Wednesday, September 17, 2014

USFWS Poised to Turn Its Back On Red Wolf Recovery

 Last month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced that it will be conducting a review of the North Carolina red wolf population. The evaluation, which will be completed by October 10, 2014, will be peer reviewed and then used to help the Service determine if it will continue, modify, or END the program that manages the last remaining wild red wolves on our planet!
The future of this critically endangered species depends on us.

USFWS is seeking public input and the comment period will remain open through September 26, 2014. Comments are accepted at, and via postal mail: 1875 Century Blvd., Suite 200, Atlanta, Ga., 30345, marked “Attention: Red Wolf Evaluation."

 The value and importance of conserving species and ensuring biodiversity is an accepted axiom of the 21st century. The importance of a keystone predator such as the red wolf to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. That our policies should be motivated by these basic scientific principles is a must.

Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust. The public trust is a legal concept that implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in America's wildlife. Thus, decision-making and resulting wildlife policy should be developed based on sound science and carried out in a democratic manner responsive to the voice of ALL people.

As a participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) has played a critical role in preventing the extinction of the red wolf through captive breeding and supporting the Alligator River reintroduction project by producing the wolves for reintroduction. The WCC is committed to the recovery of this rare wolf, and found it necessary to send members of our team to North Carolina to speak in support of red wolf recovery at last week's review hearing. The WCC expressed support for continuing the red wolf recovery program in North Carolina and encouraged additional efforts to restore red wolves to portions of their former range.

For more information about the nature and controversy surrounding this review please click here. (Note: comment period has been extended since this article was published).

Learn more about the the red wolf via the WCC video below.

Please join the WCC and stand for this imperiled wolf.

Happy Rump Day!

What is that spot on Ambassador Wolf Atka's tail? The violet gland or supracaudal gland is an important gland located on the upper surface of a wolf's tail. It's believed to be used for intra-species signalling, scent marking, and perhaps to mark the entrances of wolf dens. It also makes a wolf's rump that much more interesting! Happy Rump Day!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Ambassador Wolf Nikai Turns Five Months Old

 How quickly our the newest member of the Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador pack has grown! Remember when he looked like this? Within a month of joining the WCC family the little beast huffed, puffed, and hiccuped his way into hearts of minds of a global audience. He almost "broke the internet!"

Nikai isn't the only wolf growing like a weed. Wolves are mono-estrus, breeding only during the winter months. So it's during the spring that wolf pups are born. Fall is a special time for packs in North America. Whether the wolves are living on the Arctic tundra or the mountain forests of the southwest, wolf families are out searching for prey as their pups prepare for their first winter season. So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory howl for this newest wild generation- have fun, be safe, and be free.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Coexistence with Predators Starts With Rewilding Your Heart

In a recent interview on NPR, two kayakers describe their encounter with a great white shark off the coast of Massachusetts. In their account of the event it's essential to note that the two young women didn't let fear overcome their ability to apply knowledge to a potentially dangerous encounter with a predator. Despite the sharks exhibiting threatening behavior, the women wished no harm on the predator. This account supports the idea that people who start with positive attitudes to wildlife, do not demand lethal retaliation when wildlife acts wild. Only people who begin fearful or negative, demand lethal retaliation when wildlife behave as expected (wild...).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Washington’s Endangered Wolves Remain the Crosshairs

Washington’s wolves were driven to extinction in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Since the early 2000s, the animals have started to make a comeback by dispersing into Washington from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia (Canada). They are listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.

In 2011 the WDFW Commission formally adopted the state’s wolf plan, which was crafted in a five-year process with input from a 17-member stakeholder group, more than 65,000 written comments from the public, and a peer review by 43 scientists and wolf managers. The plan requires 15 successful breeding pairs for three consecutive years to remove endangered-species protections. The goal of the plan was to recover wolf populations while minimizing livestock losses. However, the Commission and Department officials have publicly stated that they view the plan as “merely advisory.”

Less than a year (2012) after adopting the plan, the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife wiped out an entire pack of wolves, the Wedge Pack, including its young pups, which had allegedly depredated on cattle that grazed on public and private land. Fish and Wildlife Director Phil Anderson said the effort was necessary. "Lethal removal will remain a wolf-management option, but we will use it only as a last resort," Anderson said. "We are committed to the recovery and sustainability of the gray wolf in Washington, and its numbers are increasing rapidly."

The truth is wolf recovery is still in its infancy in Washington. According to the Department’s annual wolf report, its wolf population grew by only one wolf, from a population of 51 wolves to 52 wolves from the end of 2012 to the end of 2013. In contrast, there are 1.1 million head of cattle that roam public and private lands in the state – including throughout known wolf country.

The Wedge Pack debacle taught all involved that there must be commitments from the state and cattlemen to expand the early use of nonlethal efforts and proven effective wolf conflict avoidance techniques to ensure the future sustainability of wolves that are just beginning to reclaim parts of its historic range. Unfortunately, not much progress was made in that regard.

Now, another pack, the Huckleberry Pack, is the newest target of WDFW’s mismanagement. It was alleged that the pack was responsible for depredating 22 sheep pastured by Mr. Dave Dashiell - placed in an area that made it very difficult to implement nonlethal deterrents and conflict avoidance measures. While some attempts were made to use simple non-lethal methods, they were woefully late and poorly implemented. It is commonly known that these measures are effective only when used correctly and given time to work.

Like the Wedge Pack, the Huckleberry pack now remains in the crosshairs. The department already aerial-gunned a female wolf pup on August 24th. On Aug. 29th, the Steven’s County Commission released the following resolution.

It is important to note that among those Commissioners who signed it, is the brother of said sheep rancher, Commissioner Don Dashiell. Also interesting is the sheep rancher is eligible for compensation (at taxpayer expense) for any lost sheep that were the result of confirmed wolf depredation.

Over the weekend, Stevens County ranchers moved their 1800 sheep to a temporary pasture before getting trucked to their winter range. During this move, members of Huckleberry wolf pack received temporary three-day reprieve. But, it is apparent that the kill order on this wild family has resumed.

On Aug. 28th, eight conservation groups filed an appeal with Governor Jay Inslee asking for reasonable and enforceable rules that mandate what ranchers need to do to protect their livestock and when the state can step in and kill an endangered species. Rules similar to those in place in Oregon and are working to encourage ranchers to enact nonlethal measures; there, the number of depredations has decreased dramatically, and the state has not killed wolves in more than three years. The appeal to Gov. Inslee was filed by groups representing tens of thousands of Washington residents, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club. Upon receipt of the appeal, the governor’s office has 45 days to respond with a final decision. 

Thus, the Wolf Conservation Center’s Awareness and Action Committee is encouraging its supporters to champion this effort by respectfully urging the Governor to (1) revoke the state’s kill order on the Huckleberry pack (2) adopt reasonable and enforceable measures that will ensure a future for wolf recovery in the state.

Please email and call Governor Inslee
• 360-902-4111

 Please remember to keep your comments respectful.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Make the School Year a Wild One with Wolves

It's back to school time!  It's always hard saying goodbye to summer.  Spending more time outdoors in Nature's playground is essential and something we all can treasure. In order to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us, however, education is key. And so is heading back to school!

It is environmental education which can best help us as individuals make the complex, conceptual connections between economic prosperity, benefits to society, environmental health, and our own well-being. Ultimately, the collective wisdom of our citizens, gained through education, is the most compelling and most successful strategy for future conservation initiatives.

Through wolves, the Wolf Conservation Center teaches the broader message of conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our World. By providing science-based information, the WCC allows wolves and humans to better coexist in our fragile environment, improves our efforts to successfully restore endangered wolves to their ancestral homes in the wild and offers direct exposure to an elusive predator people might not ever see in the wild. The WCC education and Ambassador-wolf programs open the door to understanding the importance of a healthy planet. They are designed to conform to New York State Standards for Science Education and touch on a variety of disciplines from biology to history.

Schools can experience the WCC’s educational message in three formats:
 • Onsite programs at the WCC facility in South Salem, NY;
 • A visit to your school - offsite programs with WCC traveling ambassador wolf Atka.
 • Classroom learning, though our innovative “Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Wolf Education – Tracks to the Future,” enables middle students to learn and master many of the required Common Core State Standards in Language Arts, Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies while using wolf conservation as an integrating theme. The Curriculum deepens the educational experience the Center can provide and expands the organization’s geographic reach.

To learn more about the WCC education programming and how to get your school/students involved, please visit

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Happy Labor Day