Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sniff, Sniff. Do I smell Puppy Breath?

Stay tuned...

Monday, May 30, 2011

Time for a Nap!

Atka had a very busy Memorial Day weekend and now it's time for a rest.  He wowed hundreds of people at Van Cortlandt Manor, got spooked by a black and white lemur, devoured a few melons and that was Saturday alone...  Well done Atka!  We hope you enjoy tonight's feast :)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends of Animals Challenges Wolf Delisting Rider

Friends of Animals, a non-profit, international animal advocacy organization, recently announced that they have joined Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater and WildEarth Guardians  in challenging the delisting rider attached to the recently passed budget bill on grounds that it is unconstitutional.  This rider removes federal protection from wolves of Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah and controversial wolf hunts are set to begin this fall.   If your hackles are raised, please visit their websites and show your support.  To read the recent press release from friends of Animals, please click here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Atka Takes His Rare

Bust out the BBQ and have a fun holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Art Safari at the Wolf Conservation Center – An Alison Nicholls Adventure!

"Atka" By Alison Nicholls
The WCC is thrilled to present wildlife artist and conservationist Alison Nicholls for a unique program. Join us for an opportunity to enjoy the morning capturing the splendor of Atka on paper! The WCC will donate half of program proceeds to the Painted Dog Conservation Project (PDC).

Saturday, June 4th
9AM - 12PM
Click here to register today!

This is the WCC’s first art safari ever and we’re so lucky that Nicholls will be leading this adventure in creativity!  During the program, Nicholls will discuss all aspects of art and conservation including her work with the PDC, art lessons at the Children’s Bushcamp, and the challenges of sketching in the bush.  Nicholls will also give guests an opportunity to learn about her “Conservation Expeditions” in Africa which will help raise funds for the African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) - an organization working to conserve Africa`s wildlife and to promote village development through innovative, multi-disciplinary strategies that emphasize coexistence with the natural world. Guests will also have a chance to behold the WCC’s critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves. Pre-registration is required.
         “Wolf Sketch” – Watercolor by Alison Nicholls

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anchors Aweigh!

Fleet Week NYC begins today! Captain Atka wants to remind the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum crew that the Intrepid aircraft carrier should be renamed "USS Atka." After all, he did mark the ship as his own when he last visited. A few times actually :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Wild Red Pup Count Contest!

Nature hates calculators ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
But calculating all of Nature's adorable wild red wolf pups is a blast!  The red wolf is one of the most rare mammals in North America.  Only an estimated 130 red wolves roam their native habitat in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina making every new addition to the population quite significant. Almost a month ago, the dedicated U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Recovery team reported that the wild wolves had proven fruitful with 9 litters totaling 37 pups and we're waiting eagerly for an update with the final count.  What do you think the magic number will be?  Be the first to guess correctly and you'll win a prize!  Just post your guess here on our blog or on the WCC's Facebook Page.  Big thanks to the Red Wolf Coalition for giving the us this fun idea!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Time To Do A Double Take!

Malik of the International Wolf Center
Someone's playing peek-a-boo and it's not you know who!  There's a good reason that this handsome fellow has an uncanny resemblance to the Wolf Conservation Center's star ambassador wolf, he's Atka's older brother!  Atka's two older brothers, Malik and his littermate Shadow, are star ambassadors themselves working at the International Wolf Center (IWC) in Ely, Minnesota and they need your votes!  The IWC is among the many wonderful not for profits competing in the Chase Community Giving Grant Contest.  They're currently in 11th place and with our help we can get them to the top.  Voting is now open so please give Atka's family support today!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Is Livestock Predation a Myth?

It appears so, according to a Department of Agricultural report released last week. WildEarth Guardians reports that in 2010, just 0.23% of the American cattle inventory was lost to native carnivores and dogs.  Surprisingly, dogs were responsible for close to 10% of all cattle predation.  Why then, if wildlife is accountable for less than a quarter of a percent of all cattle loses, are taxpayers paying millions of dollars on lethal and non-lethal control of native carnivores?  WildEarth Guardians wants some answers, do you?  Please learn more by reading this complete press release with links to the Cattle Death Loss reports: "Government Report: Less Than 1% of Cattle Killed by Native Carnivores and Domestic Dogs Taxpayers Fleeced by Federal, Predator-Control Program."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

A Pupdate from the Southwest!

Lobo Pup born at the WCC on 4-22-08
It's been a fruitful season for wild lobos in the Southwest!  Elke Duerr of Wild Wolf Film is offers an uplifting report from the field in her latest "Reel News Newsletter." Her report brings us positively precious puppy news as well as an inspiring story of a resilient wolf determined to thrive in a landscape filled with unnatural challenges.  Check out her newsletter here and you'll get a chance to win a prize while celebrating the oldest lobo in captivity, a beautiful lady with lots of history.

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's National Endangered Species Day!

National Endangered Species Day is a day to remind us of the significance of protecting endangered species and the wild habitat they require.  For Atka, everyday is Endangered Species Day! He helps people young and old grasp the importance of safeguarding the future of wolves in North America for generations to come. While Atka's future will never be at risk, some of his wild brothers and sisters have a less certain outlook. We all have the responsibility to affect the world and today is a perfect day to use your voice in order to speak up for species in need.  There are many resources online to help people act on behalf of endangered wolves.

Please visit the following websites to act on behalf of:
For additional information about National Endangered Species Day and what you can do in your community and beyond, please visit the Endangered Species Coalition - www.stopextinction.org

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Day of Celebration and Remembrance in Honor of Some Special Lobos from Minnesota

Mexican gray wolf F837
Today Mexican gray wolf F837 turns 8 years old! The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) was first introduced to F837 in November of 2004 when she and her three sisters were transferred from the Minnesota Zooogical Garden to the WCC as yearlings. Our Center was selected to care for these wolves as a participant in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP). We had the enclosure space available and the luxury of allowing them to reside off exhibit in a natural environment with minimal human contact. Although the wolves are identified by alphanumeric labels - F836, F837, F838, and F839, we called the sisters “the Minnesota Girls."

When the Minnesota Girls arrived, we were relatively new to the MWSSP program and were honored to be a part of the recovery effort. Less than a year later and with much jubilation we received the most exciting news: F838 (pictured) was chosen for release to the wild Southwest!  What a trill to offer her a life without boundaries and fence-lines, and the task of bringing an ecosystem back to balance.

We transferred the two-year-old to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service pre-release facility at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico where she was paired with a mate - Mexican gray wolf M806.

The following spring the wolves proved fruitful adding two pups to the limited Mexican wolf population - a boy and a girl (female pup f1028 at 12 weeks old pictured).

The family, dubbed the Meridian Pack, was placed in a temporary mesh holding pen in eastern Arizona on July 6, 2006 and they eagerly freed themselves within twenty-four hours.

Just a few months after her adventure had begun, we received the dreadful news that F838 was dead--illegally killed. Three years later, F836 was granted a life in the wild only to suffer the same fate as her littermate. Each wolf had only a few months to enjoy their rightful place in the wild. But a few months in the wild was the biggest gift we could have ever given to the girls from Minnesota. If not for some heartless criminals, they could have survived and contributed to the recovery of their species.

As we celebrate the birthday of F837, it's also a day to remember her fallen sisters.  The deaths of the Minnesota Girls weigh heavy on our hearts, but our commitment to our mission and the recovery of Mexican gray wolves in the wild remains strong. While tragic, these shootings strengthen our resolve to restore these majestic creatures to their ancestral home in the wilds of the Southwest.

F837 currently lives in the WCC's Lobo Exhibit with eight-year-old M805 and together they help visitors better understand the importance of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the significance of the special wolves on our property that people are not allowed to behold. The two lobos have bonded with one another nicely and they share something in common - each have a littermate who was given the gift of freedom five years ago this July.  M805's brother, Mexican wolf M806, was "Minnesota Girl" F838's original mate!  After F838's tragic death, M806 started a new family called the Bluestem Pack and has been thriving in the wild as the alpha male ever since.

For more resources about the Mexican gray wolf and what you can do to assist in their recovery, please visit Mexicanwolves.org

Thank you!

Big thanks to Le Chateau and all the great friends who came out to celebrate Atka's 9th birthday and the WCC! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Rock on Atka! Wishing You a Happy 9th Birthday!

Ahem.  Mi mi mi mi...  Okay.  A-one, a-two, a-one, two three four!

Happy birthday to me,  happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me..., happy birthday to me!

Now where's my cake?

Atka loves presents!  He's really holding out for a musk ox but he'd be happy with some smaller items on his wish list as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Atka Extends his Territory to the Upper West Side

Atka is no stranger to the Big Apple - it's a hell of a town! His beat includes Brooklyn, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan and Long Island too.  Yesterday, Atka returned to Manhattan's Upper West Side to inspire the enthusiastic students at  PS 87.  He seemed particularly fond of the school, marking the classic auditorium as his own in every way imaginable.  He really put on a show!  All in all it was another fabulous day for Atka, his fans at PS87, and those of us lucky to work on behalf of wolves.  We even found parking!  Keep up the great work Atka, one mark at a time...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Are You a Wolf Spotter?

Wolf watching can be a challenge.  Thousands of people flock to Yellowstone National Park every year to spot the elusive wolves that reside there and there's never a guarantee that the mysterious predator will be revealed!  Most of the wolves that call the WCC home share this ability to stay out of sight.  Visitors to the WCC often behold  one or two of our red wolves on exhibit but rarely are all four family members observed together first hand.  Can you spot all four wolves in this photo?  You might not see the most elusive of the bunch, red wolf yearling M1804, but he spots you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nothing Like a Spring Day Outdoors

"If your knees aren't green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life." ~ Bill Watterson

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Red Wolf F1291!

Red Wolf F1291
Today red wolf F1291 turns 8 years old! She has been a part of the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) family since 2004 when she arrived as a mere yearling.  F1291 is one of six red wolves that call the WCC home as participants of the red wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP).

Red Wolf M1587
 This beauty (nicknamed "Ruby") currently resides off exhibit with her younger companion, an enormous fellow "named" M1587.  M1587 weighs a whopping 95 lbs, significantly larger than the average weight of a mature red wolf, 45-80 lbs.  Although the inseparable couple were selected to breed for two consecutive seasons, they have yet to prove fruitful. Perhaps they aim to extend their honeymoon before adding pups to the mix... Happy Birthday Ruby!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wolves of the Northeast Caught Up in the Name Game

The Mexican gray wolf is one of the five subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) recognized in North America
There are three species of wolves in the world: the gray wolf (Canis lupus), the red wolf (Canis rufus), and the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis) sometimes referred to as the Abyssinian wolf. Scientists debate whether the Ethiopian wolf is a true wolf or a member of the jackal family (Canis aureus). It's not uncommon for debate to surround the classification or status of a species, in fact several scientists argue about the designation of wolves here in North America. For years, most scientists have recognized that there are five subspecies of the gray wolf (Canis lupus)in North America.

- Canis lupus baileyi - the Mexican wolf or lobo.

- Canis lupus nubilus - the Great Plains or buffalo wolf.

- Canis lupus occidentalis - the Canadian or Rocky Mountain wolf.

- Canis lupus arctos - the arctic wolf

- Canis lupus lycaon - the eastern or Algonquin wolf.

Some researchers, however, have presented clues that Canis lupus lycaon, the eastern timber wolf, may be a distinct species, Canis lycaon, and with growing evidence suggesting that gray wolves are attempting to naturally re-colonize the Northeastern U.S. from neighboring populations in Canada, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking information for a status review for this newly-recognized species. If Canis lycaon is accepted as a distinct species, what will it's status be under the Endangered Species Act? For this status review to be complete and based on the best available scientific and commercial information, USFWS is seeking input from governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties prior to a June 8th hearing in Augusta, ME.

Regardless of what we name the wolves of the northeast, management plans need to be established to ensure that this mysterious predator receives the protection that its future depends upon. Please visit the Maine Wolf Coalition, Coalition for the Eastern Wolf (Crew), and WolfWatcher's facebook page for additional resources.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Atka Gets a Visit from a Friend

Yippie! Jean Craighead George is on her way to the WCC just to visit ME! Perhaps the Newbery Medal-winning childrens author and environmentalist will make me the hero of her next book :)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

Mexican Gray wolf F613 with her young pup in 2007
Wishing F613, F628, F1397 and all the mothers out there a wonderful Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Special Report from News Lobo New York!

News Lobo NY reporter: Mexican Gray wolf F837
Good morning everyone.  It's been a wild morning here at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem, NY.  The Red Wolf Family has been quite active and extremely vocal all morning.  So far it appears that F1397 is not a new mother.  To repeat, we believe that no pups have been born so far this morning here at the WCC.

There have been several eye witness accounts of F1397 up and about with the rest of her family.  Yearlings M1803 and M1804 appear to be a bit antsy, perhaps excited about new siblings on the way? 

When we approached M1803 for his perspective, M1483 swiftly swooped in and took his young son by the nose forbidding him to talk to the press.  M1483 told News Lobo NY  "...this is a family affair and we would really appreciate some privacy.  We'll be in touch with an official announcement when we're ready.  Thank you."   Will F1397 have pups at all?  Only she knows the answer to this question and this morning she refused to comment. Well, she did make one comment...

So stay tuned to see how this exciting story unfolds.  From the adjacent enclosure, this is Mexican gray wolf F837, News Lobo New York.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Birthday M1803 and M1804!

A year ago today, red wolves M1803 (above) and M1804 were born!  It has been such a thrill for the WCC family of supporters to watch the two brothers develop into beautiful yearlings via the WCC's WOLFCAM and when attending onsite education programs. My how they have grown!  The beautiful boys are breathtaking, currently darker in color than their parents, M1483 and F1397.

M1803 & M1804 at one-day-old
Perhaps M1803 and M1804 will be celebrating the arrival of young siblings in the next few days. Their parents were selected to breed again this year because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species. Happy birthday boys!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves - No Longer on the Endangered Species List

As of today, wolves of Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah are no longer on the endangered species list and controversial wolf hunts are set to begin this fall.  Montana alone is proposing a quota of 220 wolves - the highest proposed quota yet, up from 75 in the state's inaugural wolf hunting season in 2009. Officials expect this quota will lower the total population by 25 percent. 

Today's delisting have hackles raised among many wolf supporters and three conservation groups are expected to act.  Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians plan to file a lawsuit in US District Court, challenging the delisting rider attached to the recently passed budget bill on grounds that it was unconstitutional.  Will federal protections once again be returned to this misunderstood predator?

Although several WCC supporters have expressed that today's delisting has left them feeling upset and discouraged, there's at least one individual who finds reason to celebrate this morning.  Mexican gray wolf F837 has been howling up a storm and rallying the other 22 wolves residing at the WCC to take part in her Cinco de Mayo song.  I couldn't resist, I was compelled to join the chorus too and you know, it felt great.  Keep on howling!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Red Wolf WOLFCAM is Up and Running Again!

The WCC's red wolf WOLFCAM is back up and running!  We applogize that it's been down for a couple of days during this exciting time. We're hoping red wolf F1397 will be having pups any day now so please let us know if you see any interesting activity.  You can post your observations here on the WCC's blog or on the WCC's Facebook page.  Thanks and happy viewing!

Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves Losing Federal Protections Tomorrow

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that wolves of Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah will be removed from the endangered species list tomorrow.  Wolves on Wyoming will retain federal protection until the state proposes a plan approved by the Fish and Wildlife Service.  Montana and Idaho have already started plans for wolf hunts this fall.  At least one conservation group, Western Watersheds Project based in Idaho, is expected to file litigation in US District Court challenging the delisting rider that was attached to the recently passed budget bill.  To read more about the delisting rule from The Idaho Statesman, please click here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Surprise Reunion!

Helene and Atka
 Atka planned an easy day. Wake up, eat, nap, and eat again. He was happy to be spending the day alone with his enormous raw turkey and with no interruptions. But when Atka saw WCC co-founder Hélène Grimaud this afternoon, he dropped the bird and whined with excitement! Surprise Atka :)

Monday, May 2, 2011

And the Winner is...

Red wolves m1803 and m1804 at 2 weeks old
Congratulation to Dan Karpf on winning last week's photo caption contest! We can never resist a classic comedy reference. It was a tough decision, but Karpf's caption: "Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." is a winner. Thanks to everyone who entered!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!