Thursday, October 25, 2012

Homeward Bound After After Unique Collaborative Lobo Event

Lobo Recovery Area in the Gila wilderness taken from Lighthawk plane
Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) founder Helene Grimaud, Board President Martha Handler, and curator Rebecca Bose returned home from Sante Fe, NM after joining the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance (NMWA) for "Wild Harmonies," a 2-day event that benefited both organizations and helped educate the public about Mexican wolves and the recovery of this rare species. Big thanks to NMWA, Lighthawk, and all the Mexican Wolf supporters that came out to enjoy this special event.

The NMWA's special edition newsletter all about Mexican gray wolves! WCC's Maggie Howell contributed to the newsletter with a piece titled "Reset It to Zero: Number of Days Since Last Mexican Wolf Release Too High" on Page 11.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What is Wildlife Services Hiding?

One might imagine that an agency called "Wildlife Services" would take on a supportive role in safeguarding wildlife. Think again. Often dubbed "the Killing Agency," this branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture has had hackles raised among members of wildlife conservation communities for years and now this agency is back in the thick of it. WildEarth Guardians requested their public records under the Freedom of Information Act regarding the Fox Mountain Mexican wolf pack, reported livestock depredation, and the capture of the pack alpha female. Almost 80% of the 870 of the report's pages were blacked out. What is this controversial agency hiding now?

Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Wildlife Services' Records Response Related to Fox Mountain Wolf Pack October 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wolf Conservation Center Joins "Project Yellowstone"

Early this morning the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) Maggie Howell and Spencer Wilhelm began their trek to Yellowstone National Park to enjoy the landscape and beasts they work so hard to safeguard. They'll be joining dozens of advisers, supporters, and friends from National Wolfwatcher Coalition (NWC) for the organization's first annual "Project Yellowstone" conference.

Maggie Howell & Spencer Wilhelm
In addition to offering a week of wildlife watching, NWC's "Project Yellowstone" is an education summit, bringing National Park Service rangers, Park biologists, and fellow educators together to discuss wolf behavior, wolf politics, and the natural and unnatural challenges that this keystone species faces today. The WCC team will be reporting from the field all week long so please stay tuned for reports and photos from our country's first National Park.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ambassador Wolf Atka Gets His New Toyota

For 100 consecutive days, between May 14 and August 21, 2012, Toyota's 100 Cars for Good program gave up to 100 charities a chance to compete for one of six Toyota models compliments of Toyota Financial Services. Well, the Wolf Conservation Center was up on August 12th, day 91, and at the end of the 14-hour voting period on Facebook, the WCC had received the most votes! We were beyond elated to have been given this opportunity and incredibly grateful to all of our supporters who made our victory a possible. On October 17th it was time to pick up our prize! Ron Napoli, Jr. of Toyota North in Mt. Kisco presented the WCC with a brand new Sienna minivan. Atka's new ride is a stunner, white just like its precious cargo. When we introduced Atka to his new set of wheels, we didn't really know what to expect. Just what sort of impact will that new car smell have on this unique wolf? Thankfully, the new Toyota got Atka's seal of approval, he explored every nook and cranny of the vehicle causing no damage, and without marking it as his own in an unsavory manner.

 Big thanks to all our wonderful supporters and of course to Toyota for helping Atka our traveling Ambassador continue to reach thousands of people throughout the Northeast in a new set of wheels! To follow Atka and the Wolf Conservation Center on Facebook, please "like" us at:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mexican Wolf M740 Gets a Clean Bill of Health

Dr Charlie Duffy VMD
Last week a small team of Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff and volunteers ventured to the WCC's endangered species facility to capture Mexican gray wolf M740 for quick health examination. The 10-year-old male had been looking a bit thin for a few weeks so we wanted to get a closer look and some blood and fecal samples. M740 dodged our capture attempts for over an hour but we were finally able to collect what we needed and let the elusive lobo return to business as usual. A few days later we received his blood work and everything looked perfectly normal. While this data ruled out a number of possible causes, some ailments, like cancer, are not detected in blood analysis. We needed another look. We can only imagine what M740 was thinking when our team returned to his territory early Friday morning. With the exception of veterinary visits, our lobos live peacefully in a natural environment where they can reside with minimal human contact to help maintain their timidity and best prepare them for a future in the wilds of Arizona. Our intrusions are never well received. The mission for our return visit was to once again capture M740, transfer him to a crate, and move him to a dry space to take some digital x-rays. His capture went smoothly, M740 quickly retreated to a capture box to avoid interaction with our fortified team, and we successfully transported him out of the rain into shelter.
Although the WCC aims to have a state of the art veterinary facility someday in the future, we currently depend on the generosity of our amazing pack of veterinarians who not only volunteer their time, but also their tools, to ensure that the WCC's 25 wolves receive the best care. Dr Charlie Duffy VMD of Norwalk Veterinary Hospital and Miller & Associates' Equine Doctor, Elizabeth Kilgallon DVM, were on board to help us diagnose the cause of M740's weight loss. Dr Duffy has been been the WCC's lead veterinarian for almost a decade, but most practices aren't equipped with portable Elkin digital x-ray machines. Thankfully, the WCC is situated within an equestrian community and it's beneficial for equine veterinarians to be able to bring the tools of their practices to their clients. As Dr Kilgallon began taking x-rays of M740, she mentioned that she's not accustomed to filming and analyzing wolves! Together, the two generous doctors, WCC curator Rebecca Bose, and the rest of our team kept the frightened lobo comfortable while confirming that his insides looked perfectly healthy! At morning's end, we returned M740 to his familiar turf. We'll keep an eye on his weight in the coming weeks but are feeling hopeful that he'll have his figure back in time for breeding season. Big howls of gratitude to Dr Kilgallon DVM and Dr Duffy VMD for providing M740 with paramount care!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center Lends a Helping Paw

Last week it was announced that after months of giving US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) the slip, Mexican wolf F1188, the alpha female of the Fox Mountain Pack, was captured. USFWS initially issued a kill order on the elusive loba for the depredation of cattle, but thanks to public outcry on behalf this wolf, the great folks from the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center (SWCC) offered to pay to have F1188 captured alive and to give her a permanent home at their facility in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a bittersweet victory, but the life of F1188 was spared.

With this kind gesture, the SWCC is tasked with taking care of F1188 for the rest of her life and also the cost of her capture - a large sum since the USFWS chased the lively loba for a few months. Please consider visiting the SWCC's website and sending them a note and/or donation to thank them for taking in this special loba and giving her a future. Thank you!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ambassador Wolf Atka Gets Blessed

On Saturday October 13, Atka and crew traveled across the Hudson to meet some great folks Sparkill, NY. We were invited as part of Sparkill's Christ Church's annual ECODAY -an event that offered the community a handful of presentations about parks, open space, organic home gardening, and the importance of birds and bee pollen to our local ecosystem. Atka really enjoyed his visit, but perhaps the highlight of the day was his time spent inside the quaint episcopal church.

He had a great time poking around, investigating each pew and organ pipe. At ECODAY's close, dozens of creatures great and small were scheduled to turn up at the traditional Blessing of the Animals lead by Christ Church Vicar Fr. Tom Faulkner. Before the beasts arrived, the kind Reverend blessed our Ambassador. Atka was amazing and I don't think the Reverend will ever forget the day he blessed a wolf.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

The Key to Raising Successful, Self-Sufficient Wolves

A recent article and video feature a study that explores keys to wolf pack breeding success in Yellowstone National Park. The study concludes that female body weight and pack size are the most important variables determining reproductive success and pup survival. The study also suggests that in addition to being a valuable ecological tool, wolves have proven to be an "excellent model for the study of sociality and cooperation." Article from the UCLA Newsroom:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Quick Check up for Mexican Gray Wolf M740

M740, one of the sixteen critically endangered Mexican gray wolves that call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home as part of a Species Survival Plan under the Endangered Species Act, was excited to return to his vast enclosure this morning after a quick health check. The 10-year-old male has been looking a bit thin for a few weeks so we wanted to get a closer look and some blood and fecal samples. Our team of six thought it was be a quick task, after all, our patient is older and supposedly not in tip top shape. Well, the elusive lobo ran circles around us, outwitting everyone of our schemes for over an hour. When we finally did capture the handsome wolf, we collected what we needed, gave him a quick pedicure, and set him on his way. We should know if a few days what is causing his weight loss, our fingers are crossed that it's something with a simple solution.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Fox Mountain Alpha Female Captured By USFWS

After months of giving the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) the slip, Mexican wolf F1188, the alpha female of the Fox Mountain Pack, was unfortunately captured. Back in August, USFWS issued a kill order on the elusive loba for the depredation of cattle. This news raised hackles among many wildlife advocacy organizations and their supporters. With less than 58 Mexican gray wolves in the wild, the call for her lethal removal was unacceptable and the masses agreed. The public outcry on behalf this mother with pups gained great momentum. Thankfully, not long after the kill order was issued, the great folks from the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center offered to pay to have F1188 captured alive and to give her a permanent home at their facility in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a bittersweet victory for the wolf and those of us who spoke out against the kill order, because now this critically endangered wild wolf will remain in permanent captivity. F1188 is an important member of her pack, she leaves behind her growing pups born last spring. While it's a relief her life was spared, her removal from the wild represents another unnatural challenge for the less than 58 Mexican gray wolves that currently reside in the wild and the family she leaves behind.

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi), or “lobo,” is the smallest, southernmost occurring, and most genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf in North America. Aggressive predator control programs at the turn of the century all but exterminated the Mexican wolf from the wild. With the capture of the last 7 remaining wild Mexican wolves approximately 30 years ago, a captive breeding program was initiated helping to save the Mexican wolf from extinction. Today, the captive population consists of approximately 300 animals, and encompasses close to 50 zoos and wildlife facilities throughout the United States and Mexico.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wild Harmonies Benefit

Later this month, music and wildlife conservation will converge in Santa Fe!  World renowned pianist and founder of the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), Hélène Grimaud, will make her New Mexico debut on October 23 with a solo concert at the Lensic Performing Arts Center as a part of "Wild Harmonies" - a unique two-day event to benefit New Mexico Wilderness Alliance and the WCC.

General admission Tickets start at $20 and VIP ticketing and Special Events Ticketing (all VIP events will take place in downtown Santa Fe, NM) are available too.

  • For more information, click here  
  • For General Admission and/or VIP Package tickets, click here 

To learn more about Hélène Grimaud, please enjoy this video and learn about wolves and the Center she helped create to safeguard their future.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Petition to Relist the Lobo Under the ESA Denied

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced today their decision to deny a petition to relist the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) as a separate subspecies of gray wolf (Canis lupus) under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). WildEarth Guardians petitioned to relist the Mexican wolf as a separate subspecies in 2009, apart from other gray wolf species and subspecies, in hopes that this genetically, morphologically, and geographically distinct subspecies would be afforded additional protection. In a press release, Mark Salvo, Wildlife Program Director for WildEarth Guardians states “The Service’s decision is unacceptable. The Endangered Species Act specifically allows for protection for separate subspecies of animals, and separate listing would benefit the failing, flailing Mexican wolf recovery program.” It's estimated that less than 58 Mexican wolves now call their ancestral wilds of the southwest home, and many fear that USFWS's latest decision will only further impede the recovery of this rare species.

Read WildEarth Guardians press release here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ice Age Wolves are Unlike Modern Counterparts

Alaska wolves that disappeared about 12,000 years ago are unlike the wolves running around Alaska right now. By looking at the DNA from the 12,000-yr-old wolf teeth found in the permafrost, scientists found that these Ice-Age contemporaries had no relationship to modern wolves.  Most modern wolves have  longer noses and slender skulls compared to the wide jawed wolves of the past.  “Relatively deep jaws are characteristic of habitual bone crackers, such as spotted hyenas,” wrote the scientists, including Van Valkenburgh and Jennifer Leonard of the University of Uppsala, in an article in Current Biology. The deep jaws are believed to better equip the animals to scavenge and snap through strong bones to "get at the sweetness inside."

Read more from the Valdez Star:

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wyoming's First Regulated Wolf Hunt Begins Today

Beginning today, wolves in Wyoming will be managed by the state under an approved management plan and thus Wyoming's first regulated wolf hunt begins. Wyoming’s wolf management plan is incredibly controversial. It calls for the state to:
  • Deem wolves predators in 85% 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 
Wolves will be killed in the coming weeks but there is hope that the state's management plan and hunts will not continue as planned. The following organizations filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for its decision to prematurely rescind Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in Wyoming: National Wolfwatcher Coalition, WildEarth Guardians, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, Conservation Congress, Friends of Animals, Friends of the Clearwater, and Western Watersheds Project.

 If you agree that this delisting decision turns the fate of Wyoming’s wolves over to a hostile State government, please take a moment to thank this coalition of grassroots conservation groups fighting to protect these wolves. For more information about the lawsuit and the state's controversial wolf management plan: