Monday, March 26, 2012

Celebrating Kids Safeguarding Wildlife

Atka leading howling lessons
 What a wonderful day! The cooler temperatures and chilly gusty winds have been well received by the wolves, and giddy wolves helped our special day become downright magical. Normally the WCC is closed on Mondays, but today we opened our doors to celebrate a number of dedicated children working hard for our Nation's wildlife! A special group of 7th graders from Woodmere Middle School joined National WolfWatcher Coalition Junior Advocate Alyssa Grayson at the Wolf Conservation Center to celebrate the animals they have all been working so hard to safeguard. Alyssa had never met Woodmere's Alberto, Aahad, Eddie, Eros, Fernando, George, Gianna, Jessica, Jonathan, and Marsello; so a meeting was far over due since they share so many common goals and achievements!

Woodmere Team
The Woodmere team have tackled 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. They created a fantastic video focusing on the importance of the Endangered Species Act and the amazing species that this important environmental law protects. The dedication of these fine students have been recognized by the WCC as well as other leading environmental organizations. The Endangered Species Coalition showcases the Woodmere team's project on their website and the video has since reached people from around the world, inspiring young and old to embrace the importance of wildlife and the passion of these special youngsters.

Alyssa Grayson
The WCC first crossed paths with Alyssa Grayson back in February of 2008 and it has been a thrill to watch Alyssa grow into a conservation dynamo! Alyssa is busy presenting public education programs about wolves throughout RI schools, libraries, RI's Roger Williams Park Zoo, and soon the 4H board of directors. Alyssa is busier than Atka! This special 11-year-old is following her passion to protect our Nation's wildlife and her efforts are not going unnoticed. The Humane Society of the United States' (HSUS) Cathy Vincenti joined us today to present the HSUS Kind Kid Award, 2012 to Alyssa. This prestigious award recognizes children who have made a positive difference for animals.

While getting to know one another in the WCC cabin classroom, a chorus of howls tumbled down the Center's hills. We couldn't wait to get outdoors to assemble "enrichment boxes" ambassador wolves Atka, Zephyr and Alawa. The 11-month-old "wolflets" were excited to see their visitors, an unexpected bonus on a weekday that is usually quiet. They jumped about at the fence eager to receive their box full of animal hair, perfume, and peanut butter. Zephyr was first on the box and soon both siblings demonstrated how useful their 42 teeth can be at ripping cardboard to shreds. Atka was next and after opening his gift, pulled each item out one by one until he found a handful of hair that he deemed roll-worthy. He patiently instructed the children how to howl by singing over and over again. Everyone got a peek at elusive red wolf pair M1483 and F1397, and a real eyeful of Mexican wolves F837 and M805!

Mexican gray wolf M805
Recent wolf hunts and politics have left many wildlife advocates feeling discouraged. These wonderful children ready to take on the environmental challenges of the future are the perfect remedy. Keep up the great work, Alyssa, Alberto, Aahad, Eddie, Eros, Fernando, George, Gianna, Jessica, Jonathan, and Marsello.  We can't wait to follow your future endeavors.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sleeping with Wolves - WCC's New Nocturnal Adventure!

Sleeping with Wolves, the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) brand new nocturnal adventure experience, gives our supporters a chance to camp out overnight with the 25 wolves that call the WCC home! With all the howls, circling vultures, and nature's nighttime chatter, you'll feel like you're camping under the stars with wild wolves. We might not be Yellowstone, but we're pretty close!

Cost: $275 per 4 person tent
Singles: $150 (must bring your own tent) *
Time: 7PM to 9AM

2012 Overnight Dates:
* FOR SINGLES ($150 - must bring your own tent), please call
914-763-2373 x1 to register.

Space is limited and dates sell out quickly. Pre-registration is required.

(Scout rates available for private Scout Nights. Please email for more info or call 914-763-2373 x2)

Admission Price includes:
  • Pizza Party with Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa and Zephyr
  • Opportunity to behold critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves
  • Evening entertainment: Movie under the stars at Zephyr and Alawa's enclosure
  • Evening fireside snacks and light breakfast
  • Tents for all participants
You Should Bring:
  • Sleeping bag
  • Sleeping mat
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight
  • Camera
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Warm comfortable clothing to sleep in
  • Bug Spray
  • Additional snacks if desired

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Don't Forget - Tonight is Wolf Pup Wednesday with Hélène Grimaud!

WCC co-founder and world-renowned French pianist, Hélène Grimaud, will swap keyboard for cocktail shaker to be the “celebrity bartender” at Wolf Pup Wednesday at Le Chateau. We hope to see you there!

TONIGHT, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Le Chateau

Route 35 (near route 123)

South Salem, NY

Stay for live music with Ed Train upstairs at JP's Lounge after the event!

This is a FREE event and requires no registration

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Ambassador wolves Alawa and Zephyr are 11 months old today.  Happy birthday kiddos!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Wyoming's Controversial Wolf Plan

When Congress passed a 2011 budget rider (Sec. 1713)last spring that removed Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves of the Northern Rockies. Wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Washington, eastern Oregon and northern Utah were removed from the endangered species list and put under state control. Congress excluded Wyoming from this rule so wolves of this state are still federally protected, but likely not for long.

Although U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS)had previously criticized Wyoming's wolf plan on the grounds that unregulated shooting in most of the state would reduce the state’s wolf population below federally required levels, this plan that scientists concerned is now back on the table.Furthermore, next week the House of Representatives will work on the 2013 Budget Bill and many fear that Wyoming's Congressional delegation will seek to get another "no judicial review" budget rider passed to protect the extremely controversial wolf plan from being challenged in court. If your hackles are up, the National WolfWatcher Coalition offers a quick and easy way you can be a voice for Wyoming’s wolves.

The Proposed Plan

Wyoming's proposed wolf management plan calls for the state to:
  • Deem wolves predators in 90% of the state (all but the northwest corner of Wyoming), where they could be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.
  • In Wyoming's northwest corner, right outside Yellowstone National Park, classify wolves as trophy game animals meaning they could only be hunted with a license.
  • Maintain only 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Park

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Wolf Delisting

When 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.  A few months after the passage of this bill, wolf hunts began in the states of Idaho and Montana. To date 519 wolves have been reported as killed in the two states since the hunts began.

Last September, The Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Friends of the Clearwater, and WildEarth Guardians filed their briefs in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to challenge the 2011 budget rider on grounds that it is unconstitutional. Yesterday, the Court upheld the legislative rider denying the challenge that Congress acted illegally by removing ESA protections and thus making the subsequent wolf hunts possible.

“Wolf conservation and the Separation of Powers Doctrine are of paramount concern to the public,” said Jay Tutchton, General Counsel for WildEarth Guardians. “The Court’s decision today served neither and strikes a blow to one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” he added.  This ruling has many wildlife advocates feeling discouraged, outraged and fearful that future wildlife decisions will be made entirely by Congress without any scientific review.  Stay tuned.  This fight will likely continue...

To learn more about this case, read the LA Times' "Court upholds Congress' act that ended wolf protections"and WildEarth Guardians' press release re: the Court's ruling.

Wolf Pup Wednesday with WCC Founder Hélène Grimaud!

Join us Next Week for a Very Special “International” Wolf Pup Wednesday!

On March 21, WCC founder, and world-renowned French pianist, Hélène Grimaud will swap keyboard for cocktail shaker to be the “celebrity bartender” at Wolf Pup Wednesday at Le Chateau.

Hélène will be joined by Peter Braat, cofounder of, a native of the Netherlands who has traveled from South Africa to install dencams in the enclosures of the WCC's 4 breeding pairs – all in hopes of capturing the first-ever live, web-streamed birth of wolf pups!

Hélène and Peter will share our plans for the pups we hope to welcome to the WCC in the next couple of months, and how you can be part of the event. And, as always, Wolf Pup Wednesday is a great opportunity to enjoy Le Chateau's fabulous, less-expensive French bistro fare in a cozy, casual atmosphere with a spectacular view.

Hélène and Peter will be donating all tips to the WCC. Le Chateau will donate one-third of all drink proceeds. And we'll also hold a raffle with wonderful WCC items and more!

So join us for an after-work toast or a bite to eat, bring your friends and family, and learn more about the WCC, our resident lupine lovers, our plans for pups, and how you can “be there” for their birth!

March 21st, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Le Chateau

Route 35 (near route 123)

South Salem, NY

This is a FREE event and requires no registration

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Straight Poop! Wolves and Livestock Predation

The German Herald reports that a scientific study of wolf scat (feces) in Germany proves that wolves are not to blame for sheep losses in that country thus debunking the myth that wolves are "sheep-stealing opportunists."

Wolves are often blamed for livestock losses here in the United States but livestock casualties are often the result of something else. Livestock health issues such as respiratory problems, digestive problems, birthing complications and disease are most significant causes of death. Weather related issues is a large component in livestock deaths too. A very small percentage of deaths are attributed to predators and both coyotes and domestic dogs have been shown to kill more livestock than wolves! Regardless of the numbers, many are quick to accuse wolves.

Author and wildlife biologist, Carter Niemeyer, was a former Wolf Management Specialist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. For years he conducted wolf depredation investigations in the three Western wolf recovery states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. In a recent interview for, Niemeyer explains that “people are so quick to jump on this anecdotal information, to accuse wolves or even (other) predators of killing livestock ,and I’d go out and look at (investigations into missing or dead livestock) and most of it was not killed by predators.”

As human populations expand, there is a growing need to figure out ways for people and wildlife to coexist.  The Defenders of Wildlife Wolf Coexistence Partnership is doing great work demonstrating ways that conservationists and ranchers can work together to protect livestock and save wolves by avoiding and minimizing conflicts.

To learn about some ranches that are employing nonlethal techniques to avoid conflict with wolves, visit

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kids Creating A Brighter Future For Wolves

Turner Burns consulting with Atka
Wolves, their recovery, and the status of this keystone predator in the United States continue to be hot topics in in our country. In the past year we've seen many US wolf populations go from endangered to hunted, leaving so many wildlife advocates 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!

Alyssa (center) with NWC
Last summer the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) shared some encouraging stories about young conservationists with compelling missions. Among the young dynamos we put in the spotlight is eleven-year-old Alyssa Grayson from Rhode Island. Although still in middle school, Alyssa is busy doing public wolf presentations within her community and beyond for schools, libraries, zoos and more. She caught the attention of the National WolfWatcher Coalition (NWC) and has since become the organization's first Junior Adviser.  Earlier this month, the Humane Society of the United States announced that Alyssa won the HSUS Kind Kid Award, 2012 and will be presented with the award right here at the WCC later this month!

Today we're introducing another young wolf enthusiast who is taking on adult issues with great energy and imagination.  Seven-year-old Turner Burns just recently launched his website:, a site to teach people "why it's so important to know about wolves." Way to go, Turner!

Turner and Alyssa exemplify the amazing potential of their generation to make this world a better place and thankfully, people are continuing to notice :)

If you know a young wildlife conservationist that is making a difference, please share your story with  Maggie at

Sunday, March 11, 2012

New Season Calls For a Wardrobe Change for Wolves

Time to reset your clocks...  It going to be a beautiful, mild, and LONG day today and no doubt many of us will have a major case of "Spring Fever!" Although all signs point to the arrival of a new season, the official start to spring relies not upon the a calendar date, but a subtle cue from Mother Nature's beasts.  Ambassador wolves Atka, Alawa, and Zephyr have indicated that seasons are changing - they're beginning (just barely) to shed their winter coats.

A sample of the insulating undercoat
Soon their insulating undercoat will begin to fall from their bodies like sheets of soft wool and they'll be better prepared to enjoy for the warmer months to come.  What triggers the shedding process?   This time of year both male an female wolves have rising levels of a hormone called prolactin.  Prolactin levels increase with the onset of long days and during the short days of winter the hormone levels decrease.  It is believed that prolactin has many key roles.  High levels of the hormone contribute to the following:

1) Development of the mammary gland for expectant wolf mothers
2) Maintenance of lactation - helps milk production in wolf mothers
3) Promotion of parental behavior in both males and females and thus enhances pup survival
4) Shedding of the undercoat!

So longer days alter the chemical makeup of wolves and help ensure that they spend the spring and summer months in comfort with their happy healthy packs.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Wolf Camp For Kids - Registration Is Open

zephyr pup by spencer wilhelm.jpg

Wolf Camp for Kids!

Give the young animal lover in your family a chance to thrive among wolves all week long! The four day program will include opportunities for your child to:

• 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!

The 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 and more. Pre-registration is required. Information and registration are available at

For children in Grades 2-5

Dates: April 3rd – 6th (Tuesday – Friday)

April 24th – 27th (Tuesday – Friday)

Time: 3PM – 5PM (April 3rd - 6th)

Time: 4PM – 6PM (April 24th - 27th)

Fee: $100 per child for the 4-day program

( sessions in May, June, July* and August* too!)

*July/August sessions: 9AM - 12PM, $150 per child for the 4-day program)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Red Wolves Need a Helping Hand

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) is proposing to allow night hunting of coyotes  throughout North Carolina including the five-county red wolf recovery area.  This move has hackles raised among many of our supporters and thankfully The Red Wolf Coalition is helping people voice their opposition on the NCWRC web site.

Please follow the link so you can help safeguard this critically endangered species:
The red wolf is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980. By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. Today, An estimated 130 red wolves roam the wilds of that state. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Organizations Need Support to End Wildlife Trapping

Several organizations are asking for support to help put an end to trapping wildlife here in our country. Numerous states legally allow this indiscriminate hunting method on public lands. If this has your hackles raised please show your support. Trap Free New Mexico, Footloose Montana, and Trapfree Oregon are among the groups working hard to eliminate the use of these tools and the Sierra Club just joined the cause. Here is the Sierra Club's proposed policy on wildlife trapping:

Use of body-gripping devices — including leghold traps, snares, and Conibear® traps — are indiscriminate to age, sex and species and typically result in injury, pain, suffering, and/or death of target and non-target animals.

The Sierra Club considers body-gripping, restraining and killing traps and snares to be ecologically indiscriminate and unnecessarily inhumane and therefore opposes their use.
The Sierra Club promotes and supports humane, practical and effective methods of mitigating human-wildlife conflicts and actively discourages the use of inhumane and indiscriminate methods.

Implementation and application of this policy should be based on the most recent and relevant science and should minimize harm to ecosystems

For more more information about wildlife trapping, please download the FAQ ON TRAPPING pdf.

If you care to comment, here is a link to the Sierra Club's comment page: The comment period ends on March 30.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Special Anniversary

Two years ago today, red wolves F1397 and M1483 "made" some puppies! Let's see if they're up for round two. Check them out on our WOLFCAM and please let us know if you see anything interesting. Here's a link to learn more about wolf courtship behavior: Voyeurism 101