Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wolf Camp for Kids!

BREAKING NEWS! Registration is now open for WCC's after-school Wolf Camp for Kids!
Give the young animal lover in your family a chance to thrive among wolves all week long!

• Learn all about wolves: Wolf 101
• Discover the various myths that surround wolves and to create their own and share.
• Walk with a wolf!
• Play a unique game of hide and seek using tracking and telemetry tools that real wolf
biologists use in the field!
• Create plaster paw prints from real tracks in the field. They’re great for show and tell!
• “Wolfy” arts and crafts, howl-a-thons and more!

Program will run with a minimum of 4 children and a maximum of 10. All children who complete the program will get a special “Junior Wolf Biologist” certificate. Pre-registration is required.

For Children in Grades 2-5
Date: April 3-5 (Tuesday - Friday) and April 24-27 (Tuesday - Friday)
(Additional sessions in May, June, July and August)
Time: 3PM – 5PM
Fee: $100 per child for the 4-day program

To register, click here.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Lobo Love!

M805 & F837
Wolf breeding season is in full tilt and with four potential litters to celebrate on the horizon, Wolf Conservation Center staff and supporters are downright giddy! While many of us have been glued to the WCC WOLFCAM with spying eyes on our red wolf breeding pair F1397 and M1483, things have been quietly heating up between Mexican wolves M805 and F837. This is the first year that these two lovebirds have been given the opportunity to breed so we are thrilled to see courtship behavior between the already well bonded pair.
Mexican wolf pups 2008

The WCC is so fortunate to have already welcomed critically endangered pups on two occasions. On Earth day (of all days) in 2008, six healthy and adorable Mexican gray wolves were born off exhibit. These pups were the first to ever be born at the WCC! We welcomed pups a second time in 2010 when red wolves m1803 and m1804 were born in the dense thicket in our red wolf exhibit. All four pairs have been given the opportunity to breed because their offspring will increase the genetic diversity of their rare species. Will the WCC be blessed with red or Mexican gray pups again this year?
Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Atka Extends His Territory to National Geographic's Headquarters!

Oh the places Atka takes us! Road trips are not uncommon for the Wolf Conservation Center’s education crew. In 2011 Atka traveled to 160 schools, museums, libraries, and more allowing the WCC to extend our mission far beyond the Center’s gates in South Salem, NY. Atka never fails to thrill adults and children alike with his trademark rock star, nonchalant attitude. Normally Atka’s destinations are within an hour or two of his home territory, but every once in a while a special mission calls and Atka, a true road warrior, steps up to the plate. On February 9, Atka and crew travelled to the southern limit of Atka’s range to Washington, DC. Having already appeared on Capitol Hill in previous years, Atka is no stranger to the area. In fact one room within the halls of Congress bears Atka’s signature because in 2007 he marked his territory to the delight of dozens of state representatives. They were carrying on like school children! Last week’s mission was little different from the others. In addition to wowing his fans with his graceful gait and engaging stare, the attendees of this program experienced the event from Atka’s point of view! But let me start from the beginning…

Back in November of 2011, National Geographic’s Kyler Abernathy visited the WCC to test out crittercam collars on Ambassador wolves Atka and Alawa to best prepare for potential use on wild wolves. Crittercam cameras offer researchers an opportunity to observe animal behaviors which often elude human eyes. So far these tools have provided a view in the sometimes secret and mysterious world of many species. The program has supplied valuable data about the private lives of tree kangaroos, humpback whales, Humbolt squid and more.

In order to report all the great crittercam successes, innovations, and plans, to the rest of the National Geographic staffers, Greg Marshall, crittercam inventor, and Kyler invited the WCC team as special guests to National Geographic’s DC headquarters to enhance their presentation. Midway with through the event, the packed hall welcomed Atka. He entered the room with his usual flair. His unchanged behavior was somewhat surprising because for this appearance, he sported a crittercam. The camera hung around his neck and provided a live feed of what the event was like from his point of view. The live video was projected onto a large screen right behind Atka so everyone could behold our beautiful ambassador and see the event from Atka’s perspective at the same time! If Atka caught someone’s gaze, they would see their image right on the screen. The attendees took great interest in the WCC’s work and of course Atka. What was supposed to be a 15 minute talk more than doubled in length in order to answer so many excellent questions. At the event’s end, Atka posed for a photo or two and returned to his van ready for the long return home.

Before the WCC education crew returned to the van, we had the pleasure of meeting a hero of ours, Boyd Matson (we'll post a pod cast of our participation soon), and we discussed future partnerships with Kyler and Greg involving the elusive Mexican wolves and red wolves at reside at the Center. We all agreed that we must meet again soon! In the meantime, we look forward to hearing about future crittercam endeavors with wild species.

In the coming weeks Kyler will be traveling to the southwest to equip the first wild bird with a crittercam - a California condor! Other crittercam projects are on the horizon too including a mission to help reveal the increasing predation on caribou calves in New Foundland. The crittercam team is working with researchers with the plan to equip many denizens of the northern habitat including with the cameras. Bears, coyotes, eagles, and the caribou themselves, will be collared in hopes of unraveling the mystery behind the prey species’ decline. This is just one example of how the crittercam can prove to be an effective tool in conservation.

We really look forward to continuing our partnership with the crittercam team and are honored to be a part of an operation that could one day allow us to see the world through the eyes of Atka’s wild brothers and sisters.  To read more about the WCC's adventure to DC, you can read an article in National Geographic's Explorers Journal here.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

"The Grey" is a Movie, Yellowstone is an Adventure.

You don't need to have a plane wreck in the Alaskan wilderness to see wild wolves, there's an easier way...

wolf 2.jpg 2-3-12.jpgJoin the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) and Yellowstone Wildlife Biologists Nathan Varley, PhD, and Linda Thurston, M.S., for a unique and educational trip in Yellowstone National Park to observe wild wolves in the ecosystem they have helped save.

We're offering two opportunities to enjoy an adventure of a lifetime!

The Spring Adventure:
Begins May 25 and ends May 29

The Summer Adventure:
Begins June 24 and ends June 28

The timing of each trip is ideal. Wolves are out searching for prey for their young pups and grizzlies are visible foraging in the meadows and valleys. Newborn elk calves hide in the grass and sage while young bison calves kick and buck as they follow the herds. We'll be traveling with our friends from The Wild Side, wildlife biologists who know the best places in the park to observe the diverse wildlife. Nathan and Linda are phenomenal guides and are among a special group of Yellowstone "Ambassadors," wonderful folks who can't help but enhance the thrill one feels when beholding the country’s oldest national park. The WCC Yellowstone Adventures were a huge success last year and we are giddy about returning. You can learn more about what one might expect during the trips from last year's WCC travel blog: Day One, Day Two, and Day Three.

The trips are open to individuals and families with mature children but space is limited. The registration deadline for the Spring Adventure is April 1, 2012.

Cost: $1995/person - double occupancy (airfare is not included) and $500 of the fee is 100% tax deductible

The Bonus: A portion of your trip fee will help send WCC educators along -- and is fully tax-deductible! Click here for more details, or contact Spencer at 914-763-2373 x2 or

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who's Your Inspiration?

Atka never fails to impress and I'm sure the eighth grade students of South Orangetown Middle School would agree! This morning's visit was great fun and several students thanked us personally for the amazing experience. Over the past decade, the Wolf Conservation Center's ambassador wolves have touched so many. Has an ambassador animal ever left a memorable impression on you? Let us know!

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Debate Continues Around Oregon's Wolves

A couple of years ago wildlife enthusiasts 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 with the Wenaha and Imnaha packs growing as popular as some of the well documented wolves of Yellowstone. In recent months, one of these wolves, OR-7 or "Journey," became a global media sensation when his trek brought him across the California state border making this track-maker the first known wild wolf in the golden state in over 80 years!
Today, Oregon wolves are back in the spotlight because a bill has been proposed that would allow some of the state's 29 endangered wolves to be killed. Oregon’s proposed wolf kill bill - HB4158 has been scheduled for a public hearing on February 9th. We have received numerous Facebook notes and emails from our supporters that are concerned about the fate of these wolves and thanks to Oregon Wild and the National WolfWatcher Coalition, there are resources to help people take action.


(1) If you live in OR, consider attending the meeting on Feb. 9th, 1PM in Hearing Room D in OR’s State Capital Building. For more info, call the Agriculture and Natural Resources Office, 503-986-1755.

(2) Contact (and/or) meet with state reps in both the House and the Senate.
(A) House leadership:,,, (B) Senate leadership:,

(3) Visit Oregon Wild’s memo and links re: this legislation at

(4) Regardless of where you live, join the National Wolfwatcher Coalition’s action alert via our website to contact Gov. Kitzhaber’s office to leave your comment in opposition to this wolf-kill bill:

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Decisions, decisions...

Giants or the Patriots? Bill the Buffalo sounds tastier :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Mexican Wolf Numbers Up From Last Year!

Many of us look at the dawn of a new year as a time to start counting calories. In the southwest, it's a time to count wolves! According to the annual survey results, there is a minimum of 58 wild Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico. Although this number is still significantly lower than the recovery program's initial population goal, this number demonstrates an impressive increase in the known wild population. This time last year, only 50 wolves were counted. This growth could come as a surprise to many who follow the recovery of this critically endangered species as the recovery effort has suffered significant natural and unnatural setbacks over the past decade. During the recovery program's 14 years, numerous wolves have been illegally killed and in 2011 the largest wildfire in Arizona's history burned through much of the recovery area. Leaning that the population was able to prevail and increase is really outstanding news.

“These numbers are an indication of the full-on effort we and our partners – Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, USDA Forest Service, USDA Wildlife Services and several participating counties – have been putting into this program. We were successful in establishing the initial population of Mexican wolves in the wild, and we are building on that success.” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest (Service) Regional Director. “Our team is addressing the two biggest threats to Mexican wolf recovery, limited genetic diversity and illegal mortality, and I am certain that we will overcome them.”

Big thanks to the recovery team for working so hard on behalf of Mexican wolves! Let's hope this marks a new era for the species.