Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Thanks for all of your support! Wishing everybody a great 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The WCC Goes to the Cats?

The WCC encourages conservation efforts not only for wolves, but for all wild species. This January the WCC lecture series continues with a very special program:

Bringing Back the Ledgend: Cougar Recovery in Eastern North America.
Photo: Spencer Wilhelm

January 10, 2010 - The search for the eastern cougar is one of the great riddles in North American natural history. Despite thousands of sightings from Maine to Mississippi, only a dozen confirmations have emerged east of Chicago during the past generation. Join Christopher Spatz of the Eastern Cougar Foundation (ECF) for a special talk about the behavior, biology and current range of this elusive cat. Spatz will explain why restorations of this magnificent predator are imperative for the recovery of critically declining eastern forests. Guests will also join in a howl while visiting with ambassador wolves- Kaila, Apache, Lukas and Atka.

Pre-registration is required. Click here to register today!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Silent Night?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Let's Hear it for Lighthawk!

Photo of Mexican gray wolf: Michael Clough

The WCC will be receiving an additional Mexican gray wolf tomorrow, her name is F749. Tom Haas, a volunteer for an environmental aviation organization called Lighthawk, will be flying the wolf to NY from from New Mexico. Hass is donating his plane, the fuel and his time to assist the recovery of this critically endangered species. To learn more about Lighthawk, please visit their website at:

To read more about tomorrow's trip, click here


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Thanks for the Thanks!

Last month we were lucky enough to visit The Equity Project, a charter school in New York City. We had an awesome visit with Atka, appearing at a storied high school from which notables such as Maria Callas, Henry Kissinger, and Harry Belafonte have graduated. Just a short time later we were surprised and psyched to receive a package of beautiful creative thank you cards. They were so thoughtful, we decided to feature a few here as 'modeled' by our staff pack. Sorry we don't have room for all of them!

Big thanks to Alfonso and all the students who wrote us: Freddy, Raymond, Steven, Emily, Jayson, Ryan, Arturo, Lisbeth, Aris, Jimmy, Susette, Sabrina, and Derek.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Meet Our Newest Residents!

Here's a little video highlighting our latest SSP arrivals. Some portions are taken from another video, but others are new. Music is "The Passenger" by Iggy Pop, who has no relationship with the WCC or this video. It should already be in your collection, but if not, it's available on itunes.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Scientists Learn About Wolves from a Wild Arctic Wolf!

At the Wolf Conservation Center Atka (see photo) is our best “wolf teacher”. He is our only ambassador wolf who likes to travel making him a great educator and unlike most wolves. In 2008 Atka visited over 140 schools, nature centers, museums and libraries to teach people about his wild “brothers and sisters”. It turns out that Atka is not the only arctic wolf that is helping others better understand wolves of the arctic tundra. Brutus, a wild arctic gray wolf living only 600 miles from the North Pole, is now a teacher too! The winters of the high arctic are harsh and long and scientists have yet to observe wild arctic wolves during this brutal season. Brutus will allow scientists to learn more about his kind by transmitting his whereabouts via his new satellite collar. To read more about Brutus from PHYSORG.COM click "more"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wildlife Advocacy Group Sends a Formal Request to President Obama to End Aerial Gunning and Poisoning of Wildlife on Public Land

WildEarth Guardians called upon President Obama and Congress to abolish the agency known as “Wildlife Services”, a controversial branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that is responsible for airborne predator control programs and killing over a million wild animals every year.

To read more from The Idaho State Journal click more.

To read the petition click here...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We want to wish everybody a very happy holiday. Big thanks to all those who have visited the Wolf Conservation Center, or been been visited by us, and to everybody who has helped and supported the WCC. We couldn't do it without you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The WCC Goes to the Dogs!

William Berloni and Chico during their visit to the Wolf Conservation Center

November 15, 2009 - Move over Atka, Chico stole this show! William Berloni captivated a full house with his heartfelt stories about rescued dogs becoming superstars. Chico sat on Berloni’s lap during the talk and drifted in and out of sleep until roused by the chorus of 31 wolves! The five year old Chihuahua was able to relax and settle back into a slumber when the howling came to an end. Chico is one of Berloni’s 23 dogs that currently live on his 90 acre property in central CT. Chico is enjoying an “early retirement” these days after a successful run on Broadway in Legally Blonde. For more than 30 years, Berloni and his company have been training animals, primarily rescued from shelters, and preparing them for a life in the limelight. To learn more about Berloni, his great work, and Chico of course, visit William Berloni’s Theatrical Animals at:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who's That Lady? Beautiful Lady...

Just wanted to give people a closer look at F1397, the female red wolf who will soon be sharing an enclosure with M1483. Even though her prospective mate is in an adjacent enclosure, F1397 seems fascinated by Atka, our ambassador Arctic gray wolf, whose enclosure is nearby.

Endangered SSP wolves are usually kept away from human contact, but visitors to the Wolf Conservation Center can catch glimpses of F1397 because she is not destined to be released into the wild. Though she will live her life in captivity, she is vital to the survival of red wolves as breeding stock. If F1397 has pups that are deemed suitable for reintroduction, they will be sneaked into litters in the wild.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Howling on the Hudson

The hardest working wolf we know visited the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum in Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY on Saturday. Atka explored the room, ignoring an “enrichment towel” (now we know he’s not a big fan of opossum pee), but enjoying some of the other scents we put out to help make the visit interesting for him.

Atka even managed to press one of the buttons on the “Sounds of the Hudson River” display, setting off a train whistle. I wish I knew what he was thinking, but I do know that the visitors enjoyed the opportunity to view an Arctic Gray wolf from a few feet away.

Hopefully Atka will visit again, but even when he's not there, the museum. which is situated in an amazingly scenic area, is definitely worth a visit! So check it out if you get the chance. Tell them Atka sent you!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

That's No Dogfish!

November means that it’s time for Atka to once again visit the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT. We were happy to be asked back to give school groups and other visitors the chance to learn about wolves as part of the Aquarium’s efforts to educate people about endangered species.

As always, Atka enjoyed exploring his surroundings before the Aquarium officially opened. He was so impressed, especially by the Stingray Touch Pool, that he felt compelled to officially claim the Aquarium as his territory in his own unique way.

After we cleaned that up, it was time to talk to the visitors. We were happy to meet a lot of people who had never seen a wolf before, and also to see some students who recognized Atka from his visit to their school. Atka amused himself by knocking over his water bowl – he’s very particular about what level it should be filled to – and snacking on a banana. He even put on a fine display of scent rolling after destroying an empty coffee cup.

Perhaps the most impressive thing is that as soon as our session was supposed to end, Atka headed for the door despite not receiving any cue from us. He seems to know what time to leave because all our programs at the Aquarium end at the same time. Quite remarkable!

Atka will be returning to the Maritime Aquarium in the near future for a special program. You can access his schedule of appearances here. Thanks again to the helpful Aquarium folk and to everybody we saw today!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Program Notes

We had a great program last night sponsored by the Oxford (CT) Land Trust. Atka enjoyed himself exploring the bleachers of the gymnasium and even helped himself to water from a water fountain. After Atka left the building, Maggie spied a spotted salamander crawling across the dusty gym floor. Very strange! She cleaned him off and successfully released him into a more suitable habitat. 

Upon returning home with Atka we were greeted by some of the best howling I've heard in a while. The Mexican Gray wolves started it off with soft harmony; after a minute, the red wolves sent their unique higher-pitched ululating wails soaring into the night. All in all, it was quite a good evening!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Guest Lecturer William Berloni Talks Dogs -- From Shelters to Stardom!

The Wolf Conservation Center's lecture series continues this weekend with another unique program this Sunday on November 15th!

We'll be celebrating the wolf 's cuddly canine "cousin" - the dog - with William Berloni and some of his canine celebrities!

For more than 30 years, William Berloni and his company have been training animals for the stage. Berloni primarily takes animals rescued from shelters and prepares them for a life in the limelight. His pioneering humane training techniques have won multiple awards! Join us as Berloni shares some heartfelt stories of rescued dogs who became superstars. A visit with the Ambassador wolves-Kaila, Apache, Lukas and Atka will follow the talk.

Pre-registration is required.

Click here to view the November schedule and register today!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Road Trip to Pick Up Red Wolf M1483

Here's a little video documenting our recent trip to pick up M1483 and his introduction to his new enclosure at the Wolf Conservation Center.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope you all have a spooky and fun Halloween with treat bags full of delicious bones! Or candy if you prefer that sort of thing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Red Wolf M1483 Arrives at the Wolf Conservation Center!

WCC's curator, Rebecca Bose, opens the gate with Animal Embassy's Chris Evers

October 28, 2009 - Still groggy from a "red eye" flight, red wolf M1483 was released into his new home - the Wolf Conservation Center's recently opened red wolf exhibit- after a long flight from Tacoma, WA. The wolf was greeted by WCC staff and volunteers at Newark International Airport at 6:30am! When we opened the travel crate's gate to reveal a beautiful home to the new addition to the WCC family, M1483 stayed put! Perhaps the early flight had taken its toll. He looked around for 2 to 3 minutes until he finally made the leap and ventured out into the unknown. M1483 is currently living adjacent to female red wolf, F1397, and they will be united following a brief adjustment period. The pair will be given the opportunity to breed this winter because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species. If F1397 and F1483 prove fruitful next spring, their pups will be candidates for release! A number of captive born pups each year are selected to be transferred and inserted into the den of wild wolves. The wild wolves then embrace and raise these new pups as their own. The pups develop in the wild and thus gain survival skills required to mature and reproduce. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tracking science: Biologist’s findings show forest diversity, health influenced by wolves

The consequences of an elk population without a top predator include a decline of the deciduous trees elk eat and a decline in many animals including songbirds. These consequences indicate that changes in the wolf population have trickle-down effects on other populations, a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade”.

Scientists are making a strong case for trophic cascades proving that the presence, or absence, of wolves sends dramatic ripples throughout the food web.

To read more from The Missoulian, please click "more".


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Big News: We're Moving!

We have big news that was announced in our local press today, and we wanted to make sure to share it with you!

The Wolf Conservation Center has received an extremely generous gift in celebration of our 10th Anniversary: A group of long-time WCC supporters has purchased a 7.9-acre property adjacent to the Leon Levy Nature Preserve right here in South Salem, NY and will be donating it to the WCC!

The property has three houses on it - one of which (see photo to the left) will become our New WCC Education Center, with room for a beautiful expanded classroom and a great exhibition area for dynamic and educational showcases! And our Ambassador Wolves will, of course, be coming with us. They will live in a spectacular 8-acre area with ideal, rolling wolf terrain inside the Preserve just up the hill from the classroom.

Making the transition will take time - and money - and we plan to launch a Capital Campaign once we have assumed ownership. But for now, we just want to let you in on the news, and invite you to join Atka, the WCC Staff, and the Board of Trustees on Dec. 3 at "Wine, Wolves & Wonderful News!" at the Waccabuc Country Club to celebrate the Holiday Season and this very special gift (a separate post will be coming soon telling you how to register).

To read more about the gift and the move, please click here to connect to the Lewisboro Ledger.

Stay tuned!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mexican Gray Wolf M740 Arrives!

WCC's curator and co-founder, Rebecca Bose and Hélène Grimaud open the gates!

The 7 year old male Mexican gray wolf, M740, arrived yesterday afternoon from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. He is currently exploring his new home and getting comfortable after his day of travel. In a few weeks, he will be united with the female Mexican gray wolf, F810, with hopes that they will breed this winter. These wolves will be given the opportunity to breed because their potential offspring would increase the genetic diversity of their rare species. If the pair proves fruitful, the family might be released into the wild of Arizona in 2010! F810 and M740 and their progeny are the "understudy" for another pair that is currently slated for release into the wild this spring. So an exciting chapter begins in the lives of M740, F810 and the WCC.

Watch a video of the the release!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

It's National Wolf Awareness Week!

While it's a time to celebrate wolves, it's also an opportunity to encourage conservation efforts for all wild species. The celebration continues this weekend with another unique program on October 17th!

Polar Bears and Climate Change - Guest Lecture with Dr Don Moore of the Smithsonian's National Zoo!

Please join us for a very special talk about polar bears and the impact climate change has had on this magnificent creature. Westchester's own Jean Craighead George, the Newbery Medal-winning children's author and environmentalist who is an inspiration for children and adults (including Dr Moore!) alike, will also attend. Guests will also join in a howl while visiting with ambassador wolves- Kaila, Apache, Lukas and Atka. Each guest will receive an official 2009 Wolf Awareness Week poster. Click here to view the October schedule and register today!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Some Sad News from Yellowstone

Montana's backcountry wolf hunt is in progress in the remote Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness along the northern border of Yellowstone National Park. The hunt began on September 15th and 9 wolves have already been killed. The wolf quota for this area was set at 12 so a surprising number of wolves have been killed in a very short period of time. Among the casualties is Yellowstone's Cottonwood Pack. This is a huge blow to wolf watchers and researchers from around the world who flock to Yellowstone to behold wild wolves in action. The Cottonwood pack's breeding female, 527F, was daughter of legendary breeding pair 21M and 42F, two famous Yellowstone wolves many have seen on PBS and the Discovery Channel. 527F was 7 years old. As Montana's inaugural wolf hunt continues, wolf advocates remain hopeful that the ongoing hunt is only a temporary setback on the road to restoring federal protections for the northern Rocky Mountain wolves.

To learn more about the Cottonwood Pack, please visit Ralph Maughan’s Wildlife News

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Worthwhile Weekend

At the Wolf Conservation Center, we think it's important to try to do something every day to help make the world around you a better place. Well, here's a great opportunity to help pitch in and make our county even more beautiful. 107.1 The Peak, a local radio station we often listen to in the van, is co-sponsoring a clean-up along the Bronx River Parkway on Sunday October 18th. It looks like a fun worthwhile event. Details are here.

And to make the weekend even better, check out our special polar bear program with Dr Don Moore of the Smithsonian’s National Zoo the day before on Saturday October 17th! He'll be sharing his experiences with polar bears and discussing the effects of global warming on these magnificent animals. And of course we'll be visiting the ambassador wolves too! For information and reservations click here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Decline in big predators wreaking havoc on ecosystems, OSU researchers say

Studies find that the range of all the largest terrestrial predators in North America — including wolves, cougars and bears — has declined in the past 200 years. The decline of top predators is driving increases in smaller predators disrupting ecosystems and economies worldwide
To read more from click more.


Friday, October 2, 2009

Doug Smith: Yellowstone Wolves Distinct

Leader for the Yellowstone Gray Wolf Restoration Project, Doug Smith, reveals how wolves of Yellowstone National Park differ from those of packs in Canada and Alaska. The reason is lack of human-caused mortality.
To read more from The Billings Gazette click more.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Red Wolf F1397 Released into New Home!

F1397 arrived yesterday afternoon from the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC. The four year old female is busy exploring her new habitat, a bachelorette pad of sorts, but not for long. Later this month F1397 will be joined by a male red wolf, M1483, from the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, WA. Visitors to the Wolf Conservation Center will be given the opportunity to observe the elusive F1397 for the very first time this weekend!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Documentary Premiere! "Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators" -- Film & Discussion

October 10 - Award-winning filmmakers Karen and Ralf Meyer of Green Fire Productions will show their new documentary, Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators. Actor Peter Coyote narrates the story about the crucial relationship between predators and their environment. After the screening of the 60 minute documentary there will be a Q&A session with Christopher Spatz, president of the Eastern Cougar Foundation.Each guest will receive an official 2009 Wolf Awareness Week poster and, of course, get to visit our ambassador wolves. Click here to view the October schedule and register today!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Road Trip! WCC Brings Red Wolf M1587 Home

September 29, 2009 - A small group of WCC staff and volunteers is heading south to pick up male red wolf, M1587, from the Mill Mountain Zoo in Virginia. The new addition to the WCC family will join female red wolf, F1291, following a brief adjustment period. The pair are an excellent match on paper and they will be given the opportunity to breed this winter because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species. If F1587 and F1291 prove fruitful next spring, some of their pups would be candidates for release! Captive-to-wild fostering events are coordinated efforts by the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Recovery Program and the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. Fostering is a method which allows genetically valuable captive-born red wolf pups to become integrated into the wild red wolf population. Every spring, field biologists with the Red Wolf Recovery Program listen for the whines and peeps of wild red wolf pups as they search for dens. When biologists locate dens, each pup is counted and tagged and blood samples are collected before the pup is carefully returned. Some of these dens will serve as the foster home for captive born red wolf pups! A number of captive born pups each year are selected to be transferred and inserted into the den of wild wolves. The wild wolves then embrace and raise these new pups as their own. The pups develop in the wild and thus gain survival skills required to mature and reproduce. Keep your fingers crossed and stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Protections for Grizzly Bears Are Restored

Photo: U.S.G.S.

Federal Judge Donald W. Molloy restored protections for about 600 grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park, citing a decline in their food supply caused by climate change.

To read more from The New York Times click more


Friday, September 18, 2009

Hélène Grimaud: Wolves are a way into music

Hélène bottle feeding Atka as a young pup

Hélène Grimaud, co-founder of the Wolf Conservation Center, reveals - why wolves?

To read more from Reuters India click more


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Where’s Atka?

Photo: Josh Lewis
Today the Wolf Conservation Center is visiting Catskill Elementary School in a region vivid with natural beauty. Dubbed “America's First Wilderness,” the Catskills is a bountiful and beautiful area harboring a variety of trees – maple, oak, birch, and beech among them – that come into their prime during the last two weeks of September. Atka never fails to impress children and adults alike. The scenic autumn drive will likely leave an impression on Atka and his entourage as well.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Wolf Advocates Won't Appeal Decision

In order to expedite the lawsuit that should ultimately overturn the wolf delisting and restore Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies, wolf advocates have opted not to appeal a federal court decision that let wolf hunting seasons go forward in Montana and Idaho.

To view a PDF of the Plaintiffs’ Motion for Expedited Merits Briefing please click here

To read the article from The Missoulian click more

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Where’s Atka?

Atka hits the beach!

Tonight the Wolf Conservation Center will be visiting the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, a nature preserve near the tip of long Island, with ambassador wolf, Atka! The program will include an awe-inspiring, up-close encounter with this important but misunderstood predator. Guests will learn about the history of wolves in the United States, the importance of wolves in a healthy ecosystem and the efforts to save these magnificent creatures for future generations. This won’t be Atka’s first visit to the shore. The cool water, pungent seaweed and stinky fish are always a treat (for Atka that is, not for those that share a van ride home with him at the end of the day!)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Court rules that wolf delisting likely violates the Endangered Species Act. Hunt will continue while court hears lawsuit.

September 8, 2009 - the U.S District Court of Montana agreed with plaintiffs that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service likely violated the Endangered Species Act in delisting wolves in wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon, and portions of north-central Utah. The court declined to immediately halt the ongoing wolf hunt at this time.

To read more from Center for Biological Diversity click more


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Thank Goodness My Dogs Can't Read!

Owen of the WCC "Staff Pack" is horrified! (Photo: Josh Lewis)

A new study of dogs worldwide suggests that wolves may have first been domesticated for their meat!

To read more from The New York Times click more


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Idaho Wolf Hunt Begins Today

Wolf hunting will begin in the Northern Rockies as federal Judge Malloy weighs the request by environmental and animal conservation groups to stop the predators from being killed. Judge Malloy heard the arguments and said he he’d decide as quickly as he could, but he has not issued an injunction yet.

To read more from The Spokesman-Review click more


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good news for Mexican gray wolves!

The regional director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided to leave a wolf pack in the wild in southwestern New Mexico, despite the pack killing three cows this month. Regional Director Benjamin Tuggle ruled Friday in Albuquerque that the Middle Fork Pack is highly valuable genetically to the effort to establish Mexican gray wolves in the wild on the border of Arizona and New Mexico.

To read more from the Silver City Sun-News click more


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's All in a Family

Dr. L. David Mech talks about the terms "alpha" and "beta" wolves and why they are no longer scientifically accurate.

Alpha Wolf

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Wolf Tag Sales in Idaho are Brisk as U.S. District Judge Sets Hearing for Wolf Hunt Challenge

August 24, 2009 - As of 4:45PM, 4,196 wolf hunting tags were sold in Idaho giving hunters a shot at up to 220 of Idaho's wolves. U.S. District Judge Donald Malloy has granted wolf advocates a hearing on their request for an injunction to stop wolf hunting in Idaho and Montana. Attorneys for Earthjustice, the group representing the 13 groups challenging the hunt and the federal government will get three hours to make their cases in court on Monday August 31st, the day before hunting was scheduled to begin in Idaho.

To read more from the Spokesman-Review click more


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Idaho Fish & Game Commissioners Approve Hunt of 220 Wolves

August 17, 2009 - Idaho’s Fish and Game Commission approved the first-ever state regulated hunt of gray wolves in the continental United States. According to a story in the Spokesman-Review by Betsy Z. Russell,Idaho will start selling tags at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 24, “to give hunters from both inside and outside the state a shot at up to 220 of Idaho’s wolves—a quarter of the wolf population.” In response, Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups will most likely file a request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily restore federal protections to the regional wolf population until the court reaches a final decision in the plaintiffs’ pending legal challenge to the delisting.

To read more from the Spokesman-Review click more


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Three Conservation Groups Push for Special Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

Three conservation groups have filed petitions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking that the Mexican gray wolf be protected under the federal Endangered Species Act as a subspecies separate from other gray wolves.

This is an area of great concern for the Wolf Conservation Center as we participate in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan and currently house 22 Mexican Gray Wolves.

To read a press release from The Center for Biological Diversity about the petition, click on "More" below.

To download a copy of the petition as a PDF file, please click here.

Center for Biological Diversity Petitions for Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

TUCSON, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity filed a petition today with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to formally separate the Mexican gray wolf from other wolf populations in the United States and list it as either an endangered subspecies or a “distinct population segment.”

The Mexican gray wolf is not currently protected as a distinct entity, and thus the Fish and Wildlife Service has never identified coherent goals and strategies to ensure its full recovery and removal from the endangered species list. Lacking these goals, the recovery program has lagged far behind recovery efforts in the northern Rocky Mountains and Great Lakes. The current federal “recovery plan” for the Mexican gray wolf was developed 27 years ago as an interim strategy that does not identify the total number of needed wolves, wolf populations, or genetic diversity needed to save the Mexican wolf. The plan has never been updated.

Listing of Mexican wolves as a unique subspecies or distinct population segment will require development of a new recovery plan, including a long-term plan for establishing new populations. Excellent habitat still remains in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, the Grand Canyon ecosystem of Arizona and Utah, and the Sky Islands of northern Mexico and southern Arizona and New Mexico.

“The Mexican gray wolf is distinct from gray wolves in the rest of the United States and deserves strong protections and a focused recovery effort,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species program director at the Center.

Although the Mexican gray wolf was reintroduced into portions of Arizona and New Mexico, populations have failed to grow as expected, and the population has struggled at chronically low numbers. At the end of 2008, there were only two breeding pairs and roughly 50 Mexican wolves in the wild. The population had been projected to reach 18 breeding pairs and 102 wolves by 2006, but because of high mortality related primarily to government recapture and killing, and poaching and vehicular collisions, the populations have not met targets.

“It’s time for the Obama administration to breathe new life into the recovery program for the Mexican gray wolf,” said Greenwald. “Listing the Mexican gray wolf as a distinct entity would require development of a new recovery plan and provide a stronger mandate to protect these distinctive wolves.”

The current recovery plan for the Mexican wolf was finalized in 1982 and is substantially out of date.

“The Mexican gray wolf recovery program has been operating with one arm tied behind its back,” said Greenwald. “It’s time to take the gloves off and get more wolves onto the landscape.”

The petition asks Fish and Wildlife to list the Mexican gray wolf as either a subspecies or distinct population segment, both of which are clearly allowed under the Endangered Species Act. The most recent genetic work on wolves has found that Mexican wolves are highly unique, leading the scientists responsible for the work to conclude that they should be a “high priority for conservation.” The scientists also found that Mexican wolf genes were found in a large area in the Southwest as a result of intergradation with other gray wolves, suggesting that they could be reintroduced in an area much larger than what has typically been considered the historic range of the subspecies.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

US Senate and House introduce "Protect America's Wildlife" (PAW) - a bill that can put an end to aerial hunting!

On Sept of 2007 the Wolf Conservation Center made a trip with Atka to our nation’s capitol. Defenders of Wildlife invited the WCC to join Representative George Miller (CA) as he introduced PAW -- “Protect America’s Wildlife” -- a bill designed to put an end to Alaska's aerial wolf control program. On July 29, 2009, Miller reintroduced the bill and for the first time ever, PAW was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)and Senator Ben Cardin (MD)!

Aerial Hunting is against the law. In 1972 Congress passed the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) to prohibit hunting or harassing animals from aircraft. Although illegal, the practice of aerial hunting has been resurrected by the Alaska Legislature under the guise of wildlife management and predator control. Alaska skirts the intent of Congress by exploiting a loophole in the AHA to use aerial hunting to artificially boost game species populations for hunters. Under Alaska’s aerial hunting program over 1000 wolves have been killed in the past several years.

If passed, PAW will close the loophole in the AHA and prevent other states may propose to follow Alaska’s example. Speak up for wolves! If you agree that it is time to ground Alaska’s illegal and inhumane air assault on wolves, contact your congress person today. PAW now has 110 cosponsors in the House of Representatives so this bill is off to a great start! For Sample message points, click "here"

Sample Message Points

• Over 35 years ago, Congress banned use of aircraft to hunt wolves and other wildlife by passing the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) with great bipartisan support. But since 2003, over 1000 wolves in Alaska have been shot by private hunters using airplanes.
• The AHA does allow for the limited use of aerial gunning as a wildlife management tool. But the state’s aerial gunning program is unnecessary, unscientific and is spiraling out of control.
• The program lacks a scientific foundation and aims to virtually eliminate or drastically reduce wolf populations in nearly 60,000 square miles of Alaska.
• Alaska’s aerial gunning program also targets brown and black bears, including sows and cubs, by promoting use of aircraft for “land and shoot” hunting of bears in over 12,000 square miles of the state.
• Fortunately, Rep. George Miller (CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) have introduced the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act to close the loophole in the Airborne Hunting Act.
• The PAW Act would:
o Clarify when states can use aircraft to kill wolves and other predators to protect wildlife (legitimate biological emergency of prey species, for example)
o Allow states to use aerial control to protect land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life and crops
o Stop states from using aerial gunning to artificially boost game species populations
o Require states to provide a scientific foundation to use aircraft for wildlife management
• Alaska’s program is not legitimate wildlife management. The state’s aerial “predator control” is occurring in areas already suffering from an overabundance of prey. In March 2009, for example, the state removed 84 wolves from the Upper Yukon/Tanana area, an area they are now actively trying to reduce prey populations in, by allowing hunters to kill female moose. A surplus of prey species can result in overgrazing, starvation and the spread of disease among excessive prey.
• Wolves help maintain ecosystem health by keeping moose and caribou populations both in check and healthy by often preying upon old, sick and injured animals. Removing keystone predators such as wolves can cause long-term damage to fragile forest and tundra ecosystems.
• Shooting wildlife from aircraft or chasing wildlife with aircraft to exhaustion, then landing and shooting them at close range, is a clear violation of the rules of ethical hunting. Most hunters are opposed to the use of aircraft to hunt because, among other reasons, it is not considered “fair-chase hunting” and is unsportsmanlike.
• Other states are threatening to follow Alaska’s lead, making aerial gunning a national issue once again.
• SENATE ASK: Senators NAME and NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (S. 1535)
• HOUSE ASK: Representative NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3381)
• It is time to stop this unnecessary and unscientific practice once and for all, to protect wolves, other predators, and ecosystems in Alaska and the lower 48 states.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Defenders of Wildlife Obtains Graphic Photos of Aerial Hunting

Congressman George Miller (CA) and Defenders of Wildlife president, Roger Schlickeisen, introduce PAW Act with WCC staff and ambassador wolf, Atka

Defenders of Wildlife obtained extremely disturbing behind-the-scene photos of Alaska's wolf hunting program. These images are graphic and are not suitable for young children. If you choose to view these images, please press the play button below. If you want to do something to put an end to aerial hunting, please continue to scroll down and learn how to take action.

Under Alaska’s aerial hunting program more than 1000 wolves have been killed since 2003. Alaska is the only state in the U.S. where private trophy hunters use aircraft to gun down wolves from low-flying airplanes or chase them to exhaustion, then land and shoot them at point-blank range.

We have a real chance to put a stop to this barbaric practice once and for all.

The WCC is working with Defenders of Wildlife to build support for the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, a bill that would close the deadly loophole that allows Alaska to continue its aerial hunting program. If passed, PAW will close this loophole and prevent other states who are proposing to follow Alaska’s example. Speak up for wolves! If you agree that it is time to ground Alaska’s illegal and inhumane air assault on wolves, it's crucial that our elected officials in Congress hear from you. This is our best chance to end aerial wolf hunting, and we don't have any time to lose.

Here's how to help:

1) You can find your representative by visiting and entering your congressional district. This will take you to your representative’s web page.

2) Call or write your representative and ask them to Please co-sponsor the PAW Act (H.R. 3663)

3) If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, THANK them!
Spread the word!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

With Help from Species Survival Plan, Red Wolves May Have a Future

Red wolf, F1291, eagerly awaits the arrival of her soon to be mate, M1587. ©Spencer Wilhelm

Neil Chambers of Treehugger, the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream, writes about the WCC's red "she-wolf", F1291.

Read all about it on Treehugger

Monday, June 29, 2009

Western Great Lakes Wolves Returning to Endangered Species List

This is a surprise. The western Great Lakes wolf population numbers are good and the state plans were decent enough. Hopefully the lawsuit challenging the decision to remove Endangered Species Act protections from northern Rocky Mountain wolves will share a similar conclusion.

Click "more" for the AP press release.

Great Lakes wolves returning to endangered list

by John Flesher, Associated Press
June 29, 2009

Traverse City, Mich. — More than 4,000 gray wolves in the upper Great Lakes region are going back on the federal endangered species list -- at least temporarily.

A coalition of activist groups said Monday it reached an agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to restore federal protections for wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The wolves had been dropped from the endangered list in May.

Several environmental and animal-protection groups sued in federal court this month to reverse the decision.

The settlement says the government erred by publishing the final rule to drop wolves from the list without providing for public notice and comment.

If the agency tries again to remove the wolves, the settlement calls for a comment period of at least 60 days.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)