Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Summary of WCC's Red Wolf and Mexican Gray Wolf Breeding Plans/Transfers

Mexican gray wolf M1564 (LighHawk) arriving at the WCC

Hello everyone,

The Wolf Conservation Center participates in the Species Survival Plan (SSP) for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) and the red wolf (Canis rufus). The Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf are among the rarest mammals in North America; both species were at one time extinct in the wild.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to secure protections for critically endangered wolf species, we have also naturally been quite active in physically safeguarding the representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to our care.

Organizations participating in the SSP are tasked with basic husbandry, collaborating in the carefully managed captive breeding program, recommendations for release, and research.

This work is literally “behind the scenes” as visitors rarely get to see the wolves because they are generally kept off-exhibit to maintain their healthy aversion to humans.

This winter promises to be an exciting one as it features not only our normal husbandry, but also five breeding pairs (three Mexican wolf pairs and two red), collection of genetic material, and even an extraordinary medical procedure.

Because the entire existing populations of Mexican wolves and red wolves are derived from such a limited founding populations (just 7 individuals for the Mexican wolf and 14 for the red wolf), genetic health is the primary consideration governing decisions re: reproductive pairings and captive-to-wild release events. It is also the reason that the SSP programs for both wolf species pursue extraordinary conservation measures to save these species including semen collection, gamete cryopreservation, and artificial insemination (AI).

Below is a summary of the red wolf and Mexican gray wolf breeding plans and transfers.

RED WOLVES 

Breeding Update:

  • Receive red wolf parents M1784 and F1858 along with their pups m2206, m2208, f2210 and f2211 from the Museum of Life and Science. The parents will be given an opportunity to breed again this year to produce multigenerational pack. We have not determined which enclosure the family reside in at this time.
  • Red wolf F2121 (Charlotte) will leave her siblings to be paired with red wolf M1606 from USFWS’s Sandy Ridge facility in North Carolina. They will be given an opportunity to breed.

Transfers:
  • Red wolf M2116 (Redford) will be transferred to the Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park to breed. I do not know the name or studbook number for the female. More about the Binghamton Zoo and red wolves (from 2014): http://rossparkzoo.com/red-wolves-added-to-wolf-woods-exhibit/
  • Red wolf F1568 (Argo) was be transferred to Mill Mountain Zoo, VA, to be a companion her brother, M1566 (Smokey)
  • Red wolf M1803 (Moose) was transferred to the Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC where he will be paired with a female (I do not know the name or studbook number for the female) for breeding.

MEXICAN GRAY WOLVES

Breeding Update:
  • Mexican gray wolf F1505 (Trumpet) will remain at the WCC and leave her parents to be paired with two-year-old Mexican gray wolf M1564 (LightHawk) for breeding.
  • Mexican gray wolves M1133 (Rhett) and F1226 (Belle) will be given an opportunity to breed again, however, this time via artificial insemination (AI). Because the yearlings are reaching sexual maturity, the males and females will need to be separated for breeding season. We’re utilizing AI for breeding, as an alternate to permanently removing the yearlings from the family. If successful, the family will accommodate three generations of offspring.
  • Mexican gray wolves M1198 (Alléno) and F1143 (Rosa) will be given an opportunity to breed again. Last year the pair was given the opportunity via AI. This year Rosa and Alléno will be paired physically.

Other Changes:
Mexican gray wolf M1059 (Diego) will join Mexican gray wolf F1435 (Magdalena) and reside together (still at the WCC) as companions only.

SUMMARY

Saying Goodbye...

So, this season we’re welcoming some new wolves (red wolf family, red wolf male, Mexican gray wolf male) and also saying goodbye to others (red wolves Redford, Moose and Argo). Saying goodbye is never easy, however, we honestly believe Redford, Moose and Argo will find better opportunities in their new homes. Argo was with her dear brother Smokey. Redford will no longer be ranked lowest in the family hierarchy – at his new home he’ll be “top dog” and with a lady! And then there is Moose. Beyond granting an opportunity for Moose to breed again, his departure gives him a chance to be social again. Moose was born at the WCC in 2010. It is very unlikely that Moose will ever welcome a new mate if he remains at the WCC – he’s just too territorial when it comes to his home turf. So, by letting Moose go, we’re not only giving him a chance to support the recovery of his rare species via more potential pups, we’re also giving him a chance to love and be loved again by other wolves.

Diego and Rosa

Splitting up Diego and Rosa is the toughest pill for us to swallow. Last year we tried to allow the two to be paired with wolves who are a better genetic match via AI attempts. However, because we cannot count on AI to be as successful as a real breeding event, the Mexican Wolf SSP decided that Rosa and Alléno should be paired because their potential pups are critical to enhancing the genetic health of the captive population. The good news is both Rosa and Alléno will remain at the WCC and they will be given the opportunity to find love and companionship with new partners.

Get Ready

Hold on to your seats… next spring we can potentially welcome 5 litters. Just imagine… Mini Trumpets! Mini Charlottes too! Trumpet half siblings! And more lovely little lobos with darling overbites (pups from Belle and Rhett).

Big thanks to all of you for watching. Your passion for wolves and wonderful support are among the reasons we love having you as members of the WCC pack!

~ Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Gifts for "Game of Thrones" Fans that Support WCC Wolves

Box with Ghost





Attention Game of Thrones Fans!

Winter is Here! Show your love for the hit HBO show Game of Thrones, and help save critically endangered wolves at the same time by shopping The Game of Thrones Premium Box Collection by CultureFly.

Delivering four times a year, the Game of Thrones Box will bring all the treasures from Westeros right to your doorstep. Each uniquely themed box is packed with over $120 worth of 100% EXCLUSIVE apparel, accessories, vinyl figures, home goods, and more. Pre-orders are currently open for the limited edition inaugural box.

$5.00 from each box purchased via this exclusive link will go to helping wolf recovery efforts at the WCC!

Use code WOLF at checkout for 10% off the first box - code expires 12/31/17.

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Wild Salute to Our Veterans

Atka_flag_logo_edit_sm

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 9, 2017

Volunteers With Wings Making A Difference for Lobos

lighthawk_edit_logo_sm
Winter is an exciting season for wolves and the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC); it’s the season of romance! Wolves are “mono-estrus” -- breeding only once a year during the winter months.

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determines which wolves should breed each year 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 seven founders rescued from extinction.

It turns out that Mexican gray wolf F1505 (affectionately nicknamed Trumpet) has a great match on paper. She has an extremely low inbreeding coefficient with a wolf she has never met - Mexican gray wolf M1564.

Optimistic that our matchmaking will be successful, our first task beyond planning on paper is to unite the wolves in reality. Sounds easy, but what if the wolves are on opposite corners of the country? With breeding season approaching, we needed to get M1564 from New Mexico to New York. But how?

For occasions such as this, we call upon a very special group to help-- one with wings!

LightHawk is a volunteer-based environmental aviation organization that donates flights to conservation groups. LightHawk asks that its volunteers bring a lot more than skill. For flights over North America, pilots use their own aircraft and absorb the cost of fuel, insurance, and hangaring during a mission.

lighthawk_Michael_Baum_logo_sm
Early in the morning on October 18, pilot Michael Baum prepped his aircraft (a Socata TBM 700) at Truth or Consequences, NM. There, WCC curator Rebecca Bose and the crated lobo boarded his high performance single-engine plane to fly 3.5 hours to St. Louis, MO.

lighthawk_logo_sm_3Next, Rebecca and the wolf met Jim and Pat Houser to board a second plane, their Pilatus PC-12, for 3.5 more hours in the air to get them to Danbury, CT.

This wasn’t the first time that pilot Jim Houser has swooped in from the sky to offer support to the WCC and endangered wolf recovery. In 2013, Jim flew Rebecca and two newborn Mexican gray wolf pups in his six-passenger plane.
After a full day of flying, the dedicated crew reached their final destination – the WCC in South Salem, NY. It was a long day for everyone involved, but an especially hairy one for the elusive lobo.

But with each cautious step form his travel crate with the soft earth beneath his paws, M1564 began to ease. A new chapter had begun for the lobo, and it started with a name.

LightHawk.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Killing 1000 Wolves is Not Conservation

Alberta_strychnine_logo_sm
In Canada, long-outdated policies continue to allow the use of reckless and violent poisons to kill wolves... and wolves aren't the only ones suffering.

A minimum of 2,130 animals have been killed under the guise of conserving a herd of roughly 80 caribou in a landscape that is now 96% disturbed by oil, gas and forestry.

Numbers obtained by our friends at Wolf Awareness Inc show over 1,000 wolves have been gunned down from helicopters, strangled in snares, and poisoned with strychnine since 2005; and an estimated 250 other non-target animals have been accidentally poisoned.


It's no secret that strychnine is inhumane.

When animals are poisoned with strychnine, it takes a long time to die. The animals are completely lucid throughout the whole poisoning episode - they can hear everything, they can see everything, they can feel everything.

It's the 21st century. Is this what conservation should look like?

More.


For more information, please visit Wolf Awareness Inc's new campaign at wehowl.ca/poisonfree

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Strength of the Wolf is Teamwork




In a widely used behavioral experiment that requires teamwork, wolves showed up their domesticated cousins.

The study led at the Wolf Science Centre in Ernstbrunn, Austria calls into question a long-held assumption that domestication fosters more cooperative individuals.

To determine who the better team-player is, researchers put food on a tray attached to two ropes and tested pairs of dogs or wolves in an exercise where the animals could get the food only if each individual pulled on a different rope at the same time. When the dogs were tested, they failed to cooperatively pull the two ends of a rope at the same time to obtain a piece of food. The wolves, on the other hand, showed perfect teamwork.

Should we be surprised? Nope.

After all, the strength of the wolf is the pack.

Happy Howls on Your Birthday, Hélène Grimaud!



In addition to being one of the most celebrated internationally acclaimed classical pianists of our time, Hélène Grimaud is a highly committed conservationist and the founder of the Wolf Conservation Center!

On her special day, we thank her for her voice as a global advocate for wolves.

In Hélène’s words, wolves are not only essential “biodiversity engineers,” preserving balances among animal and plant species but also “endlessly fascinating creatures who have much to teach humans.”

Happy birthday, Hélène!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Questions Surrounding Alleged Self-Defense Wolf Killing

sunday_alawa_logo_sm
On October 27, an elk hunter in Oregon reported that he shot and killed a protected wolf in self-defense. However, emerging details reveal the hunter's story and the forensic evidence don't match.

Carter Niemeyer, a retired USFWS biologist with 30 years experience overseeing and/or consulting on wolf recovery work throughout the West, doubt's the hunter's story.

Niemeyer said he has hunted predators for 52 years as a government hunter and a taxidermist, and has dealt with fellow sportsmen and shooters for decades. “I’ve heard every story,” he said. “This story is very suspect to me.”

Oregon Wild's Steve Pedry asked, "Why would Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sign off on a report that is directly contradicted by the evidence?"

Poachers have killed several Oregon wolves - it's a real problem. Since October 2016, three federally protected wolves have been illegally killed in the state. It's feared that wolf shooters might now use a “self-defense” claim as a free pass to poaching.

Full story here.


Note: This story is still developing. Follow Oregon Wild for updates.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

For Wolves, Happiness is Finding Something Stinky


When a wolf encounters a new (usually yucky) scent, rolling often ensues. A wolf might begin by lowering his/her head and shoulders, then rub to coat the rest of his/her body and fur with the scent.

Scientists have several theories re: why wolves "scent-roll." One theory is that the wolves want to familiarize themselves and the rest of the pack with a particular scent. Another theory is that scent-rolling disguises the wolves' own scent allowing them to more easily sneak up on their prey. There's also a theory is that scent-rolling might make a wolf appear more attractive to other wolves!

Whatever the reason, Atka looks really cute doing it!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Atka Endorses Mexican Wolf Esperanza for Arizona Game and Fish Commission



SPRINGERVILLE, AZ— An application to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey for a seat on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission was submitted today on behalf of the alpha female of the Panther Creek Pack of Mexican gray wolves. Named “Esperanza” (“hope” in Spanish) by school children when she was a pup, the applicant is a lifelong resident of Greenlee County and a fifth-generation Arizonan who avidly supports the right to hunt. The application was accompanied by testimonials from other wolves, including her offspring, and a letter of support from over a dozen conservation organizations long concerned about the commission’s anti-wolf record.

“Pro-wolf Arizonans have felt underrepresented by the current commission and their votes to limit Endangered Species Act protections for Mexican wolves,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “The Game and Fish Commission has consistently ignored the majority of Arizonans that want to see wolf populations recover and expand throughout the state.”

For the past two years Esperanza and her Panther Creek Pack fostered pups from captive wolves; the biological parents of the cross-fostered pups were not released with their offspring because of an Arizona Game and Fish Commission policy that has blocked adult releases. Esperanza raised these pups as her own and mentored them in subsistence survival, all the while knowing instinctively that her species’ survival depends on increased adult wolves being released from captivity.

"The Game and Fish Commision has repeatedly approved the reintroductions of non-native species or species outside of their ranges for the sole purpose of sport hunting or fishing and yet, when it comes to a native, endangered species in Arizona that needs the available habitat in the Grand Canyon region to be recovered, they push for an arbitrary boundary that would allow no wolves north of Interstate 40," said Emily Renn, executive director of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.

“Having gotten to know the forests and meadows of the Panther Creek Pack’s home territory, and having sat through Arizona Game and Fish Commission meetings more times than I wish, I’m reluctant to subject Esperanza to the commission’s ugly politics,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Unfortunately, the future of Esperanza and her pack as well as other endangered lobos will be significantly affected by the anti-wolf agenda of the commission, so we need someone on the panel to counter it and to represent the pro-wolf majority.”

Conservationists tout Esperanza’s qualifications including her work as a hunting guide, excelling in her business despite healthy competition, and her history of volunteering on management hunts to limit excessive elk herbivory on sensitive riparian vegetation in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. She’s well informed about Arizona’s public lands and is passionate about game management issues.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Should "History" Count as an Adequate Reason to Kill a Wolf?

sunday _duo_logo_sm


Although only 231 rare Alexander Archipelago wolves remain on Prince of Wales Island, Southeast Alaska’s subsistence advisory panel aims to kill 69, and on federal lands no less.

The panel recommends increasing the subsistence quota by 30% claiming, “Trapping of wolves has been an historic opportunity for rural residents on Price of Wales Island... There’s a long history of being able to trap for animals such as wolf.”

Any hunting or trapping of these rare wolves is already controversial.

Threatened by logging and hunting, 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.

Moreover, just two years ago, the number of Alexander Archipelago wolves dropped by 60% in a single year.

“This population has been petitioned to be listed under the Endangered Species Act – twice. And it’s also involved in some litigation,” said Bruce Dale, director of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s wildlife conservation division.

More.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Ambassador "Wolf" William Leaves his Mark on Halloween

William_logo_smIn early October, the Wolf Conservation Center received an email about William, a young boy who was very upset when he dressed up as a wolf for Halloween the previous year and everyone was calling him the big bad wolf.

Eager to teach others about how essential wolves are, his mother asked us for a flyer he could hand out while trick or treating this year that would help others understand why wolves aren’t the “big bad wolf” they are portrayed to be.

Well, we got an update and William was successful in his mission! “William had a successful night handing out the flyer last night. He did a wonderful job. Thanks again.”
We are so proud of William and hope his story is an inspiration to everyone! Go William!

William_Collage_sm


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf, “Esperanza,” Applies to Join Arizona Game Commission


SPRINGERVILLE, AZ— An application to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey for a seat on the Arizona Game and Fish Commission was submitted today on behalf of the alpha female of the Panther Creek Pack of Mexican gray wolves. Named “Esperanza” (“hope” in Spanish) by school children when she was a pup, the applicant is a lifelong resident of Greenlee County and a fifth-generation Arizonan who avidly supports the right to hunt. The application was accompanied by testimonials from other wolves, including her offspring, and a letter of support from over a dozen conservation organizations long concerned about the commission’s anti-wolf record.

“Pro-wolf Arizonans have felt underrepresented by the current commission and their votes to limit Endangered Species Act protections for Mexican wolves,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “The Game and Fish Commission has consistently ignored the majority of Arizonans that want to see wolf populations recover and expand throughout the state.”

For the past two years Esperanza and her Panther Creek Pack fostered pups from captive wolves; the biological parents of the cross-fostered pups were not released with their offspring because of an Arizona Game and Fish Commission policy that has blocked adult releases. Esperanza raised these pups as her own and mentored them in subsistence survival, all the while knowing instinctively that her species’ survival depends on increased adult wolves being released from captivity.

"The Game and Fish Commision has repeatedly approved the reintroductions of non-native species or species outside of their ranges for the sole purpose of sport hunting or fishing and yet, when it comes to a native, endangered species in Arizona that needs the available habitat in the Grand Canyon region to be recovered, they push for an arbitrary boundary that would allow no wolves north of Interstate 40," said Emily Renn, executive director of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project.

“Having gotten to know the forests and meadows of the Panther Creek Pack’s home territory, and having sat through Arizona Game and Fish Commission meetings more times than I wish, I’m reluctant to subject Esperanza to the commission’s ugly politics,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club. “Unfortunately, the future of Esperanza and her pack as well as other endangered lobos will be significantly affected by the anti-wolf agenda of the commission, so we need someone on the panel to counter it and to represent the pro-wolf majority.”

Conservationists tout Esperanza’s qualifications including her work as a hunting guide, excelling in her business despite healthy competition, and her history of volunteering on management hunts to limit excessive elk herbivory on sensitive riparian vegetation in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. She’s well informed about Arizona’s public lands and is passionate about game management issues.

---

Follow Esperanza on Facebook to learn more and stay up to date on her candidacy.

More information about the applicant and the plight of Mexican wolves in the southwest can be found at www.mexicanwolves.org. Images are online and available for media use.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ten Reasons Why Wolves Are Essential

Why_wolves_flyer_photo

VITAL. NOT VICIOUS.

Wolves are a critical keystone species in a healthy ecosystem. A keystone species is often, but not always, a predator – like the wolf. Outnumbered greatly by their prey, predators can control the distribution, population, and behavior of large numbers of prey species.

By altering prey movements, browsing patterns, and foraging behavior (predation risk effects), wolves have an indirect effect on plant and tree regeneration. In this regard, wolves have a trickle-down effect on among animals and plants, a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade.” When present in an ecosystem, wolves have been noted to indirectly impact trees, rivers, songbirds, beaver, fish, and even butterflies.

Without predators, such as wolves, the system fails to support a natural level of biodiversity, and may cease to exist altogether. Thus the preservation and of keystone species is essential for maintaining the historic structure and function of the ecosystems they inhabit.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Says Province is Failing Rare Algonquin Wolf

Algonquin canid by Steve Dunsford of Impressions of Algonquin
October 24, 2017 -- Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) Dianne Saxe released her Environmental Protection Annual Report, an assessment on whether ministries have fulfilled their responsibilities under the Environmental Bill of Rights, and whether their environmentally significant decisions were consistent with the purposes of the law. The ECO is province’s environmental watchdog, an independent officer of the Legislature. In her 2017 Environmental Protection Report,"Good Choices, Bad Choices: Environmental Rights and Environmental Protection in Ontario", the ECO examines eight environmental issues this year, including Ontario's failure to protect a threatened species - the Algonquin wolf.


"Hunting and trapping is a central threat to the long-term survival of the Algonquin wolf, which is a threatened species at risk. Ontario’s Endangered Species Act prohibits threatened species from being killed or harmed, but the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has chosen to exempt the Algonquin wolf from this important protection across much of its range. The ministry has opted to only protect Algonquin wolves from hunting and trapping in and around a few isolated provincial parks. Scientists have concluded that the Algonquin wolf stands little chance of recovery unless the ministry bans hunting and trapping of wolves and coyotes throughout its range."


The report finds that between their small population — there could be as few as 154 adult Algonquin wolves in all of Ontario — and lax rules around their protection, it’s conceivable they could entirely disappear from the landscape.


Read the report here. Visit Earthroots for additional information.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Atka Honored at Bedford 25 Event

calendar_sunday_edit_sm
Here in Westchester County, NY, we have among us a wide range of dedicated, influential, and creative neighbors. They can be counted on to lend their time, talents, and resources when it comes to enhancing the community. When Bedford Magazine asked locals who makes the biggest difference in Westchester this year, Atka made this list!

Join us to honor the charismatic ambassador at the Bedford 25 cocktail party on November 10! (Atka will not be attending)

Bedford 25 Reception and Ceremony

Wine and hors d'oeuvres cocktail party.Bedford Magazine and Houlihan Lawrence invite you to celebrate the 25 Most Dedicated, Most Creative, Most Influential. Wine and hors d'oeuvres cocktail party.

Friday, November 10 from 6pm - 8pm
Rippowam Cisqua School, 439 Cantitoe St, Bedford, NY
$60/person

RSVP by October 31. Your purchase of a ticket is your RSVP.

For Tickets

Proceeds benefit the Wolf Conservation Center!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Secret Life of Mountain Lions


The Secret Life of Mountain Lions ​provides a rare glimpse into the family and social bonds of mountain lions. ​It affirms their rightful place ​in nature and they must be ​protected ​for generations to come.

Arizonans for Wildlife Launches Ballot Campaign


Arizonans for Wildlife is working to protect their state’s wild cats from extreme cruelty by prohibiting the trophy hunting and trapping of mountain lions, bobcats, ocelots, jaguars and lynx.

Learn more!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Victory For Single-State Species

red_wolf_victory_logo_2_sm
An amendment that sought to strip protections for more than 1,000 imperiled species (including the red wolf) was defeated just defeated!

Introduced by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah), amendment #1429 sought to eliminate federal protections for endangered species that exist entirely within the borders of a single state. If passed, the amendment would have stripped federal protections for hundreds of imperiled species including the red wolf in North Carolina, the polar bear in Alaska, the Florida panther, and every listed plant or animal on Hawaii.

The amendment failed by a vote of 49-51.

See how your Senators voted.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Hélène Grimaud's Woodlands and Beyond



In addition to being one of the most celebrated internationally acclaimed classical pianists of our time, Hélène Grimaud is a highly committed conservationist and the founder of the Wolf Conservation Center.

In her newest project, Woodlands and Beyond, Hélène partners with photographer Mat Hennek to deliver in a concert to be both heard and seen, the harmony and spirituality of natural landscapes... and wolves!

Thank you, Hélène! You're are an inspiration!


Learn more about Mat Hennek's work: https://www.instagram.com/mat.hennek/

Sunday, October 15, 2017

National Wolf Awareness Week Begins Today!

wOLF_aWARENESS_wEEK_blog
Wolves have long been shrouded by myth and superstition, this week provides an opportunity to opening the door to understanding the importance and plight of the keystone species. It’s a time to recognize wolves as an ESSENTIAL part of our natural landscapes and to engage others to become interested and active in wolf survival.

Follow the Wolf Conservation Center on Facebook and be on the lookout for wild giveaways, wolf facts, and ways to take action for North America's most misunderstood predator!

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How Did Wolves Become Dogs


 Scientists aren’t entirely sure how wolves evolved into dogs, but new research into the genetic and social behavior of wolf pups may offer some clues.

 More from The New York Times.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Are Poachers Following Oregon's Lead? Federally Protected Wolf Found Dead.

was_protected_sad_logo_sm
Since August of this year, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has authorized the killing of 10 wolves in its effort to protect cattle on both public and private lands.

Just last Friday, ODFW issued a kill permit allowing "livestock producers" affiliated with a local grazing association to kill up to four Harl Butte pack wolves (any wolves of the pack - including pups) in pastures on public or private land currently occupied by their livestock.

Last year, ODFW killed the entire Imnaha Pack.

Is killing entire wolf packs every couple of years a solution?


Moreover, are poachers following suit?

ODFW announced last night that federally protected wolf OR-33 was illegally shot and killed. The body of the 4-year-old wolf was found on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. He was wearing a collar.

A recent study by Guillaume Chapron and Adrian Treves shows government-sanctioned killing is more likely to increase poaching than reduce it.

Read more.

Battle of Endurance: Wolf vs. Moose



A phenomenal glimpse at the endurance of gray wolves and moose alike. 

Read more about the encounter via Earth Touch News Network

(In the days since the video was posted online, Nystedt has faced criticism for flying his drone so close to the animals, with some viewers even accusing him of altering the outcome of the hunt. The wolf does seem to be aware of the drone's presence overhead, but it was likely the moose's move towards deeper water – not the flying tech – that sent the predator back to dry land. At least temporarily.)

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mexican Gray Wolf by Joel Sartore


The Mexican gray wolf once ruled the American Southwest, but as the arrival of humans and livestock increased, they began to be viewed as a pest. By 1973, trapping, poison and rifles had completely eliminated the wild Mexican gray wolf populations in the U.S., leaving only a handful alive in captivity.

To save this keystone species, an unprecedented breeding program was put in place and, in 1998, eleven Mexican gray wolves were eventually released back into the wilds of Arizona. Today about 100 survive on their own, a better number for sure, but the wolf still remains one of the rarest land animals on Earth. 

So what to do? Allowing the wolves to establish territories in many suitable habitats in remote locations will help prevent inbreeding. Biologists hope to target areas with abundant wild prey and few roads such as the vast forested areas around the Grand Canyon, up into Utah, over to New Mexico and into parts of Colorado. A minimum population of 750 wolves in the wild would help ensure that the species will stay genetically distinct enough to survive well into the future

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Scholastic News Kid Reporter Ava Park-Matt Sleeps With Wolves



Imagine that you’re sleeping in the wilderness in a tent and are awakened by the sound of wolves howling. That’s what happened to Scholastic News Kid Reporter Ava Park-Matt over the summer when her family spent the night at the Wolf Conservation Center!

Read her article HERE.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Oregon Killing Four More Wolves To Protect Cows

sad_plain_logo_sm
Last night, Oregon officials issued another kill order to kill up to 4 wolves of the Harl Butte family group to protect cows. The kill permit is valid until 10/31/2017 and allows "livestock producers" affiliated with a local grazing association to kill wolves in pastures on public or private land currently occupied by their livestock. More.

Last year, ODFW killed the entire Imnaha Pack in this same area. Is killing entire wolf packs every couple of years a solution?


Please follow Oregon Wild for updates.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Meet Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Jean!Shy and always with a family member, f1619, a.k.a. Jean, is the quietest of the pups, but that doesn’t make her any less fierce!

jean _logo_edit_email
Shy and always with a family member, f1619, a.k.a. Jean, is the quietest of the pups,
but that doesn’t make her any less fierce!
Shy and always with a family member, f1619, a.k.a. Jean, is the quietest of the pups, but that doesn’t make her any less fierce!

Jean is one of the three critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups born on May 22, 2017. Beyond being cute, this little kiddo represents the Wolf Conservation Center's active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.

While our three little wolf pups were assigned their alphanumeric "names" last month, the sisters deserve proper names too! First, you met Nita. Max was next. Now we are happy to introduce you to Jean!

We are so lucky and grateful to have so many wonderful friends and supporters. Jean Ossorio has been a vital member of the WCC pack some time. For those who have met Jean, it’s no secret that she is committed to Mexican gray wolf recovery. Not only has Jean been a tireless advocate for the protection and preservation of the lobo for decades, she has spent more time than anyone camping in Mexican wolf country, hoping for a glimpse, sound, or other sign of these rare and elusive animals.

Jean is courage, compassion, brilliance, and grit in action; and her love for lobos goes unparalleled. It seems only natural that one of our three spirited Mexican gray wolf pups should be named after her.

So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory howl for little Jean!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

House Committee Advances 5 Anti-ESA Bills

calendar_family_love_logo_sm
The House Natural Resources Committee today advanced 5 bills that would severely undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

One bill, H.R. 424, seeks to strip ESA protections for wolves in 4 states to allow wolves to be shot and trapped for trophy. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.

The following 4 anti-ESA bills also advanced in today's mark-up meeting:
  • H.R. 717, Listing Reform Act 
  • H.R. 1274, State, Tribal, and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act
  • H.R. 2603, SAVES Act 
  • H.R. 3131, Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act
Please help. Urge your representative to oppose legislation taking aim at imperiled species and the ESA!

Take Action

Monday, October 2, 2017

Legislation Taking Aim at Wolves

trophy_logo_22_sm

Urgent Action Needed

The U.S. House may soon vote on the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (H.R.3668), deceitfully dubbed the SHARE Act. If passed, H.R.3668 would:
  • Permanently remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, to allow trophy hunting of wolves to immediately resume within these states. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.
  • Prohibit regulation of toxic lead ammunition or fishing equipment, which harms fish, wildlife and human health.
  • Potentially open millions of acres of public lands to trapping where it may currently be prohibited.

Please urge your representative to OPPOSE his legislation. Take action HERE.

This action is open to U.S. residents only.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wolf Conservation Center Presents at Annual WAZE Symposium at Tufts University

lobo_pup_RB (2)
Photo: Rebecca Bose and a Mexican wolf pup

Various wildlife professionals are descending upon Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University this weekend for their annual WAZE Symposium, dedicated to providing veterinary students with access to the most current information regarding the medicine and conservation of wildlife, aquatic, zoo and exotic species. The WCC's Curator, Rebecca Bose, will present a detailed look at the challenges and triumphs involved with saving critically endangered red wolves and Mexican gray wolves through the WCC's participation in Species Survival Plans (SSPs). Howls of thanks to Rebecca and all wildlife professionals and advocates who work tirelessly to preserve native biodiversity!

More information about the WCC's participation in the red wolf and Mexican gray wolf recovery programs can be found here.

Learn more about the WAZE Symposium here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Politics Trumping Science, Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves Denied Critical Habitat

nose_lobo_pup_logo_sm
Endangered U.S. Wolf Denied New Habitat, As Critics Charge That Politics Trumped Science

An updated recovery plan for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf, released by U.S. Fish and Wildlife this summer, calls for restricting their habitat to areas south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico and certain areas of Northern Mexico. This limited range directly contradicts a draft recovery plan proposed by a panel of scientists in 2012 that identified parts of Northern Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado as potential release sites capable of supporting two additional wolf populations.


Mike Phillips, one of nine scientists tasked with defining science-based "recovery" of Mexican wolves for the 2012 draft plan, is skeptical about the plan due to the emphasis on building a wolf population in Mexico while also giving the states of Arizona and New Mexico more control over the recovery of this critically endangered species.

He states, "I think the world of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But in this case, they let the Mexican wolf down."

More here via Science Magazine

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wyoming Wolves To Be Killed This Sunday

family_logo_26_sm
For the first time since 2013, licensed wolf hunting will take place in Wyoming; the season starts this Sunday and runs through December 31st.

In March 2017, a federal appeals court upheld the USFWS’s 2012 decision to remove gray wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list. Wolves in Wyoming were classified as "predators" and can be shot on sight within 85% of the state. Come Sunday, wolves in the northwest corner of the state can be shot as well. More here.


The decision to return wolf management to Wyoming paves the way for USFWS to issue a national wolf delisting rule — meaning all wolves in the lower 48 (except Mexican wolves and red wolves) can lose protection at a time when they have claimed less than 10% of their historic range.

Is there no safe haven for Wyoming's wolves?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

You Heard Our Howls - Thank You!



You did it! Yesterday the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Red Wolf Week and you heard our howls! Over 300 supporters helped the WCC raise over 30,000 on yesterday 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!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Celebrate a Red Wolf Milestone - 30 Years

red_wolf_30
Thirty years ago this month, a new chapter in wildlife conservation began with a wild homecoming unlike anything seen before. The first captive-bred red wolves were released to the wild!

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 to the American Southwest and the gray wolf to the Yellowstone region.

In recognition of the anniversary, the Wolf Conservation Center​ is celebrating the red wolf all week with interesting red wolf facts, ways to take action, special events, giveaways and more!

Follow the WCC on Facebook to be a part!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Red Wolf Recovery Milestone

red_howl-m1566_logo_sm
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.

In 1980, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared red wolves extinct in the wild. A few survived only in captivity, their wildness caged.

Thirty years ago in September of 1987, USFWS took a giant leap forward in endangered species conservation by releasing red wolves in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.


Over the last three decades, efforts continued to restore these keystone predators to their rightful places in our landscapes, in our hearts, and in our culture.


As a participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, the Wolf Conservation Center has been a part of this effort for the past 12 years in giving the rare species a second chance by preventing extinction through captive breeding and supporting the reintroduction project by caring for the wolves for reintroduction.


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 gray wolf to the American Southwest and to the Yellowstone region.


The red wolf’s “homecoming” remains a significant milestone not only for the rare species, but for endangered wildlife conservation.


Despite the recovery program’s progress and support, in September of last year, USFWS proposed giving up on 30 years of conservation success removing almost all of the last remaining red wolves from the wild and confining them in captivity.
Current estimates put the wild population at fewer than 30.

Disney, A Few Wolf Facts to Gnaw On





To: Disney Executives and Emma Watson
From: Martha Hunt Handler, Board President, Wolf Conservation Center
Re: Beauty and the Beast


One would hope that a company such as Disney, with a $175 billion market cap, and world-renowned star, such as you, Emma Watson, would ensure that the movies you produce, distribute and sign-on to are not riddled with unnecessary and false depictions of characters explicitly intended to strike fear in humans. I’m speaking specifically of your gross and unfair portrayal of wolves in your 2017 remake of Beauty and the Beast.

Beauty and the Beast was a fairytale originally published in 1740 in which no mention of wolves was made. At some later date, wolves were added, though no one is sure exactly when or why. And while I understand and appreciate that for fairytales to work there must be good (Beauty) vs. evil (the Beast and the Witch) elements, adding wolves in the evil role, was not only unfair, but a poor and misinformed choice.

The truth is, that for thousands of years’ wolves have been depicted in literature [most notably the bible (Genesis 1:26-29), Grimm’s fairytales, and Aesop’s fables] as being associated with the devil, werewolves and even vampires. None of which could be further from the truth.

Here are just a few wolf facts for you to gnaw on:
  • Wolves are apex predators that occupy a top niche in the natural food chain and they play a prominent role in any ecosystem they inhabit. When wolves are removed, the ecosystem very noticeably declines
  • Wolves primarily prey on weak, diseased, sick and elderly ungulates (elk, bison, etc.) and thus create stronger populations of these animals.
  • Livestock loss due to wolves is less than 1% of total livestock loss and recent studies have shown that killing wolves actually leads to more livestock deaths because wolf killings disrupt the social cohesion of the pack.
  • Our fear of wolves is believed to have begun when humans started to distance themselves from nature, to enslave and exploit it – when we invented agriculture. Before Europeans came to the US, hundreds of thousands of wolves were the dominant predator in every state but Hawaii, keeping other populations under control. After the settler’s arrival, wolves were eradicated to the point of near extinction and today we are home to an estimated population of 10,000+.
  • Wolves are naturally fearful of and timid around humans. In the United States in the last hundred years there has been no documented human death attributed to a wild wolf.
  • Wolves don't kill for sport.
  • Domestic dogs are genetically 98% grey wolves.

As the Board President of the Wolf Conservation Center, a not-for-profit environmental education organization, I’ve worked tirelessly for many years to promote wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. In addition, we participate in the Species Survival Plan and the Recovery plan for two critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf and the red wolf, which are among the rarest mammals in North America.

All I ask of you, Disney, is to do your homework before you make your movies and always consider the consequences of your actions. You are informing young minds with your content and, therefore, I believe, you have a responsibility to your audience to inform rather than misinform.

Sincerely,
Martha Hunt Handler
Board President, Wolf Conservation Center

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Red Wolf Family Moving to New Home in New York!


Museum of Life and Science's six critically endangered red wolves, a breeding pair and 4 pups born in April, will migrate north in early November to a new home at the Wolf Conservation Center that can best accommodate the growing family.

“This transfer is going to be bittersweet for us all,” said Sherry Samuels, the Durham museum’s Animal Department director and a member of the Red Wolf SSP Management Team.


“I know many people, myself included, have become incredibly attached to the pups; it’s been wonderful watching the family grow and thrive here, but we recognize that this transition is what’s best for the family and ultimately what is best for the red wolf species as a whole.”

"Saying goodbye is never easy," said Maggie Howell, WCC's Executive Director. "This red wolf family has unknowingly touched so many of the Museum's supporters; we look forward to inviting them to follow the family's progress via the WCC's live webcams."

More.

Background
The red wolf (Canis rufus) is the only wolf species found completely within the United States. 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. In 1980, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared red wolves extinct in the wild after the last wild red wolves were gathered to survive in captivity, their wildness caged. With the support of the Federal Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, a national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research, and under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act, red wolves were reintroduced in North Carolina in 1987. They were the first federally-listed species to be returned to their native habitat, and have served as models for other programs.

The current estimate puts the remaining wild population at their lowest level in decades. Only 28 known wild red wolves remain.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Autumn!

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Named After Connecticut Teen


Max_logo_sm
Photo: Four month old Mexican gray wolf pup "Max" during her puppy veterinary exam at the Wolf Conservation Center

Meet Mexican gray wolf pup Max!

So many wonderful things are happening at the Wolf Conservation Center and we are excited to share a little news with you all. We are so lucky and grateful to have a wonderful supporter and volunteer named Max Toscano. The teen from Darien, Connecticut has a passion for wolves that is unparalleled. Max has been a part of the WCC family since he was 12 years old!
While our three little Mexican gray wolf pups were recently assigned their alphanumeric "names," two of them have yet to receive proper names. It seemed only natural that one of them would be named after Max.


We introduce to you, little Max, one of our three feisty pups named in his honor!

Learn more about Max and her critically endangered kin here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

As Top Predators, Wolves Limit Their Own Numbers

Family_logo_21_sm
Wolves are highly social animals that live in well-organized family units called packs. Cooperative living gives wolf families a number of benefits. In addition to facilitating successful hunting, pup-rearing, and defending pack territory, cooperative living allows wolves to limit their own population densities—or self-regulate—helping to keep their ecosystems in balance.

Unlike small mammals who multiply like bunnies or some predators who’s boom or bust depends on said bunnies, large carnivores like wolves keep their own numbers in check. According to a recent work published in OIKOS, population control is what distinguishes “apex predators” from the rest.

More.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quiet Please...

sunday_logo_17_no_quote
Shh... Sunday in progress.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sneaky Wolf Steals Bone From His Brother



This is what brotherhood looks like.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Something is rotten in the southwest... And it smells like cow.

lobo_scared_stare_logo_sm
What's wrong with this story?

A cow lives on a ranch in the southwest. A cow dies. Remaining on the landscape, the dead cow draws in predators (like wolves) looking for an easy meal. Scavenging is known to habituate wolves to prey on livestock. A wolf kills a cow. Ranchers are reimbursed for their losses and critically endangered Mexican gray wolf gets killed. Sound fair?

Here's the problem.

There's an imbalance. While livestock owners are compensated for livestock lost to wolves, and offered financial and logistical assistance with depredation avoidance measures, there is NO corresponding requirement for livestock owners to remove livestock carcasses on public lands (or take measures to protect their cattle from depredations in the first place).


When gray wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone and the northern Rocky Mountains, there was a rule stipulating that stock owners must not leave carcasses accessible to wolves.


So where's the rule mandating livestock growers to practice basic animal husbandry (remove dead cows) within the recovery area of a wolf subspecies on the brink of extinction?


Something is rotten in the southwest states... And it smells like cow

View U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's kill authorization for critically endangered Mexican gray wolf F1557 of the Diamond Pack.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Good Morning America's Lara Spencer Spotlights Wolf Conservation Center


ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

 Howls of thanks to Lara Spencer and  Good Morning America for raising awareness for wolves and our efforts to protect and preserve them!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lewisboro Town Pool Gets Thrown to the Wolves


The Wolf Conservation Center is 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 - activities that will challenge and mentally stimulate them. Sometimes the best enrichment is just a matter of letting the wolves explore a new environment so they can experience all sorts of different sights and smells!

 With the summer season coming to an end, and the town pool closing for the season soon, we’re taking Ambassador wolf Atka for a swim!

We didn’t know what Atka would do, but it sure was fun finding out!

 Enormous thanks to Lewisboro Parks and Recreation Department for letting us throw the pool to the wolves!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Protect the Endangered Species Act

Stop_extinction_2_sm
Today and tomorrow, the House Natural Resources Committee will consider a handful of bills that are poised to severely undermine the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Two bills, H.R. 3668 and H.R. 424, seek to strip federal ESA protections for wolves in 4 states to allow wolves to be shot and trapped for trophy. To add insult to injury, the bills prohibit their judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.

The ESA requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow the best available science, not politics, in listing decisions. These bills blatantly ignore this federal mandate, and thus undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.


If your U.S. Representative serves on the on the House Natural Resources Committee, please ask him or her to vote NO on all the bills these being considering the committee.


View members of the HNRC here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forgotten

Atka_flag_logo_edit_sm
Please take a moment to remember those lost and affected on 9/11 and those who are still suffering. Of the 10,000 responders at Ground Zero, 300 were dogs.

The Dog Files tells their story here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Red Wolf Born at the Wolf Conservation Center in Hurricane's Path

Red Wolf pup walking St. Vincent NWR
Hoping red wolf M1804, aka "Thicket," and his family are staying safe in the path of Hurricane Irma.

Born at the Wolf Conservation Center, today Thicket lives in the wild with mate and yearlings (photo) on St. Marks and St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuges - a remote barrier island off Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Our hearts and positive thoughts are with you.

(Photo: John Murphy/USFWS)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Healing Howls

family_love_logo_1smThinking of all the people, pets and wild ones in the path of devastating storms. Our hearts and positive thoughts are with you and those already affected.

Amendment Poised to Allow Killing of Wolves on NPS Lands Advances



Just days after returning from recess, Congress advanced a dangerous amendment poised to allow wolves to be killed via extreme and cruel hunting methods on National Park Service (NPS) lands.

House lawmakers began debating bills this week, including spending bill (H.R. 3354) - a massive bill to fund the federal government, including the Department of the Interior.

Among the provisions debated and passed on the house floor yesterday was Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska) amendment #43 – a rider seeking to overturn a NPS rule in order to allow some of the most extreme and unethical hunting practices on NPS lands in Alaska. Young's amendment passed 215-196 late last night.

If amendment #43 remains attached to the must-pass funding bill when signed into law, it will allow the killing of denning wolves and pups, hibernating bears and cubs, aerial gunning, snaring, and more… and on national refuge land in Alaska.

Alaska's national refuges are not private game reserves. What are wildlife refuges, after all, if not refuges for wildlife?

These unethical practices have no place anywhere on North American lands, and least of all on OUR national refuges and preserves.

The appropriations bill is part of a larger package, an eight-bill omnibus, that includes controversial funding ideas for the EPA, and the departments of the Interior, Commerce, State and Labor. The chamber is set to continue considering amendments into next week.

Stay tuned.