Thursday, April 29, 2010

WCC Receives $300K Grant for New Education Center from NY State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation!

Plans for the Wolf Conservation Center’s move to the northeast corner adjacent to the 383-acre Leon Levy Preserve have just received a major boost and vote of approval from Parks Commissioner Carol Ash and the State’s Environmental Protection Fund: The WCC is one of only three organizations in the Hudson Valley region to receive an Acquisition and Development Grant from the NYSOPRHP!

In the letter awarding the grant, Commissioner Ash cited Governor David A. Paterson's commitment “to making smart investments in the environment, in historic preservation, and in community quality of life.” In keeping with that commitment, the state has made more than $20.8 million of grant funds available for distribution this year, and, according to the letter, the competition for this year's grant funding was “extremely keen.”

“It is immensely gratifying to receive this grant and acknowlegement, and to be in the company of amazing environmental institutions like Teatown and the Mohonk Preserve (the other two grant recipients in the region) – they have been around for over 40 years, and we are only 10 years old!” said WCC Executive Director, Deborah Heineman.

Founded in 1999, the WCC has a dual mission:
1. To educate people about wolves, their precarious recovery since near extinction at the beginning of the 20th Century, and their role as a top predator crucial to the maintenance of a healthy, balanced ecosystem.
2. To actively shelter and breed endangered Mexican gray wolves and red wolves as part of the national SSP (Species Survival Plan) program administered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife.

“We are very pleased with the strides we have made in our first decade,” explains Heineman, “and have had an impact on literally tens of thousands of people throughout the Northeast with our experiential education programs. We have also accomplished our dreams for our SSP program: We had our first litter of endangered wolves on Earth Day two years ago and currently have three breeding pairs that we hope will have pups. But there is NO room for further growth at our present site, and when a group of local supporters (Skykay Partners, LLC) approached us with the idea of buying and donating the land and buildings adjacent to the Levy Preserve as a new Education Center we were thrilled.”

Plans unveiled by Tom Caspar, attorney for Skykay Partners, LLC, and Heineman at a Lewisboro Town Board meeting earlier this month showed that the 1850s Carriage House would be restored and converted with green technology for adaptive reuse as the WCC's Education Center, with a large classroom, offices for staff, an exhibition space, and a store, and another of the three houses on the property will be used by the Friends of the Levy Preserve and the Town for Parks and Recreation programs.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Lukas!

Today Lukas turns 12 years old! When is your special day? If you were born in April or May, you share your birthday with a wolf in North America!

Have a great day, Lukas!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The WCC Goes to the Birds!

Big Mama striking a pose
The Wolf Conservation Center celebrated Earth Day a few days late with an exciting bird of prey experience presented by Master Falconer Lorrie Schumacher of TALONS! The dreary weather didn’t dampen the thrill of meeting, touching, and flying beautiful feathered ambassadors. Lorrie and her thirteen-year-old daughter, Talon, began by introducing our guests to a clever and very busy raven named Jewels. While Jewels hopped and stomped about outside the WCC classroom, the TALONS team brought out two Harris’s Hawks (wolves of the sky), a Barred Owl named Bella Luna, and Big Mama, the European Eagle Owl. Big Mama allowed the guests to touch her soft breast feathers and enormous fuzzy talons, and photograph her showing off her five-foot wing span! The owls evoked “oohs” and “aahs” from the group and loud “caws” from an unruly group of wild crows that gathered to guard their territory. Guests were given the opportunity to don the falconer’s glove and catch Machu the Harris’s Hawk on their fists. Children and adults alike were giddy; it was an experience of a lifetime! At the end of each program, guests visited WCC’s ambassador wolves- Kaila, Lukas and Atka. We didn’t see the red wolves but we heard their howls. If you missed this amazing program please don’t fret. We will definitely invite TALONS back to our neck of the woods again. To learn more about TALONS, please visit their website

Friday, April 23, 2010

Montana, Idaho and Wyoming Wolf Policies Foreshadow Extinction

Check out an eye-opening opinion piece by Michael J. Robinson of Center for Biological Diversity. The article titled "Montana, Idaho and Wyoming Wolf Policies Foreshadow Extinction" reveals the inadequacies of the states’ wolf management plans.

To read the article posted on New West Blog, please click "Here".

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Happy B'Earth Day!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the 2nd birthday of the first litter of Mexican gray wolves born at the Wolf Conservation Center. They'll be celebrating with tasty deer tidbits. We hope you have a chance to observe the occasion by enjoying yourself outside too! (deer optional)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Male-ing It In

A few people have pointed out that in our recent den-digging video red wolf M1483 seems to be doing a lot less than his share of the work. In his defense, M1483 learned early on in his relationship with F1397 that sometimes it's best to keep his distance. In the photo above, she's subtly indicating her preference for dining alone on that particular evening...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can You Dig It?

Red wolves F1397 and M1483 continue to give promising indications that pups are on the way. Yesterday, F1397 worked on a den (a good sign that a wolf is expecting pups), while M1483 helped by, uh, acting in a supervisory capacity. Keep your fingers crossed for these two, and for our other two breeding pairs (another pair of red wolves and one pair of Mexican gray wolves)!

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Virtual Trip to the WCC!

North Hampton School's first graders took a trip to the Wolf Conservation Center this morning without setting foot outside their own classroom in New Hampshire! Using two-way videoconferencing technology, we offered our very first long distance education program. I was very impressed with Mrs. Spalding's class, their questions were right on and clearly well thought out. One of the highlights of the session was when Atka pressed his nose against the camera lens - a kiss for the kids! We plan on adding long distance education programming to the WCC's program catalog soon. If you are interested in arranging a live video class session for your students, please call Maggie at 914-763-2373 x2 or email

Monday, April 5, 2010

Red Wolf Went A-Courtin'?

We've already posted video featuring behavior suggesting that red wolves F1397 and M1483 may have bred, but here's some earlier footage indicating that the course of true love never quite runs smoothly...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day at the WCC

We can't resist a good gag here at the WCC and this year we pulled one over on guests to our facility and two different schools in Enfield, CT!

Atka was on the road today visiting HB Stowe Elementary School and Thomas Alcorn Elementary School. Josh Lewis, one of our super WCC educators, began each presentation with a brief slide show and offered an informative and entertaining look at the history of wolves in North America, their biology and the mythology that surrounds them. The second part of the presentation usually belongs to ambassador wolf Atka. A WCC wolf handler, this time WCC's curator Rebecca Bose, normally escorts Atka on leash about the venue allowing everyone to have a great view. Today, however, the Enfield students were bamboozled when on cue Rebecca entered with an imposter - Kai the german shepherd!! Don't worry, after a moment of confusion and a wave of laughter, Atka was on stage doing what he does so well - wowing the crowd.

WCC staff and volunteers pulled a switcheroo on the guests attending this morning's onsite presentation too. When it was time for the group to visit ambassador wolves Kaila and Lukas, they were greeted by three phonies - a dachshund, a lab mix and a border collie!

We love April fools day and Kai, Noah, Charlie and Owen (WCC's "staff pack") enjoyed their brief moment in the spotlight.

Happy April Fools Day!!!

Click here to watch a great video starring WCC's ambassdor wolves and "staff pack".