Sunday, December 31, 2017

Howls of Thanks

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Here's to you!

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

So as we close 2017, we thank you for your support and rededicate ourselves to our mission. Because many challenges remain...

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

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

As a pack, we will make a difference.

See you in 2018!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy Birthday Endangered Species Act


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

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

With extinction, there is no turning back, no second chance. Thankfully, the ESA has given thousands of at-risk species like the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf (pictured) a second chance. For over four decades the ESA has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A national poll conducted in 2015 found that the ESA is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite this, some members of Congress continue their attempts to chip away at the ESA bill by bill.

Damaging anti-wolf amendments (riders) that undermine ESA protections are still in play for House and Senate draft FY 2018 Interior/EPA appropriations bills. The anti-wolf provisions are among a handful of amendments that seek to weaken the ESA.

Please urge your representatives to keep these anti-wolf riders, which undermine the Endangered Species Act and its scientific process, out of the appropriation bill!

TAKE ACTION

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Atka the Wolf Celebrates Boxing Day

Atka the Arctic ambassador wolf enjoys (and destroys) a package of treats from our friends at barkbox.com!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Peace on Earth


Sunday, December 24, 2017

‘Tis the night before Christmas


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

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Happy Winter Solstice!


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

Monday, December 18, 2017

Major Victory for B.C. Grizzly Bears!

victory_grizzly_logo_smIn June of 2017, Wolf Conservation Center staff and supporters encountered this beautiful grizzly bear in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest.

Once roaming widely across North America, B.C. is one of the last refuges of the grizzly bear, and at long last, the B.C. Government announced today a full and total ban on the grizzly bear trophy hunt!

"It took more than a couple decades of solid work from countless individuals, NGO's, First Nation communities to realize this dream but today the BC government finally capitulated and has announced a full and complete ban on the trophy hunt of grizzly bears," stated Ian McAllister, Executive Director at Pacific Wild. "Not just for the Great Bear Rainforest, but for the entire province. Going into 2018 knowing that grizzly bears will emerge from their dens this spring and will not be legally shot for sport, meat, or trophy is a truly great feeling."

Thank you, Pacific Wild!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Pilots to the Rescue Making A Difference for Endangered Wolves



South Salem, New York, December 17, 2017 -- Santa isn’t the only one taking to the sky to make special deliveries this season! Pilot and engineer Patrick Lofvenholm might not be flying by sleigh and magic reindeer, but his contribution to the red wolf recovery program is better than anything that can fit under a tree.

Lofvenholm’s precious cargo is “M1606”, a captive red wolf from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sandy Ridge facility in N.C.


Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) curator Rebecca Bose met Lofvenholm at Raleigh-Durham International Airport early Sunday morning to load the wolf onto his light, twin-engined piston aircraft for transport to Westchester County Airport in White Plains, New York.

The critically endangered fellow will be paired with F2121 (a.k.a. Charlotte), a red wolf who currently resides at the WCC in NY, in hope that they will make a priceless contribution to the recovery of their rare species with pups next spring.

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red wolf determines which captive 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 red wolf breeding pairs because all red wolves descended from just fourteen founders rescued from extinction.


This is not the first rescue mission for Lofvenholm, for close to 10 years the dedicated pilot has been helping canines in need by transporting dogs rescued from kill-shelters to safe havens or forever homes. Lofvenholm is a member of the wonderful team at Pilots to the Rescue (PTTR), a volunteer-based non-profit aviation organization that donates flights to make a difference for animals.


“We are excited to be working with the Wolf Conversation Center in transporting this critically endangered passenger,” said PTTR founder Michael Schneider. “Pilots to the Rescue has generally been involved in dog rescue so this is a welcome pivot with our organization. We recognize the grave situation that the red wolf population is in and we want to contribute to saving these animals. After all, without wolves where would the common domestic dog be?”
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. 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. As of summer of 2017, only 28 known wild red wolves remained.


# # #


Pilots to the Rescue's mission is to save potential pets facing euthanasia utilizing an advanced rescue flight system. Enrolling a network of trained pilots, shelters, ground teams and veterinarians, PTTR flies these little souls filled with unconditional love giving them a second chance for a forever home. Pilots to the Rescue is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit all volunteer organization (IRS EIN: #47-3415146).

The Wolf Conservation Center is an environmental education organization committed to conserving wolf populations in North America through science-based education programming and participation in the federal Species Survival Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. Through wolves, the WCC teaches the broader message of conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our World. For more information, visit www.nywolf.org.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet Inspire Fans to #StandForWolves

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HOWLS of thanks to Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet for encouraging fans to #StandForWolves!

Jason Momoa is a legend and not just because he played Khal Drogo, one of the most famous Dothraki leaders of all time on Game of Thrones, Nor is it because he stars as Aquaman - the breakout character of DC's Justice League. He and his renowned wife, Lisa Bonet, are positive forces who inspire fans across the world to make the world a better place.

There's no doubt that Momoa and Bonet clearly want to do their part to #stopextinction. The pair posted a video on Instagram yesterday asking fans to urge Congress to keep attacks on wolves and the Endangered Species Act out of the must-pass appropriations bill. And when Momoa and Bonet HOWL, their fans listen. To date, the video has been viewed nearly ONE MILLION times!


Join them in the fight for wolves! Take action today.


Aaawwwwooooooo!

Video by KATRINA BENZOVA

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

What is a 'Coywolf?'

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Coyotes are explorers and one of the most successful carnivores in North America because of their ability to cope, if not thrive, after decades of persecution. Even New York City has been colonized by coyotes and without much fanfare despite the sensationalized stories in the media this month.
Here in the eastern United States, the coyotes are hybrids. Just like everybody else, they are the result of evolution. Over the years these dynamic canids have acquired a number of nicknames. Both "coywolf" and “coydog” have been growing in popularity, however, the majority of the scientific community recognizes the animal with the less flashy moniker: “eastern coyote.”

Javier Monzon (2)It's no surprise that "wolf" and "dog" have been woven into the identity of wild canids in the region, current science indicates a number of species are represented within the genome of the eastern coyote. Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Javier Monzón, previously at Stony Brook University in New York, now at Pepperdine University in California, analyzed the DNA of eastern coyotes and found the genes contain all three canids -- dog, wolf, and coyote. According to Monzón's research, about 64% of the eastern coyote's genome is coyote (Canis latrans), 13% gray wolf (Canis lupus), 13% Eastern wolf (Canis lycaon), and 10% dog (Canis familiaris). Sounds like a recipe for canis soup!

Regardless of what we call them, coyotes are here to stay. Americans are fortunate to have an enormous diversity of wildlife sharing the landscape with us. And as human populations continue to encroach into natural habitats, it's sometimes necessary for us to modify our behavior to ensure peaceful coexistence with our wild neighbors.

Learn more.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Axl Rose Throws Himself to the Wolves

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Join Axl Rose and fight the war on wolves!

The “War on Wolves” budget rider seeks to strip Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from wolves in four states. If passed into law, these wolves will die at the hands of TROPHY hunters.

Take Action Today


The toxic provision proposes to permanently remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, to allow trophy hunting and trapping of wolves to resume. To add insult to injury, the rider prohibits its judicial review, thus preventing any legal challenge.

Judicial review is an important part of the checks and balances to limit the authority of the legislative branch. Wolves are on the table today. What tomorrow? Our environment? Our public health? Our civil rights? Would your Senator support a bill that undermines one of the central pillars of American democracy?

Lawmakers have repeatedly inserted this anti-wolf/anti-ESA provision into unrelated must-pass spending bills. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.


Please urge your representatives to ensure that anti-wolf riders, which undermine the ESA and its scientific process, are NOT included in the must-pass budget bill. Take action here.

Photo: Katarina Benzova Photography

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Giving Tuesday All Month Long!

The Wolf Conservation Center was so lucky to receive amazing support from our followers this past Giving Tuesday, and we're so fortunate that your generosity extends throughout the year. We think Giving Tuesday should be every Tuesday! So this holiday season, we'll highlight some of our favorite organizations in an attempt to raise awareness of their amazing work. Join us for an extended #GivingTuesday and give all season long!

Susie's Senior Dogs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to bring awareness to the plight of homeless senior dogs. Senior dogs, like wolves, are often misunderstood and as such, senior dogs are typically overlooked during the adoption process. If you're able, please help us support their mission of finding homes for senior dogs.

Perhaps you can even adopt one?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

New Paper On Eastern Coyotes of Long Island, New York

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Coyotes (Canis latrans) have increased their range dramatically over the past century. Formerly restricted to western North America, they now roam across the continent, in many habitats including large cities.

Even New York City (NYC), one of the largest and most densely populated urban centers in the world, has been colonized by coyotes. And now the last hold out, Long Island, N has a few coyotes too. Given the history of coyote success, it's expected that coyotes will establish a growing population there in the near future.

There is no evidence from prehistory or recent history that coyotes ever populated Long Island, so this appears to be truly a novel colonization. However, they do fulfill an important ecological role, similar to the role of other carnivores humans have exterminated from the eastern US.

In a new paper, scientists summarize all verified accounts of coyotes on Long Island, including the first record of breeding.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Growing Threats to Arctic Wolf Habitat

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Last night, the Senate voted to approve its tax reform bill containing a highly controversial provision opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to oil and gas drilling.

A majority of American voters want the Refuge to remain protected. Scientists say drilling will destroy this vital habitat for wolves, polar bears, and caribou.

Less than a month ago 37 leading Arctic wildlife scientists sent a letter opposing drilling on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Decades of biological study and scientific research within the Arctic Refuge have confirmed that the coastal plain specifically is vital to the biological diversity of the entire refuge. Within the narrow (15-40 miles) coastal plain, there is a unique compression of habitats which concentrates a wide array of wildlife native to the Arctic, including polar bears, grizzly bears, and WOLVES.

In fact, according to the USFWS, the Arctic Refuge coastal plain contains the greatest wildlife diversity of any protected area above the Arctic Circle.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Where Did Black Wolves Come From?

zephyr_fall_logo_smDid you know that the black fur of some North American wolves is the result of long-ago dalliances with domestic dogs? Wolves are believed to have picked up the black-coat mutation some 12,000-15,000 years ago. The black-fur mutation established itself very quickly in forest-dwelling wolves which suggests it must provide them with some significant advantage. Read more here via The New York Times

Thursday, November 30, 2017

You heard our howls - thank you!

Thank You

You did it! Two days ago, the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Giving Tuesday and you heard our howls! Nearly 700 supporters helped the WCC raise over $60,000 on Tuesday to meet our matching grant of $30,000! 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!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Trump Administration Finalizes Deeply Flawed Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan





For Immediate Release, November 29, 2017

Contacts:
Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017, michaelr@biologicaldiversity.org
Bryan Bird, (505) 395-7332, bbird@defenders.org
Hailey Hawkins, (662) 251-5804, hhawkins@endangered.org
Greta Anderson (520) 623-1878, greta@westernwatersheds.org
Emily Renn, (928) 202-1325, emily@gcwolfrecovery.org
Christopher Smith, (505) 395-6177, csmith@wildearthguardians.org
Sandy Bahr, (602) 999-5790, sandy.bahr@sierraclub.org
Maggie Howell, (914) 763-2373, maggie@nywolf.org
Kim Crumbo, (928) 606-5850, crumbo@wildlandsnetwork.org
Dave Parsons, (505) 908-0468, ellobodave@comcast.net

Trump Administration Finalizes Deeply Flawed Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan

Plan Ignores Science, Sharply Limits Recovery


SILVER CITY, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized a deeply flawed recovery plan for the Mexican gray wolf today that will prevent the species from thriving in its historic homelands.

Responding to objections from state officials, the plan limits recovery efforts to south of Interstate 40, cutting wolves off from key habitat in and around Grand Canyon National Park and the southern Rocky Mountains of New Mexico. The plan also sets population targets of just 320 wolves in the United States and 200 in Mexico to remove protections — well below what federal scientists have determined are needed for Mexican gray wolves to be considered stable. And the isolation of the two populations would fail to address inbreeding that reduces the wolves’ viability.

“This isn’t a recovery plan, it’s a blueprint for disaster for Mexican gray wolves,” said Michael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “By limiting their habitat and stripping protections too soon, this plan ignores the science and ensures Mexican wolves never reach sufficient numbers to be secure.”

In 2011 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service appointed scientists to a recovery team that drafted a recovery plan. That plan called for three interconnected populations with a total of 750 animals. It identified the Grand Canyon and northern New Mexico as the best places for establishing two more populations. Largely because officials from Utah and Colorado did not want wolves close to their borders, the Fish and Wildlife Service never finalized the plan and has let the recovery team languish. The Service’s plan released today was written with little to no input from scientists on the recovery team.

“Once again, politics trump science,” said Bryan Bird, Defenders of Wildlife’s Southwest program director. “The final recovery plan fails the Mexican gray wolf with inbreeding, dangerously low populations, insufficient range and intense trapping and shooting. Mexican gray wolves are not receiving the science-based plan they desperately needed to survive.”

“Americans want a strong, science-based recovery plan,” said Hailey Hawkins of the Endangered Species Coalition. “Of the 100,000 comments submitted to US Fish and Wildlife Service on the Draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, more than 99 percent of them were in support of wolf recovery. This recovery plan should address the concerns of the public – dangerously low recovery numbers, habitat fragmentation, poaching, declining genetic diversity and a potentially disastrous border wall – not ignore them."

“The plan also precludes recovery of wolves in regions that independent scientists and the Fish and Wildlife Service’s own Mexican Wolf Recovery Team’s scientific subgroup say are essential to the wolves’ long-term survival,” said Kim Crumbo, western conservation director for Wildlands Network. “Recovery zones in the Grand Canyon and southern Rocky Mountains in northern Arizona and New Mexico, along with southern Utah and Colorado, are essential for lobo survival.”

“Beyond shortchanging the wolves, the plan's limited geographic scope also prevents people throughout much of the region from enjoying the esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational and scientific benefits that would accompany meaningful recovery,” said Emily Renn of the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project. “These are the values that the Endangered Species Act is intended to protect.”

“Western public lands need the balance that wolves can bring,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “We know what wolves need to survive and thrive, but this plan falls far short of ensuring that outcome.”

“The plan reads like something that wolves’ most virulent opponents would have written in their wildest dreams,” said Christopher Smith, Southern Rockies wildlife advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Clearly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is catering to a very narrow set of interests that want to see this amazing species banished from their native Southwestern home.”

"The Service is granting the very state agencies that have gone to extraordinary lengths to obstruct recovery, too much authority over the time, location, and circumstances of wolf releases by requiring that releases comply with state permits,” said Maggie Howell of the Wolf Conservation Center. “Too many opportunities, and quite frankly genetically irreplaceable wolves, have already been wasted under the states’ mismanagement — critically endangered lobos deserve better.”

“It is disappointing that the agency charged with recovery of these critically endangered animals — the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service — has abandoned science and its mission to appease the narrow interests of the state game agencies,” said Sandy Bahr, chapter director of Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “We must expect, we must demand better for wolves and all of our wildlife.”

“The northern boundary to the Mexican wolf recovery area, arbitrarily held at I-40 in this plan, literally cements in place yet another politically driven obstacle to our lobos’ survival in the Southwest, which depends on their ability to move freely for genetic health and climate resilience,” said Kelly Burke, executive director of Grand Canyon Wildlands.

“The Fish and Wildlife Service published over 250 pages of supporting ‘scientific’ justification, used a sophisticated model to predict extinction probabilities, then tossed the science aside and asked the states how many wolves they would tolerate with no scientific justification whatsoever,” said David Parsons, former Mexican wolf recovery coordinator for the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Using the states’ arbitrary upper limit as a population cap in the population viability model and forcing additional recovery needs to Mexico, the plan will guarantee that from now to eternity no more than a running average of 325 Mexican wolves will ever be allowed to exist in the entire U.S. Southwest. This plan is a disgraceful sham.”


Background

At last count 113 Mexican gray wolves live in Arizona and New Mexico and approximately 30 to 35 wolves live in Mexico. A new census of the wolves in the southwestern United States will begin next month.


The wolves’ U.S. population is genetically impoverished, with wolves as related to each other, on average, as are siblings in a normal population. That's due to the small founding population of just seven wolves that were captured and bred in captivity after passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 and mismanagement after reintroduction on behalf of the livestock industry. That included government trapping and shooting of genetically rare wolves and infrequent releases of less closely-related wolves from captivity into the wild.


The new recovery plan uses faulty information and otherwise misconstrues data to suggest that just 320 wolves in an isolated population could represent a genetic rebound and official recovery from this dangerous and deteriorating situation.

###

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.


Western Watersheds Project is a nonprofit conservation organization that seeks to restore western watersheds for wildlife.


The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing back wolves to help restore ecological health in the Grand Canyon region.

The mission of Wildlands Network is to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so that life in all its diversity can thrive.

WildEarth Guardians is a nonprofit conservation organization working to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers and health of the American West. 


Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club is a national nonprofit environmental organization with approximately 2.7 million members and supporters, including more than 60,000 in Arizona. Sierra Club’s mission is “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources; and to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.”


The Wolf Conservation Center is an environmental education organization committed to conserving wolf populations in North America through science-based education programming and participation in the federal Species Survival Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf.


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.


The Endangered Species Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to stop the human-caused extinction of our nation’s at-risk species, to protect and restore their habitats, and to guide these fragile populations along the road to recovery. 


Grand Canyon Wildlands is a nonprofit science-based conservation organization working to save and heal wild nature in the Grand Canyon region.



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Double Your Donation For Wolves On Giving Tuesday

Giving_Tuesday_2017A very generous friend is providing a matching grant to the Wolf Conservation Center up to $20,000 for all donations received on Giving Tuesday, November 28! So all gifts received on November 28 (including checks dated November 28), will have double the impact!

Save the date! Your support will ensure that the Center’s first-rate educational programs, its species survival work, and its advocacy campaigns can continue.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Feeling Thankful

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Senate Report Seeks to Declare Red Wolves Extinct

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Declare the Red Wolf EXTINCT?


That's what some Senators are directing USFWS to do in a report released Tuesday. To "... end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct."


Due to the Service’s neglect and inaction over the past few years, red wolves are already facing extinction with only an estimated 30-35 remaining in the wild.


TAKE ACTION


USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, needs to recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild. Urge your Senators to give red wolves a fighting chance!


Read the Senate report directing feds to abandon red wolf recovery. (page 17)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Public Comments Show Overwhelming Support for Mexican Wolf Recovery!

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Of the more than 100,000 comments submitted to the USFWS on the Mexican Wolf Draft Recovery Plan, more than 99% were in support of recovery!

“Every voice raised in support of wildlife can make a difference and Americans overwhelmingly support Mexican wolf recovery,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “We’re counting on USFWS to take notice and follow the best available science to ensure that the world’s most endangered gray wolves remain a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape.”


More.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

B.C. Plans to Continue Killing Wolves Under Guise of Conservation

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The British Columbia government admits its killing of wolves is inhumane, yet plans to continue its killing campaign to protect dwindling numbers of caribou.

Wolves are not the problem. They are social animals which are integral to ecosystem function.

People are the ultimate cause of caribou endangerment through the decades of ongoing destruction and fragmentation of their habitat by logging, resource extraction, and motorized recreation.

Are B.C. wolves are paying the ultimate price for govt negligence and inaction?


More.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Atka Turns 15 and a Half


Throw back your head and let out a long celebratory birthday howl for Atka! Today he turns 15 and a half years old! Happy (half) Birthday, Atka! 

We love you so.

...and gesundheit!

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

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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.
Shop here!

Friday, November 10, 2017

A Wild Salute to Our Veterans

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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 Fitzgerald Kennedy

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Volunteers With Wings Making A Difference for Lobos

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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.

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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

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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

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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?

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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!

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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

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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

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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!