Saturday, August 18, 2018

Arctic Wolf Atka - Adorable When Wet


Atka, born in 2002, is a captive-born Arctic gray wolf who teaches the public about wolves and their vital role in the environment.

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. Because Atka retired from his career as a traveling Ambassador in 2016, he 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, for his 15th birthday in May 2017, WCC staff gave Atka his very own email account at atka@nywolf.org!

Atka isn’t just a luminary in the world of conservation, he's a superstar!

Thank you, Atka, for allowing the world to form lasting connections with not only you but your wild kin as well!

Friday, August 17, 2018

How closely related is your dog to wolves? Look into her eyes.

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Because dogs use eye contact and follow the human gaze better than wolves, it’s possible that a breed’s ability to communicate visually is associated with how genetically similar that breed is to a wolf. Recent research suggests that the more closely related to wolves a breed is, the less often it will make spontaneous eye contact with humans.

Interesting!

More via the American Kennel Club

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Happiness is Having Amazing Summer Interns

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Sending howls of thanks to the Wolf Conservation Center's summer education interns!

Although diverse in experience and backgrounds (engineering, theater, wildlife biology), together they worked as a unified pack, educating countless visitors about the importance of preserving wild wolf populations. Their passion for wolves united them and will surely guide them in the years to come.

Interested in joining our pack? Apply to become a WCC volunteer! More information can be found HERE.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Another Chance to Speak Up For Endangered Red Wolves

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On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it's proposal that could result with the extinction of the last wild red wolves.

Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.


The good news is that USFWS has re-opened their public comment period, so if you didn't have an opportunity to comment before the July 30th deadline, now is your chance to take action.

Join the thousands of people speaking up for endangered red wolves before the August 28 deadline.

You can find additional information and talking points here.


Submit your comments HERE.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

OR-7's Adorable Pups of the Year Captured on Video



CUTENESS ALERT!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just published adorable trail camera footage from Earlier last month of Oregon wolf OR-7's newest kiddos!

Sending congratulatory howls to OR-7 (Journey) and his family!

Learn more about OR-7's storied past as a boundary-breaking wolf here via Oregon Wild

Thursday, August 9, 2018

How Do Wolves Stay Cool in the Summer Heat?

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With temperatures reaching over 90°F, the wolves have been all tongues this week...

Wolves (like dogs) will stay cool by panting to evaporate heat and moisture off their tongue. Panting is especially effective for wolves. A wolf’s elongated muzzle and the shape of the inner nose serve as an efficient cooling system. Wolves also alter their patterns of activity, staying hunkered down during the hottest times of the day.

Stay cool, everyone!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Carnivore Coexistence in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

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Curious about life in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem? Join the Wolf Conservation Center and biologist Melissa DiNino for a discussion on large carnivore coexistence!

DiNino will offer insight into challenges facing wolf, grizzly bear, and large carnivore recovery across the American West, while detailing her experience as a range rider and biologist among Montana's most wild places.

Date: August 30th at 6:30 pm

Fee: $20 per person



ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Melissa DiNino is a biologist working on livestock-predator conflict projects throughout the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. She is best known for her work as a range rider in Montana’s Centennial Valley and Tom Miner Basin, from where she continues to live and work. She has also tracked the Lamar Canyon Pack with the Yellowstone Wolf Project to study predation rate in the park. Born and raised in Connecticut, she found her first opportunity to work with wolves through the Wolf Conservation Center before taking her passion out west.

Photo by Louise Johns.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

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.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Ambassador wolf Alawa is so lazy, she howls lying down.


Essential. Elegant. Extremely chill! Nobody does Sunday better than Alawa!

Friday, August 3, 2018

PUPDATE - Mexican Wolf Pup Milestone


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Rosa (F1143) and Alleno's (M1198) pups are now three months old! The critically cute litter of nine received their twelve-week health check earlier today, with assistance from Dr. Bayha of Pound Ridge Veterinary Center, and each pup is healthy, strong, and wild - the perfect combination!



As part of the Wolf Conservation Center's participation in the Mexican gray wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP), these pups and their parents reside off-exhibit in an effort to safeguard their natural, elusive behaviors. Wolves in the wild are naturally afraid of people so the WCC staff follows a protocol to have minimal human contact with the Mexican wolves, which will ensure they have a greater probability of being successful if they are released into the wild as part of the recovery plan. Under these protocols, captive born pups must be checked during certain milestones in their development to ensure proper growth.


Learn more about Mexican gray wolves and the WCC's efforts to save them.

Join the lobos right now via LIVE webcams!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

For Wolves, It's All About Family

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Allowing wolves to express their natural social behavior benefits the wider ecosystem as well as the wolves themselves. (Dr. Gordon Haber)

In Algonquin Provincial Park eastern wolves have been protected for more than a century. Nevertheless, hunting in the surrounding townships was causing around two-thirds of total wolf deaths, primarily in winter when their main prey, white-tailed deer, roamed outside the park in search of forage. But in 2001, when hunting on the outskirts of the park was banned, an amazing transition began to unfold. Protected from hunting, not only did the Algonquin wolf population hold steady, there was also a rapid transition to more stable, family-based packs. This shift in social structure allowed younger wolves to learn sophisticated hunting strategies from their elders and better equip the family to successful hunt larger prey. With added protections, eastern wolves reclaimed their place as a keystone species within the ecosystem.

More via New Scientist.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Federal Plan Poised to Allow Landowners to Kill Endangered Red Wolves

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Today is the last day to submit your comment!

On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced it's proposal that could result with the extinction of the last wild red wolves. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

No species should face extinction at the hands of humanity, much less twice.

TAKE ACTION
Time is running out. Join the thousands of people speaking up for endangered red wolves before the 30-day public comment period ends on July 30, 2018. You can find additional information and talking points here.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

California's Lassen Pack Welcomes Pups

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California's only known existing wolf family, the Lassen Pack, has given birth to pups!

The five pups join their mother, father, and approximately three older siblings born in 2017, increasing the family's size to at least 10 wolves according to Kent Laudon and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Congratulations, Lassen Pack! May you continue to make history!

More via Plumas News.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Happiness for a wolf pup is getting belly rubs from Dad



Jack's (red wolf M1606) grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy. Plus someone has to keep those adorable and messy pups clean!

Beyond being cute (and messy), this critically endangered pup represent the Wolf Conservation Center's (WCC) active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to protect and preserve critically endangered red wolves, the center is also active in physically safeguarding representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to its care.

The WCC is one of 43 facilities in the U.S. participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a breeding and management program whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Red wolves, native to the southeastern United States, were almost driven to extinction by intensive predator control programs and habitat loss.

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) captured the last wild red wolves (just 14 animals) and declared the species extinct in the wild.

In 1987, USFWS released the first captive red wolves in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a federal reintroduction program under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act.

Although the red wolf recovery program once served as a model for successful recovery of wolves, political barriers and consistent mismanagement by the USFWS have seriously threatened the continued existence of this highly imperiled species. In its most recent proposal announced last month, the agency recommends reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves. Moreover, USFWS proposes to allow landowners to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

July 30, 2018, is the last day to submit comments on the federal proposal. You can find additional information and talking points here.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Economic Value of Protecting Endangered Species

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The Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines.

Today, the ESA remains the most important law in the United States for conserving biodiversity and arresting the extinction of species.

Is Endangered Species Act is endangered?

In the past two weeks, more than two dozen pieces of legislation, policy initiatives, and riders designed to weaken the ESA have been either introduced or voted on in Congress or proposed by the Department of the Interior.

Criticism of the law stems mostly from oil and gas companies and agricultural interests who argue that the ESA’s provisions excessively limit economic interests and development.

So what are economic benefits of protecting endangered species?

To determine the value of saving species economists often look at benefits described as “ecosystem services.” Ecosystem services include all the functions performed by nature that provide benefits to humans - and their value to the U.S. economy is enormous.

A 2011 study prepared for the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a government-affiliated conservation group, tabulated the total value of ecosystem services at about $1.6 trillion annually in the U.S.

Basic services include climate regulation, waste treatment, water supply, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, habitat provision and many others that all help modulate and regulate climate, weather and various resources needed for human comfort, security and well-being. Saltwater wetlands, freshwater wetlands, temperate and tropical forests, grasslands, lakes, etc. all provide different levels of a myriad of environmental services.

"Think of bees that pollinate more than 90 commercial crops in the U.S. like fruits, nuts and vegetables or birds that eat mosquitoes that would otherwise spread disease to humans." via Time Magazine



The study also looked at:
  1. The willingness-to-pay by residents and visitors to conserve various species,
  2. The revenue accrued by visits to natural areas,
  3. Property values that are impacted by proximity to protected and natural areas.

Beyond the economic value of species preservation, there's the value of being good stewards of our planet.


At a time when science has concluded that we have entered an unprecedented period of climate change and human-caused Sixth Mass extinction, we should be finding ways to help imperiled species heal and flourish, not impose rules to effectively undermine the cornerstone of our nation’s conservation law.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Teeny Tiny Wolf Pup Gets a Bath



Happiness is getting some one-on-one time with Mom.

When Mexican gray wolf Rosa (F1143) licks and nibbles her tiny son (the adorable runt of her litter of nine), not only is she keeping her kiddo's fur clean and free of debris, her grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy that reaffirm the unique emotional bonds that shape the foundation of the family.

Are you falling in love with the teeny tiny two-month-old? He might be small in size, but the spirited fellow has a big personality -- and fan base!

At just around 5 pounds, the little lobo is half the size of most of his 8 siblings but is otherwise healthy and thriving. Follow his progress via live webcams.

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. 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.

Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 114 individuals – an increase of just one from 113 counted at the end of 2016.

For almost two decades, the WCC has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled predators through carefully managed breeding, research, and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for Mexican gray wolves and three wolves from the Center have been released to their ancestral homes in the wild.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

PUPDATE: The Red Wolf Pups are All Ears!

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At twelve weeks old, the red wolf pups are all ears!

Sure, big ears help you hear better, and they’re super cute, but as red wolves who are well adapted to the hot, humid climate of the southeastern United States know, big ears are also a great way of dissipating excess body heat.

The pups' adult hair is becoming more apparent and their eyes are gradually changing from blue to yellow-gold.

Learn more about red wolves and what you can do to protect them.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Endangered Wolf Pups Snuggle With Mom



Your moment of critically endangered cuteness.

The teeny tiny 10-week-old Mexican gray wolf pups are smaller than the rest, but the snuggly siblings might be Mom's favorites.

At just around 5 pounds, the brother and sister are half the size of most of their 7 other siblings but are otherwise healthy and thriving.

Follow the pups' progress via live webcams here.

These critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s (WCC) 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.

Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 114 individuals – an increase of just one from 113 counted at the end of 2016.

For almost two decades, the WCC has played a critical role in preserving and protecting these imperiled predators through carefully managed breeding, research, and reintroduction. To date, the WCC remains one of the three largest holding facilities for Mexican gray wolves and three wolves from the Center have been released to their ancestral homes in the wild.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Red Wolf Webinar With Joseph Hinton, Ph.D



Conservation of carnivore populations is fraught with political, social, and ecological problems. This is particularly true for red wolf recovery, in which red wolf survival and hybridization with coyotes are difficult to tackle because they are sensitive to anthropogenic factors, specifically the effects of human-caused mortality.

In an effort to broaden awareness and understanding for the red wolf recovery effort in North Carolina and the implications of USFWS’s proposed rule, the WCC is extended a free webinar with Joseph Hinton, Ph.D.

We hope this educational opportunity inspires participation during USFWS’s public comment period (the comment period ends July 30).

To learn more about USFWS's draft rule and how you can submit a comment here.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Study Finds Endangered Species Act Supported by Most Americans

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The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was passed in 1973 because Americans believed that protecting our wildlife was an obligation to future generations, our nation’s environmental health, our fellow creatures, and the heart of the American way of life. It included wildlife ranges and habitats irrespective of political boundaries because these habitats, which are vital to species survival, cross arbitrary lines.

Today, the ESA remains the most important law in the United States for conserving biodiversity and arresting the extinction of species.

Despite its importance, criticism of the law persists - often coming from business and agricultural interests who argue that the ESA’s provisions excessively limit economic interests and development.

To determine the level of American support for the ESA, trust in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and attitudes toward gray wolves, Jeremy T. Bruskotter, and his team addressed the following questions in his study published July 19, 2018, in Conservation Letters.
  • To what extent do Americans support or oppose the ESA?
  • Has support for the ESA changed over time?
  • To what extent is opposition to the ESA associated with one's identification with various special interests?
  • Evaluated the idea that long‐term listing of controversial species increases opposition to the ESA, negatively affects trust in agencies charged with its implementation (i.e., FWS, NMFS), and creates resentment toward the species being protected.

The results reflect about four in five Americans support the act and only one in 10 oppose it. Moreover, Bruskotter found that protecting controversial species, including wolves “does not weaken support for protective legislation.”

"In contrast to the often-repeated statement that the Act is controversial, these data suggest that support for the law among the general population is robust and has remained so for at least two decades." Bruskotter stated in The Conversation

Despite the study's findings, the Department of the Interior unveiled a proposal Thursday that would strip the ESA of key provisions, a move that will weaken a law enacted 45 years ago to keep plants and animals in decline from going extinct.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Soulful Howl of Rare Mexican Gray Wolf


Beyond having an incredible voice, Mexican gray wolf Diego (aka M1059) represents the Wolf Conservation 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.

Current estimates put the wild population at 114 in the United States.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rider Targeting Wolf Protections Passes House

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The House of Representatives passed legislation today to fund the Department of the Interior for 2019 that includes a rider that seeks to remove federal protections for gray wolves across the continental United States.

Gray wolves are currently listed as endangered in most of the lower-48 states. While the return of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes has been successful, the species still only occupies a small portion of its former range.

A national delisting for wolves would reverse the incredible progress that the Endangered Species Act has achieved for this species over the past few decades and once again put the gray wolf at risk of extirpation.


If this legislation passes, gray wolves will die at the hands of trophy hunters.

Stay tuned for updates and action.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Fifty-one Wolves Howling


What's better than a howling wolf? Fifty-one howling wolves! Enjoy!

Friday, July 13, 2018

House Lawmakers Seek to Gut Endangered Species Act

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

The ESA 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. A recent national poll found that the ESA is supported by 90% of American voters.

Despite its success and public support, a group of House lawmakers introduced a package of nine bills to gut the Endangered Species Act.

The ambitious legislative package would accomplish numerous longstanding Republican goals for weakening the ESA, like making it easier for the government to remove species from the endangered or threatened lists and preventing organizations from suing to try to get species protected.






The package comes less than two weeks after Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced a comprehensive measure in that chamber to change the ESA.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wyoming Ups Wolf Kill Quota to a Record 58 in Trophy Zone

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The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission just approved upping the kill quota in its "trophy Zone" this year to 58 animals, a 32% increase over last year’s quota of 44 and a record high since the species was reintroduced 23 years ago.

The trophy hunt season runs October 1 - December 31.

In the other 85% of the state outside the trophy zone, hunting wolves is on 365 days a year. Wolves are classified as shoot-on-sight vermin. Guns, snares, explosives - almost any form of violence is allowed to kill these animals.

It's the 21st century. Is this what wildlife "management" should look like in our time?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Free Red Wolf Webinar with Joseph Hinton, PhD on July 18



In an effort to broaden awareness and understanding for the red wolf recovery effort in North Carolina and the implications of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule seeking to significantly change the size, scope, and management of the current red wolf recovery program in the state, the Wolf Conservation Center is extending a free webinar with Joseph Hinton, Ph.D. on Wednesday, July 18 at 6pm (EST).

Interested participants are encouraged to RSVP to info@nywolf.org.

An email with further details about participating will be posted by Monday, July 16.

The WCC hopes this educational opportunity inspires public participation during USFWS’s public comment period on the proposed rule - the comment period ends July 30.


BACKGROUND

On June 28, the USFWS announced a proposal that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow people to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue and that only the residents of North Carolina are impacted by the results of this recovery effort. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. This is not an isolated issue for North Carolina. By succumbing to political pressure, the USFWS is allowing a small group of vocal landowners to dictate endangered species policy instead of adhering to proven scientific principles and practices.

You can read more about the proposal—including the options that the USFWS considered but did not choose—in the Draft Environmental Assessment.

Submit Public Comment

Suggested talking points (please personalize your message, if possible) found HERE.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Take Action For World's Last Wild Red Wolves



On June 28, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a proposal that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild. Today, fewer than 30 wolves remain in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90% and limiting the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow people to kill red wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue and that only the residents of North Carolina are impacted by the results of this recovery effort. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. This is not an isolated issue for North Carolina. By succumbing to political pressure, the USFWS is allowing a small group of vocal landowners to dictate endangered species policy instead of adhering to proven scientific principles and practices.

You can read more about the proposal—including the options that the USFWS considered but did not choose—in the Draft Environmental Assessment.

What You Can Do

Please attend the one public hearing the agency is holding and speak on behalf of the wolves:

Date: July 10, 2018
Time: Public information session: 5:30-6:30 pm/Public hearing: 7-9 pm
Location: Roanoke Festival Park, One Festival Park, Manteo, NC 27954

Submit Public Comment

Suggested Talking Points (Please personalize your message, if possible) Found HERE.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Federal Action Could Push Last Wild Red Wolves to Extinction

Save the only wild red wolf population by limiting their numbers to just 15 in the wild?

That's exactly what U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is suggesting under their new proposal.

Last week, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its "Proposed Replacement of the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina, a scientifically unsound plan that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.

A small group of no more than 15 red wolves would be maintained in the North Carolina management area. Any wolves that wander outside of this zone would not be protected and could be legally hunted.

"It hurts to think that 20 out of the 35 wolves we have left in the wild on planet Earth are going to be fair game for anybody to shoot," said Ron Sutherland of Wildlands Network.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Independence Day

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We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it. ~William Faulkner

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Please Be Mindful of Wildlife on Independence Day





Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact on wildlife. Please be mindful. Here are some tips for watching out for wildlife!

TIPS FOR WATCHING OUT FOR WILDLIFE from U.S. Fish and Wildlife. This post originally appeared in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Open Spaces blog

Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. Barbecues, beaches, parades, and fireworks can be great ways to celebrate our country’s tremendous journey since the Continental Congress made that declaration July 4, 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident... “ But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact to wildlife. Here are a few ways you can help mitigate the harm to wildlife and their habitats while you celebrate the Fourth of July.

Be alert: The shock of fireworks can cause wildlife and pets to flee, ending up in unexpected areas or roadways, flying into buildings and other obstacles, and even abandoning nests, leaving young vulnerable to predators. If you’re out driving, please be on the lookout for animals.

Help prevent fires: The threat to wildlife doesn’t stop at startling lights and sounds, fireworks also have the potential to start wildfires, directly affecting wildlife and destroying essential habitat.

Keep it clean: Litter from firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other explosives can be choking hazards for wildlife and may even be toxic if ingested.

If you’re on the beach, watch out for nesting birds: Fireworks are very disruptive to piping plovers as well as many other nesting birds so be on the lookout for signs. We can work together to protect nesting shorebirds.

Cut back on using plastic or disposable utensils: During holiday celebrations we tend to break out the plastic utensils, plates, and cups. Avoiding plasticware can easily reduce the amount of waste we create and inevitably help wildlife and their habitat, especially given the growing concern of plastic waste.

Properly dispose of fishing gear: Anglers can reduce the injuries or deaths to wildlife simply by properly discarding fishing line and hooks. Retrieve broken lines, lures, and hooks and deposit them in trash containers or take them with you.

Follow laws and use caution: Federal law requires professional shows to be at least three-quarters of a mile from protected habitat. As you celebrate, choose fireworks shows that keep a respectable distance from wildlife habitat. If you plan to set off your own fireworks, make sure it is legal, use caution and you pick up any resulting debris. Stay away from wildlife habitat and avoid dry areas. Keep in mind that fireworks can’t be brought onto federal lands. Violations can come with stiff penalties, including fines costing thousands of dollars to jail time. Law enforcement officers are on the lookout for possession of illegal fireworks and use of fireworks in prohibited areas.

Alternatives to Fireworks: If you are looking to celebrate without using fireworks, there are a number of alternatives. Here are a few ideas, but we’d love to hear other ideas.

  • Laser light shows
  • Gathering around a firepit
  • Participate in a parade or block party
  • Bubbles (for kids afraid of loud noises)
  • Glowsticks
  • Noisemakers and more

Stay safe this Fourth of July and thanks for keeping wildlife in mind as you celebrate!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Overhaul of Endangered Species Act?

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Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming has announced draft legislation that would give new powers and responsibilities for state officials to determine how animals and plants should be protected, essentially overhauling the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The new bill represents the most significant threat in years to the 44-year-old law, which has been credited with rescuing 99% of listed species from extinction, including the bald eagle, gray wolf and grizzly bear.

With this success rate, should the ESA be subjected to repeated legislative attacks? What say you?

More via The Hill.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Fed's Proposed Plan Will Result in the Extinction of Wild Red Wolves

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Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released its "Proposed Replacement of the Regulations for the Nonessential Experimental Population of Red Wolves in Northeastern North Carolina, a scientifically unsound plan that will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.

Beyond reducing the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90%, USFWS, the very agency charged by federal law with protecting endangered species, will allow people to kill red wolves who stray beyond these invisible boundaries - and without any repercussions.

While the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to protect and preserve critically endangered red wolves, the center is also active in physically safeguarding representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to its care.

The WCC supports the North Carolina Alligator River reintroduction project through its participation in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan's carefully managed captive breeding program.

If enacted, USFWS's proposed rule will create an unnaturally unsafe environment for captive wolves chosen for release.

"It is natural for wolves to wander; wolves are wide-ranging animals," said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC. "Leaving one’s family unit or “pack” to find a mate and establish new territory is a way of life for wolves. Dispersing helps maintain genetic diversity within wolf populations. To create an environment where it is 'explicitly permissible' for local landowners to kill an endangered wolf for leaving its newly-assigned area is unethical and will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild."

There is a perceived notion that red wolves are a local or regional issue and that only the residents of North Carolina are impacted by the results of this recovery effort. Endangered species recovery, however, is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. This is not an isolated issue for North Carolina. By succumbing to political pressure, the USFWS is allowing a small group of vocal landowners to dictate endangered species policy instead of adhering to proven scientific principles and practices.



Summary

The agency's proposed rule significantly changes the size, scope, and management of the current red wolf recovery program in North Carolina.
The proposal seeks to: 
  • Reduce the area wolves can roam from five counties to less than one by limiting red wolves to northeastern North Carolina's Dare County Bombing Range and the nearby Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. Although wolves that stray beyond those boundaries would be considered part of the NC NEP, under the new rule, the USFWS won't enforce measures to prevent the killing of any red wolves on private lands and non-Federal public lands. "The proposed rule would require only that the Service be notified within 24 hours regarding the take of any collared animals and that the collars be returned to the Service."
  • A small group (i.e., one or two packs likely consisting of fewer than 15 animals) of red wolves would be maintained in the NC NEP management area. The wolves in this NC NEP management area would be actively managed under the RWAMWP.
  • In an effort to counter the increased mortality rate outside the smaller NC NEP management area, USFWS proposes to funnel up to 5 red wolves annually from the captive population.
Comment Period

The public comment period opens June 28, 2018, and will continue through July 30, 2018. Information on how to comment can be found at regulations.gov under docket number FWS-R4-ES-2018-0035.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Show Atka the World!

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Where in the world is Atka? Yosemite National Park, of course!

Where will he go next? Only you know for sure.

Buy your Atka Adventure Kit today and wander with the world's most famous wolf! Each kit includes a suitcase, mini Atka, passport, photo of Atka, and a usage guide. Show Atka the world!


#WhereInTheWorldIsAtka #AtkaAroundTheWorld

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mammals Take on the Night to Avoid People

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Share daylight with humans? Many animals say "no thanks', a new study finds.

The global expansion of human activity has had profound consequences for wildlife. Globally, mammals are becoming increasingly nocturnal to avoid humans’ growing presence, according to the study, The influence of human disturbance on wildlife nocturnality, published in Science magazine on June 20, 2018.

The findings show that humans’ presence alone can cause animals, including predators like coyotes and tigers, to alter their sleep schedules.

Can you blame them?

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Happy Summer Solstice

Atka_smile_nose_boop_summer_solsticeHappy first day of Summer to you too, Atka. Yeesh!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Red Wolves and Deer at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

A small and very vocal group of anti-wolf folks claim that red wolves have caused a wildlife disaster in eastern North Carolina. This single trail camera in the NC's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge tells a different story.

 


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

When Alawa Howls, Mother Nature Claps


Monday, June 18, 2018

Bill Seeks to Remove Rare Red Wolves Off Endangered Species List

mom_pup_good (1)_edit_2The red wolf is an American icon that makes our country’s wild lands whole and healthy. It’s one of the few large carnivore species endemic to the United States. Hunting, trapping, and habitat loss 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 politicians.

Although fewer than 30 red wolves remain in the wild, last week Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) introduced H.R.6119 - a bill that seeks to "remove the red wolf from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife for North Carolina, and for other purposes."

The Endangered Species Act (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. Thus this anti-wolf proposal blatantly ignores this federal mandate and thus undermines the integrity of our nation’s most significant environmental law.

There is a perceived notion that red wolf recovery is a local or regional issue for the residents of North Carolina. However, endangered species recovery is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens and taxpayers.

How you can help.

The proposed bill has been referred to the Committee on Natural Resources - please take action today to ensure the bill never makes it out of the committee.

Use the form here to urge the House Committee on Natural Resources to let bill H.R.6119 die in committee.

TAKE ACTION.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Wishing All The Dads A Happy Fathers Day


Beyond their ecological importance as critical keystone predators, wolves are also really patient, generous, and loving dads.

Feat. Mexican gray wolves M1059 (Diego) and his daughter f1505 (Trumpet) from 2016.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Endangered wolves spotted in NYC




BREAKING NEWS! Endangered wolves spotted in NYC!

The elusive wolves were last observed on the corner of Broadway and West 43rd Street in New York'sTimes Square. Officials assume the keystone predators seek to raise awareness and support for red wolf and Mexican gray wolf recovery.

If you spot the Big Apple's shy and elusive wolves, send us a photo at info@nywolf.org!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

USFWS Consider Dropping Gray Wolf Protections Nationwide

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced their intent to remove Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states. The agency has begun a review of the status of the gray wolf and will publish a proposal by the end of the year if they decide to move forward with the delisting process.

Their rationale? Federal regulators say they've recovered and management can be handed over to the states, yet many states have expressed their interest in wolf hunting seasons once they resume control.


"Federal protections for wolves are essential to help the species recover and expand into still-suitable parts of its former range. The gray wolf has barely begun to recover or is absent from significant portions of its former range where substantial suitable habitat remains," states Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center.

USFWS proposed delisting the species nationwide in 2013, but an independent scientific peer review of its plan determined that science did *not support* the delisting.

"The ESA let our country give wolves a second chance. With second chances so hard to come by, should we be willing to throw one away?"

Monday, June 11, 2018

Rare Red Wolf Pups Get Ready to Rumble



PUPDATE -- At almost 8 weeks old, the red wolf pups are active romping and wrestling with one another! Beyond being great fun for the siblings, the pups are sharpening important skills, strengthening family bonds, and establishing their social status within the pack.

Tune in to join the family via live webcams!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Groups Call for Forest Service to Cancel Permit for Rancher Who Killed Mexican Wolf

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Conservation groups and wildlife advocates are demanding the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) revoke the grazing permits of a rancher who knowingly trapped and killed a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf. The wolf, nicknamed Mia Tuk through a nationwide naming contest for children, was less than a year old when he was trapped and brutally killed in 2015.

The rancher's punishment for killing a critically endangered wolf? A $2,300 fine and one year of probation. He grazes cattle on a Gila National Forest allotment called Canyon Del Buey, and has received over $300,000 of taxpayer money since 2015 in livestock subsidies. Should individuals who violate the Endangered Species Act receive taxpayer money, especially when a majority of Americans support the recovery of endangered species?

In a June 8th letter, 30 organizations, including the Wolf Conservation Center formally requested that Gila National Forest Supervisor Adam Mendonca “immediately cancel any and all grazing allotment permits that [Thiessen] holds.” Mendonca has the authority to cancel the permit if the permit holder is convicted for failing to comply with Federal laws or regulations relating to protection of fish and wildlife.

“This horrific crime should not be tolerated, and it proves that we need to protect all wolves even more and have more restraints against trapping and killing,” said Jaryn Allen, an Albuquerque sixth grader who named Mia Tuk. "It makes me sick to picture this act. I wanted the wolf that I named Mia Tuk to roam free and flourish, not have its life ended in this way.”

TAKE ACTION: Call the USFS and demand they revoke the rancher's grazing permit.

More via Lobos of the Southwest.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Seven-Week-Old Red Wolf Pups' Mighty Howl


Participating in a howl is critical in a wolf pup's development. Pups might first begin to squeak out un-solicited howls at just a couple of weeks old. But once their ears open and hearing improves at around one month, wolf pups learn about howling as both a communication tool as well as a method of family bonding.

Did we mention they're also really cute when they howl?

Tune in to watch the red wolf pups now via live webcams!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

PepsiCo Volunteer Day at the Wolf Conservation Center


Most people probably don’t wake up in the morning and head to work with the intention of renovating the homes of iconic apex predators, but for nearly 70 employees from PepsiCo’s Office in White Plains, NY, that’s exactly how they spent their workday.

Yesterday, the amazing PepsiCo volunteers spent the day at the Wolf Conservation Center working on various projects from landscaping, clean-up, to habitat enhancement.

Although ambassador wolf Atka was concerned about people rearranging his stuff, he was pleasantly surprised to return home to a lush carpet of soft sod – great to snooze on, roll on, and fun to tear up too!

The WCC wolves and staff extend sincere howls of gratitude to all of the generous PepsiCo volunteers who pitched in order to enrich the wolves’ environment and make the WCC a better place!

It’s amazing what a single group of people accomplished in just one day!

To learn about volunteer opportunities at the WCC, please click here.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wisconsin Wolf Survey Suggests Wolf Population Could Be Stabilizing



New data from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources suggests Wisconsin's wolf population may be stabilizing - a natural development which occurs to wolf populations when left undisturbed by humans (not managed via hunting, trapping, and hounding).

Wolf populations regulate themselves by natural forces such as intra-pack strife, competition with neighboring packs and predators, food availability, and ailments like distemper and mange. Packs continuously emerge and collapse; it’s Nature’s way.

Wolves were removed from the federal Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2011. The next year state lawmakers established a controversial trophy wolf hunt, which included the use of dogs. Hunters killed 654 wolves during three consecutive hunting seasons.

Despite a federal court ruling that restored federal protections for wolves in 2014, Republican lawmakers from Wisconsin along with a bipartisan group of the state’s congressional delegation have been calling for Congress to pass legislation stripping wolves of ESA protection to allow for trophy hunting and trapping to resume.

More.

Learning from Yellowstone

In 1995-96, wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park. The recovery of the gray wolf after its eradication from Yellowstone, nearly a century ago, serves as a demonstration of how critical keystone species are to the long-term sustainability of the ecosystems they inhabit.

Since reintroduction over 20 years ago, the 2+ million-acre park has acted as a laboratory, offering scientists a deeper understanding of the complexity of that ecosystem, including the diverse pressures (beyond lethal control by humans) that manage wolf populations.

Because hunting wolves is not permitted within the Park boundaries, Yellowstone offers us a chance to see what happens to wolf populations when left undisturbed by humans.

Source: National Park Service

In Yellowstone, wolf numbers have grown and stabilized to the point that wolves could essentially post a “no vacancy sign” at the park’s entrance. The wolf population has hovered for the last decade at 100, give or take, which experts consider Yellowstone’s carrying capacity.

Carrying capacity describes the maximum number of individuals or species that a specific environment's resources can sustain for an indefinite period without degrading it. Once a species reaches its carrying capacity, population numbers stabilize.

Factors that affect the carrying capacity include:
  • Food Availability 
  • Disease (canine distemper virus, mange, etc…) 
  • Intra- pack strife 
  • Competition with other predators (bears, mountain lions, coyotes)

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Red Wolf Pups Hear Lobo's Alarm



The almost 7-week-old red wolf pups took notice when they heard Mexican gray wolf Rhett's (M1133) alarm - and with good reason. Is danger near?

A howl’s long low pitch is well suited for long distance transmission. Wolves can howl to locate other wolves, advertise the size of their pack, and so much more over great distances. But when wolves seek to warn family members of danger, they bark- howl.

The critically endangered pups have heard their parents bark-howl before, but what does it mean when neighboring wolves sound the alarm?

Join the pups now via live webcam.

Monday, June 4, 2018

PUPDATE: 7-Week-Old Red Wolf Pups Growing More Independent

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The Wolf Conservation Center's critically endangered red wolf pups are almost seven weeks old!

The little wanderers are growing more independent every day.

Around five weeks old, the pups were moved out of the den to another location called a “rendezvous site.” Here, the pups are playing with just about anything they can get their paws and sharp little teeth on, but always under the watchful eyes of their parents.


The gradual process of weaning has begun - their menu has expanded to include small pieces of meat regurgitated by their parents and older siblings. Soon adult hair will become more apparent and their eyes will gradually change from blue to yellow-gold.

With disproportionately large feet and ears, the pups are romping, playing, biting, and tackling one another. Beyond being great fun for the siblings, the pups are sharpening important skills and establishing a pecking order in the family hierarchy.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

11-Year-Old Raises $30,000 for Endangered Species with Artwork


Meet Faces Of The Endangered artist Bria Neff! Over the past three years, 11-year-old Neff has spent more than 500 hours painting, researching, educating and raising awareness of endangered animals. 

Her efforts have benefited numerous animal conservation organizations, including the Wolf Conservation Center!

In fact, the conservation dynamo raised $15,000 for the WCC through the sale of her painting, "Majestic." WOW! Moreover, Bria was just chosen to become a “Girls with Heart” Ambassador for the clothing brand Justice!

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Six-Week-Old Red Wolf Pup Howls



Your moment of critically endangered cuteness!

Beyond being cute, this pocket-sized predator represents the Wolf Conservation Center's active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

While the WCC has been a vocal and visible advocate in trying to protect and preserve critically endangered red wolves, the center is also active in physically safeguarding representatives of the rare species that have been entrusted to its care.

The WCC is one of 43 facilities in the U.S. participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a breeding and management program whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Red wolves, native to the southeastern United States, were almost driven to extinction by intensive predator control programs and habitat loss.

In 1980, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) captured the last wild red wolves (just 14 animals) and declared the species extinct in the wild.

In 1987, USFWS released the first captive red wolves in North Carolina’s Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as part of a federal reintroduction program under the aegis of the Endangered Species Act.

Although the red wolf recovery program once served as a model for successful recovery of wolves, political barriers and consistent mismanagement by the USFWS have seriously threatened the continued existence of this highly imperiled species. In its most recent proposal announced in September of 2016, the agency called to remove most of the last wild red wolves to put them in captivity. Beyond effectively undermining decades of wild red wolf recovery, scientists warn that USFWS's proposal “will no doubt result in the extinction of red wolves in the wild.”

Current estimates put the wild population at the lowest level in decades, down from 130 just four years ago to fewer than 30 today.

Tune in to watch the red wolf family via live webcam.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Algonquin Wolves Need Protection


Algonquin wolves, also referred to as Eastern wolves, are classified as a “threatened” species. The wolves are found only in a handful of places, including Algonquin Park. There are approximately 237 individuals in Ontario but the province has still not implemented a total ban on the hunting and trapping of Algonquin wolves. Why?

When Ontario applies protection to Algonquin wolves, the measures must also apply to coyotes. And killing coyotes is popular.

 Learn more from our friends at Earthroots.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Wild Salute

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Killing Bears, Wolves, Coyotes and Their Young in National Wildlife Refuges

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Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke is attempting to reverse federal restrictions that protect bears, coyotes, and wolves on some national refuge land in Alaska.

Under the proposed new rules, trophy hunters will be allowed to:
  • Kill predators using bait, traps, and snares.
  • Hunt black bears with dogs.
  • Kill mother bears & cubs hibernating in their dens.
  • Kill wolves & coyotes, including pups, during denning season.
  • Shoot caribou from boats as they attempt to swim rivers

"Ironically Zinke is alarmed that hunting participation by Americans is in decline, and he believes that making legal such abhorrent practices will reverse this decline, said ecologist George Wuerthner. "What it will do is only reduce the social license among the greater public for support of hunting in general." More via The Wildlife News

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

Beyond this being an assault on wildlife, this proposal is a blow to the millions of Americans who treasure our shared public lands.

It is a choice between protecting iconic predators on our federal lands and declaring an open season on them. Which legacy should we leave your children?

Please help. Oppose the new draft rules by submitting comments here by July 23, 2018.

Friday, May 25, 2018

PUPDATE - Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Turn 5 Weeks Old



The Wolf Conservation Center's critically endangered red wolf pups have turned 5 weeks old!

This is a significant milestone for the adorable six-pack. With their eyes wide open now, the kiddos are able to wander out of the den while staying near the den entrance and their menu has expanded to include small pieces of meat regurgitated by their parents and older siblings. Things are getting pretty hectic in their den. Their high-pitched howls are gaining strength and dominance and play romping has commenced!

This red wolf family represents the Wolf Conservation Center's active participation to save a species from the brink of extinction.

Learn more about the significance of this litter.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Protect Wolves in America's National Wildlife Refuges



The National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) is the world’s premier system of public lands set aside for the protection of wildlife, fish, and plants.

Refuges are intended to be safe havens for wildlife.

Despite this, on May 21, 2018, the federal government announced its proposal to reverse federal restrictions that protect bears, coyotes, and wolves on some national refuge land in Alaska.

Under the proposed new rules, trophy hunters will be allowed to:
  • Kill predators using bait, traps, and snares.
  • Hunt black bears with dogs.
  • Use spotlights to shoot mother bears and cubs hibernating in their dens.
  • Kill wolves - including pups - during their denning season.
Alaska's national refuges are not private game reserves. What are wildlife refuges, after all, if not refuges for wildlife?

Beyond this being an assault on wildlife, this proposal is a blow to the millions of Americans who treasure our shared public lands.

It is a choice between protecting iconic predators on our federal lands and declaring an open season on them. Which legacy should we leave your children?

Please help. Oppose the new draft rules by submitting comments here by July 23, 2018