Sunday, August 20, 2017

Give a Wolf a GoPro...


Meet Atka! The confident and charismatic ambassador has won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people throughout his storied career. As an important player in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment, Atka’s credentials are beyond dispute.

Atka turned fifteen years old on May 17th! Because he retired from his career as a traveling Ambassador last year, Atka interacts with fewer people than he used to and we realized he missed communicating with his fans. So, after the long, requisite talk about safety, etiquette, and responsibility, we gave Atka 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!


We encourage you to say “hi” to Atka too. Maybe he’ll even respond

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Mexican Gray Wolf Pup vs. Flower


Beyond being adorably fierce, this Mexican gray wolf pup is critically endangered. And if U.S. Fish and Wildlife's new draft recovery plan is put into action, it may just push America's most endangered gray wolf even closer to extinction.

Learn how you can TAKE ACTION to make a difference for Mexican wolves.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

She is not a trophy.




Last month the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance the “HELP for Wildlife Act” (S.1514), a misleadingly-titled bill that contains a damaging anti-wolf amendment we’re calling the “War on Wolves” Rider.

If the War on Wolves legislation is passed into law, wolves will die at the hands of trophy hunters.

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

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?

TAKE ACTION

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Oregon Slated to Kill Two More Wolves

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Earlier this month, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials (ODFW) shot and killed two adult wolves from the Harl Butte family group to protect cattle grazing on private and public lands.

One wolf was killed from the ground and the other from the air.

Today, ODFW confirmed another depredation by the Harl Butte wolf pack. Now the agency aims to kill to two more.

Thus, the agency intends to kill to additional wolves.

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


Oregon Wild is asking supporters to call on Governor Kate Brown to step in and make sure Oregon's revised wolf plan emphasizes conservation over killing. Take action here.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Public Comments Show Overwhelming Support for Protecting Red Wolves in the Wild

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Press Contacts:
Haley McKey, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-0247, hmckey@defenders.org
Ron Sutherland, Wildlands Network, 919-641-0060, ron@wildlandsnetwork.org
Kim Wheeler, Red Wolf Coalition, 252-796-5600, kwheeler@redwolves.com
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, 914-763-2373, maggie@nywolf.org
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, 651-955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

WASHINGTON (August 14, 2017) – Nearly all of the comments submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) support recovering the wild red wolf population in the southeastern United States, according to an analysis announced today by a coalition of conservation groups. 54,992 out of 55,087 public comments (99.8%) supported recovering the red wolf in the wild in North Carolina, compared to only 25 anti-wolf comments (0.045%) and just 10 comments (0.018%) that supported the federal agency’s proposed plan to remove most red wolves from the wild and into captivity.

Statements from North Carolina residents similarly support restoring and conserving the red wolf. Fully 98.6% of comments from North Carolinians encouraged the FWS to do more to save the critically imperiled species, one of the most endangered carnivores in the world. Zooming in to northeastern North Carolina, more than two-thirds (68.4%) of the comments from the current 5-county recovery region were supportive of the Red Wolf Recovery Program, undermining claims that local residents oppose red wolf restoration.

Conservation groups and a team of scientists also submitted detailed comments to the FWS. These letters cite evidence that the agency’s proposal to pull back on red wolf conservation actions would cause the extinction of the red wolf in the wild. In the hopes of dramatically shifting the scope of FWS decision-making on Canis rufus, the letters also offer proactive suggestions for recovering the species across the southeastern US, including generous landowner incentive programs and more robust law enforcement.

Statements from Conservation Leaders:

“This overwhelmingly positive response sends a crystal clear message: Americans support red wolf conservation and want the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to do the right thing and restore this species throughout its native range in the southeastern United States,” says Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “The Service needs to roll up its sleeves and put in the time and effort needed to bring this species back from the brink of extinction.”

“Many of the comments showed a profound appreciation for the ecological importance of returning the red wolf to southeastern landscapes,” said Dr. Ron Sutherland, Conservation Scientist for the Wildlands Network. “People drew frequent comparisons to the better-known situation at Yellowstone National Park, where the reintroduced gray wolves have been shown to be essential to the health of the Park's ecosystems.”

“The statements posted during the required public comment period demonstrate the overwhelming support for red wolf conservation,” remarked Kim Wheeler, Executive Director of the Red Wolf Coalition, Inc. “The Red Wolf Coalition encourages the USFWS to use the comments provided by the American public in developing the new rules that will govern the management of the critically endangered red wolf.”

“Every voice raised in support of wildlife can make a difference and Americans overwhelmingly support red 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 wolves remain a living, breathing part of the southeastern landscape.”

“This tremendous public support should prompt the feds to finally commit to working toward red wolf recovery,” said Collette Adkins, a biologist and senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The science shows that red wolves can be saved, but with fewer than 50 left in the wild, the clock is ticking.”

BACKGROUND:

Recent Events
  • The wild red wolf population is classified as a nonessential experimental population under the 10(j) rule of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS is considering a reclassification to manage the wild and captive populations as one metapopulation. FWS announced in September 2016 that it intends to remove from private and public lands most of the world's only remaining population of red wolves in the wild, threatening the continued existence of this highly imperiled species in its native habitat. FWS opened a public comment period from May 2017 to July 2017, soliciting feedback about the scope of its planned changes to the red wolf recovery program.
  • Soon after the FWS announcement, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina issued a preliminary injunction that orders the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to stop capturing and killing — and authorizing private landowners to capture and kill — members of the rapidly dwindling population of wild red wolves. 
  • In October 2016, the scientific experts who drafted the Population Viability Analysis (PVA) for the red wolf, which FWS cited as the rationale behind its recent proposal to take red wolves from the wild and place them in captivity, sent a rebuttal to the agency saying, “The September 12th decision on the future of the Red Wolf Recovery Program included many alarming misinterpretations of the PVA as justification for the final decision.” 
  • In July of 2016, a coalition of conservation groups submitted a combined petition to the FWS with almost 500,000 signatures, all calling on the agency to renew its commitment to recovering the red wolf. In August 2016, public polling in North Carolina revealed that a solid majority of citizens in NC supported helping save the red wolf from extinction. Earlier in 2014, conservation-minded citizens sent in over 110,000 pro-red-wolf emails to FWS in response to an ongoing review by the Wildlife Management Institute.

For Wolves, the Social Glue is Song

This is what Family Sounds Like.

Although wolves use varied vocalizations to express themselves, if you ask anyone about wolf sounds, it's likely the howl that comes to mind. Howling helps keep family members (or pack-mates) together.

Wolves can howl to locate other wolves, advertise the size of their pack or territory, to warn other family members of danger using a bark howl, and more.

But do wolves ever just sing to make music, as we do? 

During a recent interview author, Brenda Peterson asked Wolf Conservation Center co-founder Hélène Grimaud this question. Here is what Helene said:

“One of the most intriguing elements of wolf howling is what scientists call social glue. This spreading of good feeling like humans singing around a campfire, feeling closer to one another—it’s that same idea: you howl or harmonize and so reaffirm your social bonds with one another. That’s not surprising. Any pack animal really depends upon the others to survive.”

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Preserve Wildlife for Our Children

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Wildlife and other natural resources are a public trust which means that every citizen has an interest and a voice in the management of natural resources. The public trust is a legal concept that implies that we all share equal, undivided interests in America's wildlife.

Adrian Treves, professor, Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis. points out that "efforts to delist the wolf are driven by the opposite tendencies: to deplete nature for a small minority of hunters and intolerant livestock producers"


"In an ongoing lawsuit, teenagers are suing the federal government for failing to regulate greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. The youths argue for their constitutional right to a stable and predictable atmosphere. The same lawsuit might be brought for failure to preserve our native wildlife. For too long, current adults have monopolized the legacy of nature over which we adults are only temporary caretakers."

More via Chicago Tribune.

Learn more about Predators and the Public Trust.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Hunting Bears With Dogs Threatens Wolves

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Here’s an easy assignment for Wisconsin lawmakers who oppose wasteful spending and who favor personal responsibility: Stop paying tens of thousands of dollars a year to irresponsible bear hunters whose hounds are killed by wolves.

Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that compensates hunters when wolves kill their animals. A hunter gets up to $2,500 per dog - even when a hunter violates state rules or releases hounds in areas the state Department of Natural Resources has mapped as dangerous because of wolf activity. In 2016 Wisconsin paid out $99,400 for 41 dogs


Now Professional Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) is calling on the federal government to launch a criminal investigation. More.

BACKGROUND

What is bear hounding?

Hounding involves hunters and guides using packs of radio-collared hounds to pursue bears until the exhausted, frightened animals seek refuge in a tree, where they are shot, or turn to fight the hounds. Hounding results in injuries or death to both bears and dogs and leaves bear cubs vulnerable to mauling, orphaning and death.

Why does Wisconsin even allow bear hounding? Most states don’t.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wolf vs. Earthworm


Ambassador wolf Atka does not "do" worms...

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wolf Conservation Center Among Conservationists Seeking Nationwide Ban on Wildlife-killing M-44 'Cyanide Bombs'

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 10, 2017

Contacts:
Kelly Nokes, WildEarth Guardians, knokes@wildearthguardians.org
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

Indiscriminate Devices Injure People, Kill Pets, Endanger Wildlife

WASHINGTON— WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity and several other wildlife conservation groups, including the Wolf Conservation Center, petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency today to outlaw M-44 “cyanide bombs,” which cause agonizing deaths for thousands of animals every year.

The devices are used to kill coyotes, foxes and wild dogs, purportedly to address conflicts with livestock. But they also pose the risks of accidental injury and death for people, family dogs and imperiled wildlife. In response, the federal government has proposed bigger warning signs – an unproven and completely inadequate measure.

“Cyanide traps are indiscriminate killers that cannot be safely used,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re not fooled by the feds’ ridiculous suggestion that posting bigger warning signs could somehow prevent the risks cyanide bombs pose to people, pets and wildlife. A permanent nationwide ban is the only answer.”

The EPA has registered sodium cyanide for use in M-44s by Wildlife Services – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s wildlife-killing program – as well as by certain state agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas. The devices are intended to protect livestock by spraying deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting coyotes, foxes and other carnivores lured by smelly bait.

Yet, anything or anyone that pulls on the baited M-44 device can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray of sodium cyanide. For example, M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in two separate incidents in Idaho and Wyoming in March. A wolf was accidentally killed by an M-44 set in Oregon in February.

“The federal government has a paramount duty to protect people and wildlife from deadly poisons that unnecessarily endanger the public, wildlife and companion animals,” said Kelly Nokes, carnivore advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “Given the wide array of nonlethal, effective conflict management tools available today, the use of dangerous and indiscriminate M-44s should immediately and permanently cease.”

According to USDA Wildlife Services’ own data, M-44s killed 13,530 animals, mostly coyotes and foxes, in 2016. Of these, 321 deaths were non-target animals, including family dogs, a black bear, opossums, raccoons, skunks, and a fisher.

This interactive map shows how many non-target animals of each species died from exposure to M-44s between 2010 and 2016. Unfortunately, these numbers are likely a significant undercount of the true death toll, as Wildlife Services is notorious for poor data collection and an entrenched “shoot, shovel, shut up” mentality.

WildEarth Guardians and the Center for Biological Diversity authored the petition and are joined in their call for a nationwide ban on M-44 cyanide bombs by Advocates for the West, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Born Free USA, the Endangered Species Coalition, the Humane Society of the United States, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, the Sierra Club, the Southwest Environmental Center, the Western Environmental Law Center, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Network and the Wolf Conservation Center. Together the groups represent millions of Americans who want to see an end to the use of deadly M-44 cyanide bombs.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Oregon Officials Kill Two Wolves in a Controversial Effort to Protect Cattle

Photo: Oregon Wild
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) shot and killed two adult wolves from the Harl Butte family group to protect cattle grazing on private and public lands.

One wolf was killed Sunday night and a second was shot Tuesday morning. One was killed from the ground and the other from the air.

A week prior, conservation organization Oregon Wild sent a letter to Governor Kate Brown urging her to provide increased transparency and accountability from the ODFW as they considered livestock industry requests to kill wolves of the Harl Butte Pack. The request came just a year after ODFW killed the Imnaha Pack in the same area, and raises troubling questions about what, if any, effort livestock operations are making to avoid wolf conflicts.


Monitoring by volunteers from Oregon Wild have documented little human presence on public lands grazing permit in the area, where cows now vastly outnumber deer and elk.

More.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Senate Bill Threatens Wolves, ESA, and Central Pillar of American Democracy

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Last month the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted to advance the “HELP for Wildlife Act” (S.1514), a misleadingly-titled bill that contains a damaging anti-wolf amendment we’re calling the “War on Wolves” Rider.

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

Bigger Implications Beyond Wolves

Restrictive judicial review language in War on Wolves rider is part of an alarming set of legislative proposals to restrict and erode the ability of everyday people to have their issue heard in a court of law and stand up to even the wealthiest corporate interests.

S.1514 is just one among a number of environmental bills that include “no judicial review” language.

In fact, “no judicial review” language is already included in 28 House and Senate bills introduced by this Congress (at least 13 of the 28 bills involve environmental issues) that if passed, would undermine the ability of Americans to seek out justice and defend the environment, our lands, our public health, and our civil rights.

Not all politicians are on board; some members of Congress think this trend is bad news.

"Not only is it heavy-handed, but we have three branches of government, and the courts act as an arbiter," Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said in an interview. "The legal challenge to something is important."

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?

Would your Senator support a bill that undermines one of the central pillars of American democracy?

Please urge your to oppose S. 1514. Take action here.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sending Howls of Thanks to Paul Nicklen Gallery

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Last weekend the Wolf Conservation Center was lucky enough to host a Pop Up Shop at the Paul Nicklen Gallery in New York City! We are so grateful to the Paul Nicklen Gallery staff for letting us take over their space and letting us be surrounded by beautiful conservation photography as well. Their wonderful staff treated us like we were one of their pack and we couldn’t have had a better time.

Special thanks to Bernie, the gallery dog, for letting us cuddle up on her whenever we wanted!

Thank you so much!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Jaw Sparring... the Wolf Equivalent To Thumb Wrestling


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

For wolves, playtime isn’t only fun, it strengthens family bonds and reaffirms social status within the pack.

Learn more about wolf communication here.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mexican Gray Wolves Need Your Voice


Mexican gray wolf recovery was never going to be easy, but if USFWS's draft recovery plan is put into action, it may just push America's most endangered gray wolf even closer to extinction.

Earlier this month USFWS released its draft plan for the lobo that will remove federal Endangered Species Act protections long before a stable, functional, and recovered population is achieved. The draft criteria for down-listing or delisting Mexican wolves in this new document is woefully short of scientific recommendations and hands far too much control to the same states that are already actively thwarting wolf recovery.


There’s still time for the feds to fix the plan before it becomes final. The comment period on the proposed plan is open through August 29, giving Americans one last chance to have their voices heard.

TAKE ACTION: Talking points and comment links available here. via Mexican gray wolves

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Hélène Grimaud on Wolves, Music, and Wild Harmony

In addition to being one of the most celebrated internationally acclaimed classical pianists of our time, Helene Grimaud is a highly committed wildlife conservationist and the founder of the Wolf Conservation Center!
In this issue of Orion Magazine, Hélène talks about wolves, music, and wild harmony.
Read more.
(Photo: Hélène and Ambassador wolf Nikai by Mat Hennek)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Home is Where the Den Is


A wolf pup’s first home is the den – it’s like a nursery!

The den is simply a cave or hole and can be dug under a boulder, among tree roots, between rocks, or in the ground. Dens are often reused by generations of wolves; sometimes wolf families look for new dens every year. Occasionally wolves will use abandoned dens of other animals, such as bear, coyote, or fox dens or even a beaver dam. Although pups might emerge from the den at about 3 weeks old, pups tend to spend most of their time in or around the den for about 2 months.

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All the enclosures at the Wolf Conservation Center offer at least one man-made den; most of them (like this Mexican gray wolf den) are made from culverts. The culverts offer shelter and allow wolves to stay dry in stormy weather, avoid insects during "buggy" seasons, and sneak away from pesky family members when some "me time" a priority.

Although the WCC provides these no-hassle dens for all resident wolves – some expectant moms prefer their personal touch and opt to engineer some really fantastic nurseries on their own!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Via Federal Appeals Court Decision, Great Lakes States Wolves to Remain Protected

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Today, a federal Court of Appeals ruled against the Interior Department’s 2011 decision to delist wolves of the Great Lakes states under the Endangered Species Act.

Regulators in 2011 delisted the gray wolf in the Great Lakes arguing that the populations there were “significant” and that disease and humans did not pose a threat to the wolves.

The Humane Society sued over the decision, and in 2014 a federal district court ruled against the delisting effort. More.


Good news for now...

Despite the court ruling, some members of Congress are currently working on legislation to force the USFWS to strip federal protections for these wolves with an added provision that prohibits judicial review, thus preventing any legal challenge moving forward.

Take Action

Please email your senators and urge them to oppose the anti-wolf legislation (S.1514). Take action HERE.

Free Family Event - Walk for Wolves

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Fostering Peaceful Coexistence with Our Wild Neighbors

FREE FAMILY EVENT!

August 9, 2017 (Wednesday)
1PM - 3PM
(4 Reservation Rd, Cross River, NY 10576 Shelter 5)
FREE

In our efforts to encourage peaceful coexistence between people and wildlife, the Wolf Conservation Center's fifth annual "Family Walk for Wolves" service-learning event celebrates iconic mammals and our ability to live alongside them.

Americans are fortunate to have an enormous diversity of wildlife sharing the landscape with us. However, as human populations continue to encroach into natural habitats, contact between humans and wildlife is on the rise and sometimes conflicts can occur.

Promoting positive attitudes of tolerance toward wildlife and modifying our own behavior is essential to peaceful coexistence with our wild neighbors.

The WCC’s “Family Walk for Wolves” will invite children and adults to participate in an outdoor adventure through a circuit of educational workshops about the fascinating lives of bears, coyotes, bobcats and wolves and offer innovative and effective methods to promote coexistence. In addition to earning free raffle tickets for exciting prizes at every station along the trail, participants will be provided with the tools, resources, and expertise to minimize potential conflicts with the wild.

Plan to join? Please email info@nywolf.org to let us know!

Coexistence Crafts! Interactive Activities!

Educational and fun for adults and children alike!

Wednesday, August 9, 1PM-3PM

Does Killing Wolves Save Livestock?

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Last night, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed via email that the agency “lethally removed” a second state endangered wolf to protect cows grazing on public lands.

Both wolves were members of the "Smackout" family group.

WDFW's update stated, “non-lethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Smackout pack territory,” thus WDFW director authorized the kill orders to address livestock depredations.

But is lethal control the answer?

A 2016 study suggests that there is no proof that shooting wolves saves livestock. The paper further argues that policymakers should suspend predator management programs that aren’t backed by rigorous evidence.

In any case, the public lands of the United States harbor some of the greatest resources of our nation and are owned by all Americans. So, should WDFW be allowed to kill wolves (state endangered no less) on America's public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

Read the update from WDFW.