Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Special New Year's Message From Amabassador Wolf Atka

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fur Coat Fashion Show Done Right

Wandering Wolf OR-7 Reaches California

WCC Ambassador Wolf Alawa
Wandering Wolf OR-7 is California dreamin' on this winter's day! On Wednesday, the 2-yr-old male crossed into the "Golden State" making him the first confirmed wild wolf in California since 1924! It's been an epic journey for this lone wolf, he's wandered more than 300 miles from his original home in northeast Oregon. Who knows how long he'll choose to linger in California. He'll likely keep moving in search of a mate before he makes any state his permanent home. In the meantime, we're enjoying his new-found fame during this time when positive stories re: wolves and their recovery here in the U.S. are few and far between. For more information, read more from the California Department of Fish and Game here.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Update on Red Wolf M1394

Red Wolf M1394 strikes a pose
It's been just over a week since red wolf M1394 joined the Wolf Conservation Center family and so far he's settling in nicely. Although he has yet to be formally introduced to his future companion, red wolf F1291, the two seem to be quite comfortable with one another while separated by their dividing fence line. Next week we will unite the pair in hopes that the couple that appears perfect for each other on paper, will prove compatible and then fruitful this spring. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A "Wolfy" Mistletoe Surprise

Zephyr and Alawa, The Wolf Conservation Center's eight-month-old Ambassador wolf pups, have been having a blast during their first winter holiday season! Last week we shared a video of Zephyr opening up one of his many holiday gifts and it's always a treat for WCC visitors to witness the wolves making new discoveries. Watch closely as Zephyr, the black wolf, finds something interesting around the 15 second mark. It's easy to miss so try not to blink! For more information about the 25 wolves that call the WCC home, please visit our website at, and our Facebook page.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Howlidays from the Wolf Conservation Center!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Beautiful Alawa Greets the Morning Sun

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Zephyr vs. Wrapped Present

Last weekend, Wolf conservation Center guests watched as Ambassador wolf pup Zephyr was treated to his first holiday gift of the season. Zephyr is no stranger to gifts, but one wrapped in ornate paper was something he has yet to behold. The 8-month-old had trouble determining if this was a treat or a threat. Check out his adorable antics in this video!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Defenders of Wildlife Speaks Up For Idaho Wolves

Defenders of Wildlife is asking supporters to speak up for Idaho wolves. Wildlife Services is beginning its aerial gunning campaign to kill up to 75 wolves in the Lolo area near the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho. Defenders reports the stated reason for the wolf-killing plan is to artificially boost the elk population. Wolves are blamed for the dropping elk numbers in that area even though "elk numbers began decreasing in the area long before wolves made their way there, as suitable elk habitat in the area declined." If your hackles are raised, please click here and take action.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

WCC Crew Off To Pick Up New Mate for Red Wolf F1291

Red wolf F1291
A few months ago during the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) annual meeting, the red wolf management group did some match making with the help of software developed for red wolf population management and soon we'll find out if a computer can double as cupid. A small team from the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) headed out early this morning to pick up red wolf M1394 from the Mill Mountain Zoo in VA. On paper, M1394 and WCC's long time resident, F1291, are a perfect match. Only time will tell but in the meantime, we're looking forward to introducing the pair and hopefully celebrating their pups come April of May. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Tragedy in the Southwest

Mexican wolf M805
On December 14, wild Mexican gray wolf F1105 was shot dead on private land in New Mexico at the direction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The lone 4-yr-old female was unable to find a mate in the wild and thus was reportedly attracted to local dogs. Lobos of the Southwest urges us to speak up for Mexican gray wolves. This tragedy is one more reason to release more critically endangered Mexican gray wolves into the wild.  Please read the press release here and tell USFWS that it's time to expedite more releases of captive wolves into the their ancestral wilds of the southwest.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hysteria About Wolves Built On Exaggeration

Photo: Roni Chastain from WCC Photo Session Program December 2011
An excellent opinion piece was printed in The Missoulian earlier this week about the high emotions that wolves and their management provoke in the West. Kudos to Marty Essen, author of the award-winning book: "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents," for expressing his opinion on this controversial topic so well.

To read the article in the Missoulian, please follow this link:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preparing for Wolf Breeding Season: Girls to the Left, Boys to the Right

Breeding season is an exciting time at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), especially since we have four potential litters to celebrate on the horizon! Preparing for breeding season, however, can be a lot of work. This time of year WCC staff and volunteers venture to the vast enclosures within our endangered species facility to harass some of the elusive Mexican gray wolves for one last time this season. During the season of romance, the Mexican wolf males need to be separated from the females to prevent spontaneous breeding from occurring. Inbreeding doesn't occur often in the wild but in captivity the lobos have limited options so a family member can appear pretty appealing when hormones are racing. All of our enclosures have a dividing fence line through their interior so packs will remain in their original territories, but males on one side and females on the other. It's kind of like a middle school dance! The real work for WCC staff and volunteers is to fortify the dividing fence lines with mesh to prevent breeding from occurring through the fence. Yes, you read correctly, they can do "it" though chain link fencing. So today is the day that Mexican wolf brothers and sisters will be captured by our team, identified, and sent to one side or another to reside with their same sex siblings until late March or early April.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Saving a Species: Challenges of Match-Making in the Red Wolf Recovery Program

The elusive red wolf F1291
During the summer, the Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red wolf determined the program's breeding pairs for the 2012 season. Wolves are “mono-estrus” -- breeding only once a year during the winter months. Hence, winter is an exciting time for wolves in North America and the WCC too!
Last season 8-year-old red wolf F1291 was paired with a younger male, M1587. The two wolves appeared well bonded but unfortunately they failed to prove fruitful. M1587 (aka "Beefcake" due to his impressive physique) is F1291's second male companion since she joined the WCC family in 2004. 
Dr Wood and WCC curator Rebecca Bose
F1291 is the fourth most genetically valuable wolf in the red wolf SSP program so all parties involved have high hopes that she can contribute some of her genetics to the recovery of her species. Last week Quarry Ridge Animal Hospital's Dr Wood generously donated her time and Dr Stuhr from Animal Eye Clinic Wilton let us borrow his ultrasound equipment to help determine why F1291 has yet to have pups. We captured F1291 and then right in her enclosure, Dr Wood and Vet Tech Paula Kennedy conducted the examination. The whole ordeal took no longer than 20 minutes and at day's end nothing out of the ordinary was discovered. Perhaps F1291 prefers that she lead the mate selection process instead of software developed for the population management of her species!

WCC's Jim Horton, Alex Spitzer, and M1587
The Red Wolf SSP management group decided to give F1291 another chance at motherhood and this time with a new red wolf, M1394, from the Mill Mountain Zoo in VA. This morning we returned to the their enclosure with our friends from Rhode Island's Roger Williams Park Zoo to capture M1587. "Beefcake" will soon reside on exhibit at his new home in Rhode Island where he and his new mate, "Sequoia," will help people better understand the importance of their rare species.

It's been a bittersweet morning.  We met some great folks from the Roger Williams Park Zoo, we said goodbye to the biggest red wolf any of us have every seen, and we have our digits crossed that the "third time's a charm!"  Stay tuned, breeding season is less than a month away!

Monday, December 12, 2011

National WolfWatcher Coalition Giving You a Last Chance to Speak Up for WY Wolves

As we began 2011, wolves of the Northern Rockies were listed as endangered. Just a few months later everything changed for this special population of predators. During the spring, Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. Congress excluded Wyoming from the rider stating that it's wolf management plan wasn't viable.

Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) criticized the Wyoming wolf plan in the past, this summer the federal agency announced their plan to accept Wyoming's proposal and now wildlife advocates fear disastrous consequences will follow.

U.S. Rep. Lummis (WY) inserted a wolf delisting rider (Sec.113) in the proposed 2012 budget bill which seeks to permanently delist wolves in WY and the Western Great Lakes without judicial review. The House vote takes place on Dec. 16th so there is not much time left to take action on behalf of Wyoming's wolves.

If your hackles are raised please visit National WolfWatcher Coalition's web page dedicated to helping people act on behalf of this special wolf population.

Friday, December 9, 2011

WildEarth Guardians Working to Protect The ESA

Watch WildEarth Guardians' Jay Tutchton testify before Congress in defense of our nation’s cornerstone environmental law: the Endangered Species Act.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Controversial Topics To Be Discussed At Today's MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks Public Meeting

The Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is holding a public meeting today starting at noon (EST). Among the topics on the agenda will be whether or not to extend the wolf hunting season by a month if the quota of 220 isn't met by the end of the year and whether to allow hunters to assist state and federal officials in killing wolves that are found guilty of livestock predation.

Last month the Bozeman Daily Chronicle offered an online poll re: the plan to extend the wolf hunting season and 74% of the folks who participated voted "no." We'll have to wait and see if this sentiment is echoed at today's meeting.

You can listen to the meeting live at:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Atka, Your Roots Are Showing!

For many of us, rainy days can be bad "hair days." Although Wolf Conservation Center Ambassador Wolf Atka need not fret about his looks, rainy weather can take its toll on a wolf tresses as well.  Wet days often reveal that Atka is not the color he usually appears to be. This natural beauty's coat consists of two elements: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of of the coat and the soft dense undercoat. The coarse guard hairs determine Atka's appearance/color. These hairs are hollow and without pigment so most of the time Atka appears white. The undercoat, however, is usually gray in color and on rainy days this layer is more visible. No need for a dye job Atka, we love you roots and all!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Wolf Conservation Center's Project: Poetry

The wolf is a charismatic beast and had been the subject of song and verse for eons.   Earlier this year, the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) teamed up with Mamaroneck Poet Laureate Mary Louise Cox to capture and present the impact that the WCC wolves have on young children visiting the Center with their schools. The task was simple - Ms Cox asked that each child finish the sentence : "Today I..." and students gladly took part.
On Sunday, Atka and crew presented at the Mamaroneck Public Library where we unveiled the resulting poem compiled by Ms Cox.  Big thanks all the participating school children and to Mary Louise Cox for demonstrating the inspirational force of wolves in the form of the written word.
Today I saw a wolf.                                                  Rajan 8 yrs.
― met a red wolf.                                                     Emily 8 yrs.
― watched wolves.                                                  Zechariah 5 yrs.
― saw Mexican wolves                                            Wille 6 yrs.
― watched wolves.                                                  Fredinka 3 yrs.
― learned about wolves.                                          Michael 8 yrs.
― saw very sharpe teeth.                                         Julianna 8 yrs.
― saw a wolf.                                                            Sarah 8 yrs.
― saw wolves and they were so cool.
I saw one come out of the pool.                               Juliet 8 yrs.
― saw wolves and they were awesome!                   Gianna 8 yrs.
― saw beautiful white fur.                                        James 8 yrs.
― had fun with my friends.                                       Gabbie 9 yrs.
― saw wolves.                                                          Joanna 8 yrs.
― helped support the wolves.                                   Anna 9 yrs.
― howled with the wolves.                                       Griffin 7 yrs.
― saw a wolf.                                                            Luke 8 yrs.
― saw a red wolf lying.                                            Nicholas 7 yrs.
― saw a wolf.                                                           Aidan 7 yrs.
― learned about wolves.                                         Dylan 6 yrs.
― got rained on.                                                      Joseph 8 yrs.
― I learned.                                                              Tommy 8 yrs.
― saw red wolves.                                                   Hudson 8 yrs.
― found out what wolves eat.                                 Steven 7 yrs.
― saw different types of wolves.                             Fayre 9 yrs.
― saw wolves.                                                         Henri 7 yrs.
― saw Atka.                                                             Martin 9 yrs

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Some Young Conservationists Are At It Again!

The Woodmere Middle Schoolers are at it again! WMS Team 7A has been working hard on their research project on Endangered Species. The group of dedicated middle schoolers are investigating the importance of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), they're researching specific endangered or threatened mammals and the causes of their endangerment, and they are drawing conclusions about the impact of their potential extinction if measures are not taken to protect them. This journey in learning will include a video project that will be shared with other schools, their government representatives, and conservation organizations to help spread the news about endangered species and the importance of the ESA.

In addition to this compelling work, the team has been busy fund-raising for the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC)and their December 1st and 2nd NY Pretzel sale brought in $700!! Way to go Team 7A!

WCC staff and wolves will be able to thank (back row): Gianna, Jessica, Eddie, Alberto, Marsello, and Fernando; (front row): George, Jonathan, Ben and Eros in person later this spring when they visit the WCC along with students from Rhode Island’s Rocky Hill School. Here, all the young conservationists will exchange ideas and their findings and of course share some howls with Atka, Zephyr, and Alawa!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Wolf Conservation Center Visits Fox News

Yesterday Maggie Howell, the Wolf Conservation Center's managing director, made a brief appearance on Fox News to discuss why it's so important to educate people about wolves. Atka opted to stay at home for this gig, he didn't want to steal the spotlight from President Obama and Justin Bieber who were also visiting the Big Apple :)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

National Geographic's Crittercam Offers New Perspective

Ever wonder what it would be like to see the world through the eyes of a wolf? We certainly have! At the Wolf Conservation Center, we've especially wondered what our ambassador wolves see and think. While we can only guess at what they're thinking, Kyler Abernathy, one of our friends from National Geographic, stopped by the other day to give us some insight into the way our wolves experience their world.

Kyler Abernathy by Josh Lewis
Kyler is the Director of Research for National Geographic's Remote Imagery, which means he's instrumental in the designing and implementing of National Geographic's Crittercams. Working closely with field biologists and other scientists, Kyler and his teams have placed cameras on all sorts of animals, including sea lions, tiger sharks, and grizzly bears, and brought back a wealth of information.

Crittercam Collar.  Photo: Josh Lewis
The Crittercam program started with aquatic animals and only moved onto land in the past decade. So when Kyler wanted to test out some cameras and collars for potential use with wolves in the wild, we were only too happy to offer the services of our ambassador pack. Visiting the day after Thanksgiving, Kyler was graced by beautiful weather and complete cooperation from Atka, our 9 1/2 year-old Arctic gray wolf, and the 7 month old siblings Alawa and Zephyr.
Bose fitting Atka's collar.  Photo: Josh Lewis
We quickly placed the sturdy but unobtrusive collars holding small cameras around the ambassadors' necks and then let them get back to their regular
business: roaming around their enclosures and taking part in one of our regularly scheduled educational programs.

After a few hours, during which we were lucky to hear some of Kyler's stories about Crittercam projects - despite all the incredible tales about wild animals, my favorite was about owners graphically learning just how good a hunter their housecat was - we retrieved the cameras.
Before leaving, Kyler was nice enough to preview a portion of the amazing footage for us. We gathered around his computer enthralled by Alawa's view of her enclosure as she ran around, interacted with brother Zephyr, came up to the fence for a program, and even visited Atka.
We're excited to have helped out this worthy project and look forward to future collaborations and, of course, more footage! With any luck we'll also be able to bring Kyler back to the WCC to share his incredible stories with our guests during one of our special programs.
So stay tuned, there's always something interesting going on here!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Make Black Friday More Meaningful, Speak Up for the Endagered Species Act

Due to current Congressional threats to one of America's cornerstone environmental laws, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), many species are in peril including the critically endangered lobo. The 2012 Interior budget (HR2584) contains devastating amendments which threaten our country's environmental programs like never before in modern history.  Wolf Conservation Center supporters often ask what they can do to safeguard the future of wolves here in our country and the National WolfWatcher Coalition (NWC) is offering some guidance.

In speaking with several environmental staffers in Washington DC in the last year, the NWC learned that postcards are a noticeable means by which citizens can make their voices heard because they are unique, brief and easily accepted via mail.  Thus, NWC encourages wildlife supporters across the nation to send a unique postcard, along with a brief statement in support of the ESA, from your location to a select number of pro-environmental and moderate (on-the-fence) representatives in Congress.

For some sample talking points and additional resources, please visit United Postcard Campaign page on the NWC's website.

To learn more about the ESA and the threats this law faces, please listen to Defenders of Wildlife's Robert Dewey in an interview from last month.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Temporary Reprieve for Alaska's Kenai Wolves

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance rallied their supporters to speak up for the wolves of Kenai and their comments were heard! Thanks to the overwhelming number of comments submitted to the Alaska Board of Game, the proposals to begin aerial wolf killing on the Kenai Peninsula were postponed until January.
This is one wonderful example of how our actions can affect the world. We each have a voice and the right to use it in order to safeguard our future and the future of generations to come. Well done Alaska Wildlife Alliance! If you would like to learn more about this organization and receive their email alerts so you too can take action on behalf of Alaska's wolves, please visit their website at:

To read more about this small but significant victory, please click here.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Online Poll Makes It Easy To Speak Up For Montana Wolves

MT is planning to extend the wolf hunting season by one month since the wolf quota of 220 might not be met by the end of the year. The state is also considering to offer the use of barbaric and indiscriminate traps as tool to reduce the wolf population. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has offered an online poll re: the this plan so if your hackles are raised, please click on this link and vote "no" to show you oppose this proposal.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Montana looks to Extend It's Wolf Hunting Season

This year's controversial wolf hunt in the state of Montana continues to raise hackles among wildlife advocates with a recent announcement that the state plans to extend the season by one month. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is planning to extend the wolf hunting season until January 31, 2012 if the wolf quota of 220 is not met first. The state is also considering to offer the barbaric use of indiscriminate traps as tool to reduce the wolf population.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks is seeking comments on this proposal and the National WolfWatcher Coalition is making it easy for you to take action. Please click here to go the the NWC's dedicated page to this issue.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Spotlight on Mexican Gray Wolf F516

F516, a.k.a "Lighty"
Mexican gray wolf F516 ( a.k.a. "Lighty") has never had the chance to be among the lucky lobos who call the wilds of the Southwest home, but her life has been extremely meaningful nonetheless. The fourteen-year-old holds a special place in the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) history and the hearts of the staff and volunteers who had a chance to behold her.

M575, a.k.a. "Shep"
F516 and her mate M575 (a.k.a. "Shep") joined the WCC family in 2006 and were the very first pair of lobos to breed at our facility. Although F516 had proven fruitful in the past, the pair were unable to support a litter that year. The Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) Management Group gave the pair one final opportunity to produce pups in 2007 but again they were unsuccessful. Even though their attempt to start a new family failed, F516 will continue to contribute to the species gene pool for years to come. In 2009, F516 was spayed and her ovaries preserved so that any viable eggs (oocytes) could be harvested and used in the future. The procedure was an enormous success and a remarkable 67 viable eggs were extracted! What a woman!
Like all our other Mexican wolves during her tenure, F516 lived off exhibit in a remote area of our facility where WCC guests were unable to visit. We couldn't see her, but she frequently made her presence known. She was the only Mexican gray wolf at the WCC who had a howl we could never fail to recognize.
F516 was transferred to the Oklahoma City Zoo during the fall of 2009 where she was widowed after the passing of M575. Her previous home in South Salem, NY was notably quieter without her. Now the grande dame of the Mexican wolf program calls Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center home in Scottsdale, AZ. The snowbird arrived on Monday and the press was there to celebrate her as they should!

It's funny, even though we don't interact or get to know the wolves within the MWSSP program, you can't help being touched by a few that stand out. No doubt the other lucky facilities that hosted the gal in the past have something special to share about "Lighty," as will Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center before you know it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

WildEarth Guardians Offers a Way To Speak Up For Wyoming Wolves

As we began 2011, wolves of the Northern Rockies were listed as endangered. Just a few months later everything changed for this special population of predators. During the spring, Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. Congress excluded Wyoming from the rider stating that it's wolf management plan wasn't viable.

Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) criticized the Wyoming wolf plan in the past, this summer the federal agency announced their plan to accept Wyoming's proposal and now wildlife advocates fear disastrous consequences will follow.

Thankfully, it's not too late for Wyoming's wolves. The Wyoming wolf management plan is out for public comment and WildEarth Guardians is calling all wildlife advocates to speak up on behalf of the wolves that call this state home. Click here to learn how you can share your comments with USFWS.

Thank you WildEarth Guardians!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try one more time."

When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try one more time." from Diane Bentivegna on Vimeo.

Diane Bentivegna, friend and supporter of the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), recently released this lovely video as a brief respite from the sad news wildlife advocates hear all too often about wolves here in our country. Diane looks to the wolf not only to ease her soul, but as a middle school teacher she recognizes that this misunderstood predator is charismatic subject and and an ideal topic of interdisciplinary study. Although Diane will be retiring after this school year, her passion for wolves, conservation, and education will continue to impact people and wildlife for years to come as one of the founding Board members of National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Thanks Diane!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Clean Bill Of Health for Some Brawny Wolves

Atka howling for the spotlight
It's always a treat for Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff, volunteers, and supporters when the twenty-five wolves that call the WCC home serenade us with their soulful howls. Yesterday, however, the usual sounds that echo throughout the Center were replaced by a collective sigh of relief. Yesterday we completed the last of three "health exam capture days" scheduled this season so our sixteen Mexican gray wolves and six red wolves can return to living peacefully in a natural environment where they can reside without our interference. Congrats to the majority of the wolves we meddled with this season as they will not have to deal with the likes of us for another year!
Almost 90lb Red Wolf M1587 returning to his enclosure
Our dedicated team met early in the morning and by noon we had captured, "processed" (administered vaccinations, took blood, and weights), and released back home six red wolves and two Mexican wolves. Everyone was is perfect health and most were almost chunky! Road kill deer does the body good...

Paul Maus, DVM
Big thanks to our great team of volunteers who came out for the task as well as our generous veterinarian, Paul Maus, DVM from North Westchester Veterinary Office, who donated his time and expertise.

Also big thanks to National WolfWatcher Coalition's Diane Bentivegna who came out to assist. Check out her video of a red wolf capture below.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

¡Adiós Lobo!

F810, one of the sixteen critically endangered Mexican gray wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home as part of a Species Survival Plan under the Endangered Species Act, cannot wait to return to her vast enclosure after her annual health check up earlier this week. WCC staff and volunteers administer annual health exams once a year. With the exception of these events,our lobos live peacefully in a natural environment where these most elusive creatures can reside with minimal human contact to help maintain their timidity and best prepare them for a future in the wilds of Arizona. So far two of the WCC's Mexican wolves have been released into the wild and we hope to give some other lobos the same awesome opportunity soon. There are only about 50 Mexican wolves living in the wild her in our country.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Love Thy Neighbor! Or Else...

M740 evades our crew/ Photo: Josh Lewis
This time of year Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff and volunteers are often prying into the private lives of the critically endangered wolves that call the WCC home. It's the season for annual medical exams and late last month we "processed" (administered vaccinations, took blood, and weights) a family of seven Mexican gray wolves without a hitch. It was the first of three "check-up capture days" scheduled this season. A few days ago, we processed two additional packs of Mexican wolves. The first pack is a family of three: brother wolves M804 and M807 and female wolf F749. Next we captured the second pack, a pair of wolves "named" F810 and M740. The captures and exams very smoothly and thankfully all the lobos passed their check up with flying colors! Now that we had completed the exams, it was time for us to meddle with their personal lives.

Every summer the Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determine which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. Wolves are “mono-estrus” -- breeding only once a year during the winter months, so autumn is the season to make some introductions between our match-made couples.

Mexican wolves M740 and F749 thought they were through with us once we had completed their exams. The wolves don't realize that they are a vital pair with the lowest inbreeding coefficient in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) program! M740 is nine years old and has called the WCC home since his transfer from the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago, IL in October of 2009. He was paired with Mexican wolf F810 for the past two years but the couple failed to produce pups. So after the check ups were completed, we moved F810 to live with her brothers, M804 and M807, and moved F749 to live with her new mate-to-be. F749 is the same age and joined the WCC family in December of 2009 after living at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico. The pair will live side by side with a fence-line between them so for a few weeks before we formally introduce them. Only time will tell if they're a match, we're hoping they fall head over paws!

Dr Bayha/ Photo: Josh Lewis
Big thanks to Dr Renee Bayha from the Pound Ridge Veterinary Center for volunteering her time, expertise, and labor this morning and to the lobos that are a part of something much bigger than they realize.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Wolf Conservation Center Needs Your Vote!

Hi Everyone! The WCC has a great chance of receiving $25K through the Chase Community Giving Program! Please take a moment and vote!! Each person gets to vote for 10 different charities and voting ends on November 22nd. Atka and crew THANK YOU!


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Day in Court for Wolves and the ESA

It's been more than 2 months since the wolf hunts begun in the states of Idaho and Montana and more than 150 wolves have been killed.

As we began 2011, wolves of the Northern Rockies were listed as endangered but Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) in the spring that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah. This controversial move was unprecedented as this "delisting" was conducted by politicians and not a process of scientific review that the ESA requires.

Today there is hope. Although prior requests for an emergency injunction to halt the hunts were denied, in a few hours a panel of federal judges will make a decision re: the hunts after wildlife advocates state their case in a Montana courtroom.

A lot rides on today's rule. Montana's wolf hunt quota is 220 and Idaho has no quota at all but intends to maintain 150 out of the 700 that currently call this state home. Our fingers are crossed that we'll have promising news to report following this hearing.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Senator Jack Reed : Endangered Species Act and Wolves

November 4,2011 - National Wolfwatcher Coalition's Dave Hornoff and Endangered Species Coalition's Northeast Coordinator Tara Thornton met up in Rhode Island to meet with Senator J. Reed (D-RI) who chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Interior and Environment. They discussed the Endangered Species Act, politics, and wolves and their impact on the environment and economy. Big thanks to both orgs for reaching out to the Senator! To Dave Hornoff's report about the meeting, please click here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Some Good News for Some Wolves In Alaska!

Last week in Homer, Alaska the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee recommended that the Board of Game NOT approve two intensive management proposals that include aerial wolf control. Vice Chair Tom Young said he voted against the wolf control proposals because the limiting factor on the moose population is not predation by wolves, but rather the "stressed" habitat they share. reports that most of the members in attendance at last weeks meeting spoke against the wolf control proposals stating that there is a lack of evidence reflecting that wolves are the problem. This is some promising news for one small portion of Alaska's wolf population and we'll take it! To read more about the meeting in, please click here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wolf Conservation Center in the News

AP photo: Seth Wenig
A few weeks ago Jim Fitzgerald and Seth Wenig from the Associated Press paid us a visit in South Salem, NY and the wolves made quite an impact! Click here to read this story that spotlights the WCC's participation in the Species Survival Plan for some of the rarest mammals in North America, the red wolf and the Mexican gray wolf. Enjoy!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Best Halloween Ever! For the Wolves That Is...

Atka and the other 24 wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center home agree, this is the best Halloween ever! Snow dumped on our 27 acres in South Salem, NY toppling a dozen or so trees, damaging enclosures, wiping out power and phones, and bringing enormous smiles to our frisky denizens that love winter the best.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Critically Endangered Lobos Receive a House Call From the Doc

3-year-old F1143 hides from the menacing humans
Autumn is a magical time at the Wolf Conservation Center. Colorful leaves are dancing in the breeze, cider is brewing in our cozy classroom cabin, and critically endangered wolves are shaking in their boots dreading the day humans set foot in their remote territories. The staff and volunteers rarely disturb our sixteen Mexican gray wolves and six red wolves, but when autumn rolls around, we get up close and personal with these most elusive animals for the wolves' annual medical exams. Today was the first of three "check-up capture days" scheduled this season.
A group of WCC volunteers and staff met this early morning with clipboards, vaccinations, thermometers, doughnuts, etc..., basically all the equipment to best prepare our team to meet the challenge of catching seven elusive lobos. In order to administer vaccinations, take blood, and weigh each wolf, we calmly herd the wolves through their spacious enclosure and into capture boxes -  wooden doghouse-like structures with removable roofs. Once a wolf is captured in the box, the WCC's generous volunteer veterinarian proceeds with the exam. The actual exam takes only minutes, the real challenge is capturing the frightened wolves. Thankfully, twelve-year-old F613 and her six three-year-old offspring ran into their boxes without a hitch, this isn't F613's first rodeo! All the wolves looked in tip top shape, Mama wolf F613 looked amazing. I guess managing six three-year-olds can keep a gal spry! Big thanks to Dr Khodakhah from the Pound Ridge Veterinary Center for volunteering her time, expertise, and labor this morning and to F613 for taking great care of her family.
I'm outta here!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Who's Bringing the Popcorn!

Tomorrow night is the Wolf Conservation Center's last Movie Night of 2011! This time tomorrow we'll be setting up our outdoor theater to treat our guests to wonderful film, “Lords of Nature: Life in a Land of Great Predators!” Join us for this compelling 60 minute documentary that goes behind the scenes with leading scientists to explore the role top predators play in restoring and maintaining ecosystems and biodiversity. Guests will enjoy the film under the stars alongside the two of the WCC’s apex predators, 6-month-olds Alawa and Zephyr!
There will be no “shhhhh-ing” aloud at the WCC theater, our movie-goers will be aloud to howl as they please during the presentation.Please click here to learn more and to regisiter today!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

East Meets West. Different Wolves Share a Common Mission.

Yesterday proved to be another eventful October day at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC). Atka wowed the great kids from Central Elementary School in Simsbury, CT and then returned home to inspire a group of scouts back in digs at the WCC. It's customary for Atka to do a bit of marking when he first returns home from a road trip and yesterday was no different from the norm. He raised his leg with style to remind us that he is indeed the boss and then scent rolled a few times in the thick weeds along his pathway home. He always checks these spots when en route to his enclosure and no doubt he'll be surprised at what he smells when he next passes by! He won't be detecting his usual trademark scent but the signatures of the great traveling ambassador wolves from Mission: Wolf! Mission: Wolf is a wonderful organization that has led national outreach programs with ambassador wolves for decades.
The organization's two co-founders, Kent Weber and Tracy Brooks, stopped by to give their ambassador wolves Magpie (aka Maggie), Zaeb, and Abe a great couple of hours to run around in one of the WCC's vacant enclosures. I can only imagine what was running through the minds of our lupine guests as they traveled up our driveway with the scents of the WCC's 25 wolves filling their nostrils.
The trio seemed quite at home, stopping to mark on top of Atka's fresh scents from earlier that day. They were eager to explore the overgrown enclosure and as soon as they arrived they rushed the fence line to investigate the diminutive duo living in the adjacent habitat. Wolves tend to love pups and Maggie, Zaeb, and Abe greeted 6-month-old Alawa and Zephyr with tender enthusiasm. The pups came tumbling down the slope to check out the visitors but once Zephyr got a view of his new neighbors, he hightailed it up the hill as fast as his mini legs could carry him! Brave Alawa, however, lingered by the fence to take it all in and  her brother eventually decided to join her.
While Maggie, Zaeb, and Abe romped around up and down the hills and in and out of the thick brush, the WCC and Mission: Wolf families discussed the victories, challenges, and heartfelt moments of promoting wolf conservation though education. Once the sun had set we returned the wolves to the Mission:Wolf bus where Maggie, Zaeb, and Abe chewed on some bones while we lingered a bit longer with our friends from the West. At the end of the day, it was clear to all that a visit to the WCC will have to become an annual event. We waved goodbye but not without sending the Mission wolf crew with some roadies: fresh deer legs and bones. Mission: Wolf will be continuing their Ambassador tour of the Northeast for a few more days. Please click here to see if they'll be in your neck of the woods soon!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Endangered Species Act Endangered?

Defenders of Wildlife's Robert Dewey discusses the current Congressional threats to one of America's cornerstone environmental laws - the ESA. Many species are in peril including the critically endangered lobo. Please click here and take a moment to listen to the interview.