Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Beautiful Life


"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."

Thank you for the adventures, Atka. We love you.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Washington State Wildlife Officials Kill OPT Alpha Female To Protect Cows

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They killed her five-month-old wolf pup two weeks ago. Today, Washington State wildlife officials killed the mom.

Earlier today, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) employee killed the breeding female of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack in an attempt to stop livestock attacks in the area. Officials killed a young OPT wolf last week, only to have an increase in livestock attacks. In fact, peer-reviewed research suggests that killing predators can result in increased attacks on livestock by survivors.


The livestock owner is continuing to graze his cattle on public lands in OPT territory. WDFW is killing wolves (state endangered wolves no less) on America’s public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business.

Is it "Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife" or "Washington Department of Fish and Cows?"

More.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Two Wolves Released on Isle Royale!

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With only two wolves remaining on Isle Royale, wolves are at risk of vanishing from the island altogether along with the island’s ongoing wolf-moose study that began almost 60 years ago.

The last wolves remaining are a male-female pair are who have low chances of producing healthy offspring due to years of inbreeding among the island's population.

But that all changed on September 26 when two new gray wolves were released to the island.

The wolves, a 4-year-old female and a 5-year-old male, were taken to separate release sites, and well away from the island's two longtime resident wolves. They were both vaccinated and fitted with GPS tracking collars before their release.

Scientists hope the release of additional wolves will provide much-needed genetic diversity for the island's wolves and will help restore the balance of the ecosystem.

Performing a "genetic rescue" is the only option for keeping the species going, it will also allow the unique wolf-moose study to continue.

Michigan Technological University wolf researcher John Vucetich supports the rescue effort; he believes the study is unique. "What's very rare, ecologically, is to have a top predator and a moose in a forest where none of them are exploited by people, where there's no hunting, no persecution, logging," he said. "To be able to study that ecology, that's the really distinctive part."

Follow Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale for updates!

UPDATE (September 28) - The female wolf captured with intent to be released at Isle Royale National Park died before it could be set free. Officials didn't identify the cause of death, but said they were altering field procedures for handling wolves captured for the park's wolf recovery program. More.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Memorial Open House for Ambassador Wolf Atka this Sunday

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The Wolf Conservation Center Family invites you to celebrate the life of

AMBASSADOR WOLF ATKA

In an effort to offer friends an opportunity to pay their final respects, the WCC will be holding an open house this Sunday. The memorial will allow for reflection, a peaceful moment in some of Atka's favorite places, and will serve as a celebration of his life.

WCC Memorial Open House

Sunday, September 30, 2018
Come by between 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Wolf Conservation Center
7 Buck Run
South Salem, New York


This event is free of charge and open to all, but we ask that you register in advance to better allow for planning and preparation. Atka's friends and supporters are welcome to arrive and leave at any point between the hours of 9 am and 3 pm. Due to Atka's popularity, we cannot allow individuals to stay the entire course of the open house; we hope to accommodate everyone who wishes to bid farewell to this magnificent wolf.

After Shooting Pup from Helicopter, WDFW Seeks to Kill More Wolves to Protect Cows on Public Lands

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Ten days ago, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) gunned down a member of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack; the wolf was about 5 months old.

The kill order was issued following livestock depredations on public lands.

Yesterday, WDFW announced it will continue efforts to kill other members of the OPT wolf family to stop further depredations. Wolves recently injured five additional calves.

The OPT wolves reside on land that was once home to the Profanity Peak pack, a wolf family that was obliterated by WDFW officials in 2016 in an effort to stop depredation on livestock.

Two years later, WDFW is back to killing wolves in these same rugged mountains, a place where protecting livestock is impossible.

Lethal action (i.e., killing wolves) is clearly not working either. Moreover, lethal action could even make the problem worse. Peer-reviewed research suggests that killing predators can result in increased attacks on livestock by survivors.

The public lands of the United States harbor some of the greatest resources of our nation and are owned by all Americans. Yet WDFW is killing wolves (state endangered wolves no less) on America's public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Judge Restores ESA Protections for Grizzly Bears

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September 24, 2018 - Federal protection for Yellowstone grizzly bears were reinstated today after U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen ruled that the federal government's decision to strip Endangered Species Act protections from the population was illegal.

The court order came after the judge had twice blocked grizzly trophy hunts in Wyoming and Idaho just as they were set to begin. The hunts were poised to the biggest in the lower 48 states since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed protections for grizzlies in the Yellowstone region less than a year ago. The last grizzly bear hunting season was more than 40 years ago.

The ruling marks a victory for the 700 grizzly bears living in and around Yellowstone and Earthjustice who, representing Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Parks Conservation Association and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe sued when the Interior Department last year revoked federal protections.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Rest in Peace, Atka

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It is with deep sorrow that we share news about the most magnificent wolf we have ever known. Atka died in his sleep early this morning; he was 16 years old.

His passing was painless and peaceful with his family surrounding him. While Atka leaves a hole in our lives so big that words can't describe it, his impact on wolf conservation persists and can not be overstated.

Atka is an Inuit name meaning guardian spirit, and his brilliant spirit lives on in those whose hearts he warmed, minds he opened, and souls he touched.

He instilled compassion, understanding, and awareness to the hundreds of thousands of people he met over his storied career. We will be better and do better because Atka lived. He will empower us to continue the fight to safeguard the wild legacy he leaves behind.

Thank you, Atka. We'll never stop loving you.

A memorial to celebrate the life of Atka will be announced later this week.

Thank you so much for your support,

Wolf Conservation Center Family

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Red Wolf Ancestry Re-discovered Along American Gulf Coast

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Rediscovering species once thought to be extinct or on the edge of extinction is rare. Red wolves have been extinct along the Gulf Coast region since 1980, with their last populations found in coastal Louisiana and Texas.


In a new paper, researchers report the rediscovery of red wolf ghost alleles in a canid population on Galveston Island, Texas.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

WDFW Guns Down Juvenile Wolf from Helicopter to Protect Cows on Public Lands

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has confirmed they killed a juvenile member of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack.

The young wolf, weighing 50 pounds, was spotted and killed from a helicopter on September 16.

The kill order was issued following livestock depredations on public lands.

Beyond being cruel and in violation of the desires of a majority of Americans, lethal action (i.e., killing wolves) is not working.

The OPT wolves reside on land that was once home to the Profanity Peak pack, a family that was obliterated by WDFW officials in 2016. Their goal was to stop livestock attacks in the area despite scientific studies suggesting killing wolves can increase the risk of conflict, rather than a decrease. Two years later, WDFW is killing wolves in the same area.

WDFW has been killing wolves over three consecutive years as a solution, yet depredations on livestock continue.

Is it time for WDFW to listen to science and the desires of the American public and stop killing wolves, state-endangered wolves no less, to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

New Study - Carnivore Conservation Needs Evidence-Based Livestock Protection


Preventing carnivores from preying on livestock, and preventing the human retaliation that can follow, would achieve three important societal goals: preserve nature, protect animal welfare, and safeguard livelihoods. Achieving these objectives depends on policies that foster coexistence between humans and wild carnivores.

In a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS Biology, twenty-one authors from 10 nations reviewed 114 peer-reviewed scientific studies measuring the effectiveness of lethal and non-lethal methods for reducing carnivore predation on livestock. The researchers found that livestock guardian dogs, livestock enclosures and fladry are all effective non-lethal conflict deterrents.

Since evidence of the effectiveness of any intervention should be a prerequisite to policy-making or large-scale funding. the authors urge the formation of an international coalition of scientists to set standardized scientifically-supported protocols to ultimately inform society, property owners, decision-makers, and other interests for wise wildlife management policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

Monday, September 17, 2018

Playtime is Essential for Wolves



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

Research shows wolf pups are more likely to play on equal terms with wolves of similar age. The authors propose that such behavior may act to reinforce the dominant adult and subordinate puppy hierarchy established outside of play, and hope that continued research in this area may provide further insight.

More.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Red Wolf's Lazy Sunday

Friday, September 14, 2018

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Seeks to Abandon Federal Wildlife Protections

esa_red_withoutIn a blow to endangered species recovery, Secretary Zinke wants the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to decrease federal protections for wildlife and align these measures with less-restrictive state practices - essentially dismantling the federal Endangered Species Act.

What does this mean for critically endangered animals like red wolves and Mexican gray wolves? Less protection, less land on which to roam, and, ultimately, less support from state agencies.

Wildlife agencies in North Carolina and the southwest states are quite vocal when it comes to voicing their displeasure at participating in recovery programs for critically endangered wolves, so Secretary Zinke's proposal to align federal rules with states' wants and regulations will prove to be devastating for red wolves and Mexican wolves. How devastating? If history is anything to go off of, it will result in the extinction of these essential creatures.

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) requested that USFWS declare red wolves extinct in the wild and terminate the recovery program in North Carolina in both 2015 and, most recently, July of 2018.

Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) asked Congress to remove all federal protections for Mexican wolves when there were only 50 wild lobos in the entire world, and penned a letter to USFWS insisting the majority of Mexican wolf recovery must occur in Mexico, even though peer-reviewed science indicates Mexico does not have enough suitable habitat to prevent the extinction of Mexican wolves. New Mexico Game and Fish Department (NMGFD) has followed suit, even going as far as to block much-needed wolf releases that would bolster the genetic diversity of the wild lobo population.

Wildlife protection transcends state boundaries, as wildlife belongs to all Americans, not just residents of a particular state.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

You Heard Our Howls - Thank You!



Yesterday the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Red Wolf Week and you heard our howls! Nearly 400 supporters helped the WCC raise over $25,000 yesterday to meet the $20,000 matching grant provided by Vegan Capital!

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!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Washington State to Kill Two Wolves to Protect Cows on Federal Land

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind has issued a kill order for two wolves from a new pack that has preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in Ferry County.

The wolves, members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack, have preyed on livestock that were grazing on public lands but under Washington's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, they can be killed for doing so. The Plan was designed to foster coexistence between native wildlife and livestock, yet WDFW seems to be working to protect privately owned cows on public lands, rather than working to "preserve, protect, and perpetuate" wildlife.


These kill orders, while cruel and in violation of the desires of a majority of Americans, also are not working. The OPT wolves reside on land that was once home to the Profanity Peak pack, a family that was obliterated by WDFW officials in 2016. Their goal was to stop livestock attacks in the area despite scientific studies suggesting killing wolves results in an increase in attacks, rather than a decrease. Two years later, WDFW is killing wolves in the exact same area.


Sounds like the wolves are doing what wolves are supposed to do and on rugged federal forest land... So why are they still targets, year after year?

Your Donation for the Red Wolf Will Be Matched - Today Only

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Thirty-one years ago this week, 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!

In honor of this significant milestone for the red wolf and wildlife conservation, Vegan Capital is providing a matching grant up to $20,000 for all donations received TODAY to support our efforts to preserve and protect critically endangered red wolves.

Please consider helping us help red wolves by making a contribution via the WCC donation page TODAY or sending a check dated September 12!

Thank you!

Please donate HERE!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Never Forgotten

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 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.

 
Dog Files Ep.11: Hero Dogs of 9/11 from GP Creative on Vimeo.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Hurricane Florence Headed Toward Only Home for Wild Red Wolves


Along North Carolina's coast, officials have issued a mandatory evacuation, including in Dare County - the home for the last wild red wolves. Fewer than 30 wolves remain.

While we send positive thoughts to all the people, pets and red wolves in the path of the hurricane, we're thinking of all the wildlife and wondering what happens to wildlife during a hurricane?

History tells us some species thrive. Any animal on the brink of extinction, however, can go over that brink when a hurricane strikes their habitat.

Red Wolf Recovery Milestone - 31 Years Wild

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Thirty-one years ago this week, 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 invites you to celebrate Red Wolf Week! 

Help us raise awareness for endangered red wolves; their importance and plight, and the efforts to recover a species on the brink of extinction. All week long the WCC will share interesting red wolf facts, ways to take action, host special events, giveaways and more!

Follow the WCC on Facebook to be a part!

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Does Collaboration and Coexistence Require Killing State-Endangered Wolves?

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recently killed an injured wolf, leaving behind his mate and pups, because the family had preyed upon cattle grazing on public lands. The killing sparked outrage across the United States, but it's not a new practice; Washington has frequently issued the lethal removal of wolves in an effort to promote "coexistence" with ranchers and livestock owners. Several other states practice predator removal to protect livestock, even when the livestock are grazing on remote, rugged lands - lands that are perfect territory for wolves, but not cattle.



These extreme practices, touted as ways to promote the peaceful coexistence of wolves and livestock, seem to be anything but, and have sparked debate among the conservation community.

Should collaboration and coexistence mean the killing of state endangered wolves to benefit private industry?

More: Conservation groups divide over killing of Washington wolves

Friday, September 7, 2018

Eastern Wolves and Coyotes Play Different Ecological Roles


Don't worry if you missed the WCC's informative webinar with wildlife research biologist John F. Benson on Wednesday night, now you can watch anytime!

Tune in to learn about Benson's intensive field study on the hybridization dynamics between eastern wolves and coyotes in Ontario and discover how his findings help resolve long-standing questions about their ecological roles.



Understanding the ecological roles of species that influence ecosystem processes is a central goal of ecology and conservation biology.
Ontario is one of only a few areas where wolves, coyotes, and their hybrids live side-by-side while exhibiting territoriality with one another.

In a recent study published in Ecological Applications, wildlife research biologist John Benson, an assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, looks at the hybridization dynamics between eastern wolves (Canis lycaon), coyotes (C. latrans), the ecology of both species, and their predator-prey dynamics.

What Benson found was while eastern coyote populations are abundant in Ontario, they fill a different ecological niche than eastern wolves. Overall, Benson concluded that wolves require large prey to survive while coyotes kill large prey on occasion but don’t depend on it as consistently for their main food source.

Benson's findings help resolve long-standing questions about the unique ecological roles the different canid species play and serve as a reminder that that one should not assume that smaller predators perform the same ecological functions as their larger counterparts.

Learn more by watching the Wolf Conservation Center's webinar (above) with Benson recorded on September 5, 2018.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

John Benson is an assistant professor of vertebrate ecology at the University of Nebraska. He is currently working on a number of collaborative research projects around North America on wolves, caribou, mountain lions, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and white sharks. He previously modeled population viability of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains as part of a collaborative study with the National Park Service and UCLA. John earned his Ph.D. studying hybridization dynamics between wolves and coyotes in central Ontario. Before beginning his PhD, he studied the highly endangered Florida panther as a research scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. As a master’s student, John led field operations for a reintroduction effort with federally threatened Louisiana black bears. This involved capturing females and their newborn cubs in tree dens and releasing them in areas of suitable habitat where they had been extirpated. John did his undergraduate degree in wildlife at Humboldt State University in northern California and previously worked on studies with sea birds, red foxes, Polar bears, Canada lynx, and mountain lions before starting graduate school.

ABOUT EASTERN WOLVES

» Eastern (Algonquin) Wolf - Basic Information

» Eastern (Algonquin) Wolf Online Resources and Research

» Northeast Wolf Coalition - The Northeast Wolf Coalition was established is an alliance of conservation organizations in Maine, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut and beyond.

» Eastern Wolf Survey - Research, outreach and education for improved wolf conservation.


Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Killing wolves and pups on National Wildlife Refuges? Take action now.





Comments are due by Sept. 6 on the Interior's proposed rule that would allow baiting brown bears, killing black bear mothers and cubs in dens, and killing wolves and pups via trapping during the denning season in Alaska’s national preserves.

Alaska’s controversial wildlife management program targets drastic reductions to apex predators like bears and wolves and even operates its intensive management program federal National Wildlife Refuges.

Why?

The ostensible goal of artificially boosting populations of moose, caribou, and deer for hunters.

Alaska’s intensive management program lacks scientific support.

Beyond being unethical, the utility of these methods to achieve increased prey populations is scientifically questionable. Studies offer no definitive evidence that an intensive predator control program results in increased prey populations.

In a letter dated Aug. 23, more than 100 scientists and natural resource managers urged the National Park Service to reject the proposed rule.

Far-reaching impacts to public lands and National Wildlife Refuge System.

Intensive predator control program has no place on our National Wildlife Refuges - these are lands set aside for the purpose of conserving wildlife in their natural diversity. Intensive management practices are in direct conflict with the purposes for which the lands were set aside in the first place. To allow these practices to continue calls into question the integrity of our Refuges across the nation.

Take Action Today

Join the thousands of people who are speaking up before the September 6th deadline. Please find suggested talking points below and submit your comments here.


Talking Points
  • I am writing to oppose the amendments to regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska in docket number RIN 1024-AE38.
  • Excessive and controversial hunting methods like baiting, snaring and aerial gunning are unethical.
  • Moreover, there is no evidence that an intensive predator control program results in increased prey populations – the ostensible goal of the program.
  • More than 100 scientists and natural resource managers from Alaska, other states, Canada and other nations urged the National Park Service in a letter on Aug. 23 to retain the current hunting rules.
  • Alaska’s intensive predator control program has no place on our National Wildlife Refuges - these are lands set aside for the purpose of conserving wildlife in their natural diversity.
  • Intensive management practices are in direct conflict with the purposes for which the lands were set aside in the first place. To allow these practices to continue calls into question the integrity of our Refuges across the nation.
  • The protections afforded by the regulatory provision issued by the NPS in 2015 are scientifically justifiable. I urge the Interior to reject the proposed rule and to retain the current hunting rules.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor is Overrated

Sunday, September 2, 2018

WA Officials Kill Injured Togo Wolf to Protect Cows

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) just confirmed they have shot and killed the collared male of the Togo wolf family group. The new father leaves behind his mate and their two pups of the year.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered by the State of Washington and are thus afforded protection under state law.

Lethal action, however, is consistent with Washington’s controversial Wolf Management Plan. The kill order was issued following livestock depredations in Togo territory, including on U.S. Forest Service land, over the course of 10 months.

Although Washington stands apart from other states by requiring the utilization of nonlethal practices, such as employing range riders to separate wolves from cattle, killing wolves to “change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock,” has proven ineffective. WDFW has been killing wolves over three consecutive years as a solution, yet depredations on livestock continue.

Is it time for WDFW to listen to science and the desires of the American public and stop killing wolves, on America’s public lands no less, to benefit the profit margins of a private business?

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September Calls for a Wardrobe Change for Wolves



September is here and summer seems to be shifting into autumn with the earlier encroachment of evening and the faintest suggestion of leaves beginning to redden.

The Northeastern U.S. has long been known for its dramatic seasonal changes, but autumn is extra special at the Wolf Conservation Center. As the leaves turn to vivid shades of orange, red and gold, wolves begin to glow as well in their newly grown coats!

A wolf’s coat consists of two elements: the long guard hairs that form the visible outer layer of the fur and the downy undercoat meant to keep a wolf comfortable in cooler temperatures.

Wolves shed the insulating undercoat during spring, and as autumn approaches, the undercoat thickens.

The shedding cycle is driven by hormone levels that rise in the spring with the onset of longer days and decrease as day lengths shorten in the fall.

Thanks to the photoperiodic rhythm of his body chemistry, Atka is preparing for the coming season and looking forward to snowy days on the horizon. Enjoy the day, Atka!