Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tommy Whiteley - Young Conservationist Creating A Brighter Future

 Wolves, recovery, and the status of this keystone species continue to be hot topics here in our country and many wildlife advocates are feeling 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! Earlier this week Wolf Conservation Center supporter and intern Tommy Whiteley was recognized for his amazing efforts to make our world a better place!

The White House Science Fair is an annual event hosted by President Obama to honor those who show promise in STEM-related fields. Tommy was invited to the fair as a result of being a National Winner in a Rocket21 & Captain Planet Foundation "Dream Green to Save the Planet" Innovation Competition, and for his scientific experience including working here at the Wolf Conservation Center. Tommy's winning submission combined engineering with the science of evolution and nature to present a practical solution for combating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. His design is a filtration system for ocean-going barges, that mimic the feeding methods of baleen whales. While at the fair, Tommy met many renowned scientists, including Bill Nye the Science Guy and many chief scientific advisers to President Obama. In addition to these accomplished adults, Tommy met many blossoming scientists with genius ideas and inventions.

Tommy exemplifies the amazing potential of his generation to participate as educated agents of change in our society. We can't wait to follow his future endeavors - Way to go, Tommy!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Pupdate - Ambassador Wolf Pup Nikai Visits the Doc!

Don't worry, little Nikai isn't sick! Eight-week-old Nikai was simply getting a checkup - a smart idea for all kids! On Wednesday Nikai visited the Wolf Conservation Center's lead volunteer veterinarian, Norwalk Veterinary Hospital's Dr Charlie Duffy DVM.  Nikai received his first distemper vaccination without putting up a fuss - he was a complete angel! He handled the examination like a pro, and wowed Dr Duffy's great team with his unique puppy swagger. The kiddo weighed in 9.5 pounds - WOW - and at the end of his visit he received a clean bill of health.  Enormous thanks to Dr Duffy and his amazing staff for taking such great care of the WCC family!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Companion Pictures Brings One Inside Our Wolf Pack

Companion Pictures brings you inside our wolf pack at the Wolf Conservation Center! Via a series of short films we'll be sharing weekly, the independent production company is helping us teach people about the importance and plight of a misunderstood species. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Pupdate! Ambassador Wolf Pup Nikai Has a Nanny

As an Ambassador, wolf pup Nikai will help teach people about the importance and plight of his misunderstood species. Developing a basic comfort level around people is vital to his becoming an educational ambassador and leading a happy and healthy life at the Wolf Conservation Center. Kai the German Shepherd has proven to be a great nanny! He's assisting our team in raising Nikai, providing canine companionship & bridging the gap between the human and canine world. We'll be updating everyone with 'pupdates' throughout the summer here online and on the WCC's Facebook page, so be sure to stay tuned!

Alaska's War on Wildlife

 In Alaska's wildlife war, the federal government via the National Park Service (NPS) continues to fight as the state ramps up predator control to artificially boost moose, caribou and deer populations. The NPS understands that the 1916 Organic Act tasks them with maintaining healthy populations of ALL animals – not just those people eat.

"To increase the (caribou) population might not be a smart move based on ecological carrying capacity," notes John Burch, a federal wolf biologist. If Alaska continues to call for culls of 60 to 80 percent of Fortymile's wolf population, he says, the caribou could eat themselves out of house and home."

Alaska's 2014 hunting regulations are once again largely the same for national preserves as for state land. Read more from High Country News.

To learn more about Alaska’s War on Wolves and Bears, please visit National Parks Conservation Association.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Did Animal Planet Hear Our Howls?

Animal Planet's sensational and thoroughly misleading show "Man-eating Super Wolves" was NOT on TV this evening as scheduled and it's no longer slated to air tomorrow morning either. Is it possible our collective outcry made a difference? Stay tuned!

Sadly, the channel replaced the show with "Man-eating Super Crocs."  Our apologies to the crocs,  much work remains to be done...

Educating Animal Planet About Real Wolves - Part Four

 Animal Planet has been receiving a lot of heat since falsely portraying wolves as man-eating beasts in their sensational and thoroughly misleading "Super Wolves" program. Petitions demanding the channel pull the programming has been circulating widely. Animal Planet, however, is right about something -- wolves and other wild animals often demonstrate that they are indeed SUPER! Today’s #SUPERWOLF was nominated by lobo citizen advocate Jean Ossorio. Thank you, Jean!

In the 360 days I’ve spent camping and hiking in the Mexican wolf recovery area in eastern Arizona and Western New Mexico, I’ve seen 44 of the animals in the wild. I try to learn as much as I can about their stories. One lobo stands out not only as a super wolf, but a super dad.

Mexican wolf M1038 came into the world in a den in the wild in New Mexico in 2006. Like all lobos, he was born blind, deaf, and completely dependent first on his mother’s milk, and later, on the hunting skills of his parents and the other members of his family, or pack. During his first year he remained with his pack, learning how to be a wolf.

In early 2008 he had left his birth family, found a female wolf, and settled down in new territory, forming the Fox Mountain Pack. On June 23, 2008, the Mexican wolf field team observed three pups with the pack. Sadly, the following day the adult female wolf was found dead of a gunshot wound. The three little pups, only a few weeks old, were left without a mother.

Unlike some mammals, male wolves play a strong role in raising their young, but hunting and caring for three pups posed a huge challenge to M1038. The field team pitched in and gave him a hand by caching food for the little family. A remote camera placed by the food cache showed that M1038 himself had an injured rear leg. In spite of his injury, this super wolf succeeded in raising all three pups until the end of the year. Two of those pups, now six years old, are leaders of their own packs in the wild.

Late in 2009 the field team lost his radio signal. Although they considered him “fate unknown,” M1038 wasn’t lost forever. In September 2011 the field team observed two adult wolves and a younger wolf with the three pups of the Hawk’s Nest Pack. The breeding female of that pack, F1110, had lost her mate to a gunshot in 2010, and she herself had fallen to a lightning strike in August 2011.

One of the adults observed with the pups in September had a “non-functioning rear leg and white radio collar,” according to the wolf project monthly update. It was M1038! Again, he was left with young pups to rear, but this time he had the help of F1208, a daughter of F1110 by her previous mate.

He and F1208 paired up and produced a litter of pups in 2012. In December, tragedy struck for the third time. F1208 was found dead by gunshot, leaving M1038 alone for the third time. Never one to give up, however, this valiant super wolf has found a fourth mate, a dispersing female from the Bluestem Pack, F1280. Last month the field team saw signs that the Hawk’s Nest Pack is denning again in Arizona. M1038, the lobo super dad with the non-functioning leg may have another litter of pups to rear. This time I hope his mate survives to help him.

Stay tuned for more SUPER wolf stories and learn more about Mexican gray wolves at

Monday, May 26, 2014

Educating Animal Planet About Real Wolves - Part Three

Animal Planet has been receiving a lot of heat since falsely portraying wolves as man-eating beasts in their sensational and thoroughly misleading "Super Wolves" program. Petitions demanding the channel pull the programming has been circulating widely. Animal Planet, however, is right about something -- wolves and other wild animals often demonstrate that they are indeed SUPER!  Today's #SUPERWOLF is Yellowstone wolf 10M.

On March 21, 1995, Yellowstone wolf 10M was the first to leave the acclimation pen and became the first wolf to roam Yellowstone in nearly 70 years. In April he became a father, creating a new generation of wild Yellowstone wolves. On April 23rd, he was illegally shot and killed by a single bullet.

Though his life was cut short in his prime, Yellowstone Wolf 10M made a lasting impression. Outweighing nearly every other wolf introduced in to Yellowstone, it was his confidence which made him so impressive. “He remains in many ways an ideal icon of the reintroduction: both a symbol of the extraordinary strength of wolves – their ability to thrive if given a chance – and at the same time, a reminder of how frail such vitality can be in the face of humans.” 10M was a #SUPERWOLF.

 Stay tuned for more SUPER wolf stories and learn more about 10M in Dr Doug Smith’s "Decade of the Wolf."

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Educating Animal Planet About Real Wolves – Part Two

 Animal Planet has been receiving a lot of heat since falsely portraying wolves as man-eating beasts in their sensational and thoroughly misleading "Super Wolves" program. Petitions demanding the channel pull the programming has been circulating widely. Animal Planet, however, is right about something -- wolves and other wild animals often demonstrate that they are indeed SUPER!

The "Bulls Boys" were two red wolf brothers who were brought to North Carolina in 1989 from Bulls Island where they had lived with their parents on the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge in South Carolina. Released into the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, the "Boys" raised their respective families in the same territory. Sadly, one of the brothers was killed several years after their release as he was crossing a road. This surviving sibling, 331M reached the age when he was no longer the breeding male of his pack (he had sired at least 22 pups in 7 litters in his prime). However, the pack tolerated the old man's presence, and there are some stories that the other wolves in his family provided food for him until he died at age 13. He was a #SUPERWOLF, and his genes live on in the wild population in northeastern North Carolina. Michael Morse, one of the field team, still says, "I hope it's true what the old-timers say. All dogs go to heaven."

Stay tuned for more SUPER wolf stories and learn more about the boys here.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Montana Wolf Stamp is Step, But in What Direction?

While the Montana Wolf Stamp is an excellent beginning that should be considered a work in progress by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) commission, this should not be considered a done deal. Those who consider buying a wolf stamp need to understand that FWP did not formally announce their own version of Natural Resources Defense Council's (NRDC) draft proposal. It seems the final proposal will be announced by the end of the summer and a public comment period will follow. We don't yet know if it will include all, part, or none of NRDC's suggested language. Interestingly, MT state legislature DID pass legislation that grants landowners the right to kill an additional 100 wolves annually. In addition to this new kill quota of 100, wolves will be killed in MT’s trophy hunting and trapping season, and by USDA’s wildlife Services for any conflict with livestock. So buyer beware...

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Educating Animal Planet About Real Wolves

 Animal Planet has been receiving a lot of heat since falsely portraying wolves as man-eating beasts in their sensational and thoroughly misleading "Super Wolves" program. Petitions demanding the channel pull the programming has been circulating widely. Animal Planet, however, is right about something -- wolves and other wild animals often demonstrate that they are indeed SUPER!  We'll be spotlighting just a fraction of the SUPER animal that we've learned about of the coming days.

In 1991 there was a radio collared wolf named "Pluie" who over a 2 year period traveled over 40,000 square miles! Her amazing trek revealed her species' wandering ways and inspired scientists to think about conservation at much larger scales. To this day, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative credits this wolf for initiating continental-scale conservation.

Pluie is a real #SUPERWOLF! Stay tuned for more SUPER wolf stories and learn more about Pluie here

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Meet Ambassador Wolf Pup Nikai!

Welcoming a new pup is always a joyous occasion for a pack. So throw back your head and let out a long welcoming howl for Nikai - the newest adorable addition to the Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador Pack! As an Ambassador, Nikai will help WCC wolves Atka, Zephyr, and Alawa open the door to understanding the importnace of their wild kin. The kiddo will make his debut in early June and if you're unable to hear his squeaky howl in person, please join us online or on Facebook to follow his growth and adventures. It should be fun (and educational) watching him thrive and become yet another powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves' rightful place in the environment.

Celebrate Nikai and the importance of a well-educated public with a puppy shower donation!

Enter "Nikai" in the comments field to: 
Receive an 8x10 photo with your gift of $50 or more
Receive a photo and Nikai wolf pup doll with your gift of $100 or more!

Your support is critical. It will help our efforts to educate adults and children about the importance and plight of this misunderstood species. The wolf's future relies on a well-educated public to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us, wildlife, and future generations. Thank you!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Opening the Door To Understanding Wolves

Yesterday, Ambassador wolf Atka turned 12 years old! It’s hard to believe our Ambassador pup is all grown up. Atka has touched so many since his puppy-hood. He's traveled to over 1000 schools, libraries, museums, and more, always impressing the masses with his rock-star attitude. He’s a true road warrior, an inspiration, and for Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers – the best boss we’ll ever have. It's our mission to recover wolf populations in North America and Atka opens the door to understanding his misunderstood species. By educating adults and children about the importance and plight of his wild kin, he helps mobilize support and advocates for wolves who are unable speak for themselves. We are so grateful for Atka and the incredible impact he's had on so many. Big thanks to a great team of students from SUNY New Paltz for creating this educational film about Atka, the Wolf Conservation Center, and our efforts to recover wolves on the wild landscape.

Waning Wolf from ian todaro on Vimeo.

(Film correction: Founding population for the red wolf was 14 and the current wild population is close to 100)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happy Birthday, Atka!

Did you know that Ambassador wolf Atka has been keeping a journal all his life? In honor of his 12th birthday, we thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of his first journal entries.  We hope you enjoy the journey!

May 17, 2002

I was born in Minnesota to Jack and Thelma, two of the few Arctic wolves in captivity. Given my heritage, I'll undoubtedly have pure white fur when I get older. For now, I have dark fur, weigh less than one pound and I'm just too sleepy to ...

May 24, 2002 (one week old)

Oh boy, my first plane ride! Too bad I slept through the entire trip to my new home at the WCC. At 2lbs., I was easy to carry in a ferret bag. When I got here, they fed me some delicious stuff. I wanted to bite the nipple right off the bottle and guzzle the whole thing. But, I guess I need teeth for that. Some day! Rumor is the bottle contains goat milk, plain yogurt, egg yolk, beef baby food, rice cereal and unflavored gelatin. Sounds gross but tastes great. Time for a nap.

May 24, 2002 (ten days old)

Hey, while everything's a bit fuzzy, I'm actually beginning to see things now that my eyes are open. Wonder what these little bumps are in my mouth that make me want to chew on everything?

June 1, 2002 (two weeks old)

Wow! Not only am I seeing things, but I'm also starting to hear things. I even treated myself to a little howl. A bit pathetic, but I'll work on it. I also discovered that if I concentrate on my legs, I can actually walk versus waddling and crawling all over my mattress and floor.

June 21, 2002 (five weeks old)

 Hey, where's my formula? Oh, they've mixed it with ground chicken, those clever humans. Not bad! I guess at 7lbs. 2oz. I could stand to add a little meat to my diet.

July 4, 2002 (seven weeks old)

 Today I got to play outside all day. What a blast! I ate some green stuff and rolled in everything. Hey world, here I come!

September 10, 2002

 Apache is a ton of fun, even when he’s bossy. It's weird, but I'm starting to notice that I can't get away with my "puppy" behavior quite as much anymore. Perhaps I'm not as cute as I think I am? Hah! Who am I kidding!

May 17, 2014

Today I turn 12 years old. Yep, still got it! Good looks, charm, and the ladies loves me!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Wildlife Services Exposed by Predator Defense

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.  It turns out that Wildlife Services has had a terrible impact on a number of families too. Since 2000, the federal agency has fatally trapped/poisoned 1299 dogs by mistake. And with your tax dollars... To learn more about the barbaric, wasteful, and misnamed federal agency which kills over 100,000 native predators and millions of birds each year, please watch Predator Defense's newest film, EXPOSED.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Court Places Injunction On Coyote Hunting to Safeguard Endangered Wolves

 In an order issued on May 13, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle placed a preliminary injunction on coyote hunting in the five-county red wolf recovery area in northeastern North Carolina. This order will work to protect the world’s wild population of red wolves! Critically endangered red wolves have been decimated by gunshot mortality in recent years, in part because red wolves are frequently mistaken for coyotes, even in daylight.

“Today’s decision provides the thoughtful, balanced approach to red wolf conservation that we hoped for,” said Sierra Weaver, a senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center who represents the Red Wolf Coalition and other groups. “As the court found today, coyote hunting is causing more harm than good to both red wolf conservation and coyote control efforts. Today’s ruling is good for red wolves, and good for landowners.”

For updates, please follow the Red Wolf Coalition.

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. In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared red wolves extinct in the wild since the last remaining (a mere 14 red wolves) were all living in captivity.  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, about 100 red wolves remain North Carolina's red wolf recovery area.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Friday, May 9, 2014

Data Reveals: Wildlife Watching Robust in New York

The final report of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation has detailed information on the number of U.S. residents 16 years of age and older who fished, hunted or wildlife watched (fed, observed, or photographed wildlife) in 2011. It also provides information on their expenditures for trips, equipment, and other items.

In 2011, $9.1 billion was spent by hunters, fisherman, and non-consumptive users in New York.  Of this $9.1 billion, $4.1 billion was spent by non-consumptive users alone.  According to this data, people spend more money wildlife-watching in NY, than any other state!

For more information re: Wildlife Related Expenditures, please visit the Northeast Wolf Coalition.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Have Conservationists Forgotten How to be Successful?

  "We do not want those whose first impulse is to compromise. We want no straddlers for in the past they have surrendered too much good wilderness and primeval areas which should never have been lost." ~Bob Marshall on founding of the Wilderness Society

In "Historical Lessons of Successful Conservation Efforts," George Wuerthner recounts moments in history when conservation victories were achieved over almost uniform local opposition. In this historic context, do significant compromises for new conservation initiatives prove effective or set real conservation backwards? Have conservationists forgotten how to be successful?

An important read from the The Wildlife News.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Predators and Tolerance

 Around the world, populations of many large predators are declining, with wide-ranging consequences for other species and ecosystem services. The declines have a variety of causes, but direct human causes of mortality predominate. Scientists and policy-makers have concluded that promoting human tolerance is critical to the success of predator conservation efforts. Yet the factors that affect people's tolerance of wildlife are not well understood.  An important and excellent paper, 'Tolerance for Predatory Wildlife' by Adrian Treves and Jeremy Bruskotter, explores the factors that support tolerance and the pressures that don't.  The paper was just published on Friday and we encourage all to read and share!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Mexican Gray Wolf F749 Has Stillborn Pup

It's with heavy hearts that we report that Mexican gray wolf F749 gave birth to a single pup yesterday afternoon and the pup was stillborn.  She went into labor on Thursday afternoon and Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff monitored her progress through the evening and overnight via an internal webcam stationed in her den.  Early this morning, F749 emerged from her den for the first time in over 18 hours leaving her stillborn pup behind.  The pup was female. A few hours later WCC staff confirmed the pup's condition, and removed the pup in hopes that a necropsy (an autopsy performed on animals) will reveal why her pups were unable to survive.

In late March, an ultrasound on F749 confirmed that she was at the time carrying at least 4 pups, all with strong heartbeats. The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is America’s most endangered gray wolf. At last count only 83 remained in the wild and over 250 lobos live in captivity. The captive lobo population is currently hosted by a network of organizations in both the United States and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP). A Species Survival Plan (SSP) is a breeding and management program designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. The primary goal for the MWSSP is to breed wolves for maximum genetic integrity for reintroduction into both the United States and Mexico.

In order to maintain genetic diversity within the Mexican wolf population, the MWSSP management group determines which captive lobos will be permitted to breed by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. Wolf unions are chosen based on the genetic “value” of the individuals and the benefits their potential offspring would contribute to the diversity of their rare species. The ideal pairings have the lowest inbreeding coefficient and produce offspring that will best enhance the wild lobo gene pool. Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing all wolf pairings.

Mexican wolf F749 is among twelve lobos who reside off-exhibit at the WCC and she is the most genetically valuable individual in the program. She’s one of the most prolific wolves in the MWSSP as well. Sadly, F749 has lost several litters in her 12 years, and the causes remain unknown. When left in her care, only 2 of her last 19 pups have survived. While the cause of this most recent stillbirth is also unknown, we hope that a necropsy will reveal some information that can help guide breeding selections for the MWSSP in the future. 

Although F749 and her doting mate, M804, live off exhibit at the WCC, we help raise awareness for these critically endangered wolves and our efforts to recover them via live webcams.