Saturday, December 31, 2016

Here's to You!

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Every voice raised in support of wildlife and wild places can make a difference. And when we all work together we can make big things happen! It is because our pack, supporters and champions like YOU, that the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) has become a national leader in wolf education, advocacy, and the protection of wolf populations in the wild.

So as we close 2016, we thank you for your support and rededicate ourselves to our mission. Because many challenges remain...

Wolves continue to be subjected to aggressive hunting and trapping in states where their federal protections have been lifted. Wild Mexican wolves and red wolves face serious recovery challenges that will affect their future success. Finally, the very law that is meant to protect endangered species - the Endangered Species Act - is under fire like never before

But we won’t give up. The WCC sees a world where vibrant populations of wolves roam wild landscapes across the continent; where no species of wolf cowers on the edge of extinction; and where every child learns of, and respects, these essential creatures.

As a pack, we will make a difference.
See you in 2017!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act

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Four years ago today, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) was signed into law. Sadly, despite its success and public support, the ESA is under attack like never before.

The ESA was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines. Today, many politicians have forgotten the values Congress embraced four decades ago, and they now attempt to undermine one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted.

With extinction there is no turning back, no second chance. Thankfully, the ESA has given thousands of at-risk species like the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf (pictured) a second chance. For over four decades the ESA has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A national poll conducted last year found that the ESA is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite this, some members of congress continue their attempts to chip away at the ESA bill by bill. Utah Rep. Rob Bishop, chair of the House Resources Committee, goes as far to say he’d rather "scrap the Endangered Species Act altogether."

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Joy to the World!


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Howlidays from the Wolf Conservation Center

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‘Tis the night before Christmas
And Santa is prowling
We know that he’s close
‘Cause the wolves are all howling!

May the magic and the wonder of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Happy Winter Solstice!

Hello, winter, my old friend.
You've come to howl with me again.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It Only Takes One Howl...

Every voice raised in support of wildlife and wild places can make a difference. And when we all work together we can make big things happen. Please consider taking action via the Wolf Conservation Center’s active campaigns HERE. Thank you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump Now Said to Pick Rep Ryan Zinke for Interior

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In an unexpected turn of events, President-elect Donald Trump is now said to have picked Montana Representative Ryan Zinke, a Republican who gets low marks from environmental groups but has bucked his party to protect public land, as his nominee for Interior secretary, according to two sources familiar with the transition planning.

Zinke’s repeated support for logging, drilling and mining on cherished public lands is out of step with most Americans, however.

The League of Conservation Voters gave Zinke a 3 percent score in the group’s 100-point National Environmental Scorecard, based on lawmakers’ votes on the organization’s top issues, including energy, climate change, public health, wildlife conservation and spending for environmental programs. The average score in the group’s ratings for all House members in 2015 was 41 percent.


During Zinke's brief time in office, the freshman congressman has not been a friend to endangered species or the Endangered Species Act. In 2016 Zinke led efforts to strip federal protections for critically endangered Mexican gray wolves even though a mere 97 remain in the wild.

As leader of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Secretary of Interior is charged to use sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources. As keeper of our nation’s legacy, the Secretary manages the resources in his/her care to benefit Americans now and in the future.

Zinke's lack of support for Endangered Species Act clearly stands in opposition to the Wolf Conservation Center's core beliefs and mission.

The Wolf Conservation Center is carefully reviewing Zinke's record, stay tuned for updates.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Wolf Conservation Center Opposes Nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers As Interior Secretary

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The Wolf Conservation Center opposes the nomination of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. Her lack of support for Endangered Species Act — or at least how it's been used – clearly stands in opposition to our core beliefs and mission

As of Friday, December 9, 2016, it seems evident that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to tap Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a sixth-term Republican from Washington State, for Secretary of Interior.

As leader of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Secretary of Interior is charged to use sound science to manage and sustain America’s lands, water, wildlife, and energy resources. As keeper of our nation’s legacy, the Secretary manages the resources in his/her care to benefit Americans now and in the future.

As a member of the federal Species Survival Program for both the Mexican gray wolf and Red wolf, the Wolf Conservation Center works cooperatively with other conservation organizations and federal agencies to maintain healthy, genetically diverse and demographically stable populations of these critically imperiled species for their long-term future. Their importance to balanced and resilient ecosystems is undeniable, and wolf recovery efforts should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation.

Thus, as a pre-eminent facility in the Eastern United States for the captive breeding and pre-release of these endangered canid species, we oppose the nomination of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior. Her lack of support for Endangered Species Act — or at least how it's been used – clearly stands in opposition to our core beliefs and mission.

In a 2008 press release on Endangered Species Day McMorris Rodgers argued that the Endangered Species Act had been a failure in need of reform, saying it had "become a source of conflict between federal regulators and communities and local landowners:"

"Now is the time to move away from burdensome regulations, lawsuits and punitive settlements to a more balanced and collaborative approach to land use," McMorris Rodgers wrote. It's a theme she's returned to repeatedly, proposing a bill that would inform customers of just how costly conforming with the Endangered Species Act would be.”

In June, 2013, McMorris Rodgers also praised the decision to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species with the following statement:

"I applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to delist the gray wolf as an endangered species. It is long overdue. We need to ensure wolf management is done in a realistic manner, taking into account the needs of Eastern Washington, which has nine known wolf packs. I am confident that champions like Senator John Smith and Representatives Joel Kretz and Shelly Short will continue to oversee proper management at the State level. I am committed to a solution that makes sense for Eastern Washington and protects our livestock and farming communities."
Rep. 

Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ Record
As of Friday, December 9, 2016, it seems evident that President-elect Donald Trump is expected to tap Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Washington State) to lead the U.S. Interior Department. Rodgers, is a six-term Republican congresswoman who would bring a conservative Northwesterner’s perspective into President-elect Trump’s cabinet. While a supporter of hydropower, which is popular in her home state, she has also repeatedly cast doubt on the existence of human-induced climate change. She has also regularly voted to open federal public lands to more extractive natural resource: from increased logging to mining to natural gas and oil drilling. While Rodgers has supported renewable energy and the responsible siting of wind and solar energy projects on public land, many of her House votes have been bad for the environment. The congresswoman has voted to open the Atlantic Ocean to drilling, to prohibit the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, opposed methods such as cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions, has fought efforts to regulate hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on federal land, voted to make it easier to drill in Native American lands and opposed federal efforts to address climate change like the EPA's Clean Power Plan, the first federal rules to limit emissions from existing power plants.

Rodgers has earned a score of 4 percent from the League of Conservation Voters since being elected in 2004, a group generally regarded as a more centrist environmental advocacy organization. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would lead the President-elect’s efforts to open up federal lands and waters to fossil-fuel development and reverse environmental policies and protections that the Obama administration has pursued over the past eight years.


Background
The Department of the Interior (DOI) protects and manages our nation's natural resources and cultural heritage. It stewards approximately 500 million acres of public lands and 700 million subsurface acres including magnificent vistas, unique ecosystems, treasured natural, cultural, and heritage assets, including our national parks, national wildlife refuges, and federal public lands. It also manages resources that supply our nation’s energy, the water in the 17 Western States and supplies 17 percent of the nation’s hydropower energy. It upholds Federal trust responsibilities to 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and Alaska Natives, as well.

The DOI is also responsible for migratory bird and wildlife conservation, historic preservation, endangered species conservation, surface-mined lands protection and restoration, mapping, geological, hydrological, and biological science for our nation. Thus , effective management of the DOI requires dynamic and modern strategies to confront major trends including the likelihood of continued and increasingly constrained funding resources, the changing demographics of the population that is becoming more urban, diverse, and technologically advanced, and a changing climate that will continue to have impacts on land, water, wildlife, and tribal communities.

As a bureau within the DOI, the USFWS guides the conservation, development, and management of our nation's fish and wildlife resources. The Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. As the principal federal partner responsible for administering the Endangered Species Act (ESA), it takes the lead in recovering and conserving our nation's imperiled species by developing and implementing recovery plans that provide detailed site-specific management actions for private, Federal, and State cooperation in conserving federally listed species and their ecosystems.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wolf Species Have 'Howling Dialects'


Wolves are highly social animals that live in well-organized family units called packs. Cooperative living gives wolf families a number of benefits. It facilitates successful hunting, pup-rearing, defending pack territory, and more. Communication is key to successful group living and wolves communicate effectively in a number of ways.

Although wolves use varied vocalizations to express themselves, if you ask anyone about wolf sounds, it's likely the howl that comes to mind. Howling helps keep family members (or pack-mates) together. Because a pack territory range over vast areas, it’s not unusual for members of the pack to become separated from one another. Wolves can call to one another over great distances by howling. A howl’s low pitch and long duration is well suited for transmission on the wild landscape – a wolf’s howl can be heard up to 10 miles away in open terrain! Wolves can howl to locate other wolves, advertise the size of their pack or territory, to warn other family members of danger using a bark howl, and more. Just like us, each wolf has a unique voice so distinctive features of each individual's howl allow wolves to identify each other. And when every member of the pack joins the chorus, the singular howls and their harmonies give the listener the impression that pack is larger than it actually is.

Howling isn’t the only vocalization employed by wolves. They also bark, huff, whine, whimper, yelp, growl, and snarl.

Also interesting, findings from a recent study suggest that wolf species have "howling dialects." Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyse howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types based on pitch and fluctuation, and then matching up patterns of howling. They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used – from flat to highly modulated – corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, as well as to the subspecies of wolf. More via PHYS.ORG.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Beauty. Not Beast. Vital. Not Villainous.


Beyond being beautiful, wolves are critical keystone species. By regulating prey populations, wolves enable many other species of plants and animals to flourish. Without predators, such as wolves, an ecosystem fails to support a natural level of biodiversity, and may cease to exist altogether.

The recovery of the gray wolf after its eradication from Yellowstone National Park, nearly a century ago, serves as a demonstration of how critical keystone species are to the long-term sustainability of the ecosystems they inhabit. In the 70-year absence of wolves in the Park, elk had become accustomed to grazing tender, native willows along stream banks without much predation risk. The consequences of an elk population without a top predator included a decline of the deciduous trees elk eat, a decline of beavers due to the decline of willow and aspen, and a decline in songbirds. These consequences indicate that changes in the wolf population have trickle-down effects on other populations, a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade.”

With the support of the American public two decades ago, the federal government gave the green light to return wolves to portions of their native range in the West in 1995 and 1996 - including Yellowstone. The wildlife conservation event opened a new chapter in Yellowstone's history, with a homecoming that changed the Park.

After wolf reintroduction, scientists documented the return of willows and other vegetation. And where the willow returned, the researchers noted more diverse wildlife. Beaver dams and dried up wetlands returned, and wetland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife thrived again where they had been suppressed for decades. Over-grazed grasses flourished anew on upland prairies.

As Mother Nature's wildlife managers, wolves initiate trickle down effects that improve ecosystem function and resilience.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Petition Filed With USFWS Seeking Updated Recovery Plan for Red Wolf


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With Only 45 Remaining in North Carolina, New Plan Would Save Wild Population
WASHINGTON— The Wolf Conservation Center joined six other animal protection and conservation organizations to file a petition today with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking an updated recovery plan for the rapidly dwindling population of wild red wolves. The recovery plan for the red wolf has not been updated since 1990. Since that time red wolves have expanded their range in the wild, faced additional threats from increased poaching and hybridization with coyotes and seen changes in their management. With all of these changes, an updated, science-based recovery plan is needed now more than ever.

"The red wolf is one of the few large carnivore species endemic to the United States. Their importance to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable," said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. "Red wolf recovery should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation."

“Experts in red wolf ecology, genetics and biology have published significant scientific research since the plan was created over a quarter-century ago,” said Tara Zuardo, an AWI wildlife attorney. “An amended recovery plan based on the best available science is vital to ensure that red wolves survive in the wild.”

The petition includes information about threats to the red wolf and provides strategies to address those threats, including reducing lethal and nonlethal removal of wolves from the wild; resuming the use of the “placeholder program,” which involved releasing sterilized coyotes to hold territories until red wolves can replace them; resuming the use of the cross-pup fostering program as a way to increase the genetic diversity of the species; identification of additional reintroduction sites; and increasing outreach and education to garner support for wolves and stop poaching.

“The red wolf is teetering on the brink of extinction, but it can be saved by putting in place an aggressive recovery plan,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “A new recovery plan would serve as a road map, outlining all the necessary steps to ensure that future generations have a chance to see these beautiful wolves in the wild.”


In September the Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to confine red wolf recovery to just federal lands in Dare County, while also identifying new sites for wolf introductions and doubling the number of captive-breeding pairs. The agency’s controversial proposal to restrict the recovery area in North Carolina has been met with stark criticism. Last week 30 prominent experts in wolf conservation sent a letter expressing their concerns. And on Wednesday Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and eight key Democratic leaders sent a letter urging Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to revive the red wolf recovery program.

Petitioners request a prompt response to their petition confirming that the Service has begun work on an updated plan for the red wolf, a timeline for completing the recovery planning process, and implementation of recovery strategies necessary for the species.

The petitioners include the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Species Coalition, South Florida Wildlands Association, WildEarth Guardians and the Wolf Conservation Center.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

For this Mexican Wolf Pup, Happiness is Finding the Perfect Stick in a Pile of Leaves

Beyond being cute, 7-month-old Mexican gray wolf f1505 (a.k.a. Trumpet) represents the Wolf Conservation Center's active participation to save a species from the brink of extinction. Learn more about critically endangered lobos and our efforts to save them here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

New Endangered Red Wolf Joins Wolf Conservation Center Family

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Meet red wolf F1568, a.k.a. “Argo!”

The beautiful female arrived at the Wolf Conservation Center last month from Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, VA. Beyond being beautiful, F1568 represents the WCC's active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction. The WCC is one of 45 facilities in the U.S. participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) – a national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.


Soon F1568 will join red wolf M1803 (“Moose”) and be given the opportunity to breed during the 2016-2017 season. The RWSSP management group determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all red wolves descended from just 14 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of red wolf breeding pairs and F1568 and M1803 are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient. Hopefully the pair are a good match in real life too!

F1568, born on April 3, 2007, is the third red wolf from her litter to call the WCC home. Her brothers, M1565 and M1566, have since opened new chapters to their lives at other facilities participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan. Although we miss these boys, the WCC family is already head over heels over their darling sister.

Urgent: Please tell Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, needs to recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild >> take action.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Scientists Urge U.S. Fish and Wildlife to Promote, Not Curtail, Red Wolf Recovery

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In a letter sent on November 30, 2016, dozens of scientists with expertise in ecology, genetics and other areas relevant to wolf conservation have urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote, not curtail, red wolf recovery.

“Wild red wolves now face a perilously high risk of extinction. The Service’s recent actions seem consistent with abandoning red wolves rather than recovering them,” said Dr. John Vucetich, a professor and scientist at Michigan Technological University. “The Service has not adequately justified shifting resources away from the wild population. The most prudent action, by far, would be to protect the existing red wolf population in North Carolina and identifying new reintroduction sites elsewhere in the Southeast.”

More from Center for Biological Diversity.

This letter represents the latest of a warning coming from the scientific community re: USFWS's new plan and how it "will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild."


TAKE ACTION -- Please tell Interior Secretary Sally Jewell that USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, must recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild.

You Heard Our Howls! Thank You!


You did it! Yesterday the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Giving Tuesday and you heard our howls! Over 550 supporters helped the WCC raise almost $50,000 on Tuesday to meet our matching grant of $20,000! We are humbled by your support and incredibly grateful for having friends like you.

Thanks again for your encouragement and your commitment to wolves, ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Today Only - Your Donation for Wolves Will Be Matched

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Give Greater Today!

Why is Ambassador Wolf Zephyr smiling? Because it's Giving Tuesday! TODAY ONLY your donation to the Wolf Conservation Center (including checks dated November 29) will have double the impact thanks to a generous matching grant of $20,000 from a friend to the wolves!

Please Donate Today!

Your Support is Critical.
Wolves continue to be subjected to aggressive hunting and trapping in states where protections have been lifted. Wild Mexican wolves and red wolves face serious recovery challenges that will affect their future success. Finally, the very law that is meant to protect endangered species - the Endangered Species Act - is under fire like never before.

But we won’t give up.

The WCC sees a world where vibrant populations of wolves roam wild landscapes across the continent; where no species of wolf cowers on the edge of extinction; and where every child learns of, and respects, these essential creatures.

So we need your help.
Your critical support tomorrow will help the WCC continue its commitment to ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!

Thank you!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Tomorrow Only - Your Donation for Wolves Will Be Matched

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Tomorrow Only - Double Your Donation!

Ambassador wolf Atka extends his reminder howl that tomorrow only your donation to the Wolf Conservation Center (including checks dated November 29) will have double the impact thanks to a generous matching grant of $20,000 from a generous friend!

Your Support is Critical.


Wolves continue to be subjected to aggressive hunting and trapping in states where protections have been lifted. Wild Mexican wolves and red wolves face serious recovery challenges that will affect their future success. Finally, the very law that is meant to protect endangered species - the Endangered Species Act - is under fire like never before.

But we won’t give up.

The WCC sees a world where vibrant populations of wolves roam wild landscapes across the continent; where no species of wolf cowers on the edge of extinction; and where every child learns of, and respects, these essential creatures.

So we need your help.

Your critical support tomorrow will help the WCC continue its commitment to ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!

Please Donate Here Tomorrow!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Less Than 45 Red Wolves Remain In The Wild


With less than 45 red wolves remaining in the wild, he might be the last one you see.
Red wolves don't have a voice when it comes to endangered species policy.

But you do.

URGENT: Please tell Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, needs to recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild.

TAKE ACTION

Saturday, November 26, 2016

You Shop. Amazon Gives to the Wolf Conservation Center!

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If you shop online via Amazon.com, please consider using AmazonSmile, which lets you select a nonprofit organization, such as the Wolf Conservation Center Inc., to receive a percentage of your purchase price!

Friday, November 25, 2016

This is what a "I just ate a whole turkey" howl looks like.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving


Wishing a very happy holiday to all our friends, including visitors to the Center or those who know us from afar; all those who have donated time, energy and resources to us; and our dedicated volunteers. We have a lot to be thankful for because we wouldn't be here if it weren't for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


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Come to our 9th Annual Holiday Celebration to Benefit the
Wolf Conservation Center
Thursday, December 1, 2016
7:00pm - 10:00pm

Join the Atka at the Wolf Conservation Center's festive holiday party in the Carriage House of the Waccabuc Country Club!

Dozens of our community’s finest merchants will supply wonderful food, wine and holiday gifts for auction via silent bid! Music will be provided and our charming Wolf Center merchandise will be available for sale – perfect and unique gifts for the holiday season.
The auction is LIVE! Check it our here!

Food this year will be provided by the Horse and Hound. Wines are provided by Candoni and live music by area super talent Chip Andrus!

Tickets are $100 and attendance is limited to 130. Past years' events have sold out, so sign up today! You may also call 914-763-2373 to register or for more information.

Monday, November 21, 2016

First Snow for Critically Endangered Mexican Wolf Pups



SNOW DAY! It's the first snow for the six month old Mexican gray wolf pups. And they think it's yummy!

Learn how you can help keep these critically endangered pups protected. Take action.

Background
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) 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 97 individuals – a decrease from 110 counted at the end of 2014.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Urgent - Protection for Endangered Wolves Will Be Decided By Politicians in Washington, D.C.

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Call the White House to Protect Endangered Species

In order to fund the federal government, Congress must finalize a spending deal. Unfortunately, dozens of anti-environmental riders are embedded in the must-pass spending legislation, including some that eliminate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections ALL gray wolves nationwide – including critically endangered Mexican gray wolves.

Stand up for wolves and the ESA

Make a difference now by calling the White House and urging President Obama to stand up for existing protections for wolves and other imperiled species.

Call the White House at (202) 456-1111 and ask to leave a message for President Obama.

Hello. My name is [Full Name] from [City and State]. I respectfully request that President Obama reject all policy “riders” in year-end bills that undermine the Endangered Species Act and harm wildlife. I urge the President to Veto Extinction.


Please consider taking action online too. Thank you!

Take Action

Monday, November 14, 2016

Standing Strong For the Wild


Dear wolf supporter,

The U.S. election is over and results have set the course for the next Congress and administration. Our nation and world are at a crossroads when it comes to ensuring the future sustainability of our air, water, wild lands, and wildlife for future generations. And as the transition to a new administration begins, many people are wondering about the future of wolf recovery in the U.S.A. Please rest assured that Wolf Conservation Center will remain true to our mission – to protect and preserve the species we value so deeply. The importance of a keystone predator such as the wolf to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. And we remain committed to restoring endangered wolves to their rightful places in our landscapes, in our hearts, and in our culture.

As the new political arena takes hold, we rededicate ourselves to critical challenges that lie ahead.

Thank you for standing with us,

Maggie Howell, WCC Executive Director

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Wild Salute to Our Veterans


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. 
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Wolf Conservation Center Welcomes New Mexican Wolf to the Pack!

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The Wolf Conservation Center family just got a little bigger!

Meet Mexican gray wolf F1435, a.k.a. "Magdalena." The beautiful yearling arrived at the WCC last night, safe and sound at after a seamless day of travel from the Brookfield Zoo.

She's currently settling in adjacent to Mexican wolf M1198 (a.k.a. Alléno) to allow the pair to get to know one another through the enclosure's dividing fence. They'll be officially introduced to one another later this season.

The WCC is currently home to 10 critically endangered Mexican gray wolves - they represent the Center's active participation in an effort to save the species from extinction.

The WCC is one of 54 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan - a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.


Background

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) 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 97 individuals – a decrease from 110 counted at the end of 2014.


Mexican Gray Wolves Need your Help

Next month protection for his species will be decided by politicians in Washington, D.C. Wolves don't have a voice when it comes to endangered species policy. But we do.

Please urge your respective senators and President Obama to OPPOSE extinction riders taking aim at wolves.

In order to fund the federal government, Congress must finalize a spending deal. Unfortunately dozens of anti-environmental riders are embedded in the must-pass spending legislation, including some that eliminate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections ALL gray wolves nationwide – including critically endangered Mexican gray wolves.


Take Action Here

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Wolf Conservation Center Founder Hélène Grimaud on Music, Wolves, and "Musical Glue"


(Hélène discusses the wolves and the Wolf Conservation Center beginning at 18:30 mark)

"Nature is the ultimate muse."

Election Day


Wolves don't have a voice on election day. But you do.

As citizens of the 21st century, our nation and world are at a crossroads when it comes to ensuring the future sustainability of our air, water, wild lands and wildlife for future generations. Ultimately, our nation’s future relies on its citizens to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us – now and for future generations.

When you vote today, please remember the the voiceless in the wild.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Conservation-Minded Kiddo Launches Campaign for the Wolf Conservation Center

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By giving endangered species a voice via her artwork, 10-yr-old Bria of Faces Of The Endangered is making a difference one painting at a time.

By means of her passion and creativity, the pint-sized wildlife artist and advocate is raising awareness and support for the Wolf Conservation Center!

Now through November 29th, 75% of all of Bria’s original paintings and $5 from every print will be donated to the WCC on Giving Tuesday (November 29) – a day when all donations made to the WCC will be matched up to $20,000!

 
Bria_portrait“I read about all of the endangered animals and I couldn’t believe what is happening to these wonderful creatures. I want to paint all the endangered animals and donate the money to give them a face so they don’t disappear.”


Visit Bria's Website here.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Canis Lupus Meets Canis Spookus


Ambassador wolves Zephyr and Nikai don't care for intruders, especially super spooky ones!

We're constantly trying to make sure that our ambassador wolves have interesting experiences. Their enclosures are spacious and have natural varied terrain, but we also try to provide them with enrichment - items or activities to stimulate them. It's Halloween so the wolves were introduced to Canis spookus the howling wolf skeleton!

Happy Howl-o-ween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Are "Frozen Zoos" the Future of Endangered Species Recovery?

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WCC collecting Mexican wolf semen with Dr Asa

Critically endangered Mexican gray wolves roam the wilds of New Mexico, Arizona and Mexico. They also live in captivity. But their future may lie in a “frozen zoo.”

That’s the term of endearment scientists use for the bank of frozen wolf sperm and ovaries stored in cryogenic vaults where some of the most precious genes of the species are being held for future reproductive use.

Although the "frozen zoo" is great tool to preserve rare Mexican wolf genes for future use, other recovery strategies need to occur immediately to rescue the wild population from the brink of extinction - we need to prioritize captive-to-wild release events. Unfortunately state politics have too often blocked U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) release efforts, so wolves essential to the genetic health of the wild population remain in captivity. The Service has a responsibility under federal law to facilitate recovery of the critically endangered species and releases are a central part of that effort.

Only ten wolves, including six pups fostered into existing wolf dens earlier this year, have been released from captivity since 2009.

Michael Robinson of Center for Biological Diversity agrees that too few genetically valuable wolves are being released from captivity into the wild. “If these wolves had been released a decade ago, instead of stuck in pens due to politics, their great-grandpups would roam the Southwest today, embodying the genetic diversity that instead is being stored in freezers.”

Are "frozen zoos" the future of endangered species recovery? How do you feel about this?

Background

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) 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 97 individuals - a decrease from 110 counted at the end of 2014.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

His Howl Can Change the World Because it Can Change People


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

When He Sings, He Gives Soul to the Universe


Ambassador wolf Atka has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his 14 years. He’s a powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, and for the Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers, the best boss we’ll ever have. We love you, Atka!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Evidence of Success in Mexican Wolf Cross-Fostering Program

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Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing not only reproductive pairings, but also captive-to-wild release efforts. Although both components are equally critical to Mexican wolf recovery, release events are far less frequent than successful breeding.

Unfortunately state politics have too often blocked U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) release efforts, so wolves essential to the genetic health of the wild population remain in captivity. The Service has a responsibility under federal law to facilitate recovery of the critically endangered species and releases are a central part of that effort.

During the spring positive steps were taken toward recovery, USFWS forged ahead despite political state opposition by ushering captive wolves into the wild through its pup-fostering initiative. Pup-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter so the pups can grow up as wild wolves. And yesterday USFWS released news that at least two of the cross-fostered pups are confirmed alive - evidence of success in cross-fostering program!

"This is great news," explained WCC Executive Director Maggie Howell. Pup-fostering is an incredibly effective tool for augmenting the genetic health of the wild population. We cannot, however, rely on cross-foster events alone, recovery demands releasing more family groups into the wild too.”

Federal biologists and independent scientists have repeatedly made clear that without such releases, wolf inbreeding will worsen — crippling chances of recovery.

Background
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) 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 97 individuals - a decrease from 110 counted at the end of 2014.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beauty. Not beast. Vital. Not vicious.


"Autumn is a second spring when every wolf is a flower."
~ Almost Albert Camus

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What Is the Red Wolf Telling Us?


A wolf's eyes have the power to speak a great language. What do you suppose this critically endangered red wolf is saying?

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Four Decades After Listing, U.S. Court Mandates Recovery Plan for Endangered Mexican Wolves



Four decades after Endangered Species Act protection, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will finally have to complete a plan to recover the Mexican gray wolf.

U.S. Judge Jennifer Zipps in the District of Arizona on Monday dismissed the concerns of ranchers and others and signed off on a settlement between environmental groups and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Under the settlement agreement, USFWS is required to:
  • Complete a Mexican wolf recovery plan by Nov. 30, 2017
  • Conduct an independent peer review of the draft plan, and
  • Provide status reports on the recovery planning process to the court and the parties every six months until the recovery plan issues.

Furthermore, the above terms are now judicially enforceable as a result of the court’s ruling.

“The settlement announced today provides hope that the lobo can be a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape instead of just a long-lost frontier legend,” said Tim Preso, Earthjustice attorney. “But to realize that hope, federal officials must take up the challenge of developing a legitimate, science-based recovery plan for the Mexican wolf rather than yielding to political pressure.”

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit in November 2014 to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s multi-decade delay in completing a recovery plan for the Mexican wolf. Earthjustice represents Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, retired Fish and Wildlife Service Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David R. Parsons, the Endangered Wolf Center and the Wolf Conservation Center in the case. Today, after a lengthy delay, the federal district court in Tucson, Arizona issued an order approving the settlement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so a path to recovery for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolves can at last be realized.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail,” said Maggie Howell, executive director of the Wolf Conservation Center in New York. “And for these iconic and imperiled wolves, failure means extinction. This settlement represents a necessary and long overdue step toward recovering America’s most endangered gray wolf and preventing an irrevocable loss from happening on our watch.”


BACKGROUND
The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi)—the “lobo” of southwestern lore—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 in the Blue Range area of Arizona and New Mexico comprising only 97 individuals, all descendants of just seven wild founders of a captive breeding program. These wolves are threatened by illegal killings, legal removals due to conflicts with livestock, and a lack of genetic diversity. Within the past year alone, escalating mortalities and illegal killing, along with reduced pup survival, reduced the wild population from 110 to 97 individuals.


The Service has never written or implemented a legally sufficient Mexican gray wolf recovery plan. Its most recent recovery team has done extensive, rigorous work to determine what needs to be done to save the Mexican gray wolf. Recovery team scientists agreed that, in order to survive, lobos require the establishment of at least three linked populations. Habitat capable of supporting the two additional populations exists in the Grand Canyon ecoregion and in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. The recovery team drafted a plan in 2012 that called for establishing three interconnected Mexican gray wolf populations totaling at least 750 animals in these areas, but the plan has never been finalized.

USFWS's Controversial Red Wolf Decision Based On "Alarming Misinterpretations" of Science

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The team of scientists who drafted the Population Viability Analysis (PVA) for the red wolf state in a letter that U. S. Fish Wildlife Service's (USFWS) decision to pull almost all of the last remaining wild red wolves and place them in captivity was based on "many alarming misinterpretations" of their scientific analysis.
"As the scientific team conducting the population viability analysis (PVA) of the future status of red wolves, we were pleased at USFWS’ desire to use the best available science to inform decision-making. Unfortunately, the September 12th decision on the future of the Red Wolf Recovery Program included many alarming misinterpretations of the PVA as justification for the final decision."
The June 2016 PVA report summarizes modeling for both the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) population and the wild population in North Carolina. Their results highlight the successes of the SSP and wild populations, the challenges they face, and the management actions that can help them.
"The most conspicuous misinterpretation of these results in the USFWS decision is focused on the SSP - that “the species is not secured in captivity” and that “with no changes to current management, the species will likely be lost within the next decade."
Their letter clarifies  appropriate interpretations of the PVA's recommendations re: both the captive SSP and wild populations and warns that USFWS's singular focus on captive SSP population "will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.
The fact that USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, is basing species recovery decisions on "alarming misinterpretations" of science is just another blow the agency has delivered to the World's most endangered wolf species.
Due to the Service's neglect and inaction over the past few years, only 45 red wolves remain in the wild.

Beauty. Not Beast. Vital. Not Vicious.



Beyond being beautiful, wolves are critical keystone species. By regulating prey populations, wolves enable many other species of plants and animals to flourish. Without predators, such as wolves, an ecosystem fails to support a natural level of biodiversity, and may cease to exist altogether.

The recovery of the gray wolf after its eradication from Yellowstone National Park, nearly a century ago, serves as a demonstration of how critical keystone species are to the long-term sustainability of the ecosystems they inhabit. In the 70-year absence of wolves in the Park, elk had become accustomed to grazing tender, native willows along stream banks without much predation risk. The consequences of an elk population without a top predator included a decline of the deciduous trees elk eat, a decline of beavers due to the decline of willow and aspen, and a decline in songbirds. These consequences indicate that changes in the wolf population have trickle-down effects on other populations, a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade.”

With the support of the American public two decades ago, the federal government gave the green light to return wolves to portions of their native range in the West in 1995 and 1996 - including Yellowstone. The wildlife conservation event opened a new chapter in Yellowstone's history, with a homecoming that changed the Park.

After wolf reintroduction, scientists documented the return of willows and other vegetation. And where the willow returned, the researchers noted more diverse wildlife. Beaver dams and dried up wetlands returned, and wetland birds, waterfowl and other wildlife thrived again where they had been suppressed for decades. Over-grazed grasses flourished anew on upland prairies.

As Mother Nature's wildlife managers, wolves initiate trickle down effects that improve ecosystem function and resilience.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Wolves Just Can't Resist a Good Howl



Although wolves use varied vocalizations to express themselves, if you ask anyone about wolf sounds, it's likely the howl that comes to mind. Howling helps keep family members (or pack-mates) together. Because a pack's territory can range over vast areas, it’s not unusual for members of the pack to become separated from one another. Wolves can call to one another over great distances by howling. A howl’s low pitch and long duration is well suited for transmission on the wild landscape – a wolf’s howl can be heard up to 10 miles away in open terrain! Wolves can howl to locate other wolves, advertise the size of their pack, to warn other family members of danger using a bark howl, and more. Just like us, each wolf has a unique voice so distinctive features of each individual's howl allow wolves to identify each other. And when every member of the pack joins the chorus, the singular howls and their harmonies give the listener the impression that pack is larger than it actually is.

What do you think Zephyr is saying?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

You Gotta Love This Wolf


Who else LOVES Atka!!??
The confident and charismatic ambassador has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his 14 years. He’s a powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, and for the Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers, the best boss we’ll ever have. Atka, we love you so.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Red Wolf - An American Icon



This is what an American Icon looks like.

The red wolf is one of the few large carnivore species endemic to the United States - this keystone predator has never been found anywhere else in the world. Their importance to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. And their recovery should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation. Hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the initial extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today the world's most endangered wolf is facing extinction for a second time, but at the hands of our government.
Learn more.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

USFWS - Committed to Red Wolves? Or Negligent?




In an op-ed published yesterday, Cynthia Dohner, USFWS Southeast Regional Director, attempts to defend the Service's controversial plans for the red wolf and stating that USFWS's goal is to save the red wolf and ensure its recovery. Her position seems to be that the red wolf recovery program up until now has been a failure.

The fact is that red wolf recovery program is regarded as a significant milestone not only for the rare species but for endangered wildlife conservation. The red wolf reintroduction was among the first instances of a species, considered extinct in the wild, being re-established from a captive population. In many ways the red wolf program was the pilot program, serving as a model for subsequent canid reintroductions, particularly those of the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) to the American Southwest and the gray wolf (Canis lupus) to the Yellowstone region.

For a while, thanks to sustained federal leadership, the red wolf recovery effort was making steady progress. The wild population peaked at an estimated 130 wolves in 2006 and remained above 100 for several years.

Unfortunately, in 2014 when USFWS halted all key management activity, the wild red wolf population plummeted to its lowest level in decades. Current estimates put the wild population at just 45.

So we ask Cindy Dohner, who rejects claims that the Service has turned its back on recovering the rare and at-risk species, to explain how its following actions represent the agency’s commitment to the world’s most endangered wolf.

The Service:
  • Eliminated its full time red wolf recovery coordinator position and to re-direct red wolf staff to other programs.
  • Reduced or perhaps eliminated efforts to collar and track wild red wolves.
  • Abandoned its scientifically-proven coyote placeholder program, through which coyotes are captured, sterilized and returned to the wild, to avoid hybridization.
  • Halted all captive-to-wild release events and pup fostering
  • Issued permits to private landowners to take and kill wolves.
  • Refused to control coyote hunting in the recovery area, and the subsequent loss of red wolves to gunshot.
  • Halted all red wolf education and outreach efforts.
  • On September 12th announced its plan to remove almost all of the remaining red wolves from the wild landscape and place them in captivity. 

Does this look like commitment to you?

USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, is making red wolves pay the ultimate price for the its negligence and inaction.




Tuesday, October 4, 2016

USFWS Celebrates World Animal Day with Expansion of Hunting in Wildlife Refuges?

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the agency will expand hunting and fishing opportunities on 13 refuges throughout the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

In the press release, Ashe points out that hunting and fishing have contributed a great deal to economic activity across the U.S.. What Ashe failed to mention is that according to USFWS’s report, our National Wildlife Refuge System alone creates $2 BILLION for the economy. And surprise, surprise... non-consumptive use of the refuge system (non-hunting activities) is the more powerful economic engine.

"Recreational activities such as birding, hiking and picnicking account for nearly 75% of total expenditures at wildlife refuges across the country, the report says, while fishing and hunting account for about 28 percent of expenditures."

Presently, there are approximately 305 million people in our nation and only 6% of them (37 million people) buy hunting licenses; the vast majority of people do not hunt. Nearly 72 million (9% of the nation’s population) engage in wildlife-watching activities nationwide.

The wildlife in this country is owned by its citizens. This legal concept implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in our wild animals. The government holds wildlife in trust for our benefit and is empowered to manage it for the public good.

So is an expansion of hunting opportunities on public lands set aside for the protection of wildlife, fish, and plants meant to benefit the public good? Moreover, aren’t refuges are intended to be safe havens for wildlife?

Wildlife Recreation Expenditures - Here Are The Numbers

The final U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 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. Wildlife-related outdoor recreation increased dramatically from 2006 to 2011. The national details are shown in the final report. A 2011 National Survey Overview Summary is also available.

More.

Protect Threatened Algonquin Wolves

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Photo: Steve Dunsford of Impressions of Algonquin

Last month, as the trophy hunting and trapping seasons opened, the Ontario government announced its decision to strip the Algonquin wolf (eastern wolf), recently classified as threatened with extinction, of the legal protection provided by the provincial Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although the law forbids killing threatened species, the government is making an exception to allow hunting and trapping of Algonquin wolves throughout the majority of their range. In making this exemption, Ontario is ignoring science and public concern - the majority of the 17,301 comments submitted in response to the Ontario's proposals opposed this change in regulation.

A mere 154 adult wolves are left in Ontario.

"The primary threats facing these animals are hunting and trapping. Only in dreamland can a species avoid extinction while being relentlessly exposed to the very threats that landed it on the at-risk list to begin with," stated Hannah Barron, director of Wildlife Conservation Campaigns for Ontario's Earthroots. "Instead of being mired in old-school thinking driven by folklore, we need to start listening to the science that tells us to act fast if we want to protect the web of life that is unraveling before our eyes."

“By allowing hunters and trappers to kill Algonquin wolves across the majority of their extent of occurrence, Ontario’s message to the American people and their own constituents is that species-at-risk recovery is not a priority,” stated Maggie Howell, director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “This decision is in direct contravention to its ministry’s mandate.”

Today is the last day to submit comments re: Algonquin wolves to the Canadian government. Please follow the link below to urge Canada to protect Algonquin wolves at the federal level.
Take action.

Thank you!