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 :)