Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wolf Pup's First Hunt

Zephyr analyzing his prey patiently before the pounce. The poor ant never had a chance...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Only 14 Wolves Remain in Oregon

10-week-old Zephyr speaking up
Last year we were thrilled to hear news about some special wolves that had quietly claimed new territory as their own.   We celebrated the pioneering wolves that migrated successfully from Idaho to the Pacific Northwest and watched Oregon's wolf population rise to 23 with the Wenaha and Imnaha packs growing as popular as some of the well documented wolves of Yellowstone.   How quickly things can change.  With the passage of the Federal Budget Bill last spring, most wolves of the western states lost endangered species protections and now this small population that had just begun to establish itself in a remote corner in Oregon is among the many who are now at risk of disappearing. Sadly, only 14 wolves can currently call Oregon home. What will their future hold?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is looking into creating a distinct population segment that would protect wolves in the western two thirds of Oregon, Washington, and northern California, but they need public input first. Oregon Wild, a not for profit organization with the mission to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife and waters, is making it easy to enter this conversation. Please click here if you want to let USFWS know that Oregon wolves warrant protections as a part of a distinct population segment. The comment period is coming to a close so please take action by July 5th.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lass in the Grass

Alawa enjoying the summer morning

Monday, June 27, 2011

Passions Ignite as Idaho and Montana Prepare for Wolf Hunts

A national debate continues over the controversial wolf hunts set to begin this fall in Idaho and Montana. 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. Details on Idaho's hunt will be determined later this summer. In the meantime, several campaigns from both sides reflect that this is an issue that ignites passion nationwide. In advance of the hunts, Fish and Wildlife sought comments from the public and Associated Press released a report analyzing some of opinions. Norman Bishop of Bozeman (MT) suggested the "Northern Rockies region could support up to ten times more wolves than the current population of 1,651 in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington." Other voices included one from California who refers to wolves as "hounds of Hell..." As a New Yorker, I sometimes feel I'm at a disadvantage contributing to the wolf debate in the West so I was so pleased to read that some comments from Montana support wolf recovery.  Perhaps the comment from CA watches too many horror movies...I expect the conversation will heat up further once Idaho releases their quota in late July. Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I've Gotta Beef: Public Lands Ranching Isn't Best for the Environment or Economy

Mexican gray wolf F837
The US Department of the Interior released a report this month with data reflecting that  recreational use of public lands creates more jobs and more money than public lands ranching.  Recreational use is also better at preserving natural habitat.  Ralph Maughan of The Wildlife News points out that, "despite the staggering disparity in economic value of these competing land uses, the Bureau of Land Management continues to manage public lands to benefit public lands ranching above and beyond all other uses." A great portion of the Mexican Wolf Recovery area in the southwest consists of public lands. If more of the southwest's "land of many uses" was set aside for recreation and the restoration of a disappearing species, we would need not worry about conflicts involving livestock and perhaps the economic value of the land could increase.  Please click here to read more of Maughan's compelling article.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not Creative but Definitely Cute!

Eleanor and "Atka"
The Wolf Conservation Center's newest family members, nine-week-old Alawa and Zephyr, aren't the only "pups" in the WCC family.  A "pup" of a different species also claims the WCC as her territory.  
Mexican gray wolf M805

Eleanor is almost 4 years old and she is the daughter of the WCC's managing director and operations manager.  As you would imagine, Eleanor has a few wolf toys.  Her favorite stuffed animal is "Atka"but  a new plush buddy is rapidly climbing the ranks.  His name: M805.  Looks like the WCC's lovely lobo is doing a great job of capturing some hearts! 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wolf Pup Development 101 - Nine Weeks

The Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador wolf pups are growing like weeds! On June 20th, Alawa and Zephyr turned 9 weeks old. At this age, wild pups are have emerged from their dens to explore the world around them. No longer requiring the safety that a den provides, wild wolf families end the denning period by weaning the pups and moving them to new home bases called rendezvous sites. Here the pups usually remain until they are old enough to join the pack on their hunting trips around mid autumn.
The speed of physical pup development is mind blowing! Alawa and Zephyr change everyday. At 9 weeks wolf pups are at their cutest with disproportionately large feet and ears. Pup eye color changes from blue to golden brown and adult hair starts to replace their puppy fuzz. Is Zephyr sporting a red mohawk? We can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Captive Born Red Wolf Pups Get the Call of the Wild!

Photo: Miller Park Zoo
Great news for the Red Wolf Recovery Program! Earlier this spring, the great folks from Lighthawk flew two newborn red wolf pups from the Miller Park Zoo to North Carolina so the pups could be placed inside a den belonging to wild red wolves who were nursing their own small litter. The red wolf captive-to-wild fostering program is a coordinated effort by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Red Wolf Recovery Program, and the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP). Fostering is a method which allows genetically valuable captive-born red wolf pups to become integrated into the wild red wolf population. The pup-fostering method has been extremely successful for nearly a decade and we're keeping our fingers crossed that the WCC will one day give future red pups this incredible opportunity.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Red Wolf Ratsicles!

Good news for red wolves! Yesterday the Red Wolf Coalition announced that they will be receiving funds for an enclosure project to expand education and outreach in the state that all wild red wolves call home, North Carolina! What a pleasure to share some positive news about a species of wolf that at one time was extinct in the wild. Speaking of sharing... Red wolf M1483 has a dilemma. What's a wolf to do when his prize is bigger than a mouthful? Watch and find out how he deals with protecting his summertime treats - "RATSICLES!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Very Special Anniversary

Naturally we ran something related to Father's Day yesterday, but the day also marked a special anniversary for us. Here's a little blast from the past to explain...

If you live in the NYC metropolitan area, congestion on the Long Island Expressway is a given. So I wasn't surprised when we found ourselves in stop-and-go traffic while on the way to a program in Long Island 3 years ago yesterday. I was, however, quite taken aback when Maggie abruptly stopped the van in the middle lane and started frantically yelling something as she exited the van. I couldn't really figure out what she said, but figured she must have a good reason for leaving. So I got out too as traffic stacked up behind us and sped by in the adjoining lanes.

The source of her agitation was apparently under the van, so as Maggie looked from the driver's side I looked from my side and was shocked to see a kitten that appeared to be trying to climb into the underside of the van. Maggie had somehow spotted this diminuitive stray in the road and managed to protect it with her quick thinking.

After an agonizing minute or so, she scooped up the kitten and handed her off to me once we were safely in the van. Atka, our ambassador Arctic gray wolf, was completely unfazed by the excitement and his new van-mate, but the kitten's heart was quite understandably racing. Aside from a few burns, she seemed unhurt, but we wanted to double-check. With the able assistance of Lois, another volunteer who was helping with the program, we located a veterinary clinic just a few miles away from our program. The staff graciously rushed the kitten in for an exam, eventually giving her a clean bill of health (and us a ridiculously small bill just for the medications we needed).
A few minutes after being rescued

Their generosity and efficiency was greatly appreciated (unfortunately we no longer have their name or we'd definitely mention it); we made the program with time to spare and a great story to share. We also had a name for our new traveling companion, dubbing the kitten Freeway thanks to the suggestions of Kelso, one of the WCC's long-time supporters, and Lois.

A week or so later, Freeway was adopted by a warmhearted friend of a WCC supporter. One hardy kitty, she has grown up to be a healthy, fun-loving, and affectionate cat, much to our delight. We may be the *Wolf* Conservation Center, but we're happy to go out of our way for other species too!
Lois, Josh, Freeway, and Maggie

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Hoping all the fathers out there have a great day. Naturally one of our favorite dads is red wolf M1483 who sired two pups last year at the Wolf Conservation Center. Here's some footage of him with one of his boys from last fall.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Fun Reunion!

What a treat! This afternoon two of the WCC's former super interns stopped by while home from college to say "hi" to the old family. Molly, soon to be a college senior, had volunteered all throughout high school and perhaps a bit of middle school too! Nina also checked in to visit the WCC staff and wolves. It's been a few years since she shared her last semester of high school with us during the spring of 2009.

Nina & crew from 2009
Atka and crew were thrilled to see Molly and Nina again as both young ladies exemplify the amazing potential of their generation to make this world a better place. Their commitment to the WCC and their dedication to our mission are among the many reasons we consider them such memorable volunteers.

Their visits were brief, Molly soon to return back to Massachusetts to continue her summer internship at a bio-tech company, and Nina heading back to school for a summer session before off to a college ecology program in Costa Rica. What a joy to see our WCC helpers from the past develop into such impressive young adults. The WCC is currently home to a new pack of outstanding high school students and we can't wait to be wowed by their future endeavors too.

Some Special Wolves Likely Spared by Arizona Wildfire

Mexican wolf M805 - littermate of the Bluestem Pack's Alpha Male, M806
The Wallow Fire is still burning in Eastern Arizona and has now officially become the largest wildfire in Arizona's history. The fire has destroyed close to a half-million acres, displacing families and setting ablaze the forest habitat that Mexican gray wolves call home. Thankfully, the latest report from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reflects that the three wolf families most threatened by this devastating event have likely been spared. The fire burned through the den areas for the Bluestem Pack, Rim Pack, and Hawk's Nest Pack and USFWS agents are hopeful that the adults and pups are safe for now. Please visit for updates on the fire and Mexican gray wolf recovery.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yin and Yang

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pup-ils Growing and Learning Quickly!

At an early age wolf pups begin to develop behaviors that will help them as they grow older. Clearly Alawa and Zephyr, the Wolf Conservation Center's 8-week-old pups, are planning for careers in veterinary medicine, as their efforts to help Dr. Charlie Duffy of the Norwalk Veterinary Hospital reveal! Dr. Duffy, a long time invaluable friend to the WCC, somehow managed to examine the pups, declare them healthy, and then negotiate the safe return of his stethoscope.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Wolf Conservation Center's Art Contest for Kids Has a Winner!

The Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) staff and wolves would like to extend a big THANK YOU to all the kids who entered our Spring Art Contest! It's been such a pleasure to receive so many masterpieces from children all around the world. We hope that everyone had as much fun creating the art as we have had receiving it! We're excited to announce that after going through hundreds of entries, we finally selected the grand prize winner. Congratulations to Edel, a talented 11-yr-old who lives in France! We hope that Edel enjoys her prize: : a $100 level adopt-a-wolf kit for our two newest members to the Ambassador Pack and a beautiful African Painted Dog snare wire mask.

Snare wire art is an example of how creativity, education, and conservation can work hand in hand. This art form provides employment opportunities community artists in Zimbabwe. The snare wire is reclaimed from the bush and then sculptured into beautiful wildlife masks. Not only does this program benefit some artists in African communities, the snare art also helps safeguard the limited number of painted dogs that remain in the wild. The program employs members of the community to remove the destructive wire from the landscape so in the form of art, it can help people learn about Africa's wildlife and the protection many species require. To learn more about the African Painted Dog and the snare wire art program, please visit Painted Dog Conservation Project (PDC)

Big thanks to our contest sponsors who enabled us to offer this contest to kids around the world:  Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, and Jean Craighead George.  To Edel and the all the others who entered the contest, we hope you continue to thrive with wildlife, wolves, and wild habitat as your inspiration!

Monday, June 13, 2011

WolfWatcher's One-to-One with Wolf Conservation Center's Curator!

Dave Hornoff of National Wolfwatcher Coalition sat down with Rebecca Bose last week to discuss the Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador wolf program and the important "tracks" that Zephyr and Alawa will be filling. The interview includes some great pup footage as well as some fun footage of their number one nanny, Kai the German Shepherd!

Wolf Conservation Center Introduces Ambassador Wolf Pups!! from Dave Hornoff on Vimeo.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Let's Get Ready to RUMBLE! (Wolf Puppy Style)

Siblings will be siblings and bother and sister wolf pups, Zephyr and Alawa, are no different from the rest. Check out this adorable video of the litter mates hit the mat. Smackdowns have never been so cute:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Management and Status of the Eastern Wolf

Last night, representatives from several wildlife advocacy groups, governmental agencies, Native American tribes, the scientific community, industry, and any other interested parties met with Fish and Wildlife Biologists in Augusta, Maine to discuss the status of the Eastern wolf  and how any potential wolves in that state should be managed.  This meeting was called in response to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (USFWS) proposal to remove federal protections from wolves in the Western Great Lake States of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin - a move that could impact wolves in Maine and 28 other states too. 

Although USFWS reports that there is no evidence of wolf breeding pairs anywhere in the Northeast, there have been a handful confirmed wolf sightings in that neck of the woods, two documented cases in Maine alone.  So we know the corridor exists, the question is: What will the status of this animal be when they get across the border and in to the US?  Can they be protected like other gray wolf populations until they're reestablished?  This question leads to a deeper one, is the Eastern wolf a gray wolf at all?

Some researchers have presented clues that Canis lupus lycaon, the eastern timber wolf, may be a distinct species, Canis lycaon.    If Canis lycaon is accepted as a distinct species, what will it's status be under the Endangered Species Act?

Regardless of it's "name," many speakers at the meeting that the Eastern wolf deserves federal protection until the species is naturally re-established.  The USFWS hopes to announce results of the eastern wolf status review by the end of the year.

To read more about the meeting covered by, please click here

For tips on how you can participate in this discussion, please visit's page dedicated to this issue.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Howling Wolf Pup

The Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador pup named Alawa treated folks with her first howl since joining the education pack about 2 weeks ago!  Her littermate, Zephyr, is a natural crowd pleaser, happy to howl with the slightest prompting.  Perhaps now the brother and sister team will perform a duet!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wildlife Coalition Takes Action Behalf of Oregon Wolves

When we started the new year with the wolf debate in the West reaching toxic proportions, it was so refreshing to learn that one family of wolves, the Imnaha Pack of northeastern Oregon, had quietly developed into a robust crew.  Rarely are people lucky enough to behold wolves in the wild.  Oregon Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) officials are not only among the fortunate few to glimpse these predators, but back in January they managed to capture great video too!

Today this very family of wolves is the subject of debate, and the future for this pack looks bleak at best.  The
Imnaha pack is currently made up of eight sub-adult or adult wolves, close to 50% of the states entire wolf population, after ODFW killed two  members of the pack because they preyed upon a calf on June 5th. In response to this this event, a coalition of conservation groups  are urging ODFW officials to amend their wolf management plan to better safeguard the dwindling numbers of this endangered species.  Oregon Wild stated in yesterday's press release, a coalition of 11 groups"... urged the agency to increase transparency, enhance outreach, prioritize non-lethal measures for reducing conflict, suspend 24 landowner kill permits, and make lethal control a truly last-resort option."
What will the future hold for the 17 wolves that call the remote corner of Oregon home?  To learn more about these wolves, the debate that surrounds them, and how you can enter the discussion, please visit the following sites with news and additional resources:

Monday, June 6, 2011

What's In a Name?

Naming the Ambassador Wolf Pups was a challenge. Did we make the right choice? Perhaps not...


Atka had a great time visiting Green Chimneys today! He loved playing peek-a-boo with the pony and the horse seemed to enjoy the game as well. Go figure!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wailing for the Weekend

Zephyr isn't shy about adding his voice to the chorus of howls at the Wolf Conservation Center. His sister Alawa has generally been the shyer of the two, but that didn't keep her from beating up her brother last night!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Arizona Wildfires Threaten Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Area


A rapidly moving wildfire in Arizona's Apache National Forest poses a sizable threat to wild Mexican gray wolves and the dedicated crew who manage this critically endangered species.  In the middle of last night, the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team's office in Alpine was evacuated and we haven't received word as to if or when they can returnHoping that all our friends and lobos who are impacted by the Wallo Fire are okay and sending good thoughts to all those affected.  To read more about the Wallow Fire from, please click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Introducing the Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador Wolf Pups!

We are thrilled to introduce to you the two new members of the Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador pack!

Zephyr (meaning “light or west wind”) is a beautiful black male with a prominent nose and a feisty personality.  Alawa (meaning “sweetpea” in Algonquin, and pronounced “ai-lay-ewa”) is brown and gray and her temperament matches her name.  The littermates were born on April 20 and arrived at the WCC on May 27.  The pair joins Atka to make up the Ambassador Pack - the wolves on view as part of the WCC's education programs.

Their lineage is a mix of gray wolf subspecies, but they are primarily Canis lupus occidentalis  - Canadian/Rocky Mountain gray wolf -- a subspecies that traditionally inhabited parts of the western United States, much of western Canada, and all of Alaska.

The Canadian/Rocky Mountain gray wolf was reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in 1995 and 1996; today over 1,600 of the subspecies live in the wild of the Northern Rockies.

Click here to watch the WCC's first video staring Alawa & Zephyr!

Zephyr and Alawa will be raised by WCC staff and veteran wolf-care volunteers for the next 2 months, but we'll make sure that all WCC visitors get a good look at the diminutive dynamic duo.Wolf pups grow up quickly, so register for a program today!

To view our program calendar for June, please click here.

To help support the WCC and the and  to celebrate the addition of Alawa and Zephyr to the Ambassador Pack pack, supporters can "adopt" a pup for themselves or as a great gift to a friend!  Each adoption level includes an 8x10 pup photo, pup biography, adoption certificate, and a subscription to our newsletter.

Click here to adopt a pup today!

The pups' progress can be followed here on the the WCC's Blog and on the WCC's Facebok page where "pupdates" with lots of photos and video will be posted almost every day!