wolf Coalition
Date: July 17, 2015
Re: Draft 2015 New York State Wildlife Action Plan

The Northeast Wolf Coalition (NEWC) respectfully submits these comments concerning the revisions by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to New York’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).

In NY’s 2005 SWAP wolves and other extirpated species were among those included on the SGCN list. The NYDEC itself acknowledged the need to recognize the wolf listing as a SGCN in its 2005 Strategy for Conserving New York’s Fish and Wildlife Resources:

“The gray wolf, Canada lynx, and Eastern cougar are species historically present in New York but extirpated because of unregulated harvest and habitat change. Current habitat conditions in New York may support the occurrence of gray wolf and cougar, but the social acceptability of doing so must be assessed first. Their listing as SGCN will facilitate that evaluation. Canada lynx may eventually expand to parts of New York from Canada or adjoining states, and if documented, they will need careful monitoring and management. The Algonquin population of gray wolves presently ranges 50 miles north of New York’s border with Canada. Biologists have already documented the movement of large mammals like moose across this divide in recent years (A. Hicks, personal communication, September 23, 2005).” (Page 55)

We request the NYDEC to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering Canis lupus and Canis lycaon as additions to NY’s SGCN. Such an update would allow NY to receive critical federal funding to explore the potential for species recovery and equip the state with the tools and resources to proceed with due diligence.

Recent peer reviewed scientific evidence has concluded that the decline of large predators has disrupted ecosystems all over our continent, and it is arguably humankind's most pervasive influence on the natural world.  For NY, the wolf was one of the top predators that once called the Northeast its home and is presently the missing component of our regional ecology.

It is important to note that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the end of April to re-assess the at-risk status of several species, including the eastern wolf. “New genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Gray Wolf.  In May 2015, a new wildlife species, Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was designated Threatened.” (COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2015) As a reminder, in its 2005 SGCN, the NYDEC acknowledged the Algonquin population of gray wolves as presently ranging just 50 miles north of NY’s border with Canada. It’s our assertion that we bear a responsibility as fellow conservationists to acknowledge the scientific conclusions made by COSEWIC and begin to appropriately prepare for the potential natural recovery of the Eastern wolf into NY and the rest of the northeastern U.S.A.

As conservationists, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, we need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and consider its potential for positively impacting the natural biological diversity of the Northeast. Thank you for the opportunity to present these comments. We look forward to future discussions with your agency regarding these concerns.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members and supporters of the Northeast Wolf Coalition, 

Maggie Howell,
Coordinator Northeast Wolf Coalition

About The Northeast Wolf Coalition The Northeast Wolf Coalition was formed in March 2014, in response to mounting evidence that wolves are returning to their former habitat in the Northeast. The NEWC is a broad-based coalition of environmental organizations, scientific mentors, and advisors from Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and other states. Member organizations include the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Wild, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, American Ecological Research Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Cougar Rewilding Foundation, Earthjustice, Earthroots, Endangered Species Coalition, Maine Wolf Coalition, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Protect the Adirondacks, Red Wolf Coalition, RESTORE: The North Woods, Vermont Law School, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center. The NEWC collaborates on critical issues that relate to the recovery of wolves in the Northeast. Additional information and news about the NEWC can be found on the Coalition’s website at