Thursday, December 30, 2010

Young Conservationists from Long Island are Working for Wolves

A dedicated group of 6th graders from Woodmere Middle School created this wonderful video about wolves and the importance of wolf conservation here in the U.S.. Ms Bentivegna is doing an exquisite job equipping her students with the tools necessary to safeguard the future of our nation's wildlife and now her middle school conservationists have created this promising piece -- what a treat! Keep up the great work Woodmere team, we can't wait to follow your endeavors in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow Days!

The recent blizzard means a lot of shoveling for us, but a lot of fun for our wolves!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve 2010

Just Resting Their Eyes...

Trying to Stay Awake...

Waiting and Watching...

Nothing Under the Tree Yet...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Season of Romance

Winter is officially here and it’s an exciting time for wolves and the WCC. January marks the beginning of the 2011 breeding season! Wolves are “mono-estrus” -- breeding only once a year during the winter months. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management groups for both the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf determine which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This year the WCC is pleased to host three breeding pairs! With so much potential love in the air it can get quite confusing! Here’s an introduction to the WCC’s three breeding pairs:

Couple #1: Red Wolves F1397 & M1483
(The occupants of the WCC's red wolf exhibit and new parents of 7-month-old sons m1803 and m1804!)

Couple #2: Red Wolves F1291 & M1587

Couple #3: Mexican Gray Wolves F810 & M740

All six of these wolves are genetically valuable individuals that have been given the opportunity to breed because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species and enhance that species’ chance to survive and thrive in the wild. So an exciting chapter begins in the lives of these very special wolves and the WCC! Happy winter!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

'Tis the Season to Chaperone

Winter time is breeding time for wolves, which means we have to make sure none of our critically endangered SSP wolves can engage in any illicit romances. Like overanxious chaperones at a high school dance, a group of Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers ventured into several enclosures to separate the wolves by gender. Though we had to separate Mexican gray wolf F837 (pictured) from M805 until the spring, we will have 3 breeding pairs of SSP wolves this season - two pairs of red wolves and one pair of Mexican gray wolves. We'll keep you posted if we see any signs of courtship!

Friday, December 10, 2010

¡Próspero Año Nuevo! Good News for Lobos!

December 9, 2010 - The USFWS and AZGFD announced plans to release a four-year-old Mexican gray wolf, one of the former Saddle Pack pups, back into the wild along the Arizona-New Mexico border next month. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the announcement late Thursday, saying the conditions are right for the release of the male wolf into an area frequented by the Hawks Nest pack in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. Officials hope the wolf will be a potential mate for the pack's breeding female. January will mark the beginning of breeding season, our fingers are crossed that this lucky boy finds love.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Leaving the Nest, er Den

On a cold November night 3 years ago the WCC welcomed 8 Mexican gray wolf pups and their parents. They were transferred from the Cincinnati Zoo as part of the Species Survival Plan for these critically endangered wolves.

Today we waved goodbye as the remaining three pups (now fully grown of course) headed off to their new home at the Lehigh Valley Zoo in PA. (The other 5 wolves from that litter left for the Columbus (OH) Zoo earlier this year.) While we rarely saw these SSP wolves, who were not kept on exhibit, their presence will definitely be missed.

We wish these beautiful representatives of their sub-species a safe trip and a bright future!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Wolves are in the News and Politics Again

Wolves, their recovery, and the status of this keystone predator in the United States have been hot topics in Washington D.C. lately. On December 1st, eight Western Caucus members introduced a bill called the "State Sovereignty Wildlife Management Act," legislation some refer to as the "Anti-Wolf Bill." If this bill passes, all gray wolves in the U.S., including the few dozen Mexican gray wolves that currently remain in the wild, will lose their federal protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Eve Byron wrote an article for the Helena Independent Record (Wolf management hot topic in D.C.) about the House Representatives that introduced the bill and this legislation itself. According to the article, one of the eight representatives, Montana Rep. Denny Rehberg, said “After holding hearings in Montana and reading thousands of comments, it’s clear that folks in Western states like Montana are sick and tired of powerful environmental interest groups funded out of places like San Francisco and New York telling us how to manage our lands, resources and wildlife.” Indeed wolves do have some advocates here in NY. Just over a week ago the New York Times published an compelling editorial highlighting the threats to wolves and what’s required to return management authority to the states. Perhaps Rep. Rehberg isn't aware that some wolf advocates are from his neck of the woods. During the week hundreds of hunters, ranchers, biologists, and business owners in Montana took to the airwaves to voice their support of wolf recovery.
Thankfully wolf advocates are speaking up in Washington D.C. as well. A dozen Democratic members of Congress have asked Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in a letter for positive changes in the Mexican Gray Wolf recovery program. The December 1st letter was signed by New Mexico Rep. Martin Heinrich and Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva and calls for five key recommendations including the release of 22 wolves — eight in Arizona and 14 in New Mexico — that are considered eligible for release under the program's rules; and the retrieval of telemetry receivers loaned to private parties that alert ranchers and property owners when wolves are nearby. As reported the Albuquerque Journal, this letter was also signed by Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, four representatives from northern California and others from Tennessee, New York, Georgia, Indiana and Colorado. If you applaud these representatives, please send them a quick email to let them know that you appreciate their support for the Mexican gray wolf:
Congressman Raul Grijalva
Congressman Martin Heinrich
Congressman Dennis Kucinich
Congresswoman Barbara Lee
Congressman Jared Polis
Congressman Andre Carson
Congressman Sam Farr
Congressman Pete Stark
Congresswoman Nita Lowey
Congressman Mike Honda
Congressman John Lewis
Congressman Steve Cohen

I wonder what next week will bring...

Friday, November 26, 2010


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Don't be late for dinner! Hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mexican Wolves F837 and M805 are United and Delighted?

On October 22nd, Mexican gray wolf F837 got a new neighbor. His "name" is M805. For the past three weeks the two seven-year-old lobos have lived adjacent to one another in a vast enclosure split down the middle. It's been a good time for them to get to know one another through the fence. Today we opened their gates allowing F837 to have a male companion for the first time in her life!
Everything had to be perfect. The ambiance was just right, the two wolves met over dinner (raw deer legs, a favorite!)to engage in light chatter and such. M805, however, was more interested in his meal than his lovely companion! He bared his teeth at F837 when she initially approached him with caution.

Without skipping a beat, F837 got the message and returned to her own feast. The two are resting now with full bellies and a future together to work out.

Both F837 and M805 are living in the WCC's new Lobo Exhibit so be sure to say hello when you next visit the WCC!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Checking Up on Our Wolves

Autumn at the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY means there are leaves changing colors, smoke curling from our classroom's chimney, and SSP wolves demonstrating their best evasive maneuvers as they once more try to avoid their annual medical check-ups. Yesterday it was the turn of our own "super pack" of 15 Mexican gray wolves, a critically endangered sub-species that only has about 40 wolves living in the wild.

Taking care not to let the wolves overheat as temperatures climbed out of the 30s, we only took a brief(!) 7.5 hours to process all of the wolves, who were doing their best to live up to their 'elusive' reputations. The process sadly revealed that some of us may have to hit the gym soon, but the wolves (a mother and two generations of offspring) all seemed quite healthy. After receiving vaccination boosters and having blood taken for testing, the lobos were released back into their enclosure to figure out even better strategies for prolonging the next capture. Thanks to all the volunteers who participated, especially veterinarian Paul Maus, who generously donated his time, expertise, and good natured demeanor!

Dr. Maus and Chuck Dyckman release one of the lobos after a check-up:

Spencer attempts to negotiate with the wolves:

Catch me if you can!

Leftover Halloween candy proved effective in luring volunteers:

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Hope you all have a fun Halloween! Pictured above is a frog showing off a Wolf Conservation Center water bottle at a recent Atka program at the Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton, CT. Gotta love it when a water expert recommends our merchandise! It's always a fun program when we appear at Woodcock the week before Halloween. Pictured below: the crowd howls and one of the nature center's skunks entertains the kids before we started.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Red Wolf Pups get a visit from the Doc!

It should have been simple. After all, there was literally a ton of Wolf Conservation Center volunteers and staff on hand - 15 of us weighing a bit more than 2000 pounds total - matched against 80 pounds of red wolf pups (M1803 and M1804) due for a regularly scheduled medical check up. We had already ventured into one of our spacious remote enclosures and easily captured two adult red wolves F1397 and M1483, gently herding them through the undergrowth and into "capture boxes" within minutes, checking their vitals (weight, respiration, etc.), administering vaccinations, and releasing them without incident. Even the feisty parents of the pups, F1397 and M1483, had quickly been corralled and successfully checked with a minimum of fuss.

All that was left were the two pups, outnumbered 15-2, not even 6 months old and matched up against a small army of experienced wildlife workers with collective decades of experience, numerous college and graduate degrees, and a variety of tools. As expected, it wasn't even close: the pups evaded and outwitted the capture team with aplomb, taking refuge in a den that's probably bigger than the average New York City apartment, thanks to the ceaseless efforts of their parents throughout the year.

After debating various strategies that Wiley E. Coyote would have approved of, the team finally took the only feasible option left and proceeded to dig up the den. One of the pups made a dash for freedom and was safely tracked down in a far end of the enclosure, while the other stubbornly stuck to his "living room" until he was escorted to fresh air but a couple of brave, and quite dirty at this point, members of the capture team.

Laura Kowalski - winner of the red pup raffle!

It only took 50 minutes to get our hands on the pups, who turned out to be amazingly cute and healthy. Volunteer veterinarian Paul Maus administered the proper vaccinations, took some blood samples, and the pups were happily reunited with their parents once more in a part of the enclosure that turned out to have a wild pumpkin patch growing in it! We were also happy to be joined by Laura Kowalski, a WCC supporter who had won the chance to attend a capture, and ended up spending three hours in the company of critically endangered red wolves, which hopefully made up for her having to listen to our incessant banter.

Friday, October 22, 2010

There Goes the Neighborhood...

10-22-10 - Mexican gray wolf M805 is released into his new home

Atka the arctic gray wolf has seen a lot of changes in his neck of the woods in just this past year. It all began last fall when the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) red wolf exhibit opened just across the path from Atka's home. Atka enjoys interacting through the fence with red wolves F1397 and M1483. The pair adds some spice to the neighborhood and Atka loves a good show. The following spring the red wolf family doubled with the arrival of their 2 pups born on May 6th. Atka must have witnessed an especially spicy show last winter during breeding season! More recently, about a month ago, another wolf moved into the neighborhood, Mexican gray wolf F837. It isn't rare to catch Atka holding court with all of the new residents in the area. Atka, the red wolf parents, and Mexican wolf F837 often assemble in location where the corners of the three enclosures come near to one another. Staff and volunteers refer to this spot as the "United Nations" of the WCC. What do you suppose our arctic ambassador is discussing with our Mexican and red representatives? All the members of the "U.N." have a lot to talk about today because a new wolf came to town! Mexican gray wolf M805 was released into the upper half of the WCC's new Lobo exhibit late this morning. The seven year old male is currently busy exploring his new habitat, a bachelor pad for now but not for long. Next month M805 will be united with his neighbor, female wolf F837, and soon he too will be able to join the U.N. to discuss all the important topics on Atka's agenda. It's a big day for these Mexican gray wolves. Today is the first time two wolves have laid eyes on one another and F837 has never lived with a male before! Let's cross our fingers that they hit it off!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Small Furry Contest - Free Books!

A lot of the supporters of the Wolf Conservation Center love dogs as well as wolves, so when we read a moving excerpt of the book A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life by Steven Kotler, we knew we wanted to spread the word. Thanks to the generosity of its publisher Bloomsbury, we have several copies to give away! To enter our free random drawing for the book, just send an email to us at letting us know what your favorite breed (or mix) of dog is. (One entry per person.)

The book details Kotler's move to New Mexico with his wife, Joy Nicholson, to start a non-profit sanctuary for small dogs, the irresistibly named Rancho de Chihuahua. In addition to discussing their efforts, Kotler also delves into dog rescue in general and the relationship between canines and humans. The book is right on mission for the WCC because we always stress that while wolves belong in the wild, there are plenty of suitable carnivorous canids in dog shelters around the country just waiting to be adopted. We know our "staff pack" would approve too, since 3 of them are rescues. (Pictured above are Noah and Tigre, a rescued Chihuahua who is the occasional "5th Beatle" of the pack.)

Rancho de Chihuahua focuses on special needs Chihuahuas, so (again) to enter our free drawing for the book, just send an email to us at letting us know what your favorite breed (or mix) of dog is. We'll pick winners at random from all entries received by midnight eastern standard time on November 4th, 2010. For more information about the book and an excerpt, you can visit Steven Kotler's website. (Incidentally, Kotler is the author of the excellent West of Jesus, an exploration of surfing and much more.) You can visit the irresistibly-named dog sanctuary at The excerpt we read is in the current (October) issue of Outside Magazine, which has a great short video of Rancho de Chihuahua and Kotler being put through his paces on a run with some of the dogs.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

An Afternoon with Jean Craighead George

On October 16th, the WCC kicked of National Wolf Awareness Week a day early with a very special event honoring Westchester's own Jean Craighead George, the Newbery Medal-winning children's author and environmentalist. Mother Nature provided the perfect autumn day and Jean treated both children and adults with an intimate and inspirational talk.

She described her adventures growing up in Washington DC where she never spent a day indoors. Jean is the daughter of naturalists and clearly the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. It was fascinating to learn about her life experiences and how they helped shape so many of her wonderful stories. After Jean's talk, WCC guests, staff, and volunteers lined up to have Jean personalize copies of one of her newest works, "The Buffalo are Back", as well as so many of her other classics. Everyone enjoyed visiting ambassador wolf Kaila and the group successfully spotted the red and Mexican gray wolves on view too. We ended our afternoon howling for the wolves. We listened for a reply but only the wind howled in return.

To learn more about the works of Jean Craighead George please visit her website at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Who is Not Willing to Compromise?

Ken Cole and Brian Ertz of the Western Watersheds Project co-authored this interesting piece about wolves, politics and compromise with Ralph Maughan of Wildlife News. Click here to read "Governmental Disdain for Wolves" in the political newsletter, (scroll down on the CounterPunch site to see the article)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Building Bridges in the Southwest

Ranchers and wolves are not usually considered a good mix but this delicate relationship could be on the mend! Ranchers, wildlife advocacy groups, and biologists are joining forces to implement creative methods to prevent wolves from preying on or harassing livestock. Please click here to read the New York Time's article about the wolf deterrence projects that are gaining favor with ranchers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Look, Up in the Sky!

Need a wildlife fix? There's no wild wolves here in New York and nearby states, but look up - the fall raptor migration is in full swing! Look for hawks, falcons and even some bald eagles and golden eagles as they make their way south. There's a guide to viewing spots here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Natural Health and Wellness for Your Pet Seminar to Benefit the WCC!

October 23, 2010 - Join Smith Ridge Veterinary Center and O2 Living to learn about the natural methods of health care available for man's best friends - your beloved dogs and cats!

Smith Ridge Veterinary Center's founder, Dr. Marty Goldstein, is a conventionally trained veterinarian who started to explore natural therapies for his patients decades ago. He is the author of the top-selling "The Nature of Animal Healing," has appeared on the Oprah show, and is the host of the Sirius/XM satellite radio show, "Ask Martha's Vet." He has also cared for the pets of many celebrities in our area such as Martha Stewart and musician Rob Thomas. He will be joined by several of his colleagues who will lecture/demo on a variety of natural care approaches including:

* Newly emerging natural therapies
* Non-toxic cancer treatments
* Acupuncture for animals
* Chinese-based food therapy
* Tui-Na (Chinese medical massage)
* The pet food problem and the right way to feed your pet
* A natural approach to pet allergies.

Debbie Gross Saunders Ph.D will also give a presentation on physical therapies for dogs.

O2 Living will offer natural healthy-for-humans snacks, beverages and lunch. Space is limited to the first 75 who register! Click here to view our October schedule and register today!

All profits go to benefit the WCC and registration fees are tax deductible!

Click "more" to view the seminar's itinerary!


• 8:30 – 9:00 a.m. – Registration with Organic Coffee & Tea, fresh juice, and delicious gluten-free muffins

• 9:00 – 10:15 a.m. – Dr. Marty Goldstein – A new way to think about health and disease in pets

• 10:15 – 10:30 a.m. – Break with healthy snacks and O2 tea samples

• 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. – Dr. Marty Goldstein continued: Natural Approaches to Health & Disease in Pets

• Noon – 1:00 p.m. – Lunch – a hearty sampling of soups, chicken, salads and desserts from O2 Live Food Catering

• 1:00 – 1:50 p.m. – Dr. Mike Bartholomew – Lecture/Demonstration of acupuncture for animals & a look at Chinese-based food therapy and Tui-Na (Chinese Massage)

• 2:00 – 2:30 p.m. – Dr. Dongho Seo – Natural Approaches to Pet Allergies

• 2:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Break with healthy snack and juices

• 2:45 – 3:45 p.m. – Debbie Gross Saunders, Ph.D – Lecture/Demonstration of physical therapies for conditioning and/or treating injured dogs

• 4:00 – 4:45 – Melinda Miller – Evolution of the Petfood Industry; how to evaluate your pet’s diet and decide what your pet should eat

Week 3: What will the Future Hold for Nine Special Lobos?

Lobos of the Southwest is leading a nine-week campaign to encourage the USFWS to re-release into the wild nine wolves recaptured as young pups when their packs were removed for depredations between 2005 and 2007 under the now-discredited SOP 13.0 program. The nine wild-born wolves are still in captivity today and they are physically, genetically, and temperamentally suitable for release. These wolves are all eligible for re-release in New Mexico, where the majority the recovery area is located.

M1051: Re-release Candidate of the Week!
Saddle pack M1051 and his brothers as pups, a few months after their removal from the wild in 2007. Their father, Saddle pack alpha male AM732, known as "Bob" because of his bobbed tail, is shown with the puppies. Photo courtesy of USFWS.

With fewer than 40 Mexican wolves, excluding pups, still in the wild, it's time for the Fish and Wildlife Service to re-release M1051, this week's re-release candidate. A brother of M1049 and M1050, M1051 was a tiny pup when removed from the Saddle pack den in 2007. He had no part in killing livestock and is eligible for release in New Mexico.

If you think M1051 should be placed back in the wild, Lobos of the Southwest is making easy for you to speak up! Simply copy and paste the message below into an email addressed to Director Benjamin Tuggle at Add a simple sentence or two of your own and please add your name and address at the end. Remember, too, that polite requests are more effective.

Dear Dr. Tuggle,
I am alarmed at how few Mexican gray wolves remain in the wild and I know that there are wild-born wolves in captivity that are eligible for New Mexico releases. Please re-release former Saddle pup M1051 in New Mexico. He has been in captivity long enough; it’s time for him to be a free, wild wolf again.
Thank you,
your name

Check back here or Lobos of the Southwest next week for the next re-release candidate of the week. Thanks for your help!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Majestic Beauty

He didn't quite walk in like he was walking onto a yacht, but there was no doubting who the star of the show was Saturday at Spirit Gallery, a tattoo shop and fine art gallery in New London, CT. Atka, our traveling ambassador arctic gray wolf, strolled in to the gallery for a return visit to find himself himself. As if he had entered a house of mirrors, Atka (and guests) were welcomed by images of Atka in profile, Atka in the woods, Atka in the spotlight, Atka as a "guardian spirit" (true to the meaning of his Inuit language name), and even Atka as...Donald Trump?! It was enough to make any wolf's head swell (toupee or not)!

The exhibiting artists had photographed Atka when he visited in the gallery in the spring (photo above), and later contributed their interpretations of Atka in various media, including paintings, metal work, and photography. Some works are based in realism, while others more fanciful, but all are quite impressive. Even more impressive and generous is that all proceeds from sales of the works featured in the show, appropriately titled "Majestic Beauty," are being donated to the Wolf Conservation Center. Blaze, the owner of Spirit Gallery, and one of the contributing artists (you've got to see Atka as Trump), even solicited wolf-themed artwork from various celebrities including Donald Trump, Dean Koontz, Eric McCormack, Linda Evans, and Jorja Fox. Renowned painter Julie Bell also contributed a work to the show. A couple of photos are posted below. For more photos from the exhibit, click here.

The artwork is being sold via an auction process that closes October 23rd. The exhibition should be available for online viewing soon, but if you happen to be driving near New London, the gallery is only a couple of minutes off of I-95 and the people there couldn't be nicer (and we're not just saying that because they trotted out a ton of enrichment opportunities, including various natural and unnatural scents, for Atka's visit). Hours are posted on the Spirit Gallery website.

Huge thanks to all the artists who contributed and to Blaze and the great folks at the Spirit Gallery for putting on the exhibit and being such great hosts!

Below: Blaze and the Donald pose with their works. OK, so Mr. Trump wasn't there, so an Atka fan kindly stepped in to pose with the drawing Mr. Trump was nice enough to contribute.