Wednesday, June 27, 2018

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

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.


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 under docket number FWS-R4-ES-2018-0035.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Show Atka the World!

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

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.


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!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

USFWS Consider Dropping Gray Wolf Protections Nationwide

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

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.


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

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.