Saturday, September 30, 2017

Wolf Conservation Center Presents at Annual WAZE Symposium at Tufts University

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Photo: Rebecca Bose and a Mexican wolf pup

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

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

Learn more about the WAZE Symposium here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Politics Trumping Science, Endangered Mexican Gray Wolves Denied Critical Habitat

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

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

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

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

More here via Science Magazine

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Wyoming Wolves To Be Killed This Sunday

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

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

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

Is there no safe haven for Wyoming's wolves?

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

You Heard Our Howls - Thank You!

You did it! Yesterday the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Red Wolf Week and you heard our howls! Over 300 supporters helped the WCC raise over 30,000 on yesterday to meet our matching grant of $20,000! We are humbled by your support and incredibly grateful for having friends like you.

Thanks again for your encouragement and your commitment to wolves, ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!

Monday, September 25, 2017

Celebrate a Red Wolf Milestone - 30 Years

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

The red wolf reintroduction was among the first instances of a species, considered extinct in the wild, being re-established from a captive population. In many ways, the red wolf program was the pilot program, serving as a model for subsequent canid reintroductions, particularly those of the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest and the gray wolf to the Yellowstone region.

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

Follow the WCC on Facebook to be a part!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Red Wolf Recovery Milestone

The red wolf (Canis rufus) is one of the world’s most endangered wild canids. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat.

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

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

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

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

The red wolf reintroduction was among the first instances of a species, considered extinct in the wild, being re-established from a captive population. In many ways, the red wolf program was the pilot program, serving as a model for subsequent canid reintroductions, particularly those of the gray wolf to the American Southwest and to the Yellowstone region.

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

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

Disney, A Few Wolf Facts to Gnaw On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Martha Hunt Handler
Board President, Wolf Conservation Center

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Red Wolf Family Moving to New Home in New York!

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

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

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

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


The red wolf (Canis rufus) is the only wolf species found completely within the United States. Once common throughout the southeastern United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the 1960s due to intensive predator control programs and loss of habitat. In 1980, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared red wolves extinct in the wild after the last wild red wolves were gathered to survive in captivity, their wildness caged. With the support of the Federal Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, a national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research, and under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act, red wolves were reintroduced in North Carolina in 1987. They were the first federally-listed species to be returned to their native habitat, and have served as models for other programs.

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

Friday, September 22, 2017

Happy Autumn!

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

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Named After Connecticut Teen

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

Meet Mexican gray wolf pup Max!

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

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

Learn more about Max and her critically endangered kin here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

As Top Predators, Wolves Limit Their Own Numbers

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

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


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Quiet Please...

Shh... Sunday in progress.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Sneaky Wolf Steals Bone From His Brother

This is what brotherhood looks like.

Friday, September 15, 2017

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

What's wrong with this story?

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

Here's the problem.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Good Morning America's Lara Spencer Spotlights Wolf Conservation Center

ABC Breaking News | Latest News Videos

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

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Lewisboro Town Pool Gets Thrown to the Wolves

The Wolf Conservation Center is constantly trying to make sure that our ambassador wolves have interesting experiences. Their enclosures are spacious and have natural varied terrain, but we also try to provide them with enrichment - activities that will challenge and mentally stimulate them. Sometimes the best enrichment is just a matter of letting the wolves explore a new environment so they can experience all sorts of different sights and smells!

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

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

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

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Protect the Endangered Species Act

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

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

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

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

View members of the HNRC here.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Never Forgotten

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

The Dog Files tells their story here.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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

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

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

(Photo: John Murphy/USFWS)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Healing Howls

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

Amendment Poised to Allow Killing of Wolves on NPS Lands Advances

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Strange Bedfellows: The Wolf and the Toad

Imagine what it would be like to share a bed with wolves.... One very lucky toad doesn't have to fantasize about it - he lived it!

When Mexican gray wolf mom F1226 (Belle) loses her patience with her three pups, her amphibian guest shows himself out, but not before getting nosed by one of the curious kiddos!

This critically endangered Mexican gray wolf family represents the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.

Learn more.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Labor? It's Overrated.


Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Your moment of (fierce) cuteness

Meet Mexican gray wolf pup "Nita." Beyond being cute, she represents our active participation in the effort to save her species from extinction.

Learn more.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Biologists Blast Fed's Mexican Wolf Plan


Scientists Say Draft Recovery Plan Ignores ESA Requirements

Biologists with recognized expertise in scientific disciplines relevant to Mexican wolf recovery have submitted comments blasting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) recently released Draft Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan.

“The draft recovery plan will not lead to recovery of the Mexican wolf, unless it is significantly altered to address at least some of the shortcomings identified….,” said Dr. Mike Phillips, executive director of the Turner Endangered Species Fund Fund. “If the final plan is a close reflection of the draft, then I am predicting that it will set the Mexican wolf adrift for decades without ever approaching the shore of recovery.”

More via Wildlands Network

Friday, September 1, 2017

WDFW Kills State Endangered Wolf To Protect Cows On Public Lands

State wildlife officials killed another state endangered wolf to protect cows grazing on public lands. The wolf, a member of the Sherman family group, was killed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) early today.

This is the third time the WDFW has killed wolves to protect the Diamond M’s livestock, beginning with the Wedge Pack in 2012 and the Profanity Peak pack last summer. The ranch leases federal grazing allotments in the Colville National Forest and operates one of the largest cattle operations in the state.

Should WDFW be killing wolves (state endangered no less) on America’s public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

Read the update from WDFW.