Monday, February 28, 2011

Remembering Kaila

Last Monday the WCC announced the passing of Kaila, the Center's first Ambassador wolf. In the following days we have received countless letters, emails, and photos from those who had been touched by Kaila and her pack mates over the years. Thank you so much for the outpouring of kind words and gestures, Kaila was a beautiful wolf and noble ambassador and she will be remembered as so.

Music: "Who's that Lady" by the Isley Brothers and "Three Blind Mice" from the Three Stooges.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

And the Oscar Goes to...

Dynamite the Gyrfalcon

Atka deserves an Academy Award for appearing at ease while two other Arctic Ambassadors wowed WCC visitors on his home turf. Atka is not usually fond of sharing the spotlight with "outsiders" but perhaps Dynamite the gyrfalcon and Juneau the snowy owl are getting a pass as fellow denizens of the tundra... 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arctic Fest: Wings and Wolves 2011


 Heads up Atka, another arctic beast is coming to town! Tomorrow the WCC celebrates "Arctic Fest: Wings and Wolves" with Dynamite the Gyrfalcon and some other feathered ambassadors from Brian Bradley's Skyhunters in Flight. We can't wait!

Friday, February 25, 2011

It's Not Polite to Play with Your Food....

...but it sure is cute if it's a nine-month-old wolf!

Yesterday morning our camera caught red wolf "pup" m1803 entertaining himself with a deer bone. Although none of his pack mates were interested in joining the fun, a chatty raven enjoyed watching on.

If you want to watch the red wolf pack yourself, visit our live WOLFCAM and let us know if you see something cool!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Okay to Stare!

Don't worry M1483, red wolf F1397 is bound to come around!
Red wolf F1397 says "Not now.." to M1483 by Josh Lewis
 It's an exciting time for wolves and the WCC -- it's the season of romance! Hormones are racing and several courtships have begun. We're keeping our eye on three breeding pairs (see The Season of Romance) in hope that we'll see some promising behavior. Thankfully, we need not rely entirely on eyewitness accounts, our WOLFCAM may help staff, volunteers, and supporters watch some romance between red wolves F1397 and M1483 in real time!  These two lovebirds proved fruitful last year mating during the first week of March.  We're hoping that they are up for round two this season and we would love your assistance keeping a watchful eye on the pair. Check out our WOLFCAM and please watch for:

- one wolf marking over the other's mark
- nuzzling
- following one another
- parallel walking
- wrestling
- rear sniffing
- resting one's chin upon another
- tandem urination conveys the same message as a wedding ring :) 

If you see any of the above behaviors or something else you find interesting, please share what you've witnessed on this blog or on the WCCs Facebook Page.

If you see the wolves in a copulatory "tie," please contact us immediately at!

Our finger are crossed!

Taking Comfort...

Thank you all so much for the support. It's been wonderful to receive so many kind words and photos! The WCC's "Staff Pack" have been a great comfort too. They never fail to bring out a smile :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Goodbye Kaila

Kaila R.I.P. (May 1, 1995 - February 21, 2011)

It is with great sadness that the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) announces the death of Kaila, the quiet queen of the Center’s “Ambassador Pack.”  At 15 years old, Kaila was our oldest Ambassador.  She pioneered our education program as the WCC’s first wolf and witnessed our organization flourish over the past decade.  Described as a real spitfire in her youth, Kaila grew warm and committed to the younger wolves when welcoming them to her pack.  Despite forever dodging the spotlight, she was a vibrant star and the keystone of her family.  She occupied the lowest ranking in the pack hierarchy which by no means suggests that she was the least important or loved.  It was Kaila’s role to furnish cohesion among her “brothers”, an essential characteristic for a successful pack.

Widowed twice over in 2010 with the passing of Apache and Lukas, Kaila continued to thrive and quietly win the hearts of our visitors until earlier this month when her body showed signs that it could no longer persevere.  This spring Kaila will join her fallen pack mates as a part of the Yellowstone landscape where they will forever dwell among the wild wolves that they helped people better understand.
Thank you, Kaila.  We miss you already.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lazing on a Sunny Afternoon

Atka's world: it's a sunny and cool Sunday with snow on the way - what's not to like?  Hope everybody is  having a great weekend!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Here Comes the Weekend!

It's time to take on Saturday, but first maybe I'll just rest my eyes for a few seconds...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

The red wolf "Fab Four" were among the 24 wolves that serenaded our community yesterday :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More Bad News for Wolves

Governor Brian Schweitzer of Montana has encouraged actions against wolves despite existing federal protections. Details about his statements and his letter to the Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar are here in this article published in the Missoulian.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Open Wide...

Often heard but rarely seen, red wolf F1291 shows off all 42 of her teeth. This off-exhibit female is one of the most vocal wolves at the Wolf Conservation Center - those who have heard her distinctive howl won't soon forget it!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Legislative Action Threatens Wolf Survival

Wolves are currently under attack in Congress as several bills (H.R. 509, H.R. 510, S.249 and S. 321), and an attachment to a vital spending bill, have been introduced in an attempt to deprive them of protection under the Endangered Species Act.  A Representative from New Mexico has introduced Amendment 342 to the Continuing Resolution, an amendment that would help cut off funding that protects Mexican gray wolves. If you want to speak on behalf of wolves, you can contact your representative(s) by phone or email to let them know how you feel about these bills. (Some may find useful - it lets users look up bills and let their views be known to legislators.) With Congress set for budget discussions and decisions, now is a great time to let your views be known to your representatives. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Valentine's Day Poetry (in Motion)

Happy Loving Couple...

Red wolves F1397 and M1483 take a breather from raising their pups last spring.


from all of us at the Wolf Conservation Center.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We Have A Winner!

(L) Hey. C'mon, baby. The species is depending on us.
(R) Bleah. And I thought I'd heard all the pick-up lines.

Congratulations to Jean Ossorio for the winning caption in our contest! We'll be sending a WCC goodie bag your way. Thanks to everybody for the great entries; we had a fun time reading them and a tough time picking a winner.

Friday, February 11, 2011

An Arctic Gaze

Atka looks out at the world...

A Gala Affair

The Wolf Conservation Center spent a lot of January trying to dig out from the series of snowstorms that hit the area, but our "Year of the Pups" gala held the last week of January was a great success. WCC co-founder and world-renowned concert pianist Helene Grimaud performed, and Richard Gere, at whose restaurant, Bedford Post, the event was held, stopped in, but Atka, our Arctic gray wolf ambassador, did his best to steal the show.

Westchester Magazine has an article and photo gallery here and The New York Times has a review and photos here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Family Hug!

Watch the members of our on-exhibit red wolf pack greet the morning and each other yesterday. We also observed some courtship displays between the alphas, so keep your fingers crossed for another successful breeding season!

You Said It!

Thanks for all the great entries to our caption contest. Our expert judges are hard at work picking a winner!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mahopac Middle Schoolers are Leaving their Mark!

Atka strikes a pose with Mahopac Middle School's Alyssa Kull
Let's "howl it up" for Ms. Peterson's class from Mahopac Middle School! A special group of dedicated students participated in the WCC's 2010-2011 Calendar Drive and raised over $3500! It was our pleasure to thank the wonderful students (including top salesperson Alyssa Kull!) in person. Atka even left them a little gift ;-)

If you're school or organization is interested in learning more about how you can participate in our 2011-2012 Calendar Drive and earn an education program from the WCC and Atka, please email or call 914-763-2373 x2.  "Gift" from Atka are not guaranteed!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo Caption Challenge!

Red Wolves M1483 and F1397 by Josh Lewis
Win a prize in the WCC’s PHOTO CAPTION CHALLENGE! We’re hoping that spring will come faster if we share a photo of red wolves M1483 and F1397 from a balmy season past. Please post your caption in the comments section below. A winning caption will be chosen midweek and we’re accepting submissions until Wednesday at midnight PST. The photo will be posted this weekend with caption and credit to the winner! Note: The winning caption will be selected from the WCC’s Facebook page and the WCC Blog. Good luck!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Someone's Feeling Romantic

Red Wolf M1483
Red wolf M1483 is feeling romantic, but where's his lady?  Let us know if you can spot our two love birds (M1483 and F1397) on the WCC's WOLFCAM.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Saving a Species, One Egg at a Time

Mexican gray wolf F628
Just a few days after federal officials delivered promising news about the wild lobo population growing for the first time in 4 years, Mexican gray wolf F628 unknowingly made a priceless contribution allowing her species to persist. F628 is one of the 16 Mexican wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center home. The 11-year-old female is too old to be chosen to breed but this does preclude her from contributing to the future survival of her species. Genetic management and preservation are central to the conservation of a critically endangered species. Maintaining genetic diversity within the Mexican gray wolf population is a challenge so the directors of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) ask that older females in the program are spayed (for their own health benefit) and their viable eggs (oocytes) conserved for future use in the Mexican wolf in vitro fertilization program.  Our first step was capturing F628.

The WCC team of volunteers and staff met this early morning prepared to meet the inevitable challenges that the snowy terrain would create in catching the elusive wolf. While naturally ill-equipped humans are tasked with laboring through the deep icy mix, wolves can maneuver effortlessly with their large paws working like snow shoes. Thankfully, we did not need to move much at all, the mere presence of our menacing crew scared F628 straight into a capture box.

The WCC team give F628 a sleigh ride
After we successfully crated F628, we carefully brought the kennel down from our endangered species facility located high in the woods on the WCC's 27 acres and into our van. I don't think F628 has ever been on a sleigh ride before! About an hour after the capture, we were greeted by the friendly and accommodating team at the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital in Norwalk, CT.

Dr Charlie Duffy successfully spayed F628 and her ovaries were packed and shipped after the quick and graceful operation. Within 4 hours of her capture, F628 was returned home where she and her handsome companion peacefully reside off exhibit in their vast and snowing enclosure. Thanks to F628 and the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital, the future of the lobo is looking brighter.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Shadow Knows...

At the Wolf Conservation Center, Groundhog Day is practiced a little differently. In our version, Atka  looks (unsuccessfully) for a groundhog, then takes a nap and dreams about an endless winter. Sorry Atka, but we hope that this year the groundhog was correct and spring is right around the corner!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Wild Mexican Gray Wolf Population is Up to 50

February 1, 2011 - Federal wildlife officials announced that they counted 50 wild Mexican gray wolves in vast stretch of forest between southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico.  The Fish and Wildlife Service's southwest regional director, Benjamin Tuggle, said the data from the USFWS's annual survey includes 29 wolves in Arizona and 21 in New Mexico. This news is encouraging as the wild Mexican wolf population numbered less than 40 at the end of 2010.   Will the Mexican wolf, one of the rarest mammals in our North America, continue to grow in coming years?  It's possible they won't be granted the opportunity if wolf bill H.R. 509 is passed. Last week Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced this bill into the House of Representatives which aims to strip all protections from gray wolves nationwide.
Click here to read more about this year's annual survey as posted on
To learn more about H.R. 509, please read last week's post "Don't Get so Emotional."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snow? What Snow?

We're trying to ignore the latest storm to hit our area and instead envisioning ourselves relaxing in the sun like this red wolf pup. The footage was shot last July when the pup (one of two in the litter) was almost 2-months old.