Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Howl-o-Ween!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Unleash "Lone Wolf"

No other North American mammal inspires such a wide range of human emotions as the wolf. The passionate positive and negative responses that wolves inspire in people have left the issue of their recovery both contentious and undecided, but also full of promise. Linking the wolf to acts of terrorism only further pollutes the reputation of this misunderstood species. Recognizing the need to unleash the term "lone wolf" from media reports on human acts of violence, the Wolf Conservation Center has launched a Thunderclap our plea listed below loud!

“The wolf is symbol of America’s vanishing wilderness. Tell the media to unleash "lone wolf" from acts of human terror."

A thunderclap is a crowd-speaking platform that helps people be heard by saying something together. Once the supporter goal is reached, Thunderclap will blast out a timed Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr post from all your supporters, creating a wave of attention. Please participate and share so our message can be "unleashed" on November 10 at 12pm EST.

Join the movement here

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Critically Endangered Wolves Get a Clean Bill of Health

This time of year Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) staff and volunteers pry into the private lives of the critically endangered wolves that call the WCC home. It's the season for annual medical exams. People often ask us how we monitor the health of our wolves. Needless to say, the well-being of our wolves is a top priority, so we constantly take stock of their health, monitoring the shy animals as much as we possible in person and also via webcam. We also conduct periodic veterinary checks for hands-on assessments, vaccinations, and blood-work. Under Species Survival Plan protocols, our Mexican Gray Wolves and Red wolves must be checked by a veterinarian on an annual basis.

Dr Maus at work
In order to examine each wolf, we herd the wolves through their spacious enclosure and into capture boxes - wooden doghouse-like structures with removable roofs. Once a wolf is captured in the box, our volunteer veterinarian proceeds with the exam. We administer vaccinations, take blood samples, and record their heart rate, temperate and weight.

Today was the first of three health examination days and we're happy to report that all 5 wolves we examined (red wolves F1291, M1394, M1565, and F1397 and Mexican gray wolf F986) appear to be in GREAT health! We also learned that our largest wolf at the WCC is red wolf M1394 - he weighs 89 pounds! What a beefcake.

Big thanks to our great team of volunteers who came out for the task, to WCC's generous veterinarian, Paul Maus, DVM from North Westchester Veterinary Office, and to all the red wolves and Mexican gray wolves who are unknowingly contributing to the recovery of their rare species.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The WCC Talks Wolves on Heritage Radio Network

 Wolf Conservation Center's Maggie Howell talks all about wolves on Heritage Radio Network hosted by Animal Instinct. Listen HERE.

Monday, October 20, 2014

John Vucetich Explains Why Public Wolf Hunts Are Not the Solution

John Vucetich, Michigan Tech associate professor of wildlife ecology and co-director of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose Study, explains why a public hunt against wolves is not an answer.

 Keep Michigan Wolves Protected is a coalition of conservation groups, animal welfare organizations, Native American tribes, wildlife scientists, faith groups, veterinarians, hunters, farmers, and concerned Michigan citizens. The coalition urges Michigan voters to say NO to the wolf hunt and by voting NO on Proposals 1 and 2 on November 4th. Learn more.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Wolf Words of Wisdom

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Support the Northeast Wolf Coalition in Style

 Recognizing the need for a collaborative effort that explores the vision of and potential for wolf recovery in the Northeast USA, the Northeast Wolf Coalition was established in March, 2014 as an alliance of conservation organizations in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut and beyond. The Coalition’s work, guided by some of our nation’s best and brightest conservation scientists, strives to ensure that the foundation of its vision and work is based on the application of the best available and most current scientific principles.

"We have unique opportunities and challenges here in the Northeast," said Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center director and coordinator of the Coalition. "The Northeast Wolf Coalition is working together using the most current peer reviewed science to raise awareness and increase public understanding about wolves. A broad base of public support is necessary for wolves to recover and we remain committed to ensuring that stakeholders become active stewards in that regard. There are biological, economic and ethical reasons to facilitate wolf recovery and the Coalition is eager to work with area residents, organizations, and state and federal agencies to promote the wolf's natural return to our region."

The Wolf Conservation Center is honored to be among the participating organization in the Northeast Wolf Coalition and also a fiscal sponsor. Please consider supporting the Coalition by purchasing a Northeast Wolf Coalition sweatshirt! All proceeds will be used solely for coalition work. To learn more about the Coalition, please visit the website at  To purchase a sweatshirt to support the Coalition's work, please click here. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Enter the Private Lives of Critically Endangered Wolves

 Today we are thrilled to reveal our BIG Wolf Awareness Week surprise - a NEW WEBCAM! We can now welcome a global audience to join a beautiful family of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves. The family consists of the 15-year-old matriarch, F613, and her four "kids" (M1139, M1140, F1143 & F1145) born at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) on April 22, 2008.

Why Webcams?
Year round, visitors to the WCC enjoy meeting our Ambassador pack- Atka, Alawa, Zephyr, and Nikai but the WCC is actually home to 20 wolves!  Most of the WCC's "other" 16 wolves -- both Mexican gray wolves and red wolves -- remain out of view.

The WCC participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) and Recovery Plan for the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupis baileyi) and the red wolf (Canis rufus), which are among the rarest mammals in North America. Both species at one time were completely extinct in the wild. Under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act, reintroduction efforts in the past two decades have established small, wild populations of about 100 red wolves and 83 Mexican grays. Presently, there are approximately 400 Mexican gray wolves and 300 red wolves remaining in the world, the majority living in captivity within the network of facilities participating in the SSP.

Organizations participating in the SSP are tasked with housing and caring for the wolves, collaborating in the captive breeding program, and sharing observations and recommendations for release.

Wolves are naturally fearful of people, and a number of the WCC's SSP wolves are candidates for release. Maintaining their timidity around people is essential if we want them to have a good chance of survival when they are released into the wild. Our SSP facility provides a natural environment where these most elusive creatures can reside with minimal human contact. Although this setting safeguards the natural behavior of these wolves, it also poses a great husbandry challenge for our staff: How to care for animals that we rarely see.

In the spirit of George Orwell’s “1984,” the WCC is making use of wireless surveillance cameras to observe food and water intake and monitor the physical well-being of each wolf without the animals’ knowledge. The cameras allow staff to study the pack dynamic and thus make the best recommendations with respect to which wolves are most suitable for release. The also give an unlimited number of viewers an opportunity to learn about the critically endangered species and our efforts to recover them.

So sit back, relax, and enter the private lives of these fascinating creatures.

 Watch now.

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Special Wolf Pup Milestone

Today Nikai turns six months old! So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory howl for the newest member Wolf Conservation Center's Ambassador Pack! An inspiration from his adorable start, the stunning fellow continues to be a powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment. Within a month of joining the WCC family the little beast huffed, puffed, and hiccuped his way into hearts of minds of a global audience. He almost “broke the internet!”

He joined his siblings, Zephyr and Alawa, in mid-August and together the trio thrive as a family in their Ambassador roles. They open the door to understanding what wolves really are and inspire people to care about the importance and plight of their wild kin. Happy half-birthday, Nikai! And thank you for your invaluable service! Learn how you can help support the WCC by "adopting" Nikai! Click here for information.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Collared Idaho Wolf Spotted in Utah

 Predator killing contests, the elimination of entire families of wolves in wilderness areas, sharpshooters from the skies... Idaho's aggressive approach to wolf management has tarnished the state's image.   And it's no wonder that resident wolves are opting to explore their options. Although we don't know the motive, one Idaho wolf opted out and accomplished an impressive trek south all the way to Utah.

Wolves roam. And technology in the form of GPS collars and radio collars have helped document some epic travels. In late August it was the frequency from his radio collar that helped biologists identify the four-year-old male as a member of a pack from the Idaho and Canadian border.  His journey puts him on a short list of pioneers to make the trek to Utah.

Wolf 314F
In 2009, a female gray wolf known as 314F crossed into the state of Utah. The 18-month-old wolf was a member of the Mill Creek pack in Montana and she was equipped with a GPS collar. The satellite data provided by her collar detailed her epic journey from Montana through Yellowstone National Park and the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming. She then went through southwestern Wyoming, southeast Idaho and northeastern Utah before crossing into Colorado. Biologists believe that she dispersed from her pack in search of a mate. Unfortunately, the wolf that made a 1,000-mile trek from Montana to Colorado was found dead in April of 2009.

Wolf 253M 
One of the most famous Yellowstone wolves to land in Utah was also the first confirmed wolf in that state in over 70 years. His name was 253M, also known as "Limpy" or "Hoppy". As a young male 253M left the safety of his pack, the Druids, and traveled across southern Wyoming until he crossed into Utah. 253M was caught in a trap in November of 2002 and was released into the wild of Grand Teton National Park two days later. Wolf 253M continued to make headlines until he was shot in Montana on March 28, 2008 during a brief window when wolves of the northern Rockies were without federal protections (before their eventual delisting in 2011).

These amazing journeys have helped reveal the valuable connection between Colorado, Utah and the Northern Rockies wolf population. It's unfortunate that the state has taken suspect measures from letting wolves recover there.

UTAH and Wolves
In 2010, a number Utah lawmakers took steps to make war on wolves by introducing a bill that would require Utah to kill or capture any wolf that comes into the state. Utah has also awarded $800,000 over a four year period to anti-wolf lobby groups Big Game Forever (BGF) and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife to help strip the gray wolf of federal protections. A 2013 audit left Legislative Auditor General John Schaff troubled. "The upfront payment, lack of accounting review and lack of a current-year plan lead us to believe that the contract lacks sufficient safeguards."

 (Perhaps Utah should be less concerned with wolves and more alarmed at how their tax dollars are spent!)

 Here's hoping the newest wolf resident of the "beehive state" outfoxes those who migtht aim to cause harm.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Full Moon Wolf Trio

Ambassador wolves Zephyr, Alawa, and Nikai serenade the moon!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

National Wolf Awareness Week Begins October 12

National Wolf Awareness Week begins on October 12th! Wolves have long been shrouded by myth and superstition, this week provides an opportunity to opening the door to understanding the importance and plight of the keystone species. It's a time to recognize wolves as an ESSENTIAL part of our natural landscapes and to engage others to become interested and active in wolf survival. 

Starting on Sunday October 12, we invite you to join the #bewolfaware movement - a collaborative effort online to provide an alternative narrative to the common myths, fairy tales, and misconceptions surrounding wolves. Celebrate with us on the Wolf Conservation Center website, Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube and join in the action by adding #bewolfaware to your wolf related posts on your favorite media platforms.  In addition to providing an alternative narrative to the common myths, fairy tales, and misconceptions surrounding wolves, we’ll offer giveaways, “lobo loot” days, and unveil a big surprise to a global audience which will increase awareness for wolves and our efforts to recover them.

 So join our pack and #bewolfaware October 12 – 18!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Smiles

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Reprieve for Wyoming Wolves is Welcome News Nationally

 Almost two years ago, Center for Biological DiversityDefenders of WildlifeNRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and the Sierra Club, all represented by Earthjustice— filed suit in federal district court in the District of Columbia asking the court to challenge U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) decision to remove federal protection afforded by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) from wolves in Wyoming. The conservation groups charged the court to "declare the rule illegal, and put wolves back on the endangered species list until Wyoming adopts a responsible management plan that ensures the continued survival and recovery of wolves in the region.”

In response to the lawsuit, on September 23rd Judge Amy Berman Jackson invalidated USFWS' s 2012 statewide delisting. The ruling from the U.S. District Court reinstated federal protections and ended management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a kill-on-sight approach to wolf management. In its 2012 management plan Wyoming promised to maintain more than the required 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside the national parks. The Judge took issue with an addendum in the plan assuring that it would maintain a buffer of wolves above the required number because it did not specify how many wolves or make the buffer binding by law. Because the addendum was legally unenforceable, the Judge found the buffer to be a violation of the ESA.

A week later in response to the ruling, the state filed an emergency rule with the Secretary of State’s Office to address Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s concerns and hoping to still begin its wolf hunting season on October 1st.  The Judge ordered a hearing on September 30th where she then denied Wyoming's attempt to return wolves to the state's control.

Since Judge Amy Berman Jackson's decision to stick to her initial ruling, there have been speculations that poaching will increase, political candidates running on a platform of allowing Wyoming’s 2014 trophy wolf hunt to proceed in defiance of a federal judge’s order, and accusations that people who do not have "skin in the game" are calling the shots in re: to wildlife that belongs to Wyoming.

“The wolf tags have been issued, and hunters had already made plans to start their hunts,”  said Wyoming gubernatorial candidate Don Wills. “The disruption to hunters, outfitters and the cost to Wyoming Game and Fish to refund hunting permits caused by a single black-robed judge who sits in Washington, D.C., and has probably never been in Wyoming is outrageous and should be defied by Wyoming.”

 So should it matter what those outside of Wyoming think about the state's mismanagement of wolves? You bet.

Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust which means all citizens share equal, undivided interests in America's wildlife.The public trust is a legal concept that ensures public access to, and protection of, important natural resources. In addition, Wyoming’s wolf management policies can influence expectations about wildlife management in other states.

"Fish and Wildlife caved to Wyoming’s insistence on keeping the predator zone," said Wolf Conservation Center's Maggie Howell. "With the service on the cusp of delisting wolves across the United States, any concessions that were allowed in Wyoming by the federal government could set a precedent for other states to bargain with." It's both wrong and dangerous to allow a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies to set a example for other states to follow. This is why U.S. District Judge Jackson's ruling to reinstate federal protections for Wyoming's wolves is also good news for wolves beyond the state's borders.