Friday, June 29, 2012

Daniel W. Koch: One to Watch

Looks like Atka left his mark again! Although it's uncommon for Atka to produce unique, scented souvenirs when presenting offsite, there are a handful of auditoriums, gymnasiums, and even a battleship that have been "marked" by our celebrity wolf. Atka, however, need not lift his leg to leave his mark, his mere presence can leave a lasting impression on those lucky enough to meet him. We like to think that Daniel W. Koch is just one of the many who have been inspired by Atka's great work.

Daniel is a local treasure here in Westchester County, he grew up in the WCC's neighboring town of North Salem and attended an elementary school that was often visited by Atka and crew. Today, at nineteen years old, Daniel has authored three novels! Looks like Atka isn't the only accomplished lad in this neck of the woods. Daniel has also been kind enough to help endorse the Wolf Conservation Center and wolf recovery in general while promoting his books.

So far there are three books out in this Daniel's four book series. The books are The Protector, The Devils Minions, The Black Wolf and coming soon...The Healer. All titled under the Descendant Series. Today and tomorrow, Book One (Descendant: The Protector) is FREE on Kindle. What a great way to start the series and to encourage this young dynamo to continue his mission as a prolific author!

Congratulations Daniel!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crittercam Update from National Geographic

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, Humboldt squid, and more!

Just the other day we checked in with Kyler and his adventures continue to make us green with envy.  Kyler is currently on a ship off Cape Cod in pursuit of humpback whales in hopes of collaring a few to provide some really excellent footage!  Last month Kyler and the team deployed a new model terrestrial Crittercams on cheetahs in Botswana.  He reports that the new model worked really well and should be a good design to use with wolves in the future.

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 learn more about the Crittercam Adventures, please visit their website at:

To read more about some of the WCC's collaboration with the Crittercam team, please click here.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Update on Mexican Wolf Recovery from the Society for Conservation Biology

This important post comes from the Society for Conservation Biology website.

Three Scientific Societies Offer Their Expertise To Move Mexican Wolf Recovery Forward -6-20-12

On June 20th, the American Society of Mammalogists, the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Society for Ecological Restoration sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) offering their scientific expertise to conduct an expedited peer review on a draft set of recovery criteria for the highly-endangered Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi).  Efforts to develop a science-based recovery plan for the species appear to have reached an impasse. In addition, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a whistleblower organization, has filed a complaint as provided in the Interior Department’s relatively new Scientific Integrity Policy, asserting that certain FWS and State agency personnel of Utah and Arizona appear to be undermining efforts to include these science-based recovery criteria in the revised recovery plan. Given the precarious conservation status of the Mexican wolf, and the fact that recovery efforts are still being guided by a plan from 1982, the three scientific societies have offered their assistance in order to move recovery planning forward for the species.  The letter also urges the FWS to immediately resume the recovery planning process for the Mexican wolf, which has, in effect, been suspended recently by the FWS, and is now over a year behind schedule.

The Mexican wolves represent one of the most distinct genetic lineages of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and are thought to be the only surviving descendants of the first wave of gray wolves to colonize North America during the Pleistocene Epoch.  A single experimental population was reintroduced to the Blue Range of Arizona and New Mexico beginning in 1998.  Despite predictions that this experimental population would grow to over 100 individuals by 2006, today there are only 58 individuals living in the wild.  Due to its very small founding stock, each year that the captive and wild Mexican wolf populations remain at low population levels brings greater risk that the effects of genetic inbreeding will cause irreparable harm to this species.

In 2011, the FWS assembled a group of scientists to help develop a recovery plan and as part of that to develop delisting, or recovery, goals based on the best available science for a revised recovery plan for the Mexican wolf, and this group completed a draft recovery plan in May 2012.  Unfortunately, it appears that in deference to political or other concerns, higher level officials may be blocking the full recovery team from considering the goals recommended by the scientific subcommittee of the recovery team. Now, it appears that consideration of the entire draft plan may either be delayed or blocked.  A science-based recovery plan has the potential to reduce conflict over the long-term by minimizing litigation, minimizing resources needed by FWS for defending its actions, and speeding the eventual delisting of the Mexican wolf.  The three societies have the capacity to expeditiously review the recovery plan to see if it sufficiently address the continuing loss of genetic health due to inbreeding, ensures long-term resiliency in wolf populations given expected habitat changes in the Southwest due to climate change, and meets the other criteria of the Act. A peer review could resolve this impasse in a transparent manner and allow Mexican wolf recovery to proceed.
Read the letter HERE

How you can help!

The great folks from made it easy for you to help move Mexican gray wolf recovery forward!  Please email US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe and copy NM Senators Udall and Bingaman to call on the development of a science based recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf.
Here are some talking points their website provides:
  • A new, science-based recovery plan to replace the outdated 1982 plan is way overdue; the US Fish and Wildlife Service should be doing all in its power to expedite release of a draft plan based on the work of the scientific subcommittee.
  • Consistent with the Interior Department's Scientific Integrity Policy, a thorough investigation of political interference with the scientific recovery planning process should be made immediately in response to the complaint by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
  • Obstruction by anti-wolf special interests and politics has kept this small population of unique and critically endangered wolves at the brink of extinction for too long and can no longer be allowed to do so.
  • Development of a new recovery plan that will address decreased genetic health and ensure long-term resiliency in Mexican wolf populations must move forward without delay.
  • The majority of New Mexico and Arizona voters support the Mexican wolf reintroduction.  Polling showed 69% support in New Mexico and 77% support in Arizona.
  • Wolves bring tremendous ecological benefits to entire ecosystems and all wildlife.  Wildlife biologists believe that Mexican wolves will improve the overall health of the Southwest and its rivers and streams – just as the return of gray wolves to Yellowstone has helped restore balance to its lands and waters.
  • You can make your letter more compelling by talking about your personal connection to wolves and why the issue is important to you.  If you’re a camper or hiker wanting to hear wolves in the wild, or a hunter who recognizes that wolves make game herds healthier, or a businessperson who knows that wolves have brought millions in ecotourism dollars to Yellowstone, say so.
Please send a copy too at to help them track actions being taken for the wolves.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Deadlines Approach to Speak Up for Wolves

The great folks from the National Wolfwatcher Coalition remind us that time is running out for supporters to leave comments re: the proposed aggressive wolf hunting and trapping seasons in two different states, MT & WI.  Follow the links below for talking points and contact info.  Please and to lend a helping paw. Thank you!

**June 25th Deadline for Montana's Wolves

**July 17th Deadline for Wisconsin Wolves

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

The Wolf Conservation Center is home to a few fellas who wear the badge of fatherhood and today we want to give them a special howl-out! Mexican wolves M740 and M566 (RIP) and red wolf M1483, Happy Father's Day!

Being a dad is so incredibly special, but it can also be exhausting. Perhaps that's why we have special holidays to honor the patience, hard work, and undying love that parenthood requires. Check out this classic video of red wolf M1483 eagerly waiting to see his then 6-week-old sons M1803 and M1804 early one morning in June 0f 2010. It's funny to see how often the new dad yawns and stretches, those pups ran him ragged! Try to watch the video in it's entirety, the loving reunion is worth the wait. Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New Amendment Threatens Recovery of the Red Wolf

Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) introduced an amendment (SA2315) yesterday to the Farm Bill (S.3240) that would eliminate federal protections for endangered species that exist entirely within the borders of a single state. If passed, the amendment would eliminate federal protections for hundreds of imperiled species including the red wolf in North Carolina, the polar bear in Alaska, the Florida panther, the San Joaquin kit fox in California, and the Maryland darter.

If this passes, these and more endangered species will lose their protections for the next 5 years (the Farm Bill proposes legislation that expires in 2017).

 This could be voted on in the Senate as soon as Thursday (tomorrow).  Please follow this link to read the actual language of amendment SA2315:

If your hackles are raised, you can call and email both of your senators today. You can find their contact info by using this link: and on behalf of red wolves, polar bears and so many other species, you can ask your Senators to vote "no" on SA 2315 to the Farm Bill.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Join Atka and Hélène Grimaud via Webcast!

This Thursday on June 14, you can join WCC Founder and world-renowned pianist Hélène Grimaud, famed cellist and friend Jan Vogler, and Ambassador wolf Atka for a unique recital via WEBCAST! Follow this link to register now: Atka is excited, are you too?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Help the WCC Win Atka a New Van!

The Wolf Conservation Center is a finalist in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good program! Help us win a Toyota Sienna van for Ambassador wolf Atka so he can bring our conservation education message to schools, camps & libraries throughout the region. Watch the video, then go to Toyota 100 Cars for Good on Facebook and set a voting reminder to alert you to vote the Wolf Conservation Center on AUGUST 12, 2012.

Thank you and please help us spread the word!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

National Wolfwatcher Coaliton Speaks Up for Wisconsin Wolves

The Wisconsin Wolf Hunting/Trapping season will begin on 10/15/2012 and continue through the month of February well into wolf breeding season.   National Wolfwatcher Coalition (NWC) reports that "most aspects  of this wolf hunt season are being dictated by legislation and not by science; proposed measures, such as hunting with dogs and night hunting, are considered particularly inhumane, as well."   Wisconsin's DNR can dictate the rules and regulations for the hunt and the agency is seeking comments.

If your hackles are up, please consider speaking up!

Comments should be submitted to:
•    NRB Liaison Laurie Ross, 608-267-7420,
•    DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp, 608-267-7556,

NWC recommends you urge the DNR to:
•    To create zone closures to protect core habitat;
•    Prohibit howling as a method to lure wolves;
•    Prohibit a dog training season using free ranging wild wolves;
•    Prohibit the use of captive animals to train dogs to hunt wolves;
•    Prohibit payments for any dogs killed or injured by wolves during the wolf hunting season which  runs from 10/15 through February;
•    Limit payments for hunting dogs killed or injured by wolves to $200
•    Insure the established quota takes into account wolves killed by Wildlife Services, natural  mortality, diseases, illegal kills and car collisions;
•    Mandate landowners open their lands to hunting and trapping if they receive  reimbursement for wolf damage;
•    Revise the Wolf Management Plan to reflect current research which suggests Wisconsin  has a biological carrying capacity of 700-1000 wolves;

In addition to NWC's video (above), you can find the highlights of our position regarding Wisconsin's Hunting/Trapping plan, the next steps, public meeting dates and additional talking points to  help your voice to be heard: NWC's  Wisconsin Update