Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wolf Conservation Center Welcomes Critically Endangered Wolf Pups

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A critically endangered Mexican gray wolf living at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) made a priceless contribution to the recovery of her rare and at-risk species on Monday – she had pups! On May 22, Mexican gray wolf F1226 (affectionately nicknamed Belle by supporters) gave birth to a litter of three pups – each no larger than a Russet potato. This is the second litter born to mom (age six), and dad, (age nine).

Although F1226 is currently keeping her newborn pups out of sight, WCC staff anticipates the pups will begin to emerge in a few weeks and be visible to a global audience via live webcams.

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Recognizing the distinct peeps squeaks and mews of newborn wolves, WCC staff followed the pup “chatter” yesterday morning to confirm the pups had arrived!       

"It will be an exciting season," said Rebecca Bose, WCC Curator and member of the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan Management Team. “With parents, newborns, and the pair’s three yearlings born in 2016, we have an opportunity to study the complex social structure of a multigenerational pack. Unbeknown to the wolves, our webcams allow us to observe their behavior 24/7, so it’s easier for us to make the best recommendations with respect to which wolves are most suitable for release.”

Accessible via the WCC website, webcams allow an unlimited number of viewers to enter the private lives of wolves.

“Over 300,000 people tuned in to the webcam last year to watch F1226 in labor,” said Maggie Howell, WCC Executive Director. “These Mexican wolves are really popular on webcam and have been exceptionally effective in demonstrating the importance of family. This is what makes wolves and humans so similar. As the pups and yearlings mature this year, the public will have an opportunity to witness the gestures of intimacy and enthusiasm that form the unique emotional bonds and shape the foundation of the pack.”

Raising pups is a family affair; it is natural for all the wolves to pitch in. The yearlings will assist their parents in rearing their younger siblings by regurgitating food for them, playing with them and even baby-sitting. Moreover, the parents will demonstrate critical parenting strategies and techniques for the yearlings to employ when they have pups of their own.

Passing down knowledge from one generation to the next also allows the family to maintain traditions unique to that pack.

“Hopefully some of these younger wolves will one day be able to apply what they learn today to raise pups of their own in the wild in the future,” said Bose. “So far three of our Mexican wolves have been released – two in Arizona and one in northern Mexico.”

Beyond being adorable, the wolf pups represent the Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction. The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.

Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing most recovery efforts.

“Addressing the Mexican wolf’s genetic imperilment requires an active program of releasing more genetically diverse wolves into the wild. Currently, the captive population is more diverse than the wild population; we need to capitalize on this with more captive-to-wild release efforts as soon as possible. Mexican wolf recovery cannot exist in captivity alone,” said Bose.

The WCC is one of 55 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan – a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Currently 13 Mexican wolves call the WCC home. In the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 113 individuals - an increase from the 97 counted at the end of 2015.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Feds Propose Changing Protections for World's Last Wild Red Wolves

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is considering changes to the existing protections for the world's last population of wild red wolves. Fewer than 35 remain.

Published this morning, the federal agency's proposed rule intends to revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of red wolves in North Carolina under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act to allow significant changes in the size, scope and management of the current red wolf recovery program.

The rule includes the Service's plan to allow pulling the last wild red wolves from most of their range in North Carolina to put them in captivity. Ironically, the federal agency claimed its decision was "based on the best and latest scientific information" from the red wolf Population Viability Analysis (PVA).

But the very scientists who drafted the PVA charge that USFWS based its plan on “many alarming misinterpretations” of their scientific analysis and warn that USFWS's plan “will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.” In a letter they ask the agency to "edit or append" its decision.

The WCC is is currently reviewing the proposed rule and will be participating during the public comment period. Stay tuned...

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Atka Receives 1000 Emails

Well wishers at yesterday's birthday bash check out Atka's meat-filled piñata moments before the Atka tore it to shreds!
Well wishers at yesterday's birthday bash check out Atka's meat-filled piñata moments before the Atka tore it to shreds!
We wanted to make sure Atka's 15th birthday was special, so after the long, requisite talk about safety, etiquette, and responsibility, we gave him his very own email account at atka@nywolf.org! In a matter of hours, emails with photos, artwork, and wonderful well wishes started arriving at an alarming rate. Nearly 1000 emails filled Atka's inbox - with messages from every continent with the exception of Antarctica! Enormous thanks to all of Atka's wonderful supporters for joining us in celebrating a special wolf. We love you, Atka!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What Draws Tourists to Yellowstone? Wolves!

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What draws tourists to Yellowstone? A new scientific visitor survey shows the number one draw is wildlife - specifically wolves and grizzly bears! Beyond their value as a critical keystone species, by drawing an abundance of tourists to the park wolves benefit the greater Yellowstone economy too!

National Parks Service (NPS) estimates that wolf watchers bring $35M tourism dollars to the greater Yellowstone area annually. Moreover, a 2013 NPS report shows that 3,188,030 visitors to Yellowstone National Park that year spent almost $382 million in the surrounding communities. That spending supported 5,300 jobs in the area.

Despite the popularity of wolves, many of the park's neighboring communities are avidly anti-wolf and sometimes the more popular the wolf, the bigger target they become. Last month, the 12-year-old matriarch of Yellowstone’s Canyon Pack, was shot by poachers and left to die.

Poachers are not the only threats Yellowstone wolves face. Although hunting is not permitted within the park, wolf trophy hunts are authorized by every state bordering Yellowstone.

Communities surrounding Yellowstone in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho should give greater consideration the economics of wildlife watching. Only then would they would understand that wolves are more valuable alive than dead, and their current policies are indeed killing the "golden goose."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

It's Ambassador Wolf Atka's 15th Birthday

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Happy Birthday, Atka!

Today Ambassador Wolf Atka turns 15 years old! The confident and charismatic ambassador has opened the hearts and minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his lifetime. He’s a powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, and for the Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers, the best boss we’ll ever have. We love you, Atka!

Wish Atka a Happy Birthday - send him an email!

In a world flooded with online communication, at 15 years old Atka decided he should build his digital identity. So, after a the long, requisite discussions about safety, etiquette, and responsibility, WCC staff gave Atka his very own email account! Get in touch with Atka at Atka@nywolf.org!


Monday, May 15, 2017

Yellowstone: A Wild Homecoming

The last wolves in Yellowstone Nation Park were killed nearly a century ago. But with the support of the American public in 1995 and 1996, a new chapter in Yellowstone's history began, with a homecoming that changed the Park.

The reintroduction of gray wolves to our first national park has been described as a near-miracle, having occurred at one of those rare moments when stars align in the political sky. A wildlife conservation effort with such positive environmental impact (and ongoing controversy) will likely go unmatched for a long time.

The following video gives an account of the remarkable effect of wolf reintroduction on Yellowstone's wild landscape.

Learn more about the "wolf effect" in Yellowstone and the ongoing scientific debate inspired by the video.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day


Wishing Mexican gray wolf F1226 (a.k.a. Belle)and all the mothers out there a wonderful Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Necropsy Results Reveal Beloved Yellowstone Wolf Was Shot

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May 11, 2017 - A month ago today, hikers discovered a severely injured wolf inside Yellowstone National Park. Today, we learn from the National Park Service that the white matriarch of the Canyon Pack was shot by poachers and left to die.
On April 11, hikers discovered the wounded wolf inside the park near Gardiner, Montana. Park staff investigated the situation and concluded the wolf was dying from her injuries. She was euthanized. She was 12 years old. She was protected.

A reward of up to $5,000.00 is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act.

More via the National Park Service.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Celebrate Ambassador Wolf Atka

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Atka's birthday is one week from today! Celebrate Atka and support the Wolf Conservation Center's efforts to protect his wild kin with your purchase of a limited "Ambassador" T-shirt!

SHOP HERE

Additional colors available in adult and child sizes. Beautiful artwork by Jane Lee McCracken

Monday, May 8, 2017

Senate Hearing on the Endangered Species Act

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Despite its success and public support, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Wednesday to examine ways to overhaul the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo), chairman of the committee, says his focus is "eliminating a lot of the red tape and the bureaucratic burdens that have been impacting our ability to create jobs."


It's important to note that beyond being a co-sponsor of the "War on Wolves Act" (legislation aimed to allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume in 4 states while taking away citizens’ ability to challenge that decision), Sen. Barrasso has voted against the ESA and endangered species protections at every opportunity since 2011.

Science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of climate change and human-caused Sixth Mass extinction. As conservationists in the 21st century, we face the growing challenge of helping imperiled species heal and flourish and supporting biodiversity for future generations, not dismantling the cornerstone of our nation’s conservation law.


While Congressional leaders and lobbyists have spoken for major corporations and special interests, your individual voice as a voting American counts just as much.

Please urge your Congressional representatives to oppose any legislation that takes aim at the ESA and imperiled wildlife!


TAKE ACTION

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Words We Use Matter

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In a recent paper in Biological Conservation, scientists argue that the widespread use of euphemisms by conservation biologists, conservation journals, and conservation biology course materials undermines efforts to evoke caring in others for life on Earth and even to care for ourselves.

Euphemisms like "harvest," "cull," and "bycatch" are used as a means to mask the indefensible. They help candy coat reality by describing activities (like killing) in acceptable words that audiences would otherwise find objectionable.


But the words we use matter. Euphemisms don't only disconnect the scientific community from the consequences of their actions, they diminish or preclude emotion. And it is emotion that connects us to each other, to other creatures, to the wider world that made us.

Is it time for all of us to be bolder?

More.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Mexican Gray Wolf "Trumpet" Turns One!

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A year ago today, Mexican gray wolf 1143 (“Rosa”) gave birth to a single pup, f1505, a robust little girl nicknamed “Trumpet” for her loud squeals. Today a new chapter begins the critically endangered kiddo, it’s her time to transition from puppy-hood to adulthood. So throw back your head and let out a long celebratory birthday howl for Trumpet! Welcome to yearling-hood!

Unbeknownst to the birthday girl, Trumpet has been creeping into the hearts and homes of a global audience thanks to the Wolf Conservation Center's remote webcams. At just a few weeks old, Trumpet even became a TV star on ABC News - raising awareness for her critically endangered kin and our efforts to save her species from extinction.

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

Thank you, Trumpet, for unknowingly becoming such a powerhouse in the fight to restore Mexican gray wolves to their ancestral homes in the wild!

Help support the Wolf Conservation Center’s efforts to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America by adopting a birthday wolf! We offer several adoption levels. No matter what the level, each adoption kit includes an 8×10 wolf photo, wolf biography, adoption certificate and a subscription to our newsletter. Learn more.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Why do wolves' eyes glow in the dark?



Eyes that glow in the pitch-black night make for many a scary tale. But why do wolves' eyes glow in the dark?

Wolves have a special light-reflecting surface right behind their retinas called the tapetum lucidum that helps animals see better in the dark. When light enters the eye, it's supposed to hit a photoreceptor that transmits the information to the brain. But sometimes the light doesn't hit the photoreceptor, so the tapetum lucidum acts as a mirror to bounce it back for a second chance. Cool!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Red Wolf Fab Five Turn Two!


Two years ago today on May 2, 2015, five critically endangered red wolves were born – all of them beautiful and each one a valuable contribution to the recovery of his and her rare and at-risk species.

Today a new chapter begins for fab five, M2116, M2117, M2118, M2119 and F2121, turn two! Happy birthday, kiddos! And thank you for unknowingly becoming such powerful players in the fight to preserve red wolves’ rightful place in the wild!

Help support the Wolf Conservation Center's efforts to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America by adopting a birthday wolf! We offer several adoption levels. No matter what the level, each adoption kit includes a 8×10 wolf photo, wolf biography, adoption certificate and a subscription to our newsletter. Learn more.

Monday, May 1, 2017

New Threat to Yellowstone Wolves

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Protected from hunting and trapping, wolves in Yellowstone National Park are better able to express their natural social behavior. This benefits the wider ecosystem, long-running wolf research, ecotourism (wolf watching in Yellowstone alone is estimated to generate $35 million annually for the regional economy), as well as the wolves themselves.
When a family group of wolves is left unexploited (that is, not trapped, shot, poisoned or otherwise killed by humans), it will develop extraordinary traditions for hunting, pup-rearing, and social behaviors that are finely tuned to its precise environment and that are unique to that particular long-lived family group. Younger wolves are able to learn sophisticated hunting strategies from their elders. Better equipped to successfully hunt large prey, protected wolves can take their place as the keystone species that is so critical within the ecosystem. When it comes to wolves, it's all about family.

But all this may change, researchers say, as more hunting is allowed beyond the park’s boundaries.

More via The New York Times.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mexican Gray Wolf F1226 Turns Six Years Old

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Birthdays abound! Wolves are mono-estrus, breeding only once a year during the winter months. Therefore, springtime is birthday season! Today we celebrate Mexican gray wolf F1226!

In October of 2015, Mexican Gray Wolf F1226 (affectionately nicknamed “Belle” by the Wolf Conservation Center’s community of webcam watchers) joined the WCC family in order to meet a handsome “husband” - Mexican gray wolf M1133.

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. This is necessary because all Mexican wolves descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs and M1133 and F1226 are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.

Sometimes saving a species is not very romantic, but it turns out that M1133 and F1226 are a vibrant, loving, and playful pair that make it look like a whole lot of fun!

The terrific twosome bonded effortlessly. The day the wolves officially met, a global audience witnessed (via webcam) the lovely lobos greet one another with a kiss! Their wild chemistry blossomed further when they welcomed three pups on May 25, 2016!



Today, with her well-earned badge of motherhood, F1226 is poised to repeat last year's feat with a second litter sometime in May.

So here’s hoping F1226 gets a chance to rest up on her 6th birthday. With potential pups on the way, she will need as much energy as she can get!

Happy birthday, F1226!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Atka the Wolf Has Spring Fever!



As much as we'd like to think Atka is doing a "happy roll" in honor of spring, he's actually demonstrating a behavior wolves do when something stinks!

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 pray. There's also a theory is that scent-rolling might make a wolf appear more attractive to other wolves! 

Whatever the reason, Atka looks pretty cute doing it!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Bill Seeks To Put Endangered Species Decisions in Hands Of Politicians

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Lawmakers this week revived legislation that would dismantle the Endangered Species Act – kill the law’s ability to protect imperiled animals and plants.

S. 935, the purported “Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act," would weaken the ESA by requiring the Interior Secretary to obtain the consent of governors before making management decisions that would affect species within their states. It would also require congressional approval of the endangered and threatened species lists and automatically remove plants or animals after five years. View the bill here.


The ESA requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to follow the best available SCIENCE, not politics, in recovery planning and implementation for an endangered species. This ESA “Extinction Bill” blatantly ignores this federal mandate, and thus undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.

No species should have to face extinction, much less at the hands of politicians.

Please urge your Congressional representatives to oppose ALL legislation that takes aim at ESA and imperiled wildlife.

Take action here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Where wolves were federally protected on Monday, today they can be shot on sight

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Where wolves were a federally protected species on Monday, as of Tuesday evening, wolves can now be shot on sight within 85% of the state, a.k.a. the "predator zone."

In the predator zone, all but the northwest corner of Wyoming, wolves can be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.

Why?


Because just over a month ago, a federal appeals court upheld the USFWS's 2012 decision to remove gray wolves in Wyoming from the endangered species list. Tuesday night, the federal court put its ruling into action. The decision reversed a lower-court ruling that restored federal protections for the wolves in 2014, and is poised to impact wolves far beyond Wyoming's borders.

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.

Moreover, Wyoming’s wolf management policies can influence expectations about wildlife management in other states.

"USFWS caved to Wyoming’s insistence on keeping the predator zone," said Wolf Conservation Center's Maggie Howell. "With the service on the cusp of delisting wolves across the United States, any concessions that are allowed in Wyoming by the federal government could set a precedent for other states to bargain with. It's both wrong and dangerous to allow a state with a history of hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies to set an example for other states to follow."

Background
Just over four years ago in 2012, the USFWS officially stripped federal protections from Wyoming's wolves and handed management over to the state, a controversial decision, and contradiction of the agency's stance in the past. Although USFWS had previously criticized Wyoming's state wolf plan on the grounds that unregulated shooting in most of the state would reduce the state’s wolf population below federally required levels, the agency took a significantly altered position, announcing that these wolves no longer warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The following day, management was handed over to the state and Wyoming's inaugural wolf hunt commenced.

A few weeks later, a coalition of conservation groups represented by Earthjustice officially filed suit in federal district court in the District of Columbia asking "the court to declare this rule illegal, and put wolves back on the endangered species list until Wyoming adopts a responsible management plan that ensures the continued survival and recovery of wolves in the region."


Wyoming wolves receive a reprieve in 2014

On September 23, 2014, Judge Amy Berman Jackson invalidated USFWS' s 2012 statewide delisting. The ruling reinstated federal protections and ended management of wolves by Wyoming, a state with a kill-on-sight approach to wolf management. In its 2012 management plan Wyoming promised to maintain more than the required 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside the national parks. The judge took issue with an addendum in the plan assuring that it would maintain a buffer of wolves above the required number because it did not specify how many wolves or make the buffer binding by law. Because the addendum was legally unenforceable, the judge found the buffer to be a violation of the ESA.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Court Overturns Injunction Allowing Mexican Wolf Releases to Resume

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One battle over how to save endangered wolves in the Southwest ended today with a victory that bodes well for endangered species nationwide!

In May 2016, the state of New Mexico filed suit against U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) after the agency, despite political opposition, forged ahead and ushered two captive wolf pups into the wild through its pup-fostering initiative. Despite the scientific merit and success of cross-fostering events, the state was granted a Temporary Restraining Order in June 2016 - blocking all Mexican gray wolf releases within the state.

USFWS has a responsibility under federal law to facilitate recovery of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and releases are a central part of that effort. The entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction. Given its limited gene pool, the wild population faces a genetic crisis and releasing wolves from the more genetically diverse captive population is required to mitigate inbreeding.

In light of the current circumstances surrounding the Mexican gray wolf and its perilous plight, in January 2017, USFWS the challenged the decision to restrain further releases, moving the argument on whether states can block the federal government from reintroducing endangered wolves within their borders to a federal appeals court. Eighteen other states filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with New Mexico.

Today, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to overturn the preliminary injunction, allowing USFWS to resume wolf releases within the state!

With this ability restored, USFWS has a chance to proceed with its proposal to release two captive packs of wolves into the Gila National Forest in New Mexico in 2017, and cross-foster up to 10 captive newborn pups with wild wolf families in New Mexico and Arizona. Addressing the Mexican wolf’s genetic imperilment requires an active program of releasing more genetically diverse wolves into the wild to capitalize on the remaining genetic potential available in the captive population.
Implications Beyond the Southwest

By denying New Mexico veto power over measures to save federally protected wolves, the court ruling is a win for endangered species beyond lobos. It prevents a dangerous precedent of allowing a state to refuse recovery efforts for endangered species if they don't feel like complying.

So let's get to it! USFWS, the lobos are ready and the wild is calling! It's time to release some wolves!
Background

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 113 individuals – an increase from 97 counted at the close of 2015.

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

URGENT: Fate for Endangered Wolves To Be Decided By Politicians This Week

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In order to fund the federal government beyond April 28, Congress must finalize a spending deal this week.

Annoyed by the fact that endangered species protection decisions are by federal law based on science rather than politics, some congressional leaders are trying to slip a legislative noose around some of the nation’s most imperiled species by loading the must-pass spending bill with dozens of deadly riders. Three riders target wolves specifically – they aim to eliminate Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections for gray wolves nationwide including critically endangered Mexican gray wolves.

There is a very serious threat that some of these anti-species riders could become law, unless leaders in Congress stand firm in rejecting them.

URGENT: Please urge your representatives to oppose all anti-wolf riders that undermine the ESA and its scientific process.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wolf Conservation Center's Regan Downey Discusses Why Science Matters

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Every voice raised in support of the science can make a difference. And when we all march together we can make big things happen! Today on Earth Day, the Wolf Conservation Center took to the streets of New York City to participate in the Science March. It was a great turnout - the WCC group alone was 70 people strong!

Enjoy this great 360 video from the The New York Times featuring WCC's Regan Downey discussing why science matters.

Friday, April 21, 2017

A March for Science is a March for Wolves



The March for Science is taking place tomorrow all across the country. We will be marching for science, and most of us will be marching for the environment, too, because that day is also the 47th anniversary of Earth Day.

As citizens of the 21st century, our nation and world are at a crossroads when it comes to ensuring the future sustainability of our air, water, wild lands and wildlife for future generations. Our nation’s future relies on a well-educated public to be wise stewards of the very environment that sustains us – now and for future generations. The recent efforts to constrain and muzzle scientific research and shroud well-established scientific ideas in “uncertainty,” signals a dark turning point that is sure to touch us all.

The war on science is shaping the political policies governing our daily life. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the health of our oceans, streams, wild lands and wildlife.

At its heart, the current attack on science aims to de-regulate industry, weaken, and even repeal environmental laws – including one of most successful bipartisan pieces of legislation our country has ever adopted, the Endangered Species Act. The ESA is the world’s “gold standard” for conservation and protection of animals and plants. It has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance for over four decades and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. According to a national poll conducted in 2015, 90% of American voters support the Act.

Despite its success and public support, anti-environment interests in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate are currently crafting some of the most serious threats ever posed to the cornerstone of our nation’s conservation law.

Science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of climate change and human-caused Sixth Mass Extinction. Earth has lost half of its wildlife in the past 40 years. With species vanishing at this alarming rate, it is critical that our environmental policies be motivated by science.

This Earth Day on April 22nd, we will march on behalf of wolves, wildlife, wild lands and water. We will march for the Endangered Species Act. We will march for our children. Tomorrow’s leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow’s challenges. If we allow science to be silenced, we fail ourselves – now and for future generations.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Milestone: Happy Birthday Alawa and Zephyr!

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Throw back your head and let out a long celebratory birthday howl for Alawa and Zephyr! It’s hard to believe our rambunctious pups are entering their spectacular sixes! An inspiration from their adorable start, the stunning siblings continue to thrive in their “Ambassador” roles. They open the door to understanding the importance and plight of their wild kin and remind us of our personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our World.

Happy 6th Birthday, Kiddos!




Help support the WCC’s efforts to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America by adopting the birthday boy! We offer several adoption levels. No matter what the level, each adoption kit includes an 8×10 wolf photo, wolf biography, adoption certificate and a subscription to our newsletter. Learn more.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Children to Give Name to Wandering Wolf from Mexico, Captured in Arizona

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Mexican gray wolf f1505, a.k.a "Trumpet"
Tucson, AZ. – A female Mexican gray wolf, born in captivity and released in Mexico, and who was captured in southeastern Arizona on March 26, will receive a more memorable name than her identification number, “f1530.” In a contest sponsored by Mexicanwolves.org, children will choose a name for the lone wolf in a public naming contest that starts today.

“This wolf has earned an evocative name to match her amazing journey,” said Maya Rommwatt of Mexicanwolves.org, which maintains a website that provides information to thousands of people who root for the survival of the Mexican wolf. The naming contest will remain open for two weeks and is accessible from Mexicanwolves.org and from the Facebook page “Mexican Gray Wolves.”

The eleven-month old female wolf was born in captivity in Mexico, and released in Chihuahua in October. She roamed north, crossing the international border into Arizona near the Chiricahua Mountains, and was captured after killing one cow; seven other dead cows nearby, on which she might have scavenged, died from non-wolf causes. She is now being held in captivity in New Mexico.

Contrary to the recommendations of scientists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Commission have maintained that recovery of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf can be achieved by exchange of individuals between the two existing populations in the Southwest and Mexico, with no resort to establishing additional populations farther north.

“Recovery requires at least three populations of wolves with numbers that are sustainable and free movement by wolves from one population to the other, said Sandy Bahr, chapter director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon (Arizona) Chapter. “Recovery will fail if the government removes every wolf who attempts to move between Mexico and the U.S. or if it erects additional impediments, such as a wall.”

“We hope that whatever name this wolf eventually receives, that she will be known by that name throughout a long life to be continued in the wild,” said Rommwatt.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Wolves: The 'Best Natural Defense' Against Chronic Wasting Disease

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MYTH: Predators are bad for wildlife.

The scientific community agrees that this claim is quite wrong, yet it’s surprisingly pervasive belief in rural Western culture. Misconception such as this can unfortunately cause real harm, as they drive political discourse and policy.

FACT: Wolves make prey populations healthier.

The preponderance of scientific evidence supports the view that wolves generally kill prey that are vulnerable, such as weak, sick, old, or young animals. By killing sick prey individuals, wolves remove infectious agents from the environment, reducing transmission to prey.

Scientists and wildlife managers agree that wolves “are the best natural defense” for the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a degenerative neurological illness that is similar to mad cow disease, among wild ungulate populations.

Beyond wolves, perhaps no issue is as controversial in the hunting community right now as CWD. So wolves becoming an unexpected ally in protecting the West’s most popular big game animals could be a hard reality to swallow for some hunters and hunting groups who have long opposed the predators. More...

QUESTION:


So the question remains, why are some states spending millions in tax dollars to eliminate predators that help keep wildlife diseases in check?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Move Over Easter Bunny... Wolves Have this Covered

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With 42 specialized teeth for slicing, tearing, and grinding, wolves are supremely well-equipped carnivores. A wolf could make short work of a helpless Easter egg, but Atka, an ambassador Arctic gray wolf, instead takes a slower, perhaps even epicurean, approach when presented with an egg as a treat. Enjoy!


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Arctic Beauty. Worth Fighting For

Go on a journey to the frozen north with wildlife photographer Vincent Munier. Spotlighting foxes, wolves, hares, owls, and even a polar bear, these photographs capture the beauty of the Arctic.

Mexican Gray Wolf M1133 Turns Nine Years Old


Mexican wolf M1i33 with daughter, F1508 (a.k.a. K.B.)
Birthdays abound! Wolves are mono-estrus, breeding only once a year during the winter months. So springtime is birthday season! Today we celebrate Mexican gray wolf M1133!

In October of 2015, Mexican Gray Wolf M1133 (affectionately nicknamed “Rhett” by the Wolf Conservation Center’s community of webcam watchers) met a voluptuous loba – Mexican gray wolf F1226 (a.k.a. Belle).

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the Mexican gray wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all Mexican wolves descended from just 7 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs and M1133 and F1226 are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.

Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out that M1133 and F1226 are a vibrant, loving, and playful pair that make it look like a whole lot of fun!

The terrific twosome bonded effortlessly. The day the wolves were officially introduced, a global audience witnessed (via webcam) the lovely lobos meet with a kiss! Their wild chemistry blossomed further when they welcomed three pups on May 25, 2016. Beyond being adorable, his daughter and two sons represent the Wolf Conservation Center's active efforts to save a species from extinction.

Today, with his well-earned badge of fatherhood, M1133 is poised to repeat last year's feat with a second litter sometime next month.

Ss here’s hoping M1133 gets a chance to rest up on his 9th birthday. With potential pups on the way, he'll need as much energy as he can get!

Happy birthday, M1133!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Nikai Turns Three

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Throw back your head and let out a long celebratory birthday howl for Nikai! Welcome to the terrific twos, kiddo! The Wolf Conservation Center‘s youngest Ambassador has been an inspiration from his adorable start. Within a month of joining the WCC family the little beast huffed, puffed, and hiccupped his way into the hearts and minds of a global audience. His viral video “Wolf Pup Hiccups” almost broke the internet!


As an important part of the Ambassador Pack, the stunning ambassador continues to awe WCC guests and help open the door to understanding the importance and plight of his wild kin.

Happy Birthday, Kiddo!

Help support the WCC's efforts to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America by adopting the birthday boy! We offer several adoption levels. No matter what the level, each adoption kit includes an 8×10 wolf photo, wolf biography, adoption certificate and a subscription to our newsletter. Learn more.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Wolf Words of Wisdom


Monday, April 10, 2017

Federal Wildlife-killing Agency Agrees to Halt Use of M-44 “Cyanide Bombs” in Idaho

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HAILEY, Idaho – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program – which kills thousands of predators across the country annually – announced today it has abandoned use of M-44 cyanide bombs in Idaho in response to a petition filed by 19 conservation and wildlife organizations (including the Wolf Conservation Center ) two weeks ago. In a letter transmitted to conservation groups today, the USDA agency Wildlife Services announced that it has ceased the use of M-44 cyanide bombs on all private, state, and federal lands in Idaho, and has removed all M-44s that were deployed in the state.

“This is an important victory, at least a temporary one, for both wildlife and for public safety across Idaho,” said Erik Molvar, executive director with Western Watersheds Project. “We thank Wildlife Services for doing the right thing by removing these deadly and indiscriminate killing devices, and urge them to make the moratorium permanent.”

The petition to stop using M-44s was filed in response to an incident near Pocatello, Idaho where a 14-year-old boy was sprayed with cyanide and his dog was killed.

"This could well be the tipping point that leads to a nationwide ban of these extraordinarily dangerous devices via the legislation introduced in Congress last month," said Brooks Fahy, executive director of the national wildlife advocacy group, Predator Defense. “As the recent cases in Idaho, Wyoming and Oregon amply demonstrate, M-44s endanger non-target wildlife, pets and children, no matter how they are used."

M-44 devices are spring-loaded and tipped with deadly sodium cyanide. The device blasts poison on any animal or person that triggers them.

“We’re glad to see these indiscriminate killing devices being pulled from Idaho – that’s an important step toward protecting wildlife, people and pets from these cyanide bombs,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We hope this ban becomes permanent not just in Idaho but across the country, because there are no place for these devices where the lives of innocent people and animals will not be at risk.”

In November 2016, Wildlife Services committed to a moratorium on the use of M-44s on public lands in Idaho, but the Pocatello poisoning incident, resulting from an M-44 placed in February 2017, occurred on BLM lands nonetheless. The letter expands the moratorium to lands of all jurisdictions and ownerships, including state and private lands.

“Although a step in the right direction, the federal government must do more to ensure the safety of all Americans, our dogs and wildlife,” said Michelle Lute, wildlife coexistence campaigner for WildEarth Guardians. “We won't rest until a national, permanent ban on M-44 cyanide bombs is instituted and strictly enforced."

Despite the sweeping nature of the moratorium and the removal of M-44s throughout the state, it might not amount to a permanent ban. In its letter, Wildlife Services informed the groups that “WS will notify you 30 days prior to placing any new M-44s in Idaho.”

“We welcome the news of a temporary ban, although we remind activists and taxpayers that Wildlife Services has made no commitment to cease the use of M-44s for any definite period,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund executive director Stephen Wells. “These deadly, inhumane devices could go back into use as soon as next month, so we must remain vigilant.”

“We intend to inform the public right away if Wildlife Services notifies us that they intend to reverse the moratorium and place M-44s anywhere in Idaho,” Molvar said.

The groups petitioning for the M-44 ban were Western Watersheds Project, Predator Defense, WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Western Wildlife Conservancy, Nevada Wildlife Alliance, Gallatin Wildlife Association, Environmental Protection Information Center, the Wolf Conservation Center, Wilderness Watch, Klamath Forest Alliance, Northeast Oregon Ecosystems, Yellowstone to Uintas Connection, Footloose Montana, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Coyote, Voices of Wildlife, and the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

She came. She saw. She needs a name.

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Last month, an adventurous Mexican gray wolf broke new ground.

As a part of ongoing reintroduction effort in Mexico, a family of critically endangered wolves was released in the wild approximately 90 miles south of the international border. Last month, one of the wolves, an adventurous yearling, broke new ground. The 11-month-old female crossed the international border to arrive in Arizona. Her name is “f1530.”

Her wild milestone is a demonstration of the great potential for Mexican wolf recovery and the critical need to protect the wildlife corridors she employed.

After crossing that border, she was captured and placed in captivity – a federal pre-release facility in New Mexico. It’s our hope she will be paired with a companion and returned to the wild soon. But in the meantime, she needs a name! Can you help us find a fitting name for this courageous young wolf?

Learn how here.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

WCC Among 20 Environmental Groups to Demand Wildlife Services Ban M-44 Cyanide Bombs in Idaho

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FEBRUARY 26, 2017 -- Wolf OR-48 of the Shamrock wolf family was killed on private land in northeast Oregon after an "unintentional take" by the USDA’s Wildlife Services.

OR-48 was killed by one of the most lethal tools in Wildlife Services' arsenal: an M-44 device (a.k.a. "cyanide bomb") - a spring-loaded metal cylinder baited with scent that fires sodium cyanide powder into the mouth of whatever tugs on them.


The device was in place as part of Wildlife Services operations to control coyotes and prevent coyote-livestock conflict on private land in northeast Oregon. This operation is just part of a larger taxpayer-funded wildlife eradication campaign wherein Wildlife Services, on behalf of the federal government, slaughters millions of wild animals every single year.

Since the killing of wolf OR-48, there have been two separate incidents involving cyanide bombs administered by Wildlife Services. The poison killed three dogs and injured a 14-year-old Idaho boy is lucky to be alive.


Just 300 yards away from their home, the boy and his beloved dog encountered a cyanide bomb planted by Wildlife Services intended to control coyote activity. The boy survived the incident, but only to watch helplessly as the poison killed his dog.

In response to these events, on March 28, 2017, a coalition of wildlife and conservation groups (including the Wolf Conservation Center) petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to immediately ban M-44 devices in Idaho.

The petition specifically calls on the agencies to:
Cease all use of M-44 explosive cyanide devices on all land ownerships in the State of Idaho, and
Immediately remove any and all M-44s currently deployed on all land ownerships in Idaho.

Since 2000, Wildlife Services has killed more than 50,000 members of more than 150 non-target species, including federally and/or state-protected animals such as Mexican gray wolves, grizzly bears, kangaroo rats, eagles, falcons, California condors, red-tailed hawks, great horned owls, armadillos, pronghorns, porcupines, long-tailed weasels, javelinas, marmots, snapping turtles, turkey vultures, great blue herons, ruddy ducks, sandhill cranes and ringtail cats.

Moreover, these lethal actions were paid for by tax-payers like you and me.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Why Are Wolves Important?

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 animals and plants, a phenomenon known as a “trophic cascade." The presence of wolves indirectly impacts plants, trees, 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. The preservation of keystone species is essential for maintaining the historic structure and function of the ecosystems they inhabit.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Life and Times of Mexican Gray Wolf ‘Trumpet’

Rebecca Bose holds Trumpet in 2016, when the pup is only a week old.
Meet Trumpet, the adorable Mexican gray wolf pup that is one of the last of her kind.

Born on May 4, 2016 to parents F1143 (Rosa) and M1059 (Diego), critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pup f1505—affectionately nicknamed “Trumpet” for her loud calls—is a beautiful blend of both her parents. F1505 and her family live at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York state, an education and breeding facility that focuses on helping wild wolf populations.

Read her story here.

Originally published March 31, 2017 on Earthjustice.org. This is a guest blog post by Rebecca Bose, curator of the Wolf Conservation Center.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Red Wolf F1568 Turns 10 Years Old!

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This is the first year red wolf F1568 (affectionately nicknamed “Argo”) has celebrated a birthday at the Wolf Conservation Center; she’s a relatively new member of the WCC family arriving in December of 2016. She resides off-exhibit in one of the WCC’s spacious SSP enclosures and will hopefully be joined by some pups later this spring!

The Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group for the red wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all red wolves descended from just 14 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of red wolf breeding pairs and F1397 and one of the WCC’s resident male red wolves, M1803, are a great match on paper with a low inbreeding coefficient.

Unfortunately, the pair proved to be incompatible. While they now reside in separate enclosures, they were still given the chance to aid in the survival of their critically endangered species through artificial insemination. WCC staff helped M1803 make an “investment” in the recovery of the red wolf species by collecting his semen in early February 2017 and then inseminating F1568. The gestation period (length of pregnancy) for wolves is 63 days so we won’t know the outcome of their union until mid-April.

So join us in sending congratulating howls to F1568 for celebrating another year of life. And who knows… perhaps she’ll celebrate her 10th birthday with a new litter of elusive, beautiful pups!

Happy birthday, F1568!

Happy Birthday, Jane Goodall



Today is Dr. Jane Goodall's birthday! The famed anthropologist and conservationist has a birthday wish - she wants everyone to stand up to those working to undermine scientific research by joining this month’s “March for Science.”

The Wolf Conservation Center will be joining the March for Science in New York City this Earth Day on April 22. Join us!

Learn more.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Wolves Howl in Local Dialects


Although wolves use varied vocalizations to express themselves, if you ask anyone about wolf sounds, it's likely the howl that comes to mind.

But did you know that wolves across the world speak in 21 different dialects, with differences depending both on species and location?

The largest ever study of howling in the 'canid' family of species – which includes wolves, jackals and domestic dogs – has shown that the various species and subspecies have distinguishing repertoires of howling, or "vocal fingerprints": different types of howls are used with varying regularity depending on the canid species.

Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyse howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types based on pitch and fluctuation, and then matching up patterns of howling.

They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used – from flat to highly modulated – corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, as well as to the subspecies of wolf. Read more via PHYS.ORG.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Youth Activist Working to Protect the Endangered Species Act



TWO THOUSAND MILES from the small population of wild Mexican gray wolves, Turner Burns of Kids for Wolves is working hard to protect the lobo - the world's most endangered gray wolf - and the federal law that saved them from extinction.

Earlier this week Turner met with the staff of U.S. Senator Bob Casey to talk about Mexican wolves and the importance of protecting the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Under the guise of "modernizing" the ESA, wildlife opponents in Congress have introduced dozens of proposals to weaken this vital federal law to benefit powerful corporate interests.

Turner might not be old enough to vote, but he recognizes that Congress' efforts to "modernize" the ESA is just another “alternative fact!” So, Turner called on Senator Casey for his help. He explained how the ESA has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. Turner then presented the Senator with a photo and paw print of Mexican gray wolf M1133 (Rhett) as an example of the ESA's success and importance.

Enormous thanks to Turner - you are amazing - an inspiration! And big thanks to U.S. Senator Bob Casey for pledging to support the ESA!

Please visit Turner's Facebook page - Kids for Wolves -to learn how your kiddo can join the effort to protect the ESA via his post card campaign.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Court Upholds ESA Protections for Intrastate Species

In a sweeping victory for our nation’s endangered species, the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld federal Endangered Species Act protections for the Utah prairie dog this week – a win for the prairie dog, all other endangered intrastate species (like the red wolf), and the ESA itself.

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The decision overturns an unprecedented 2014 lower-court ruling, which found that the ESA did not have the authority to mandate protections for species that are only present within one state, like the Utah prairie dog. This 2014 ruling was a severe blow to the ESA. By providing state governors with the power to ignore ESA regulations, the ruling allowed political interests to decide the fate of intrastate endangered species instead of science as mandated by federal law.


This week’s ruling marks the sixth time a federal appeals court has considered and rejected similar challenges to the ESA – one case pertaining to the critically endangered red wolf in North Carolina.

This being said, it will likely be appealed to the Supreme Court, but the 10th Circuit's decision may make it less likely that the high court takes up the issue.