Tuesday, January 31, 2017

USFWS Pledges to Prepare Updated Red Wolf Recovery Plan


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In a letter, USFWS Southeast Regional Director Cynthia Dohner has pledged to prepare an updated recovery plan in 2018 for the rapidly dwindling population of wild red wolves.

Only 45 red wolves remain in the wild.

“The red wolf is one of the few large carnivore species endemic to the United States. Their importance to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. ”Red wolf recovery should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation and a current science-based recovery plan is needed now more than ever.”


Last month the WCC joined six other animal protection and conservation organizations to file a petition with the federal agency seeking an updated recovery plan for critically endangered species.

In response to the petition, the Service explains that a revised recovery plan will incorporate new information about red wolves, including a “species status assessment” to be prepared by October.

Take action HERE.

Urge USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, to recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild. Before it's too late.

Stay tuned...

Friday, January 27, 2017

Protect the Endangered Species Act


It appears evident that some politicians have forgotten the bipartisan values that Congress embraced four decades ago when it first passed the Endangered Species Act. This federal law has given thousands of at-risk species a second chance and has worked successfully to prevent the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. A 2015 national poll found that 90% of American voters support the ESA.

Despite its success and public support, the strongest and most important federal law protecting imperiled wildlife and plants is under attack - deemed by its opponents as a job-killing regulation.

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 are faced with 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.

When you dismantle the ESA, you are killing more than a law. And no species should have to face extinction at the hands of humanity, much less twice.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Saving Endangered Wolves Via Artificial Insemination

Mexican gray wolves F1143 (Rosa) with her daughter f1505 (Trumpet)
The Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) 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.

An SSP is a breeding and management program designed to ensure the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. The primary goal for the Mexican gray wolf SSP and red wolf SSP is to breed wolves for maximum genetic integrity for reintroduction into 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 housing and caring for the wolves, collaborating in the captive breeding program, research, recommendations for release, and engaging in the sometimes-unusual measures to save the species.

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.

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).

Not every genetically valuable wolf in the SSP program has the chance to successfully breed, so WCC staff helps the wolves make an “investment” in the recovery of their rare species by collecting semen from the males during prime breeding season in mid-winter. Most of the genetic material collected is for cryopreservation for future potential use, an important option when trying to maintain diversity with such species that were once extinct in the wild.

Unbeknownst to Mexican wolves M1059 a.ka. “Diego,” M1198 “Alleno,” and red wolf M1803 “Moose,” their valuable contributions are poised to benefit their respective recovery programs in the not-so-distant future by fathering pups this season via AI.

Remote Breeding Pairs (breeding via AI):
  • Mexican gray wolf M1059 x Mexican gray wolf F1362 (resides at USFWS's Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge pre-release facility)
  • Mexican gray wolf M1198 x F1143 (Rosa) – both reside at the WCC but in different family groups
  • Red wolf M1803 x Red Wolf F1568 (Argo) - both reside at the WCC, but proved incompatible. Thus, they live in separate enclosures



To best prepare for the coming AI events, last week WCC staff inserted an Ovuplant in each of the participating female wolves. Ovuplant is a sustained release implant of a hormone called “deslorelin.” The hormone, used to induce estrus and ovulation in wolves, allows the WCC to best predict when the females are most receptive to fertilization.
WCC curator Rebecca Bose injecting the Ovuplant
WCC curator Rebecca Bose injected the Ovuplant pellet into the inner thigh (the right under the skin) of each of the three female wolves. WCC staff will revisit the wolves next week to confirm their status before next steps are taken.

Although these measures might seem extreme, we strive to make every effort to recover these two critical keystone species.

Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic... But extinction is worse.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

BC GOVERNMENT ADMITS CULLING OF WOLVES IS INHUMANE

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BC GOVERNMENT ADMITS CULLING OF WOLVES IS INHUMANE, YET CONSIDERS CULL EXPANSION

January 20, 2017 (Golden, BC) – A recent provincial government document that recommends expanding aerial gunning of wolves, along with increased hunting of mountain lions and deer has been met with outrage by environmental and animal welfare groups. The proposal to expand culling and hunting is a misguided attempt to recover caribou herds in the Revelstoke-Shuswap region.

The document’s authors, who are academic and government scientists of British Columbia’s Mountain Caribou Recovery Program, admit “There are no humane methods to directly reduce wolf numbers, but aerial removal is the only method of killing enough wolves (and entire packs) to reduce wolf densities with no risk of by-catch.”

Aerial gunning fails to comply with ethical guidelines set by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, as it is not considered an acceptable form of euthanasia. The BC government also accepts strangling snares as a killing method in this and other management plans. Research shows that many wolves killed by aerial gunning and neck snaring die a slow and excruciatingly painful death.

Gunning wolves from helicopters and using strangling snares on the ground have been the main tools used in an ongoing experiment to recover caribou herds protected by federal law. These herds were pushed to the brink of extinction not because of wolves, but due to continued destruction and fragmentation of their habitat by logging, resource extraction and mmmmmotorized recreation.

Chris Genovali, executive director of Raincoast Conservation Foundation, said:

“Those involved in planning the expanded wolf and cougar kill disregard the considerable damage that scientists understand happens in ecosystems when top predators are removed, and callously exhibit an indifference to the suffering experienced by wolf families as pack members are killed.”

Recommendations made a decade ago (2007) by government and independent scientists to protect 34,000 hectares of habitat to recover caribou herds in the Revelstoke-Shuswap area have been ignored and eroded so much as to become meaningless. Virginia Thompson, a resident of Revelstoke formerly associated with the Mountain Caribou Project who has been monitoring land-use plans, logging, and caribou management in her local area, explains:

“Ultimately, almost no land was retained in the Timber Harvesting Land Base in the 2007 Recovery Plan.”

"We are utterly stunned to see such a backward wildlife strategy out of the BC government," said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director for Humane Society International/Canada. "The Liberal government seems to be stuck in the 19th century as wolves are still being scapegoated at the hands of wildlife mismanagement."

BC’s caribou recovery plan is still pitched as a great conservation commitment at the sacrifice of industrial and recreational interests, yet it has never resulted in protecting sufficient habitat to support caribou in the long-term.

“Attempting to recover caribou herds that have dipped well below the critical threshold for short-term survival in habitat that can’t support much growth is like trying to put humpty dumpty back together again,” said Sadie Parr, executive director of Wolf Awareness Inc. “It cannot be done! Killing predators, no matter how many, will not change this.”

Gross mismanagement of species at risk in BC, a province with no endangered species law, results in unethical culls of predators and competing species. To avoid such conservation dilemmas, the BC government must adequately protect the habitat of at-risk species in the first place.

Your help is needed NOW to ensure that this misguided killing program does not get started! Learn more details and take action at : http://wolfawarenessinc.org/engage-take-action/

  • Animal Alliance of Canada – Liz White, Director
  • Animal Protection Party of Canada – Jordan Reichert, BC Representative
  • Bears Matter –Barb Murray, Executive Director
  • Bear With Us – Mike McIntosh, Executive Director
  • Born Free – Barry Kent McKay, Canadian Representative, Senior Program Associate
  • British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BC SPCA) - Sara Dubois, Chief Scientific Officer and Senior Manager of Scientific Programs
  • Cochrane Research Institute – Clio Smeeton, Director
  • Coyote Watch Canada – Lesley Sampson, Founder and Executive Director
  • Earthroots – Amber Ellis, Executive Director
  • Humane Society International - Rebecca Aldworth, Executive Director
  • National Wolfwatcher Coalition – Nancy Warren, Executive Director
  • Pacific Wild – Ian McAllister, Executive Director
  • Raincoast Conservation Foundation –Chris Genovali, Executive Director
  • Sierra Club BC – Bob Peart, Executive Director
  • The Fur-Bearers –Lesley Fox, Executive Director
  • Wilderness Committee – Gwen Barlee, Executive Director
  • Wildlife Defence League – Tommy Knowles, Executive Director
  • Wolf Awareness Inc. –Sadie Parr, Executive Director
  • Wolf Conservation Centre – Maggie Howell Executive Director
  • World Animal Protection - Beth Sharpe, Communications Director
Background documents

Saturday, January 21, 2017

I Am She-wolf, Hear Me Howl

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"Alpha male" connotes the man who at every moment demonstrates that he’s in total control in the home, and who away from home can become snarling and aggressive. Ecologist and author Carl Safina learns from wolves that this stereotype is not only wrong, but also that..."It’s the alpha female who really runs the show."

More via The New York Times

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

States Argue in Court For Veto Power Over Federal Efforts to Recover Endangered Lobos

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A battle over how to save endangered wolves in the Southwest moves to a federal appeals court today as judges hear arguments on whether states can block the federal government from reintroducing critically endangered Mexican gray wolves within their borders.

The Interior Department is asking the Denver-based 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn a preliminary injunction that bars the department from releasing more captive-bred Mexican wolves into the wild in New Mexico without that state's approval. Eighteen other states filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with New Mexico.

More...

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a responsibility under federal law to facilitate recovery of the critically endangered wolf and releases are a central part of that effort. If the court gives the states veto power over measures to save federally protected wolves, Mexican wolf recovery would not be the only effort to suffer the consequences. The court's decision would establish a dangerous precedent - effectively allowing a state to refuse recovery efforts for endangered species if they don't feel like complying.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Senators Launch Companion Bill to Delist Wolves in 4 States

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Senators from Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming today introduced their version of a bill that would once again allow trophy hunting and trapping of wolves in those states. The bill, along with its companion bill in the U.S. House, increases the likelihood of wolves being delisted in these 4 states. More...

URGENT - Please urge your representatives to OPPOSE these congressional attempts to delist wolves and further weaken the Endangered Species Act!

Take action HERE.

Background

In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stripped federal protections for 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 ESA. The following day, management was handed over to the state and Wyoming’s inaugural wolf hunt commenced.

Wyoming’s wolf management plan calls for the state to:

Deem wolves predators in 90% of the state (all but the northwest corner of Wyoming), where they could be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.
In Wyoming’s northwest corner, right outside Yellowstone National Park, classify wolves as trophy game animals meaning they could only be hunted with a license.
Maintain only 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Par
In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the USFWS’s delisting decision. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin after another federal judge invalidated USFWS’s 2012 decision to delist wolves in that region. In both cases, the federal courts held that the state management plans for wolves at issue did not sufficiently protect wolves. The court decisions restored federal protection for wolves in all four of the states.

If passed, these bills will nullify both of these federal court decisions and allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume under state management.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Keep Howling


Sunday, January 15, 2017

Oppose Alaska's Unethical and Biologically Unsound Wolf Killing Plan




Earlier this month, the Alaska Board of Game passed "Proposal 155" reauthorizing its controversial plan to kill all the wolves who live in a portion of the Kenai Peninsula (Unit 15C, southwest of Kenai National Refuge) to artificially boost numbers of moose for hunters. The board unanimously passed the proposal despite opposition from the public and the regional Fish and Game Advisory Committee (the Homer Fish and Game Advisory Committee) who objected to the proposal unanimously. This decision also flies in the face of statistics presented by biologist and former member of the Board of Game, Vic Van Ballenberghe, demonstrating that Alaska’s “Intensive Management” of wolves and bears fails to yield more moose, caribou and deer for human hunters.

The proposal gives the Board of Game the authority to allow the public to hunt and trap wolves, both from the ground and from the air via aerial gunning.

In 2012, the Alaska Board of Game passed its original Intensive Management proposal. The heavy-handed plan, however, was never implemented due to opposition from the scientific community and public outcry. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s (ADFG) division of Wildlife Conservation determined that the peninsula’s moose population decline was generally due to "overharvest" and habitat limitations, not increased predation by wolves. The agency thus tabled the plan to collect additional data to support a final management decision.

The Alaska Board of Game has repeatedly opted for intensive lethal predator control as their management tool of choice. It is time that science, not special interest groups, guide responsible wildlife management policy, especially with so much at stake in one of Alaska's most iconic wild places.

Please urge the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to reject Proposal 155.

Take action.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

President Obama: Close the Wolf-Killer Loophole

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President Obama has one more thing to do before he clears his desk in the Oval Office. He needs to eliminate the McKittrick Policy - a loophole that allows endangered wolves to be killed by hunters without any prosecution from the Department of Justice. This policy is named after a rifleman who shot one of the most important alpha wolves reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park in 1995. More from the East Oregonian.

The U.S. Justice Department's McKittrick policy prohibits prosecuting individuals who kill endangered wildlife unless it can be PROVED that they knew they were targeting a protected animal.


The policy provides a loophole that has prevented criminal prosecution of dozens of individuals who killed grizzly bears, highly endangered California condors as well as DOZENS of critically endangered Mexican wolves.


TAKE ACTION: Urge president to please close the "wolf-killer" loophole by eliminating the McKittrick Policy before he leaves office!

Post your comment here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

Friday, January 13, 2017

Keep Calm and Howl On


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Broader Implications of Delisting Wyoming Wolves - Nationwide Delisting

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Congresswoman Liz Cheney (WY) introduced HR 424 yesterday, a bill that would permanently remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, and thus allow trophy hunting of wolves to immediately resume within the regions. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge. More...

If passed into law, wolves far beyond the state border are due to suffer the consequences. A decision to return wolf management to Wyoming paves the way for USFWS to issue their 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. This is why U.S. District Judge Jackson's 2014 ruling to reinstate federal protections for Wyoming's wolves was also good news for wolves beyond the state's borders.

There are 14 cosponsors of HR 424 so far. Stay tuned for updates.

New Bill Aims to Permanently Delist Wolves in 4 States

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Congressman Liz Cheney (WY) introduced HR 424 yesterday, a bill that would permanently remove federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections from gray wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Wyoming, and thus allow trophy hunting of wolves to immediately resume within the regions. To add insult to injury, the bill prohibits judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.


In 2012, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) stripped federal protections for 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 ESA. The following day, management was handed over to the state and Wyoming's inaugural wolf hunt commenced.

Wyoming’s wolf management plan calls for the state to:
Deem wolves predators in 90% of the state (all but the northwest corner of Wyoming), where they could be killed by any means, at any time, without a license.
In Wyoming's northwest corner, right outside Yellowstone National Park, classify wolves as trophy game animals meaning they could only be hunted with a license.
Maintain only 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs outside of Yellowstone National Par

In September of 2014, federal protections for gray wolves in Wyoming were reinstated after a federal judge invalidated the USFWS's delisting decision. In December of 2014, federal protections were also reinstated for wolves in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin after another federal judge invalidated USFWS’s 2012 decision to delist wolves in that region. In both cases, the federal courts held that the state management plans for wolves at issue did not sufficiently protect wolves. The court decisions restored federal protection for wolves in all four of the states.

If passed, wolf delisting bill HR 424 will nullify both of these federal court decisions and allow trophy hunting of wolves to resume under state management. There are 14 cosponsors of this bill so far.

More.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Inspirational 10-Year-Old Raises Awareness and Funds the Wolf Conservation Center

Ten-year-old Bria of Faces Of The Endangered is doing her part to help endangered species (and the Wolf Conservation Center) one painting at a time!

An avid animal lover from Sioux Falls, SD, Bria raised $2,240 for the WCC by selling her beautiful original paintings and prints.

"Each painting focuses on a critically endangered animal that relies on human support for continued survival and we're so honored that Bria chose to support our center with her wolf paintings," said Youth Education Coordinator Regan Downey. "She exhibits a passion for the environment that is so rarely seen, and especially not in someone so young."

Bria's greatest goal is to get people to see that wolves aren't scary and without them the earth would lose the glow of the moon. Her other big goal, added her mom, is to come to New York and meet Atka and all the other wolves in person.

Bria, thank you for opening minds, touching our hearts, and exemplifying the amazing potential of your generation to make this world a better place! Atka send his howls of gratitude too!

More from the Lewisboro Daily Voice.

Please consider following Bria on Facebook and supporting her projects at pigtailsart.com.

Atka's Thank You Howl!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

We Can't Let 2017 Be Remembered As the Year We Gave up On Red Wolves

With only 45 red wolves remaining in the wild, he might be the last one you see. Red wolves don't have a voice when it comes to endangered species policy. But you do.

URGENT: Please tell Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell that USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, needs to recommit to red wolf recovery in the wild.

TAKE ACTION

The red wolf is one of the few large carnivore species endemic to the United States - this keystone predator has never been found anywhere else in the world. Their importance to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. And their recovery should be a matter of pride and priority for our nation. Hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the initial extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today the world's most endangered wolf is facing extinction for a second time, but at the hands of our government. Learn more.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Ambassador Wolf Nikai Makes Snow Angels

Beyond being cute, wolves are critical keystone species. Learn about their ecological importance here.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mexican Wolf's Legacy Lives On...


Look how much the 7-month-old Mexican gray wolf pups have grown! Beyond being fuzzy and cute, these three critically endangered lobos represent the Wolf Conservation Center's active efforts to save a species from the brink of extinction. Unbeknownst to the kiddos, their grandfather, Mexican wolf M863 of the California Wolf Center, recently passed away. Our hearts go out to our friends in California, the lobos in their care, and the many who M863 had unknowingly touched. RIP, sweet lobo.

Your legacy lives on...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Fourteen Mexican gray wolves Found Dead in 2016

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Fourteen critically endangered Mexican gray wolves were found dead in 2016. That's over 10% of the wild population and marks the most deaths in any single year since the federal government began reintroducing the keystone species into the wilds of New Mexico and Arizona in 1998.

While many of the cases remain under investigation, federal officials have acknowledged that illegal killings remain a big problem.

Although only 97 remain in the wild at last count, last year legislation was introduced calling to remove federal protections for the rare wolves. It's not easy being a wild wolf - they're faced with many natural challenges. It is shameful, however, that politics should be their most serious threat.

House Reps Pass ProvisionsTo Make It Easier To Sell Off America's Public Lands

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Yesterday House Representatives passed an amendment that will make it easier for members of the new Congress to give away our federal public lands to the states and other entities. More.

The public lands of the United States harbor some of the greatest resources of our nation and are owned by ALL Americans. Do you want Congress to turn our national forests, parks, refuges, wilderness areas and more--over to the states to sell to mining, oil and gas and other development?

What say you?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Who is Atka the Wolf?


Who is Atka? He's the confident and charismatic ambassador wolf who has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people in his 14 years. He’s a powerful presence in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, and for the Wolf Conservation Center staff and volunteers, he's the best boss we’ll ever have. We love you, Atka.

Alaska Board of Game Takes Aim At Kenai Wolves (Again)





The Alaska Board of Game proposes to allow the killing of all the wolves in Unit 15C (on the Kenai Peninsula) to artificially boost moose populations for hunters.

If the Board of Game votes to approve the proposal, Proposal 155, at its upcoming meeting scheduled for Jan. 4-7, it would allow the public to hunt and trap wolves, both from the ground and from the air, and would be allowed to conduct its own aerial hunts. More.


The Alaska Board of Game has repeatedly opted for lethal predator control as their management tool of choice despite opposition from the scientific community and public outcry. It’s time that science, not special interest groups, guide responsible wildlife management policy, especially with so much at stake in one of Alaska's most iconic wild places.

Please Take Action.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's resolution? Growl less. Howl more.

Unless growling is warranted...