Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Family Event on August 12 - Walk for Wolves

Free Family Event to Protect Our Wild Heritage

August 12, 2015 
1PM – 3PM 
6 Reservation Road Cross River, New York 10518

Notable author, Newbery award winner, and USFWS "Conservation Hero," Jean Craighead George wrote books for children. Children are still in love with the wonders of nature, and she was, too. She told stories about a boy and a falcon, a girl and an elegant wolf pack, about owls, weasels, foxes, prairie dogs, the alpine tundra, the tropical rain forest and the splendor and elegance of wildness. And when the telling was done, Jean hoped they would want to protect all the beautiful creatures and places she taught them about in her books.

We are so grateful for the many years of good memories, and for all her beloved books that will live on forever.

Thus, it is with great pleasure that the Wolf Conservation Center's dedicates its third annual service-learning event, "WCC's Family Walk to Protect America's Wild Heritage," to Jean Craighead George in celebration of her brave voice for wildlife and her powerful presence among us as she promoted peaceful coexistence with the natural world. Through her books, Jean opened doors to understanding the plight of endangered species and the importance of rewilding the hearts of our children - a new generation of environmental stewards whose energy and action can collectively become the critical catalyst needed to protect our nation's most important environmental law – the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - and all the imperiled species it helps to conserve.

During the event, participants will be introduced to at-risk species that have been given a chance at recovery thanks to the ESA. It will include learning activities, hikes, crafts, raffles and an appearance by the WCC's ambassador wolf, Atka, too! We hope you can join us onthis special day!


Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Movement to Save the Endangered Species Act

Don't Sink The Ark!

Join the Movement to Save the Endangered Species Act

According to a new national poll from Earthjustice and Defenders of Wildlife, 90% of American registered voters support the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and 71% of voters believe ESA listing decisions should be made by scientists, not by politicians.

And yet the ESA is under increased attack with a slew of legislation proposed this year — including dozens of budget riders tacked onto unrelated bills — aimed at restricting wildlife protection. Among the riders is language directing the Secretary of the Interior to end federal protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume within these regions. To add insult to injury, the rider includes “no judicial review” clauses thus prohibiting any legal challenge.

In response to these legislative attacks on America's cornerstone of environmental law, it's our hope we can come together with one common purpose - to raise awareness for the importance of the ESA - the law which is saving 1,500 plant and animal species from extinction.

#DontSinkTheArk Movement

Together we can broaden our reach to and create a national moment by harnessing the power of social media! It's simple to join the #DontSinkTheArk movement, just use the special badge and "#DontSinkTheArk" hashtag when posting about the ESA on social media. The background is transparent so the badge can be set on top of photos. The badge reflects no affiliation with a single org, so it’s a neutral tool that if used by a number of #DontSinkTheArk partners, will strengthen the impact of this educational movement.

Download the #DontSinkTheArk badge HERE.

Stop Lobo What's That Sound

16 year old Mexican gray wolf F613 (aka Mama) and her four 7-year-old children are among 28 wolves who call the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) home.

The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 109 individuals.

If you want to watch family yourself, visit our live webcams HERE. Music: "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Stand up for Denali's Wolves

For five years now, there has been a notable decline in the number of wolf sightings in Denali National Park and Preserve.

New research indicates that wolf mortality rates in Alaska's Denali National Park have recently spiked to worrying levels, with the lowest estimated wolf density recorded this year since monitoring began in 1986.

And the percentage of sightseers who actually spot a wolf has dropped from 45% to only 6% percent as of last summer.

The wolves commonly seen by visitors to Denali National Park often leave the park to follow migrating prey species such as caribou. Prior to 2010, one of the areas at the boundary of the park most frequented by wolves was closed to hunting by the State of Alaska. However, in 2010, the NPS eliminated the zone making wandering wolves vulnerable as they slip into unprotected wilds.

With the disputed wolf hunt on state lands outside Denali National Park set to resume next month (August), we are calling for state officials to again make use of an emergency ban to block the hunt as they did earlier this year, when Alaska Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten closed the wolf hunt northeast of the park in May, 2015 - two weeks early after a hunter legally killed two wolves. This ban expired June 30; so come August 10, Denali wolves will once again be vulnerable to hunting and trapping.

Alaska Governor Walker and the National Park Service both have agreed to begin negotiations for a permanent solution. Until then, however, we're asking for emergency closures in the park and boundary areas before August 10th when wolf hunting resumes.

Please call on Governor Walker, Alaska Board of Fish and Game, and the representatives of the National Park Service to reinstate May’s emergency closure so that state and federal officials can finally negotiate a permanent conservation easement that will protect Denali’s wolves for future generations!

Take Action Here.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Red Wolf Pup Passes Away at the Wolf Conservation Center

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the death of a special wolf. One of the 10-week-old red wolf pups has passed away. Although very few were lucky enough to meet her in real life, the lone female of the litter affectionately called “Charlotte,” has been melting the hearts of WCC staff, volunteers, and the hundreds of supporters following her progress via webcam since the moment she was born. We won’t know the cause of the young wolf’s death until a necropsy (autopsy for animals) is performed.

Our hearts go out to her family and those of you who she had unknowingly touched. 

RIP sweet pup.

Maggie Howell
Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in New York

 For Immediate Release, July 17, 2015
Contact: Maggie Howell, (914) 763 2372,

Northeast Wolf Coalition Advocates for Wolf Recovery in NY

NEW YORK: Under the auspices of Teaming with Wildlife, every 10 years all states update their State Wildlife Action Plans (SWAP) for species of greatest conservation need (SGCN). These updates ensure that each state will receive critical federal funding to support species recovery.

The Northeast Wolf Coalition has called upon New York's  Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering the Eastern wolf (canis lycaon) and gray wolf (canis lupus) as additions to NY’s SGCN.

If you're a resident of NY, please tell the NYDEC that our state's Wildlife Action Plan should include wolves as it did in its 2005 plan.

Our state has viable habitat for the natural re-establishment of these creatures and they are critical to the restoration of NY's ecological integrity. Today is the last day NYDEC is accepting comments. The WCC's action alert makes it easy. ACT NOW

To: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
From: Northeast Wolf Coalition
Date: July 17, 2015
Re: Draft 2015 New York State Wildlife Action Plan

The Northeast Wolf Coalition (NEWC) respectfully submits these comments concerning the revisions by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) to New York’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP) for Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN).

In NY’s 2005 SWAP wolves and other extirpated species were among those included on the SGCN list. The NYDEC itself acknowledged the need to recognize the wolf listing as a SGCN in its 2005 Strategy for Conserving New York’s Fish and Wildlife Resources:

“The gray wolf, Canada lynx, and Eastern cougar are species historically present in New York but extirpated because of unregulated harvest and habitat change. Current habitat conditions in New York may support the occurrence of gray wolf and cougar, but the social acceptability of doing so must be assessed first. Their listing as SGCN will facilitate that evaluation. Canada lynx may eventually expand to parts of New York from Canada or adjoining states, and if documented, they will need careful monitoring and management. The Algonquin population of gray wolves presently ranges 50 miles north of New York’s border with Canada. Biologists have already documented the movement of large mammals like moose across this divide in recent years (A. Hicks, personal communication, September 23, 2005).” (Page 55)

We request the NYDEC to retain management recommendations for wolves from the 2005 SWAP by considering Canis lupus and Canis lycaon as additions to NY’s SGCN. Such an update would allow NY to receive critical federal funding to explore the potential for species recovery and equip the state with the tools and resources to proceed with due diligence.

Recent peer reviewed scientific evidence has concluded that the decline of large predators has disrupted ecosystems all over our continent, and it is arguably humankind's most pervasive influence on the natural world.  For NY, the wolf was one of the top predators that once called the Northeast its home and is presently the missing component of our regional ecology.

It is important to note that the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) met at the end of April to re-assess the at-risk status of several species, including the eastern wolf. “New genetic analyses indicate that the Eastern Wolf is not a subspecies of Gray Wolf.  In May 2015, a new wildlife species, Eastern Wolf (Canis sp. cf. lycaon) was designated Threatened.” (COSEWIC Wildlife Species Assessments (detailed version), May 2015) As a reminder, in its 2005 SGCN, the NYDEC acknowledged the Algonquin population of gray wolves as presently ranging just 50 miles north of NY’s border with Canada. It’s our assertion that we bear a responsibility as fellow conservationists to acknowledge the scientific conclusions made by COSEWIC and begin to appropriately prepare for the potential natural recovery of the Eastern wolf into NY and the rest of the northeastern U.S.A.

As conservationists, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, we need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and consider its potential for positively impacting the natural biological diversity of the Northeast. Thank you for the opportunity to present these comments. We look forward to future discussions with your agency regarding these concerns.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members and supporters of the Northeast Wolf Coalition, 

Maggie Howell,
Coordinator Northeast Wolf Coalition

About The Northeast Wolf Coalition The Northeast Wolf Coalition was formed in March 2014, in response to mounting evidence that wolves are returning to their former habitat in the Northeast. The NEWC is a broad-based coalition of environmental organizations, scientific mentors, and advisors from Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut and other states. Member organizations include the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Wild, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, American Ecological Research Institute, Center for Biological Diversity, Cougar Rewilding Foundation, Earthjustice, Earthroots, Endangered Species Coalition, Maine Wolf Coalition, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Protect the Adirondacks, Red Wolf Coalition, RESTORE: The North Woods, Vermont Law School, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center. The NEWC collaborates on critical issues that relate to the recovery of wolves in the Northeast. Additional information and news about the NEWC can be found on the Coalition’s website at

Thursday, July 16, 2015

2015 Mexican Gray Wolf Annual Meeting

Representatives from dozens of facilities participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (MWSSP) are presently at the Zool√≥gico de Chapultepec in Mexico City for the MWSSP Annual Meeting! 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 to tackle a myriad of issues associated with conserving the lobo. The bulk of the meeting begins today but Rebecca, as a member of the Mexican Wolf Management Group, got right down to business just a couple of hours after arriving on Wednesday 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 2014 and needs for 2015
  • Mexican wolves Genome Project
  • Criteria for selection of breeding pairs
  • Select pairs for breeding in 2015
  • Gamete banking plan and criteria for selection of candidates
  • Select semen and oocyte collection candidates for 2016
  • Select candidates for release
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!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Opening an Exciting Chapter for the Wolf Conservation Center

At the heart of the Wolf Conservation Center’s core values is its belief that education can be a positive catalyst for change! Thus, we are proud to report that the Center's Education Team successfully blazed a new trail last week when it hosted its first educator’s three-day workshop for public school elementary and middle school teachers at the Center. We were excited to work with such a motivated group educators as we explored the WCC’s interdisciplinary curriculum and its application in their classrooms this fall. We eagerly anticipate these rich and rewarding new partnerships as we, together, rewild young minds and hearts.

The WCC’s “Interdisciplinary Curriculum in Wolf Education: Tracks to the Future” is an academically robust, relevant, and innovative “living curriculum” that emphasizes cooperative learning in the core academic areas, research and project-based learning, and integrated service learning connections. For more info, click here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

URGENT - Riders Take Aim at Gray Wolves and the ESA

Riders Take Aim at Gray Wolves and the ESA

According to a new national poll from Earthjustice and Defenders of Wildlife, 90% of American registered voters support the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and 71% of voters believe ESA listing decisions should be made by scientists, not by politicians.

And yet a bill debated on the House floor just yesterday, the 2016 House Interior and Environment Appropriations bill, includes 25 anti-environment riders which stand to threaten the integrity and effectiveness of this cornerstone of environmental law. Among the riders in Section 121 is language directing the Secretary of the Interior to end federal protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume within these regions. To add insult to injury, Section 121 includes “no judicial review” clauses thus prohibiting any legal challenge.

House debate on the bill began yesterday, but votes on amendments (riders) will occur TODAY when the House comes back into session at noon. Thus it’s critical that we take action NOW.

Please contact your representative before 12pm EST and ask him or her to:
  • Oppose the anti-ESA riders and reject all attempts to legislatively strip protections from wolves through the Interior Appropriations Bill.
  • Vote “YES” on the Niki Tsongas (D-MA) amendment to strike anti-ESA riders (including the wolf delisting rider) from the bill.
  • Oppose the Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA) amendment which aims to block ESA protections for wolves in Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
Find Your Representative Here Thank you!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Red Wolf Pupdate - Time for a Checkup!

Male red wolf pup - The largest of the litter!
On May 2, 2015, red wolf F1563 (a.k.a. Salty) gave birth to a litter of pups. All of them adorable and each a valuable contribution to the recovery of his and her rare and at-risk species.

Under Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) protocols, captive born pups must be checked during certain milestones in their development. We checked the pups at one day old to determine the size of the litter and take stock of their health, and then again at ten days, and last week at their two month mark.

The Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers gathered early on Thursday morning to locate, capture, and “process” the pups. Our goal is to record heart rates and weights and administer wormer and the first of a series of three Distemper/Parvo vaccinations. As newborns, each pup was no larger than a potato. Now at two months old, the rapidly growing pups are all ears and paws and thus much better equipped to hear and elude the WCC team.
"Peanut" the runt of the litter.

Based on observations of the pups' behavior via webcam, we were fairly positive that some of the pups would remain well stashed their favorite hiding place - a cavernous tunnel engineered by the pups themselves within the family’s deep den. And the pups proved us correct… We were able to wrangle four of the gangly pups but confirmed via webcam footage that two of the kiddos had hunkered down out of reach. The runt of the litter (affectionately nicknamed "Peanut" by the WCC’s webcam community) was among the elusive pair. Although we were happy to have caught the four, we were especially intent on recording Peanut’s progress and determining the cause of his newly acquired limp.

So it was a wonderful surprise when midway through the health checks the daring tyke made a run for it wiggling out of the den’s hole and sprinting across the enclosure! WCC interns immediately alerted the team and Peanut was soon in our grasp. Dr Charlie Duffy VMD, our veterinarian who donates his time and expertise to the WCC, thoroughly examined Peanut and rest and they all looked to be in great health! We determined that Peanut’s uneven gait stems from nothing more than a bruise, a likely souvenir from romping and wrestling with his frisky kin which should heal on its own.

The female pup - the feistiest!
Here’s the breakdown from the exam:

 • Male Pup – 9.8 lbs
• Female Pup – 8.4 lbs
• Male Pup - 7.0 lbs
• Male Pup - 7.6 lbs
• Male Pup - 6.0 lbs (Peanut)
• 6th Male Pup - ?

The pups’ next checkup will be at their three month milestone but you can check in anytime! Follow the pups’ progress via webcam and let us know what you see!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Wishing You a Wild Independence Day

Friday, July 3, 2015

Be Mindful of Wildlife on Independence Day

Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact to wildlife. Please be mindful. Here are some tips for watching out for wildlife!

This post originally appeared in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Open Spaces blog

Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. Barbecues, beaches, parades and fireworks can be great ways to celebrate our country’s tremendous journey since the Continental Congress made that declaration July 4, 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident... “ But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact to wildlife. Here are a few ways you can help mitigate the harm to wildlife and their habitats while you celebrate the Fourth of July.

Be alert: The shock of fireworks can cause wildlife and pets to flee, ending up in unexpected areas or roadways, flying into buildings and other obstacles, and even abandoning nests, leaving young vulnerable to predators. If you’re out driving, please be on the lookout for animals.

Help prevent fires: The threat to wildlife doesn’t stop at startling lights and sounds, fireworks also have the potential to start wildfires, directly affecting wildlife and destroying essential habitat.

Keep it clean: Litter from firecrackers, bottle rockets and other explosives can be choking hazards for wildlife and may even be toxic if ingested.

If you’re on the beach, watch out for nesting birds: Fireworks are very disruptive to piping plovers as well as many other nesting birds so be on the lookout for signs. We can work together to protect nesting shorebirds.

Cut back on using plastic or disposable utensils: During holiday celebrations we tend to break out the plastic utensils, plates and cups. Avoiding plasticware can easily reduce the amount of waste we create and inevitably help wildlife and their habitat, especially given the growing concern of plastic waste.

Properly dispose of fishing gear: Anglers can reduce the injuries or deaths to wildlife simply by properly discarding fishing line and hooks. Retrieve broken lines, lures and hooks and deposit them in trash containers or take them with you.

Follow laws and use caution: Federal law requires professional shows to be at least three-quarters of a mile from protected habitat. As you celebrate, choose fireworks shows that keep a respectable distance from wildlife habitat. If you plan to set off your own fireworks, make sure it is legal, use caution and you pick up any resulting debris. Stay away from wildlife habitat and avoid dry areas. Keep in mind that fireworks can’t be brought onto federal lands. Violations can come with stiff penalties, including fines costing thousands of dollars to jail time. Law enforcement officers are on the lookout for possession of illegal fireworks and use of fireworks in prohibited areas.

Alternatives to Fireworks:If you are looking to celebrate without using fireworks, there are a number of alternatives. Here are a few ideas, but we’d love to hear other ideas.

  • Laser light shows
  • Gathering around a firepit
  • Participate in a parade or block party
  • Bubbles (for kids afraid of loud noises)
  • Glowsticks
  • Noisemakers and more

Stay safe this Fourth of July and thanks for keeping wildlife in mind as you celebrate!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Is USFWS Walking Away From Recovery Efforts for the Red Wolf?

Every spring, red wolf field biologists in North Carolina listen for the whines and peeps of wild red wolf pups. Once dens are located, each pup is counted and blood samples are collected before the pup is carefully returned. Biologists use their findings to determine which dens will serve as the foster home for captive born red wolf pups. Although captive-to-wild pup fostering has been a successful way to allow genetically valuable captive-born red wolf pups to become integrated into the wild population since 2002, none of the Wolf Conservation Center​ pups were given this wild opportunity.


Because the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission adopted resolutions calling for the end of the red wolf reintroduction project in the state and USFWS' response is inaction.

Yesterday the Service announced that it will halt all reintroductions while the agency further reviews the recovery program. Why the big press release to tell us what we already know? Wolves have not been introduced to the NC recovery area in over a year. Also remaining on "hold" is a key management activity—the release of sterilized coyotes to prevent hybridization. So while we wait for USFWS to review the program, measures critical to the success of red wolf recovery have been put on hold.

The Southeast regional director for USFWS recently acknowledged that.“There will likely be some who will suggest we are walking away from recovery efforts for the red wolf."

What say you?