Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mexican Wolf Pup "Trumpet" Featured on ABC News

He might only be a few weeks old, but Mexican gray wolf pup "Trumpet" is a rising star! The wolf pup will never be on view at the Wolf Conservation Center, but thanks to ABC News, the kiddo is doing a terrific job raising awareness for his critically endangered kin and our efforts to save the species. ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Monday, May 30, 2016

A Wild Salute

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

~ John F. Kennedy

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Good Advice

This is what you should do; love the Earth and sun and the animals. 
 ~ Walt Whitman


Saturday, May 28, 2016

When it comes to wolves, it's all about family

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Science is now finding, that in wild animals it's the oldest members who have the greatest influence on their family's success and survival.

 Kira Cassidy relates her research on Yellowstone wolves with other wildlife studies focused on understanding the value of older individuals in group-living species. Cassidy explains how these studies highlight the value of what old individuals can teach us: where we've gone wrong, what we might be missing, and what we can do to fix it.


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WCC Among Conservation Groups to File Emergency Petition to Save Plummeting Red Wolf Population

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Stronger Regulations Needed to Stem Illegal Shootings, Expand Where Wild Wolves Can Roam 

WASHINGTON— Conservation groups submitted an emergency petition today calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take immediate steps to bolster flagging protections for the world’s only wild population of red wolves, which has declined by more than 50 percent in just two years, to as few as 45 wolves. The decline occurred after the Service – responding to pressure from those opposed to wolf recovery –  deliberately abandoned wolf-recovery efforts and dramatically curtailed investigations of illegal wolf-shootings.

“Red wolves face the very real possibility of vanishing from the wild if they don’t get the help they need,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Sadly the Fish and Wildlife Service seems more concerned about appeasing a small minority of anti-wildlife extremists in North Carolina than preventing the extinction of these wolves.”

Recently obtained records via the Freedom of Information Act demonstrate that the Service’s red wolf biologists recommended strengthening protections by eliminating loopholes in regulations that have facilitated excessive illegal shootings of red wolves. As recently as 2013, the Service had considered following these recommendations and had even drafted new regulations. But the biologists’ recommendations were ignored, the regulations were never finalized, and the red wolf continues to suffer unsustainable levels of mortality.

Today’s emergency petition requests that the Service revise the current red wolf regulations in order to reduce red wolf shooting deaths, establish additional wild populations of red wolves, and reclassify all reintroduced populations of red wolves as “essential” experimental populations. Currently, wild red wolves are classified as “non-essential,” which severely limits the protections they receive under the Endangered Species Act.

“It is completely arbitrary that this lone wild population of red wolves, which was reintroduced almost 30 years ago, is still classified by the Service as a ‘non-essential’ species,” said Tara Zuardo, wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “The Service has turned its back on this species, and is undermining rather than bolstering red wolf recovery.”

The organizations that filed today’s petition include the Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Endangered Species Coalition, the South Florida Wildlands Association, WildEarth Guardians, Wildlands Network, and the Wolf Conservation Center. Learn more about the Critically endangered red wolf and the our efforts to recover them.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Can America Learn to Value the Big Bad Wolf?

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Wolves once ranged across most of North America, a vital part of many varied ecosystems. But by the mid-1900s, an unremitting slaughter by humans had brought wolves to the brink of extinction. Red wolves and Mexican gray wolves survived only in captivity, their wildness caged. And the lands where wolves once roamed were diminished, as was our own relationship to the wilderness.

Today, with the support of American public and the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, efforts have begun to right this horrible wrong: to restore these essential creatures to their rightful places in our landscapes, in our hearts, and in our culture.

The frontier for wolves has always been the hearts and minds of humans. Can we learn to value America's most polarizing predator?

There are signs of change.

More.

 ‪#‎EndangeredSpeciesDay‬

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Big Bare Belly Bodes Well for Mexican Wolf Recovery

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Pregnancy can be an exciting and magical time for parents but waiting can be excruciating for well-wishers! No pups yet for Mexican wolves F1226 and M1133, but F1226 recently plucked the hair from her big belly - a custom for expectant mothers when preparing for pups.

The WCC is one of 54 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) - 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. The Mexican wolf 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. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs and M1133 and F1226 are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.
Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out that F1226 and M1133 are a vibrant, loving, and playful pair that make it look like a whole lot of fun! We saw the pair engage in a copulatory tie on March 21st, so given a gestation period of 63 days her due date would be May 23rd. Keep your paws crossed!

Our live webcams will be trained on the pair so consider monitoring the couple from your home, office, or mobile device. If you see something interesting, please let us know!

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, May 17, 2016

Ambassador Wolf Milestone - It's Atka's Birthday!

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Today Ambassador Wolf Atka turns 14 years old! The confident and charismatic ambassador has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his lifetime. 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 has “touched” so many since his puppy-hood. He's traveled to thousands of schools, libraries, museums, and more, always impressing the masses with his rock-star attitude. Although Atka has been easing into retirement for about a year now, his inner road-warrior get restless so he continues to travel locally once or twice a month. He’s feeling great and isn’t ready to quit!

He stands out as a leader delivering enchanting howls that have an incredible ability to empower guests, volunteers, supporters, and staff with ambition and hope.  Atka is remarkable for the joy he takes in teaching others, the honest pleasure he has in participating with them, and the grace he exhibits in the round of applause. We are so grateful for Atka and the incredible impact he's had on so many. Happy birthday, Atka. We love you so.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Endangered Mexican Wolf Pup Born At The Wolf Conservation Center

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SOUTH SALEM, New York (May 13 ,2016) – Mother’s Day came early for a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf living at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in New York’s Westchester County. On the morning of May 4th, Mexican gray wolf F1143 gave birth to a single pup – a robust male nicknamed “Trumpet” for his loud squeals. During the pup’s first health check on May 12th, WCC staff and volunteers confirmed the top-notch pup-rearing skills of the first-time parents, their firstborn is healthy and very cute to boot. But beyond being “adorable," the pocket-size predator represents the Center's active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of 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.

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 (FWS) release efforts,” explained WCC Executive Director Maggie Howell, “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.”
In recent positive steps toward recovery, FWS has forged ahead despite political 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. Mexican wolf F1143’s pup was not eligible for wild-foster because it’s key that the captive litter comprise of a handful of pups and the timing wasn't right. F1143 gave birth a bit later than her wild counterparts.

“Although we hoped pups from our center would receive the ‘call of the wild’,” said WCC curator Rebecca Bose, “we’re elated that there have been so many foster events this year! Pup-fostering is an incredibly effective tool for augmenting the genetic health of the wild population.”

“Maybe next year some Mexican wolf pups from the WCC will get this amazing opportunity,” Howell continued, “in the meantime, we’re counting on FWS to continue with releases beyond pup season because recovery demands releasing more family groups into the wild too.”



The new wolf parents and pup are not on public exhibit, but thirteen live webcams, available on the WCC website, invite an unlimited number of viewers to enter the private lives of these elusive creatures. Two additional wolf couples - one Mexican gray wolf pair and one red wolf pair - were also designated to breed this year. So the WCC staff and supporters will remain glued to various webcams to behold the rare pup and hopefully witness the arrival of more potential pups in the coming weeks.

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.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

For Wolves Pups, Play Is About More Than Fun

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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.

The parents (sometimes referred to as the “alpha” pair) are the leaders of the pack and they express their status with erect posture and tails carried high. The less dominant family members exhibit their position through submissive behavior. With lowered tails and posture, less dominant wolves acknowledge their role and rank in the family hierarchy. Pawing, tail tucking, and muzzle-licking are among the submissive gestures expressed by less dominant wolves. Although hungry wolf pups hoping to elicit regurgitation in adults employ these behaviors, they’re expressed by adults to function as a sign of affection and reaffirmation of their social status.

When seeking to play, wolves will dance and bow playfully. Playtime can also include a game of chase, jaw sparring, and varied vocalizations.

For wolves, playtime isn’t only fun, it strengthens family bonds and reaffirms social status within the pack. According to a new study published May 11, 2016 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE , wolf pups are more likely to play on equal terms with wolves of similar age. Authors Jennifer Essler from the Messerli Research Institute (Vetmed Vienna) and the Wolf Science Center in Austria propose that such behavior may act to reinforce the dominant adult and subordinate puppy hierarchy established outside of play, and hope that continued research in this area may provide further insight.

Read more via EurekAlert!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Conservation-Minded Kiddo Runs for Wolves

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Eleven year-old Lizzy from White Plains, New York is running a 5K on May 14th to raise awareness for wolves and support the Wolf Conservation Center!

 Lizzy has always loved wolves and she wants to help others love them as well. According to Lizzy, wolves are beautiful creatures that play very important roles in our ecosystem so we shouldn’t be afraid of them – we should help them!

If you’d like to support Lizzy and the wolves she loves, please make a donation to the WCC and mention Lizzy’s name in the comments section. She’s running for the future of wolves so please join the WCC and let out a long supportive howl for Lizzy – a passionate junior activist who is determined to make the world a better place!

Donate here.

 More information about the Glenn D. Loucks Memorial Race.

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bittersweet Milestone for Critically Endangered Red Wolf

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Throw back your head and let out a warm birthday howl for Red Wolf M2075! Welcome to the terrific twos, kiddo! It’s been a busy year for the stunning fellow. Within a day or two of his first birthday, his parents, M1803 (Moose) and F1563 (Salty) welcomed their second litter - a robust clutch of seven. Although he had only just become a yearling, M2075 was thrown into big-brotherhood and charged with new responsibilities and expectations to best assist his parents raise the noisy and needy newborns.

Today his young siblings are now yearlings themselves, sadly a milestone their formidable matriarch was unable to see. Salty died of unknown causes on April 30th. So on this day, join us in sending supportive howls to the family during this time of transition, and gratitude that Salty's legacy lives on in M2075 and his frisky kin they all raised so well.

Happy Mother's Day


Friday, May 6, 2016

Red Wolf M1803 Turns 6 Years Old!

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Red Wolf M1803 (affectionately nicknamed “Moose”) has a personality that matches his nickname and large frame. Born to F1397 (“Witchhazel”) in 2010, M1803 was the largest of the litter – his brother, M1804, was much smaller in size.

 At a few years of age M1803 was transferred to the Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut to be with his predetermined mate, F1563. The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red 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 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 M1803 and F1563 were a great match on paper. Luckily, they proved to be a loving pair in real life.

 He first fathered a litter with F1563 in 2014 and wolf supporters rejoiced as the pair gave birth to three pups. The new family soon grew too large for their enclosure and they were transferred back to the WCC; our supporters (and M1803’s mother, F1397) were extremely excited to welcome the newest residents.


 
It’s been non-stop parenting for M1803. F1563 gave birth to a litter of five pups in 2015 and M1803 was a doting father and husband, frequently bringing food to his mate and allowing his pups to climb all over him. What a great guy!

Unfortunately, the past week has been bittersweet for M1803. His loving companion, F1563, passed away on April 31, 2016, leaving behind her mate and six children. Her family, along with WCC staff and a global fan base, mourned her loss but was comforted by the unwavering presence of M1803. He has continued to play the role of benevolent patriarch, joining his yearling pups in celebrating their first birthday on May 2nd and leading many melodious howls.

So join us in sending congratulatory howls to Moose for persevering through trying times and providing strong leadership for a new generation of red wolves. Happy birthday, M1803!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Red Wolf Pup Milestone - the Fab Five Turn One

A year ago today on May 2, 2015, critically endangered red wolf F1563 (a.k.a. Salty) gave birth to a litter of pups – all of them beautiful and each pup a valuable contribution to the recovery of his and her rare and at-risk species.

 Today a new chapter begins for red "pups" m2116, m2117, m2118, m2119 and f2121, it's their time to transition from puppy-hood to adulthood! So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory birthday howl for the Red Wolf Pup Fab Five! Welcome to yearling-hood, kiddos! And thank you for unknowingly becoming such powerful players in the fight to preserve red wolves’ rightful place in the wild! ‪


Mexican Gray Wolf M1198 Turns Six Years Old!

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The new year started on a sad note for Mexican gray Wolf M1198. On December 27th, 2015, his formerly strong and spirited companion, Mexican wolf F749, passed away at 13 years old.

Although M1198 (affectionately nicknamed “Alleno”) and F749 were not officially related, over their two year relationship the pair shared a bond very much like a mother and son. Ever since F749’s passing, M1198 has lived the life of a lone wolf. However the elusive beauty won’t be alone much longer. This August the Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf will determine breeding pairs for 2017 by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs because all Mexican wolves descended from just 7 founders rescued from extinction. So M1198 will be matched with a female with whom he’ll meet this fall. She’ll be a lucky loba as M1198 is particularly stunning. His signature stare is unforgettable - one eye golden and the other green.

So on his birthday, we hope M1198 enjoys the relaxing life of a bachelor. It will be hard to find the downtime next year when he’s celebrating with his future mate and perhaps a litter of golden-green-eyed pups too!

Happy birthday, M1198!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Wolf Conservation Center Mourns Endangered Red Wolf

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Dear Friends,

It is with a heavy heart that I share tragic news about a special mom. Red wolf F1563, affectionately nicknamed “Salty,” passed away Saturday. She celebrated her 9th birthday on March 26th.  Her cause of death remains unknown, the necropsy (autopsy for animals) was inconclusive.

The beautiful matriarch was the ultimate teacher- leading both her brood and those who she unknowingly inspired with strength and grace. She blazed into our homes and hearts via webcam - opening the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of her endangered kin, and our efforts to recover them. Her great gift in her life was calling our attention to the things that really matter for wolves - work, love, patience and family. 

We can be better and do better because she lived. Her vibrant and tenacious spirit will empower us to continue the fight to safeguard the wild legacy she leaves behind.

Our hearts go out to her family and the many who she had unknowingly touched. 

RIP, sweet Salty. We miss you already.

Thank you for your support,

Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center Director

Milestone for Critically Endangered Red Wolf

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Red Wolf F1397 Turns 11 Years Old!

The Wolf Conservation Center currently houses two groups of red wolves - the multi-generational family of nine made popular by the WCC webcams lives in one enclosure and the original matriarch of that family, Grandma F1397 (affectionately nicknamed “Witchhazel”), lives in the other with her companion of two years, red wolf M1566 (a.k.a. “Colt” or “Smokey”).

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red 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 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 F1397 and M1566 are a great match on paper.

Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out that the wolves make a great match off paper as well. This is not always the case; arranged romance can go terribly wrong.

About a month after F1397 joined the WCC family in 2009 she was introduced to her first mate, M1483. The two made a lovely pair and became parents the following spring with the birth of their two sons, M1803 and M1804. F1397 developed into a strong and serious matriarch keeping everyone in line. Sadly, M1483 died tragically in October of 2012, leaving F1397 to raise her young children singlehandedly.



In 2013, a new chapter opened for F1397 and the boys. M1804 was released to the wild - he still resides on an island off Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. M1803 was paired with F1563 and became a father in 2014 and repeated the feat the following year. And F1397 was paired with a new companion, M1565, who she took an immediate disliking to. It was the first time WCC staff had witnessed such a poor match - the poor fella never had a chance! But the following year F1397 met F1566, the brother of M1565, and she gives her newest beau two paws up! The scrappy, tough, and elusive beauties are a perfect match, both with personalities much larger than their frames.

So join us in sending congratulatory howls to Witchhazel for finding her soul mate. And who knows… perhaps she’ll celebrate her 11th birthday with a new litter of scrappy, tough, and elusive pups!

Happy birthday, F1397!