Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

"Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left."   ~ Aldo Leopold

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Opportunities to Take Action for America's Wolves

Nationwide Gray Wolf Delisting: What You Can Do

On June 7, 2013, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially announced its plan to remove Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the contiguous United States.

Although USFWS director Daniel M. Ashe declared victory for gray wolf recovery by stating “Wolves are recovered and they are now in good hands,” the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) shares serious concerns with the 16 scientists with expertise in carnivore taxonomy and conservation biology who believe the delisting rule is terribly premature. By stripping federal protections from wolves nationwide, wolves on the West Coast and in historically occupied areas of the southern Rockies and Northeast, may never be able to establish a viable populations despite suitable habitat and availability of prey. The ESA let our country give wolves a second chance.  With second chances so hard to come by, should we be willing to throw them away?

The USFWS’s delisting proposal is open for public comment for 90 days, ending September 11.
We encourage you to begin taking action immediately via the Federal Register - here
Our friends from National Wolfwatcher Coalition offers useful talking points here.

Future of Mexican Gray Wolves On Shaky Ground

As a participant in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival and Recovery plan and home to 14 Mexican wolves, the WCC's efforts to conserve this wolf is priority. Under USFWS's proposed rule, federal ESA protections would remain for the small population of Mexican gray wolves (Canis lupus baileyi) in the desert Southwest, the only gray wolf that would avoid delisting. This is GOOD news. The proposal, however, also includes changes to the rules governing Mexican wolf reintroduction. The one and only rule that is a welcome step in the right direction is to finally allow direct releases onto a larger area in the southwest. At present, when USFWS integrates Mexican gray wolves into the wild directly from captivity, the animals are only released into Arizona even though other parts of Mexican wolf range, like New Mexico's Gila National Forest, is home to a greater amount of available habitat. That being said, it troubles the WCC that USFWS will continue to designate  Mexican wolves as “experimental, non-essential” and prevent them from ever dispersing to last best places for wolves in Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Please do what you can to assist in Mexican wolf recovery and take this opportunity to submit your comment to USFWS re: the new proposed rule for Mexican gray wolf management. This proposal is extremely important to the future of Mexican wolves, and in order for this endangered species to recover in the wild, USFWS needs to give these wolves a real chance for recovery by allowing for more direct releases of breeding pairs into additional areas of the southwest and to recognize these wolves ARE essential.  We owe these wolves a chance.

USFWS is accepting public comments until September 11, 2013. We encourage you to begin taking action immediately via the Federal Register - here
Our friends from offers useful talking points here.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day One In Yellowstone: Micro-Mania

The Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) second troop of Yellowstone Adventurers have arrived! WCC’s Alex Spitzer and over a dozen WCC supporters will be exploring the park and it's wild denizens for the next few days and we look forward to Alex's reports from the field.

Day One:
Our first day started around 11am when we were picked up in Bozeman by our tour guides from The Wild Side. We arrived in Gardiner around 1pm and after settling in, we hopped back on the bus and rode into Mammoth. While driving through town, we came across a mother elk and her baby who were fast asleep in-between the buildings. Our tour guide Linda Thurston called this town a prey refugia; a place where prey animals could go to escape predators. Since most of the predators are fearful of humans, they tend to stay out of towns. Next we moved off to the Mammoth Hot Springs, a geothermal feature just outside of town.

In many of the active areas, we were able to see areas of orange, red, and yellow, which are thermophyllic microorganisms that thrive in these extremely hot microclimates. Research has and still is being done on these microorganisms. DNA replication techniques that are used today came from researching these little guys. After a fantastic catered dinner, we turned in for the night listening to Yellowstone River just outside our rooms.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Day in the Life of Atka

He's a teacher, a rock star, a hero, and a wolf.  Now it's time to see what a day in Atka's life is really like.  Enjoy!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Saving a Species - 2013 Red Wolf Annual Meeting

Representatives from over 40 facilities participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) have "packed up" to attend the annual Red Wolf Species Survival Plan meeting in Florida's Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park!  This meeting brings together Fish and Wildlife Agencies, many zoo representatives, endangered species reproductive specialists, and Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) curator Rebecca Bose to tackle the all issues associated with conserving the other species of wolf, the red wolf.

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. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered  species in 1973, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, 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. Since then, the experimental population area has expanded to include three national wildlife refuges, a Department of Defense bombing range, state-owned lands, and private property, spanning a total of 1.7 million acres.

An estimated 90-110 red wolves roam the wilds of northeastern North Carolina and another 200 or so comprise the captive breeding program, still an essential element of red wolf recovery. The WCC is currently home to five red wolves, 8-year-old F1397 lives on exhibit with her two 3-year-old sons, M1803 and M1804, and ten-year-old F1291 lives off exhibit with her 8-year-old mate M1394. 

We're looking forward to hearing Rebecca’s reports from the meeting so we can update you on all aspects of the program including all red wolf breeding plans, transfer recommendations, and how to best recover a sustainable population in the wild. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Landscape Advice from Raynor Czerwinski

Isle of Rum from Singing Sands Beach
People love the stunning landscape photography of our Artist of the Month, Raynor Czerwinski, so we asked him for advice about shooting landscapes and whether special equipment was necessary.

Raynor: I often preach that the camera does not matter. The best camera is the one you have with you and stays out of your way. What I mean by that is most cameras these days have complex menu systems mostly containing settings and options you will never need; a person can get lost in there! People miss shots all the time fumbling with their systems, be it the camera, tripod, or filters. It's a great idea to get to know your camera before you head out to shoot. It's much nicer experience fumbling with your camera while you are trying to photograph your dog, than doing it while there is once in a lifetime light happening all around you.

A few pieces of gear that I find indispensable:

Graduated Neutral Density Filters: 
I use these 98% of the time for two reasons.  The first is obvious: Neutral Density Graduated Filters are used to balance the exposure within a scene – typically between the bright sky and considerably darker land. The other less known benefit of these filters is that when you use these filters you can see definition, color, and patterns in the clouds and sky. This allows you to more easily create relationships between the foreground and background.

A great tripod and ball-head:

Tripods might not be the most exciting topic of conversation when it comes to photography gear, but they are what you literally place your entire system they are quite important. I'd recommend carbon fiber: it's light, absorbs vibration, and won't fuse to your fingers in cold weather. As for ball heads I've not found an equal to Acratech's Ultimate Ball-head, light, simple, and easy to use.

"L" brackets:

L brackets allow you to switch from portrait to landscape orientation and vice versa - efficiently, without the need to tilt your ball head and re-level the shot. It's is a huge hassle to drop your camera down to the side of your tripod to take a shot in portrait orientation, you will lose the composition you worked so hard at creating.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Think Like A Mountain For Mexican Gray Wolves

The Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) efforts to conserve Mexican gray wolves is priority. It's crunch time for the Mexican wolf, the future of the planet's most endangered wolf is on shaky ground.  Although the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service's  (USFWS) proposal to change the rules governing the Mexican wolf reintroduction does include ONE step in the right direction, to finally allow direct releases onto a larger area of the wild landscape in the southwest,  USFWS will continue to designate  Mexican wolves as "experimental, non-essential" and prevent lobos from ever dispersing to last best places for wolves in Grand Canyon region, including northern Arizona and southern Utah, or to northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.  The problems with this proposal was among the themes over the past few days at the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project's awareness raising event - Paseo Del Lobo Big Lake Howliday Campout Weekend.

Joined by dedicated Mexican wolf advocates from Defenders of Wildlife, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, White Mountain Conservation League,, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Sierra Club, several citizen advocates, individual supporters and filmmakers in the process of filming a Mexican Gray Wolf Documentary, it was an honor to be among the participants in attendance.  The event also included many family members.  Several young adults and pre-teens were in attendance, as well as one very special six-year-old who also happens to be my daughter. The event took place in Arizona's  Apache National Forest in the Mexican Wolf recovery area and included great activities like wildlife and wolf tracking workshops with wildlife tracking experts, hikes on the Paseo del Lobo trail, and evening talks by a handful of presenters including wildlife biologist Craig Miller who was present at the very first lobo release in 15 years ago, Lobo advocate Roxanne George, wolf activists and conservationists Jean and Peter Ossorio, members from Arizona Fish and Game,  and yours truly to discuss the WCC's role in lobo recovery as a participant in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan.

The weekend offered a time to exchange ideas, educate one another, and to recharge in preparation of important work to come.  Even though all of us at the three-day pow-wow were dumped on by monsoon rains, close to freezing temperatures, and an uncomfortably close lightning strike that almost charged a good number of us off the ridge overlooking Aldo Leopold's Green Fire Trail, our spirits were not dampened.

On the final day, several of us revisited the site that inspired some of Aldo Leopold's most powerful words from his essay "Thinking Like a Mountain."  As I stood on the very spot where this most influential conservation thinker of the twentieth century "reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes," it was difficult to fend off emotions of sadness, gratitude, and understanding. Is it possible that Leopold had realized the far-reaching impact his words would have?  As I sat where he long ago came to realize the importance of the lobo, I felt as if he had then imagined us walking in his footsteps to behold the inspiration of his revelation.  I explained to my daughter why the view was more than breathtaking,  and without many words, she seemed to grasp its significance.

"Without wolves, the mountain is sick," she explained. "The mountain needs wolves."
She got it.  Wolves are a critical keystone species in a healthy ecosystem. By regulating prey populations, wolves enable many other species of plants and animals to flourish. In this regard, wolves "touch" songbirds, beaver, fish, and butterflies.  Without predators, such as wolves, the system fails to support a natural level of biodiversity.  The mountain gets sick

“I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. And perhaps with better cause, for while a buck pulled down by wolves can be replaced in two or three years, a range pulled down by too many deer may fail of replacement in as many decades.”

This year marks the 15 year anniversary of the first releases of Mexican wolves back into the wild in the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.  I look forward to honoring the lobo and their recovery again, and to be greeted by the howls that these mountains will forever understand.

Please do what you can to assist in lobo recovery and take this opportunity to submit your comment to USFWS re: the new proposed rule for Mexican gray wolf management. This proposal is extremely important to the future of Mexican wolves, and in order for this endangered species to recover in the wild, USFWS needs to give these wolves a real chance for recovery by allowing for more direct releases of breeding pairs into additional areas of the southwest.  We owe these wolves a chance.
Our friends from Mexican gray wolves offers a link to comment and useful talking points HERE.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

WCC Artist of the Month Raynor Czwerinski

We're already halfway through the first month of our inaugural Artist of the Month program, so it's about time we gave you a little more information about our artist Raynor Czerwinski!
Early Shadow and Lupine (Crested Butte, CO)

One of Raynor's favorite photographic subjects is the area around Crested Butte, Colorado, where he has lived for about a decade, so we asked him about the unique way he ended up settling there.  

Raynor:  In 2002 I spent about 7 months bike touring around Europe. One thing I noticed is that Europe is a collection of small towns strung together, and I really like the small town vibe. I returned home to Seattle and worked throughout the winter, all the while researching small mountain towns in the US. It came down tho three. Jackson Hole, Crested Butte, and Telluride. I packed up all my belongings to be shipped once I had an address, stored them in my sister's garage, and set off on my bike. It took me one month (just under 2000 miles) to get to Crested Butte. On the way I passed through Jackson Hole, a bit to busy for my liking. I arrived in CB and decided to go no further, it was exactly what I was looking for, small town, 9000 feet in the Rocky Mountains, and beautiful scenery right out my back door.
Another notable feature is the breadth of Raynor's work; his landscapes are spectacular,  but he also shoots action, candids, flowers, architectural features, etc. So we asked him what he looks for in a subject and whether he has a favorite subject.  

Harris Horse (Luskentyre Beach, Scotland)
Raynor: I believe that subject matter is secondary, or even tertiary to how the light is affecting the subject and how the main subject is arranged in the frame. I'd rather see a well-lit and composed photograph of a dung beetle, than the Golden Gate Bridge photographed in unflattering light. 

I'm constantly looking for relationships within the frame. A pattern or shape mirrored or answered between foreground and background, kelp swirling in a tide-pool on a beach and a similar cloud pattern in the sky for example.  Bright yellow flowers in the foreground and a purple sky after sunset (complementary colors).

It is paramount that one arranges the shapes (mountains, a grove of aspen, rivers)  in a frame to support one subject; if you have more than one main subject, the image becomes cluttered and visually confusing. 
Raynor has clearly established something of a signature style and has had his work featured on the cover of Crested Butte Magazine, used by Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and hung in various establishments around town. So we asked him about his future goals.
Crested Butte Magazine, where he has been a cover artist, by Crested Butte Mountain Resort, - See more at:
Crested Butte Magazine, where he has been a cover artist, by Crested Butte Mountain Resort, - See more at:

Raynor: I would like to lead small (4-6 people) international guided photo tours and workshops. I think exploring and experiencing a foreign place through photography is a
great way to do that. One of the many great things about photography is it helps you to become more visually aware, and in doing so, keeps you in the present moment.
(Note: Raynor currently offers workshops and lessons in the Crested Butte area and will be assisting noted photographer Bruce Percy at a workshop in Iceland this fall.)

Raynor's work can be viewed at his website; he'll be generously donating a percentage of all of this month's online sales to the WCC. Stay tuned for his tips on shooting great landscapes!

Timber Wolf. Literally.

Ever see a wolf climb a tree? We hadn't until Ambassador wolf Alawa showed off her Tarzan-like skills!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

"Wolf conservation has become a dramatic expression of the goodness of the human spirit. It shows that we respect the rights of other life-forms, even when they may cause problems. It shows that we are capable and committed to correcting the mistakes of the past. Wolf restoration is a touchstone for measuring our reverence for what we have inherited and for the legacy we leave our children.” 

~ Mike Phillips (Former Yellowstone Wolf Restoration Project Leader)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Day Four in Yellowstone, Thanks for the Wild Memories

A Final Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) Yellowstone Adventure report from WCC’s Spencer Wilhelm (for this year that is!) 

Today was our final day in the field trying to observe wolves.  "Trying" was the key word. Unfortunately, today was about as hot as a fresh bison patty.  We did see wildlife, such as bison, badger, pelican, bald eagle, big horn sheep, and osprey to mention a few, but no wolves.  However, today as we scoped the valleys and the hills we were joined by several special guests. Throughout the day Scott Frazier, a member of the Crow Indian Nation, guided us along our travels with stories of when he was a boy and how he remembers the park.  Scott was a special guest in 1995 when wolves were returned to the park.  He and members of his tribe were invited to preform a "welcome home" prayer ceremony.  Our group was fortunate to be able participate in our own ceremony today.

During our lunch break we were treated to wolf poetry and each of us was presented with a special memento in the form of an actual plaster cast of various wolves who once called Yellowstone home. Although these particular wolves are gone we will treasure these casts forever.

At dinner our guests just kept getting better.  We were joined by Dr. James Halfpenny who is the worlds foremost animal tracker and also the host to all our evenings at his Track Education Center.  Dave Hornoff, of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition was also there. Our presenter for the evening was Bob Landis.  Bob is a wonderful wildlife film maker and has told many stories about Yellowstone and her wolves.  Tonight we were fortunate to view special footage from his newest project.  Many of you may know of Gray Female 06, which is the subject of this project. Bob believes that this film will be release sometime in the winter.  This is a MUST see.  What a terrific animal and an even better story of her life.  Thanks Bob!

Tomorrow many of us will head to the airport.  Another trip has past.  Memories were made.  If you've never been to Yellowstone or even if it has been a while since your last trip then you must come.  She is calling you.
Thanks again to our wonderful guides -  Nathan, Linda and all of The Wild Side Crew.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Day Three In Yellowstone, Wings In Lieu of Wolves

Another WILD Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) Yellowstone Adventure report from WCC’s Spencer Wilhelm. 

Once again began before sunrise.  Shortly after we entered the park I notice three Mountain goats (2 adults and 1 kid) on the steep mountain cliff while on our way to Hayden Valley in search of the Canyon Pack.  Continuing  down the road we had a brief coffee break at Swan flats.  Mist covered the lake, but added a dramatic effect to the view of elk and sandhill cranes.
Now in Hayden, after a series of Bison road blocks, we scoped the valley, but no wolves were in site.  However, a momma grizzly, her two year old cub, ravens, and a bald eagle kept us quit entertained for some time.

During mid day we stopped to visit some the thermal features such as the Mud Volcano. After some lunch we headed to Yellowstone's Grand Canyon for a hike to see the magnificent views of the Upper and Lower Falls.  Truly a site to see.

As we head back to base camp in Gardiner all seemed quiet until we were almost ready to exit the park.  Yellowstone wouldn't let us leave.  Within a few moments we found another bald eagle in a tree, a cinnamon black bear along the river, and several female and juvenile big horn sheep.
At dinner we were joined by Scott Frazier of the Crow Indian tribe.  Scott will join us in the park tomorrow to help us better understand the history of Native Americans and their relationship with the park and surrounding areas.  We'll be heading back to the northern range in search of any of the four wolf packs that occupy the area.

Changes to Montana's Wolf Hunt Season Has Hackles Raised

On July 10, Montana Fish and Wildlife commissioners approved the state's 2013-2014 wolf hunt plan, a plan that includes changes that will prove devastating to wolves living in Montana.  Changes to Montana's wolf hunt season in  include:
  • The "bag limit," or number or wolves killed per person was increased from 1 to 5 wolves
  • The length of the rifle season was increased, giving hunters six months to kill wolves.
  • Hunters and trappers (2013/2014 will be the second year of trapping in Montana) will be able to use electronic calls
  • New restrictions in areas adjacent to Yellowstone National Park limiting hunters and trappers to one wolf per person taken just outside of the park’s northern boundary, and allowing a total of only seven wolves to be harvested in that area. (12 Yellowstone wolves were killed in the 2012-2013 season after traveling beyond the protection of the park's reach into adjacent areas of MT, ID & WY.)
A total of 225 wolves were killed by hunters and trappers last season. Montana Fish and Wildlife estimated the state’s wolf population at 625 at the end of 2012, a decline from 2011.

A great way to support wolves and their recovery is by writing a Letter to the Editor (LTE). A letter by WCC’s Maggie Howell was published in today’s Salt Lake Tribune re: a recent article about Montana's 2013-2014 wolf hunt and the threat it poses to Yellowstone wolves. You too can join the conversation. If you’re interested in learning how to write an effective LTE, please visit National Wolfwatcher Coalition’s website page dedicated to this process.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day Two in Yellowstone, "Spitfire" Sightings

Here's the latest  Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) Yellowstone Adventure report from WCC's Spencer Wilhelm.

Today we began our adventure with the goals of heading to Lamar Valley in search of wolves.  Driving into the park as the sun is rising is my favorite time in the park.  First we came across a very large herd of bison who where quickly headed to Tower Junction and greener pastures.  I am in awe by the number of calves this year.  Once we began our descent in Lamar Valley we were quickly instructed  by the Yellowstone Wolf Project to head to a certain pullout off the road.  Wolves where in sight along with three grizzly bears. It was quick but we came across the Junction Butte Pack where we saw six wolves heading over Specimen Ridge.  If that was our wolf viewing for the day then I was content.

Moments later as we continued into the valley, just off the park road we found a found a young black female wolf, commonly know to a few as "Spitfire"  of the Lamar Canyon Pack.  Shortly she was out of view, but all of a sudden we saw 759M, a black male of the same pack.  He gave us quite a view from the top of the ridge.

It was now roughly 9am. Normally viewing wolves gets tougher as the morning comes to a close, so we headed to Trout Lake to search for river otter.  No luck with otters, but we had a nice hike and saw some beautiful golden eye ducks.

Lunch was hosted by wildlife photographer Dan Hartman.  It's always a pleasure to here his stories and to visit his gallery of photos.  Continuing with the journey we found mountain goat, black bear, bald eagles and again "Spitfire".  We spent about 45 minutes watching Spitfire from the park road as she crossed rivers, searched for snacks in the willow, and a little nap in the sand next to the river.  We let her sleep and headed back towards base camp for dinner and a nap.  All in all, it was one of my best days in the park.  I can't wait till tomorrow.  We head to Hayden Valley in search of the Canyon pack and their reported three pups.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Day One In Yellowstone, Moonlit Mammoth


The Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) Yellowstone Adventure has officially begun! WCC's Spencer Wilhelm and over a dozen WCC supporters arrived in Bozeman, Montana last night.  No doubt visions of wolves and bison (and so much more!) danced in their dreams so after a good nights sleep,  the crew was eager to arrive at their destination - Yellowstone National Park!  In order to reach Yellowstone, the group traveled through Paradise Valley, a scenic trip  offering breathtaking views. Upon reaching the Park at day's end, the WCC adventurers watched the rising crescent  moon and wondered what other Yellowstone denizens were gazing up at that very sight.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Recently Released Mexican Gray Wolf Shot and Killed

Just moments ago, we received devastating news from Defenders of Wildlife. Another of the world’s most endangered wolves has been illegally shot and killed. The incident is under investigation, but the victim, Mexican gray wolf F1108, had been mothering a den of young pups so her pups are also assumed to be dead as well.  

Mexican wolf F1108 had only a couple of months to enjoy her rightful place in the wild, and her pups knew no other home than the wild landscape. There are many natural factors that can make survival difficult for individual wolves, but there is nothing natural about these deaths.  Because of this devastating tragedy, only two breeding pairs remain in the wild. 

The death of F1108 weighs heavy on our hearts, but our commitment to our mission and the recovery of Mexican gray wolves in the wild remains strong.  While tragic, these shootings strengthen our resolve to restore these majestic creatures to their ancestral home in the wilds of the Southwest and to raise awareness about this misunderstood predator. Please take this opportunity to submit your comment to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) re: the new proposed rule for Mexican gray wolf management. This proposal is extremely important to the future of Mexican wolves, and in order for this endangered species to recover in the wild, USFWS needs to give these wolves a real chance for recovery by allowing for more direct releases of breeding pairs into additional areas of the southwest. We owe these wolves a chance.

Our friends from Mexican gray wolves offers a link to comment & useful talking points HERE.

More on the unlawful death of M1108 HERE.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” - Mahatma Gandhi

2013 Mexican Wolf Annual Meeting Begins

Representatives from dozens of facilities participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) are heading south of the border!  Although the trip might involve a bit of sightseeing, the destination is Centro Ecol√≥gico del Estado de Sonora (CEES) in Hermosillo, Sonora (MEXICO) for the MWSSP Annual Meeting to tackle the all issues associated with conserving the lobo. This meeting is bringing together Fish and Wildlife Agencies from both US and Mexico, endangered species reproductive specialists, and many other organization representatives including Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) curator Rebecca Bose. The bulk of the meeting will begin Thursday but Rebecca, as a member of the Mexican Wolf Management Group, will get right down to business just a couple of hours after crossing the border later this evening to discuss all important matters concerning the 300 captive Mexican gray wolves that call the U.S. and Mexico home.  Other items on the meeting agenda include:
  • Report on the status of Mexican wolf recovery in both Mexico and the U.S.
  • Report on the Mexican wolf SSP and the status of the global captive studbook population
  • Report on reproductive research in 2013 and needs for 2014
  • Criteria for selection of breeding pairs
  • Gamete banking plan and criteria for selection of candidates
  • Select pairs for breeding in 2014
  • Select semen and oocyte collection candidates for 2014
  • Select candidates for release in 2014
We're looking forward to hearing Rebecca’s reports from the meeting so we can update you on all aspects of the program including how to best recover a sustainable population in the wild. Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Anniversary of a Lobo's Call to the Wild

Today marks the 7th anniversary since captive born Mexican gray wolves F838 and M806 were restored to their ancestral home in the wilds of the Southwest.  The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) was first introduced to F838 in November of 2004 when she and her three sisters were transferred from the Minnesota Zooogical Garden to the WCC as yearlings. Our Center was selected to care for these wolves as a participant in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP). We had the enclosure space available and the luxury of allowing them to reside off exhibit in a natural environment with minimal human contact.

When the sisters arrived, we were relatively new to the MWSSP program and were honored to be a part of the recovery effort. Less than a year later and with much jubilation we received the most exciting news: F838 (pictured) was chosen for release to the wild Southwest!  F838 was introduced to male Mexican wolf M806, and a number of months later on July 6, 2006, the pair and their two 12-week-old pups, dubbed the Meridian Pack, were placed in a temporary mesh holding pen in eastern Arizona.  Likely aware of the freedom just beyond the mesh, the pack eagerly freed themselves within twenty-four hours ready to bring an ecosystem back to balance.

Only two captive born lobos have be since been successfully released into the wild. The lobos are ready and the wild is calling, it's time to release some wolves.

For more resources about the Mexican gray wolf and what you can do to assist in their recovery, please visit

Friday, July 5, 2013

Common Cents: Empowering Kids to Make Change

As an environmental education organization, the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) strives to promote wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. By providing science-based education programming with Ambassador wolves, not only are we helping to dispel the harmful untruths about wolves, we're also improving our efforts to successfully restore endangered wolves to their ancestral homes in the wild. It's a marriage really, of education and conservation.

Through wolves, however, we aim not only to improve our recovery goals, we also strive to teach the broader message of conservation and one's personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our World. We extend education programming always with the effort to link the wolf to global issues and empower our participants with the understanding of their ability to force change. Perhaps this is why it's is so exciting to see the how the Common Cent's Penny Harvest program is granting youngsters with the ability to change the world by introducing them to the power of philanthropy and service.

The great middle school students of PS 144Q from Forest Hills, NY participated in a democratic process to choose a charity to support and the WCC was blessed to among the chosen! So it is our pleasure to send LOUD howls of gratitude to these pint-sized philanthropists. With kids like these, the future is looking bright.

To learn more about Common Cents and their exciting service-learning programs for young people, please visit their website at

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wishing You A Wild 4th of July

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

"If you're not a tree hugger, then you're a what, a tree hater?"
 ~ Douglas Coupland

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Honoring Jean Craighead George

Today we remember Jean Craighead George, it would have been her 94th birthday today. The Newbery Medal-winning author and environmentalist remains an inspiration for children and adults all of the world. Her timeless works include:
  • Julie of the Wolves
  • My Side of the Mountain
  • The Wolves are Back
and over a hundred others!  Jean will always be a cherished member of the WCC "pack," her commitment to children and the wild will continue to stir passion within everyone who opens her books.  Every time Atka got to see his dear friend, he was unable to resist singing just for her.  Today, we all sing for our hero.

Jean Craighead George R.I.P. (July 2, 1919 - May 15, 2012).