Sunday, January 31, 2016

Demand Transparency in Legislation: Oppose S. 2012 and S. 659

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On January 20, 2016, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) successfully included an amendment to S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which, if passed and signed into law, would strip federal protections for gray wolves in four states. On January 29, 2016, a virtually identical provision was successfully included in S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, by U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The ESA requires USFWS to base all listing and delisting decisions on the best available science. Thus when determining whether or not to end endangered species protection, federal law requires that an independent panel of scientists be commissioned to provide an objective scientific review of the federal agency's proposals. Both bills blatantly ignore this federal mandate. Additionally, the specific delisting amendments are completely unrelated to the intent and purpose of these two bills. Not only does this practice challenge the transparency of the legislative process, but it undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.

It appears evident that some politicians have forgotten the bipartisan values that Congress embraced four decades ago when it first passed the ESA. This federal law has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A recent national poll found that the Endangered Species Act is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite its success and public support, the ESA remains under attack.

Please urge your senators to uphold spirit and integrity of this important federal law by opposing all amendments embedded in bills that would undermine our country’s most effective and publicly supported environmental law.

Take action.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Wolf Delisting Amendment Introduced Into A Second Senate Bill

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U.S. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) introduced an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act today which, if enacted and signed into law, would strip wolves of their federal protections in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow hunting and trapping of those wolves to immediately resume.

It's the second effort this month to legislate the wolves back off the list. A virtually identical provision was successfully included in the so-called Bipartisan Sportsmen's Act of 2015 by U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY). To add insult to injury, the language in both bills include a “no judicial review” clause thus prohibiting any legal challenge. The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee on January 20 by a vote of 12 to 8 so now it goes to the full Senate.

More.

Background
In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) delisting of wolves in that state. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes region (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) after another federal judge invalidated FWS’s delisting of wolves in that area. In both cases, the federal courts held that the state management plans for wolves at issue did not sufficiently protect wolves. The result of these two recent court decisions is that wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are back on the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list. This delisting amendment nullifies both of these federal court decisions, directing the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the two wolf delisting rules that federal courts found illegal under the ESA. Thus, this amendment would hand wolf management authority back over to the very states whose management plans were found to be deficient – an action that would not only undermine wolf recovery, but also the ESA itself.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Emotional Bonds Shape the Foundation of a Wolf Family


"Reunion" - today's compelling video from Jim Brandenburg's Nature365!

Family bonding is essential for coordinated and collaborative group living and is regularly expressed via body language. Wolf greeting behavior involves tail-wagging, muzzle licking and tail tucking - gestures of intimacy and enthusiasm that reaffirm the unique emotional bonds that shape the foundation of the family.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Blizzard induced Wolf Bliss

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Saturday, January 23, 2016

Why Ravens and Wolves Dine Together


In the above video from Jim Brandenburg's Nature365, one might ask: Why do wolves tolerate ravens as dinner companions? Could it be that wolves and ravens are hunting partners who share the spoils? Learn how wolves and ravens coexist at kills.

'Dinner Guests: How Wolves And Ravens Coexist At Kills' via The Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Friday, January 22, 2016

Stand For Wolves Event Postponed to Jan. 31

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Due to this weekend's snowy forecast, our Stand for Wolves event - a FREE family celebration at sherry b dessert studio with Ambassador Wolf Atka - will be moved to Sunday, January 31st. We hope to see you there!

sherry b dessert studio 
65 King Street Chappaqua, NY 10514 
Sunday, January 31, 2016    2PM – 4PM 
Planning to join? Let us know by emailing info@nywolf.org 

Have fun in the snow!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Senate Committee Passes Sportsmen’s Bill with Amendment to Delist Gray Wolves

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Just last month, Congress rejected a rider to the must-pass 2016 spending bill that would have directed the Secretary of the Interior to end federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming and thus allow hunting and trapping of those wolves to immediately resume. Today, the intent of that “delisting rider” has come closer to becoming realized.

This morning U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), successfully included an amendment to S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, which, if enacted and signed into law, would strip wolves of their federal protections in these four states. To add insult to injury, the amendment includes a “no judicial review” clause thus prohibiting any legal challenge.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015 passed out of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee by a vote of 12 to 8 and it now goes to the full Senate.

Background
In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s (FWS) delisting of wolves in that state. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes region (including Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) after another federal judge invalidated FWS’s delisting of wolves in that area. In both cases, the federal courts held that the state management plans for wolves at issue did not sufficiently protect wolves. The result of these two recent court decisions is that wolves in Wyoming, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are back on the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list.

Sen. Barrasso’s amendment nullifies both of these federal court decisions, directing the Secretary of the Interior to reissue the two wolf delisting rules that federal courts found illegal under the ESA. Thus, this amendment would hand wolf management authority back over to the very states whose management plans were found to be deficient - an action that would not only undermine wolf recovery, but also the ESA itself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Far Reaching Effects of Added Protection for Eastern Wolves

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Allowing wolves to express their natural social behavior benefits the wider ecosystem as well as the wolves themselves. (Dr. Gordon Haber)

In Algonquin Provincial Park eastern wolves have been protected for more than a century. Nevertheless, hunting in the surrounding townships was causing around two-thirds of total wolf deaths, primarily in winter when their main prey, white-tailed deer, roamed outside the park in search of forage. But in 2001, when hunting on the outskirts of the park was banned, an amazing transition began to unfold. Protected from hunting, not only did the Algonquin wolf population hold steady, there was also a rapid transition to more stable, family-based packs. This shift in social structure allowed younger wolves to learn sophisticated hunting strategies from their elders and better equip the family to successful hunt larger prey. With added protections, eastern wolves reclaimed their place as a keystone species within the ecosystem.

More from New Scientist.

Photo: Steve Dunsford, Impressions of Algonquin

Monday, January 18, 2016

Keep Howling

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Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Endangered Mexican Wolves Share A Kiss


Mexican gray wolves F1226 (Bella) and M1133 (Rhett) were recently caught on camera sharing a kiss. 'Tis the season after all -- it's the season of romance. Wolves are mono-estrus breeding once a year during the winter months. If all goes well, the pair will make a valuable contribution to the recovery of their rare species by having pups this spring!

Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all Mexican wolves descended from just 7 founders rescued from extinction.

We won’t know the outcome of their union until “pup season” in April or May. But in the meantime, tune in to their LIVE webcam and let us know if you see anything interesting!

Tune in to the live Webcam!

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 109 individuals.

Learn more about the Mexican gray wolf.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Red Wolves Are Curious Kiddos


Wolves are not only intelligent, they can be playful and have a natural sense of curiosity. Their curious nature, however, comes second to their neophobia - a fear of anything new. This behavior makes many nonlethal management tools like fladry (fencing with strips of fabric or colored flags that will flap in a breeze) possible for wild wolves. Watch the nine-month-old critically endangered red wolves approach the camera with both interest and trepidation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Psst... Red Wolves Are Essential. Pass it on.

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The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. A remnant population of red wolves was found along the Gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana. After being declared an endangered species in 1973, efforts were initiated to locate and capture as many wild red wolves as possible. Of the 17 remaining wolves captured by biologists, 14 became the founders of a successful captive breeding program. Consequently, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)declared red wolves extinct in the wild in 1980.

By 1987, enough red wolves were bred in captivity to begin a restoration program to return the species to a portion of their traditional range in the southeast United States. For over two decades the USFWS has been restoring red wolves to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern North Carolina. And in 2004, the WCC joined the recovery effort via its acceptance into the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled species through carefully managed breeding and reintroduction. To date, the WCC has welcomed two red wolf litters (2010 and 2014) and a single red wolf from the WCC has been given the extraordinary opportunity to resume his rightful place on the wild landscape. As of the start of 2016, the WCC is home to 10 red wolves. Eight of our resident red wolves occupy one of the enclosures in the WCC's Endangered Species Facility. These enclosures are private and secluded, and the wolves are not on exhibit for the public.The WCC’s second red pack is on exhibit in the Red Wolf Exhibit which opened in October of 2009. For the first time ever visitors to the WCC are given the opportunity to see this rare an elusive species.

In September 2014, the USFWS announced that it would be conducting a review of the red wolf recovery program in eastern North Carolina, per request of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), to determine if USFWS should continue, modify, or terminate the program that manages the last remaining wild red wolves on our planet. While USFWS continues to review the program (a decision is expected in summer of 2016), it has halted all captive-to-wild releases. Also remaining on hold is a key management activity—the release of sterilized coyotes to prevent hybridization.Red wolves remain among the world’s most endangered species. The current estimate puts the only wild population of red wolves at their lowest level (50 – 75) since the late 1990s.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Wolf's Work Is Never Done: On Patrol

A family of wolves will patrol its territory, a pack's "home turf" on which they hunt, raise pups, and exist as a family. Territory size is highly variable and depends on a number of factors such as prey density, terrain, climate and competition with other predators. Territory size in the western Great Lakes states, including Minnesota where the below video was filmed, range 25 -100 square miles. Jim Brandenburg, National Geographic photographer, filmmaker and environmentalist, releases daily videos on his Nature 365 site throughout the calendar year. Enjoy!

 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Celebrate Wild Conservation with Atka the Wolf

A FREE Family Event at sherry b dessert studio!

In our efforts to broaden awareness and understanding for the importance of wildlife conservation, the Wolf Conservation Center and sherry b dessert studio are excited to extend an educational family event to the Westchester community and beyond!

Stand for Wolves at sherry b dessert studio in Chappaqua on Sunday, January 24th (2pm-4pm) when Sherry B. hosts the WCC for a FREE event celebrating the wild. Guests will learn about the importance and plight of endangered wolf species, our efforts to recover them, and meet young wildlife advocates who exemplify the amazing potential of their generation to make this world a better place.

Hip-Kid will sponsor a children's craft table and Noelle Marie Photography will photograph the event. Ambassador Wolf Atka will make a special appearance at the end of the event! Admission is free. All profits from the awareness raising event will be donated to the WCC to support the Center's work in ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy.

Educational and fun for adults and children alike. We hope to see you there!

Sunday, January 24,  2PM-4PM
65 King Street, Chappaqua, NY 10514
Planning to join? Let us know by emailing info@nywolf.org!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Endangered Species Protection Denied to Rare Alexander Archipelago Wolf

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Despite recent evidence that Alaska's Alexander Archipelago wolves are in danger of extinction, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced today that the rare wolf species does not warrant protection. The decision goes into effect immediately.

Read the official release from The Department of Interior.

The Alexander Archipelago wolf is a genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf that dens in the roots of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. After a 60% drop in the number of the wolves in just one year, USFWS announced that protecting them under the Endangered Species Act “may be warranted.” This, however, did not prevent a hunting and trapping season on the rare wolves. At least 5 of the wolves last month leaving an estimated population of 89 remaining in the wild.

Conservation groups asked for a suspension of this winter’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons, and when that was denied, petitioned for an emergency Endangered Species Act listing for the wolves. That request also was denied.

To add insult to injury, earlier this year a federal appeals court cleared the way for a logging company, the Big Thorne project, to cut centuries-old trees - the only home for these wolves and their prey.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Study Finds Predators Help Prey Evolve With Changing Climate

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The agents who help prey species evolve quick enough in response to climate change could be the very animals that eat them. According to a new University of British Columbia study, predators are key to helping prey evolve with the changing climate. The study is one of the first to show that species interactions, meaning the way species interact with each other in an ecosystem, like in a predator-prey relationship, is important to understanding how animals will respond to climate change.

Read more from ScienceDaily - here.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Winter is Welcome to Arctic Wolves

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Wild Arctic gray wolves (Canis lupus arctos) live primarily in the Arctic, the region located above 67° north latitude. These fascinating creatures are designed by the pressures of nature and are well adapted to survive on the icy landscape. Ambassador wolf Atka, like his wild counterparts, has two layers of fur: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of of the coat and the soft dense undercoat. The coarse guard hairs determine a wolf's appearance/color and works like a raincoat, protecting a wolf from rain, snow, and sleet. The insulating undercoat is usually gray in color and keeps the animal comfortable in cold temperatures. Additional adaptations to reduce heat loss include slightly shorter nose, ears, and legs than other gray wolf subspecies, and hair between the pads of his snowshoe-like feet. With blocky feet and long pliable toes that conform to uneven terrain, arctic wolves are well adapted to long-distance travel. The paws of a wolf are large, almost the size of an adult human hand, and thus able to perform like snowshoes carrying wolves effortlessly atop the crusty layer of deep snow. His fluffy tail can also keep this nose warm and cozy. Thanks to these special features, Arctic wolves can survive in temperatures as low as minus 70° Fahrenheit.

Travel to the remote Canadian Arctic with BBC Two in search of wolves that have never seen people - Watch here.

Watch Atka via LIVE webcam!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Who is Atka the Wolf?

Who is Atka? He's the confident and charismatic ambassador wolf who has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his 13 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, he's the best boss we’ll ever have. We love you, Atka.


Learn more.