Friday, September 30, 2011

Atka in Bloom

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower." ~Albert Camus

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Atka's Night Out

Atka as a young pup
Atka and crew had a really fun night visiting Tomkins Cove Public Library yesterday. Dozens of families braved the rain to attend the program, some even showed up decked out in full Wolf Conservation Center outfits! The first family to arrive are big Atka fans, they first met him when he was just six months old! They have followed Atka's adventures for close to a decade and they can't wait to meet Alawa and Zephyr when they next visit the Center! 
Ambassador wolves Kaila, Lukas, and Apache

We also had some time to reflect on all of the friends we said goodbye to over the past year or so. When they first heard of Apache's passing in March of 2010, tears flowed among three generations within their family. Ambassador wolves Apache, Lukas, and Kaila are in my thoughts often, last night I was reminded of just how vast an impact these beautiful animals had.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Speaking Up For Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves

Due to a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713) passed earlier this year, gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah lost federal protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Since the passage of this controversial bill, the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) has been inundated with emails and calls from our dedicated supporters asking for resources so they can speak up for northern Rocky Mountain wolves. Just a few months ago wolves of Idaho and Montana were endangered. Today they are hunted. At least 36 wolves have been killed in these two states so far.

With so many issues on our government's plate, it's difficult to be heard through the political din. A new petition is in circulation though that has a chance of getting the President's attention if 5000 signatures are obtained within the next month. If your hackles are up about the delisting rider and the consequent hunts that followed, please consider signing this petition.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Future Looks Bleak For Oregon's Imnaha Pack

Photo: Christian Giliberto
Wolves of Oregon's Imnaha pack have captured the hearts and imagination of many wildlife enthusiasts and now 2 of the 4 members are slated to be killed. Can this pioneering pack survive with just the alpha female and her young pup? Please visit Oregon Wild Wolf Pack to see what you can do to help.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Complex Critter

"I wonder why we think the thoughts and  emotions of animals are simple." ~ John Steinbeck (Travels with Charley: In Search of America)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dr Rasmussen: An Amazing Ambassador for the African Painted Dog

A classroom full of WCC supporters braved the showers last night and boy was it worth it!  Dr. Gregory Rasmussen, founder and director of the Painted Dog Conservation Project (PDC), delivered an educational and inspirational lecture about his life's passion, the African Painted Dog. Painted Dogs, also known as African Wild Dogs, are unique to Africa and they are among the continent's most endangered species. For MILLIONS of years this unique predator thrived throughout most of the continent. Over the past few centuries, however, painted dogs were persecuted so heavily that by the mid-1900’s most African countries were void of this beautiful canid. In the 1970s, as few as 300 or so dogs were struggling to survive with resilient populations only living in and around a handful of African National Parks. 

Over the past twenty years, the PDC has made great strides on behalf of the organization's namesake.  The dog population has increased considerably and in 2004 the species received threatened status.  The PDC's most remarkable achievements, however, have benefitted not only this rare species, but also the communities that surround the habitat that the dogs require.  The PDC works closely with the local communities in Zimbabwe to educate people about the importance of healthy painted dog populations and to employ conservation methods  that provides great opportunities for the local citizens.

One very successful program has been the PDC's Art Center.  Snare wire art is an example of how creativity, education, and conservation can work hand in hand.  Snare wire takes the lives of many dogs every year. The PDC's anti-poaching units work in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Parks Wildlife Management Authority to reclaim thousands of these deadly wires from the bush and then the PDC Art Center sculpts the wire into beautiful wildlife masks. In the form of art, snare wire helps people learn about Africa's wildlife and the unnatural challenges that many species face today.

Although there has been some great success, the PDC faces challenges that are similar the ones wolf recovery programs confront here in the U.S.  Poaching, livestock conflicts, and fear are among the issues that plague the conservation efforts of both species.  Rasmussen's passion for conservation is powerful and the WCC is looking into ways we can assist in the recovery of this special species.  If you want to learn more about the PDC and how you can support their wonderful mission, please visit their website and donate today.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double Trouble?

The new Zephyr plush toy has arrived!  To order the adorable pup today, please visit our website shop by clicking here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pattycake, Pattycake...

Five-month-old Ambassador wolf pup Alawa hams it up for the camera with a game of "pattycake!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The WCC's Third Ambassador "Pup!"

Last Saturday, the Wolf Conservation Center(WCC) was pleased to treat our guests to a special celebration during our morning's education program! We took a moment before visiting the Ambassador pups to honor a youngster of our own species, ten-year-old Alyssa Grayson. Members of the National WolfWatcher Coalition (including WCC's Maggie Howell) presented the 5th grader from Rhode Island with a special certificate of appreciation in recognition of the wonderful work she's done for wolves and other wild species. Although the hoopla may have been a bit embarrassing for dear Alyssa, I believe that all our guests returned home that day feeling inspired.
Other children who attended the program later approached Maggie Howell to share their own accomplishments within their communities. One young lady tends to horses in a nearby barn after school and on weekends volunteers at a local animal shelter. A little boy no older than six wants to save sharks when he grows up. Alyssa's three-year-old sister, Jill, likes wolves a lot (Alyssa taught her how to howl like a pro), but cows are her favorite! Perhaps Jill will be the one to successfully demonstrate to all that wildlife and livestock can coexist!

Before it was time for the wolves to take their midday nap, the NWC's newest Junior Adviser sat by Ambassador pups Alawa and Zephyr to share her feelings about wolves on film. Alyssa did a great job writing and delivering her address and the WCC's Ambassador pups performed like pros. Perhaps Atka's charisma is rubbing off on the little tykes.

Alyssa Grayson: Take Action to Help Wolves! from Dave Hornoff on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

PUPDATE: WCC Ambasador Wolf Pups Alawa and Zephyr Are 5 Months Old!

The Wolf Conservation Center's youngest Ambassador wolves are  looking less like pups everyday!  Although they have lost some of their physical puppy traits, their behavior still reflects that they have a lot of growing up to do.  The wonderful "wolflets"  are constantly frisky, their wrestling matches are endless!  The pair have the most endearing howls, their maturing voices crack in and out of tune whenever prompted by the WCC's visitors and/or other 24 wolves. Have a great day kiddos :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Atka Mingles With Some Other Rock-Stars

Atka and crew had a blast at last night's Howling Wolf Family Folk Festival - the music was outstanding! Big thanks to all our friends for putting the event together. Atka sends a "howl out" to Denise Mackin, Common Ground's Carter Smith, Matt Turk and the Hobo Caravan, Hope Machine, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams, our dedicated volunteers, and all the great folks who came out last night to enjoy the concert. Another late night for Atka means it's time to have a day of rest. Sweet dreams Atka!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Volunteers Creating Solutions to Safegaurd Wild Lobos

The Mexican Gray Wolf from Mike Foster on Vimeo.

Mike Foster visits the White Mountains of Arizona to observe volunteer efforts to manage the reintroduction of the Mexican Gray Wolf. The video summarizes the recent history of the wolf, its relationship to the human population, and the practice of non-lethal methods to deter conflict between wildlife and livestock. Included are interviews with some dedicated volunteers in the filed working hard to safeguard the future of this critical endangered species. Great work everybody!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Time to Jam!

Atka's warming up for Sunday's Howling Wolf Family Folk Festival - A Fundraiser Concert for the Wolf Conservation Center!
7PM - 9:30PM
Irvington Town Hall Theater
Irvington, New York

Atka will be there and we hope you can join too!  Please click here to visit the Common Ground and to buy your ticket today!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cooler Temperatures Make for Happy Wolves

Brrr... It really feels like summer has come to an end today. While the cool temperatures have caught some of us off guard without appropriate attire, the weather feels fabulous to the 25 wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home. Their coats ar growing thicker and thicker as each day passes!

A wolf'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 a wolf's appearance/color and works like a raincoat, protecting a wolf from rain, snow, and sleet. The undercoat is usually gray in color and keeps the animal comfortable in cold temperatures. A wolf's insulating undercoat begins to fall out like sheets of soft wool in the spring and a fresh under-layer thickens during the fall. The shedding cycle is driven by hormone levels that rise in the spring with the onset of longer days and decrease as day lengths shorten in the fall. Thanks to the photoperiodic rhythm of his body chemistry, Atka is already prepared for this cold snap and likely looking forward to even colder temperatures on the horizon. Enjoy the day Atka!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Zephyr Reflects

"I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority." ~ E.B.White
Zephyr by Christian Giliberto

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alyssa Grayson Is One To Watch!

A New Voice for Wolves..Meet Alyssa Grayson from Dave Hornoff on Vimeo.

Last week the Wolf Conservation Center posted some encouraging stories about young conservationists with compelling missions. Among the young dynamos we put in the spotlight is ten-year-old Alyssa Grayson from Rhode Island. Alyssa has lead a number of public education programs about wolves and coyotes and started a wolf club newsletter all on her own. The seasoned educator even has hopes of working at a place like the Wolf Conservation Center one day! Alyssa exemplifies the amazing potential of her generation to make this world a better place and people are continuing to notice. The great folks from National WolfWatcher Coalition learned about Alyssa from our story and have since invited her to be the NWC's new young voice for wolves!  Alyssa has a bright future in front of her, and I cannot wait to see her again this weekend (yay!) and to follow her future endeavors. Way to go Alyssa!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Wolves Schedued to be Released into Mexico this Month!

Mexican gray wolf M805
The last wild-roaming endangered Mexican gray wolves call a vast stretch of forest in southeast Arizona and southwest New Mexico home, but soon they could have some company south of the border!

Yesterday, Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) announced that Mexican authorities plan to release a five-member pack of wolves south of the New Mexico-Arizona border in the Mexican state of Sonora sometime this month.

This move represents a significant step in the effort to grow the wild Mexican wolf population, Mexico hasn’t been home to the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf in decades.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Groups Still Fighting to Stop Wolf Hunts in the Rockies

Yesterday, The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians filed their briefs in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to fight for the future of northern Rocky Mountain wolves.  The wildlife advocacy organizations are challenging the "anti-wolf rider" attached to the budget bill on grounds that it is unconstitutional. The rider removed federal protections from wolves of Idaho and Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah and controversial wolf hunts have already begun in Idaho and Montana. As of yesterday, 11 wolves have been killed in the two states.

If your hackles are raised, please visit the websites of the organizations fighting on behalf wolves and show your support.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Kisses from the Kids!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Young Conservationists Creating A Brighter Future: Celebrating Earth Through Art

One of the winning pieces of artwork in the WCC's Art Contest for Kids - 14-yr-old Ciani's "Wolf in Oil Pastel"
Today we continue to focus on the the future and the young environmentalists that are tackling adult issues with great energy and imagination. Thankfully, there are many organizations that offer outlets for our children to creatively express themselves and their visions of the future. WCC staff and volunteers were blown away by the hundreds of children from around the world who sent us beautiful drawings, paintings and sculptures for the WCC's Art Contest for Kids. It was impossible to avoid feeling inspired! 

One Minute to save the World is an organization that offers kids another platform to help express their feelings regarding the natural world. This organization invites budding filmmakers, directors and animators to create one minute films about climate change. The competition is global and aims to give people a voice to help ensure a brighter future for our planet. Cecily is a young WCC supporter and she entered the "One Minute to save the World" film competition with her compelling video: "Pop!!!"   It's wonderful that programs such this one gives kids the power to express themselves.  If you feel inspired to make your own short film about wolves, wildlife, or the environment, please go for it and send it our way! You can email Maggie at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Young Conservationists Creating A Brighter Future: Spotlight on Alyssa Grayson

Alyssa Grayson, photo: The Providence Journal / Kris Craig
Our celebration of young conservationists continues today with a spotlight on a very special ten year old from Rhode Island (RI) whose passion is impressing those in her community and beyond. The WCC first crossed paths with Alyssa Grayson back in February of 2008 when Atka and crew presented at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum Research Center. During our visit, a young girl approached WCC's Maggie Howell to ask if she would like to receive RI Wolf Club Newsletter.

Sporting her button
Of course Maggie was thrilled to be included on the mailing list and thanked the young lady by giving her a Defender's of Wildlife button from her jacket that read "Support the PAW Act." A few months later, the first newsletter was delivered to the WCC office and it was a beautiful reflection of the Alyssa's passion and wolf knowledge!
tracking coyotes

Although we've only seen Alyssa in person a few times, it has been a thrill to watch Alyssa grow into a conservation dynamo from afar! Last spring Alyssa presented a number of public education programs about wolves and coyotes at RI's Roger Williams Park Zoo, learned how to track local coyotes as youngest citizen scientist working on the national wildlife refuges in RI, and received a Certificate of Appreciation from the RI Department of Environmental Management. Alyssa is following her passion to protect our Nation's wildlife and her efforts are not going unnoticed, the Providence Journal wrote an article all about her last May!
Alyssa is an enormous inspiration, her achievements are awesome and worth remembering during times when the future of US wildlife appears bleak at best. This year Alyssa will be in the fifth grade and I'm proud to say that my hero is a middle school-er :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Young Conservationists Creating A Brighter Future: Woodmere Middle School

Wolves, their recovery, and the status of this keystone predator in the United States continue to be hot topics in in our country.  With the wolf hunt season upon us, many wildlife advocates are left exhausted, angry, and discouraged. While some have lost hope, others are rolling up their sleeves ready to take on the environmental challenges of the future and they're not even old enough to vote!

Over the next several days, we'll be celebrating some young wildlife conservationists that are making a difference within their communities and beyond. It's time to look to the future.

We first introduced our supporters to the dedicated team of 6th graders from Long Island's Woodmere Middle School last year. These young conservationists are tackling a number of environmental projects as a part of their “Campaign Earth” mission - a curriculum aimed to equip the students with the tools necessary to safeguard the future of our nation's wildlife. In December of 2010, these students created a very compelling video - what a perfect gift for the holidays!

The video reached people from around the world, inspiring young and old to embrace the importance of wildlife and the passion of these special youngsters. We can't wait to see what these students do as 7th graders!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day?

Sometimes labor is overrated.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Well Wishes From Alawa

Wishing everyone a peaceful weekend!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Behind the Scenes at a WCC Wolf Capture

The WCC team met early on Wednesday to relocate a pack of critically endangered lobos in our secluded endangered species facility where we house wolves that are candidates for release. By morning's end, Mexican wolves M804, M807 and F749 were successfully captured and National WolfWatcher Coalition's Dave Hornoff did a great job of capturing on film the energy that surrounds such events! Enjoy this behind the scenes look of how the WCC works with a species destined for the wild.

Mexican Gray Wolves: On the Move at the Wolf Conservation Center from Dave Hornoff on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Atka's Ready For His Tony!

'An Evening of Fashion & Music' - Neiman Marcus/Broadway Benefit

On September 22, Broadway Stars will join Atka and Hélène Grimaud at Neiman Marcus, White Plains for "An Evening of Fashion & Music" to raise money for new pups, Alawa and Zephyr, and all the WCC wolves! 
An Evening of Music & Fashion
Join us for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, a show of fashions for the Fall, and a selection of songs presented by Neil Berg (coproducer of "100 Years of Broadway," composer/lyricist of the hit off-Broadway musical "The Prince & the Pauper" and composer of two new Broadway-bound musicals "Grumpy Old Men" and "The Twelve") and his wife, Rita Harvey (who made her Broadway debut in the lead role of Christine in "Phantom of the Opera," and most recently starred as Hodel in the Broadway revival of "Fiddler on the Roof" with Rosie O'Donnell and Harvey Fierstein). Neil and Rita will perform Broadway favorites and preview selections from upcoming productions with the assistance of Broadway friends whose schedules permit.
This event is sponsored by Neiman Marcus and WAG – so all proceeds go directly to the wolves and our mission, and ticket price is fully deductible! Atka and Hélène will be there to announce big news for the WCC – we hope you will join us too!
Cocktail casual attire. Valet parking provided.
September 22, 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Neiman Marcus – 4th floor
The Westchester Mall
White Plains, NY
Tickets are $200/person. Limited to 100 people.
Click here to register today!