Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Celebrate Wolves All Year Long!

celebrate wolves all year long_blog
What's better than a 12-month calendar featuring the beautiful wolves who call the Wolf Conservation Center home?

FOUR unique calendars featuring ambassador wolves Alawa, Nikai, Zephyr, or Atka on the cover! With different calendar month photos too, each calendar provides an incredible yearlong, up-close experience with your favorite ambassadors, Mexican gray wolves, and red wolves residing at the WCC.

So throw your walls to the wolves and purchase your calendars today!

All proceeds help support the WCC's work to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

After Killing Mom, Pup from Helicopter, Officials Seek to Kill Entire Wolf Family

WDFW killed the mother and pup last month. Today, the last surviving pack members are in the crosshairs, the father and pup.

On Friday, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced its plans to kill the last remaining two wolves from a wolf family that has repeatedly preyed on cattle.

So, as you read this, WDFW sharpshooters are taking to the sky to find and kill the last surviving members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf family.

The young family, originally consisting of a breeding pair and their pups, was dealt a devastating blow in September when the mother and one pup were killed in an attempt to stop the family from attacking livestock. The father and remaining pup will now be killed as well.

Does this sound familiar? It should.

One of the oldest and most primitive responses to conflict with livestock is to kill the predators, even if they are already rare and or threatened with extinction. This is not the first time WDFW has resorted to killing wolves on this on this particular grazing allotment.

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 in these same rugged mountains.

When will WDFW recognize that killing isn’t the solution?

The agency knows that peer-reviewed research shows that killing predators is not only ineffective, but it can even result in increased attacks on livestock by survivors.

Killing wolves (state endangered wolves no less) on America's public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business is wrong.

The benefits that predators and functioning ecosystems provide to humans are of enormous value. Instead of killing wolves, we would be wise to work hard to preserve them.

Please contact WDFW Director Kelly Susewind before it's too late and respectfully ask him to call off the kill order.

CALL 360-902-2200

Friday, October 26, 2018

Endangered Mexican Wolf Pups Named for Female Conservationists!

From left: Craighead, Hélène, and Diane
In May 2018, Mexican gray wolf F1143 (Rosa) made a crucial contribution to the survival of her rare species when she quietly gave birth to a litter of nine pups. Over the last few months, we’ve watched these pups blossom into curious, spunky individuals, each with their own unique personality and appearance. We’ve witnessed the tenacity of the “tiny twosome,” were privy to some seriously cute cuddle piles on their den, and heard their high-pitched howls!

What better way to honor their fierce personalities than with equally fierce names? Meet Craighead, Mittermeier, Lek, Carson, Goodall, Beattie, Diane, Hélène, and Bria! Each little lobo has been “named” in honor of a female conservationist who works tirelessly to protect and preserve wildlife.

f1753 (Hélène) – The WCC was founded by Hélène Grimaud, a classical pianist and dedicated wolf advocate. Through her continued work with the WCC, Hélène has influenced generations of individuals and has helped people realize that rather than fearing wolves, we should work to learn about and protect them.

m1746 (Craighead) – There is perhaps no more well-known conservation author than Jean Craighead George. Author of over 100 books about endangered species and wildlife, Craighead George made children of all ages (and adults too!) fall in love with nature through her vivid depictions of alligators, bears, and wolves (among others).

m1747 (Mittermeier) – Conservation can be performed in many ways but one of the most captivating is through digital storytelling. National Geographic photographer and Sea Legacy co-founder Cristina Mittermeier has amassed hundreds of thousands of followers through her work depicting endangered species and indigenous peoples around the world. By putting a face to these imperiled animals, Mittermeier is able to inspire and motivate action in her followers.

m1748 (Lek) – Lek Chailert is the founder of the Elephant Nature Park in Thailand, a sanctuary for elephants. The organization advocates for the humane treatment of elephants and is recognized as an international voice in animal welfare. Chailert was recognized in 2010 as one of six Women Heroes of Global Conservation and was named one of Time Magazine’s Heroes of Asia for her dedication to elephant welfare.

m1749 (Carson) – Many of today’s environmentalists and conservationists were inspired to join the environmental movement because of books such as Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Carson’s career as a scientist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service allowed her expose countless individuals to the world of science and environmental preservation.

m1750 (Goodall) – For many, the first name that comes to mind when presented with the word “conservationist” is Jane Goodall. Dr. Goodall revolutionized the animal behavior world with her intensive studies of chimpanzees, including her discovery that chimpanzees make and use tools. She’s expanded her impact into various conservation initiatives, including founding the Jane Goodall Institute and Roots & Shoots, a program designed to foster a new generation of conservation leaders.

mM1751 (Beattie) – Mollie Beattie was the first female Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and strived to conserve endangered species by managing landscapes and ecosystems. Under her supervision, gray wolves were reintroduced into the northern Rocky Mountains and 15 national wildlife refuges were added. According to Beattie, “what a country chooses to save is what a country chooses to say about itself.”

f1752 (Diane) – “Though she be but little she is fierce.” ~William Shakespeare

F1752 is one of the most recognizable pups in her litter, due to her petite stature and extra-large personality, and her namesake shares her most distinguishing qualities. Diane Bentivegna is a former public school educator with over 30 years of experience but she’s certainly left her mark on the conservation world as well. As an advisor to the WCC, Diane has dedicated her life to preserving our nation’s wildlife for future generations.

f1753 (Bria) – Conservationists come in all shapes, sizes, and ages. Our youngest honoree is only 12 years old but, through the sale of her endangered species artwork, Bria Shay Neff (Faces of the Endangered) has raised over $34,000 for various conservation organizations. Neff has painted over 250 endangered species and landscapes, with each work highlighting the devastating impact of habitat loss, deforestation, global warming, poaching and human conflict on wildlife populations.

Show your support for conservation by sponsoring one of these pups! They certainly have big “paws” to fill!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Is the Mexican Gray Wolf North America's Original Wolf?

The Pleistocene epoch (a.k.a. the “Ice Age”) lasted from about 2,600,000 to 12,000 years ago.

During the Pleistocene epoch, the Bering Land Bridge was episodically open to connect Alaska and Siberia. Serving as a corridor, the Bering Land Bridge provided an opportunity for different species including, mammoths, bison, muskoxen, caribou, lions, brown bears, and wolves to move into North America.

The fossil record indicates that the gray wolf (Canis lupus) first arrived in North America via this corridor approximately 500,000 years ago.

Who were those first North American wolves?

Genetic research suggests that Mexican gray wolves are deeply diverged from Eurasian and other North American gray wolf lineages, and are likely the descendants of one of the earliest colonization waves of wolves into North America!

So, the Mexican gray wolf could be North America's original gray wolf!

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Meet Mexican Gray Wolf Pups Babs, Kral, and Joe Darling!

Pups make everything better, right? Volunteers make everything better too!

The Wolf Conservation Center is extremely fortunate to have many dedicated volunteers; individuals who donate their time and energy to assist with the mission of the WCC. Like the critically endangered Mexican gray wolves who reside at the WCC, these volunteers represent the WCC's work to recover endangered wolf populations through education and advocacy efforts. What better way to show our appreciation than by combining our dedicated volunteers and our endangered Mexican wolves?

The WCC is excited to formally introduce Mexican wolf pups m1742 (Kral), m1743 (Joe Darling), and f1744 (Babs) - each endangered, each essential, and each named in honor of their fiercest advocates.

Learn more about the seriously cute kiddos here!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Red Wolf Pup Naming Contest for Kids

In honor of Wolf Awareness Week, the Wolf Conservation Center is holding a Red Wolf Pup Naming Contest for m2234! Born to parents F2121 (Charlotte) and M1606 (Jack) on April 19, 2018, red wolf m2234 currently resides at the WCC with his family (parents and siblings Marley, Ben, and Deven). m2234 has yet to receive a real name so we're calling on YOU, dedicated wolf advocates and supporters, to help!

Too essential to be without a name!

red_pup_circle_clipped_rev_1Interested children in grades k - 8 are encouraged to draw a picture of m2234, share their desired name, and explain why they chose that name. All entries must be submitted to the WCC via email or mail by November 5, 2018, to be considered.

Email: with the subject line - "Red Wolf Pup Naming Contest"
Mail: WCC, 7 Buck Run, South Salem, NY 10590
Learn more HERE!

Sunday, October 21, 2018

National Wolf Awareness Week Begins Today

Wolf Awareness Week begins on today! Wolves have long been shrouded by myth and superstition, so this week provides an opportunity to open the door to understanding the importance and plight of the keystone species. It's a time to recognize wolves as an ESSENTIAL part of our natural landscapes and to engage others to become interested and active in wolf survival.

We invite you to join the #bewolfaware movement - a collaborative effort online to provide an alternative narrative to the common myths, fairy tales, and misconceptions surrounding wolves. We'll also offer fun giveaways and lots of surprises too!

So join our pack all week long and #bewolfaware! Learn more!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Research Reveals Relationship Between Wolf's Coat Color and Health

Gray wolves have a variety of outer coat colors (gray, white, black, tan, etc.) but new research is revealing that, at least for wolves in Yellowstone National Park, coat color has a surprising link to overall health. Wolves with black coats had higher survival rates when exposed to canine distemper than did wolves with gray coats, along with strong reproductive success and other vital rates.

The research, conducted by Yellowstone biologists in partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles, relied on CRISPR technology to analyze cell cultures derived from wild Yellowstone wolves. Researchers introduced canine distemper to the cell cultures in an attempt to learn how black and gray wolves respond to the disease; preliminary results suggest the response is unique to coat color.

Coat color is determined by at least three different genes, each of which comes as a pair, and the gene can either be for gray or black coat color. The black coat color gene is dominant, meaning that when paired with a gray coat color gene, the wolf will have a black outer coat rather than gray. Yellowstone wolves with two gray coat color genes are homozygous gray (55% of the population), wolves with two black coat color genes are homozygous black (3% of the population), and wolves with one gray and one black coat color gene are heterozygous black (42% of the population).

After analyzing two decades of wolf life history, researchers found that heterozygous black wolves had much higher survival and reproductive rates than their homozygous black counterparts, and were even slightly higher than heterozygous gray wolves. However, after studying years of reproductive history, they found that gray females had a 25% greater litter survival than black females.

“What we speculate may be going on here, is that there are tradeoffs,” said Dan Stahler, project leader for the Yellowstone Wolf Project. “There’s a cost associated with certain gene actions. Because of this beta defensin gene, which is also causing black coat color, we think there’s some link to the immune system and mounting an immune response that plays into energetics and reproduction versus survival.”

Biologists hope that further analysis of data and additional cell line testing will further explain this relationship between coat color, survival, and reproduction.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Conservation Groups Argue that USFWS's Imminent Red Wolf 'Extinction" Plan Violates Federal Law

In an active and ongoing case, a coalition of conservation groups is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for its failure to adhere to the agency's responsibilities as required by federal law to provide for the long-term recovery of the red wolf.

With fewer than 30 red wolves remaining in the wild, the red wolf is already dangerously close to extinction.

Despite this, a federal proposal announced in June and slated to be finalized by Nov. 30 is poised to push the last red wolves over the brink.

USFWS’s plan seeks to reduce the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90%, limit the wild population to just 10-15 wolves, and allow landowners to kill wolves who stray beyond the newly-designated recovery area – and without any repercussions.

Thus the conservationists told the federal judge today that USFWS’s imminent plan would hasten the animal's extinction and be a further violation of federal law.

The Associated Press reports that "Lawyers for the USFWS, however, countered that new rules for the red wolf program mean that the conservationists' legal arguments are moot and that they must file another lawsuit if they want to challenge the new plans."

USFWS is the very agency charged by federal law with protecting and conserving endangered species. Does their legal strategy look like wildlife conservation to you?

The conservation groups involved in the litigation are the Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) represented by the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Endangered Red Wolves Saint Vincent Island Survive Hurricane Michael

No need to worry, Marley! The critically endangered red wolves on St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge - a remote barrier island just offshore the Florida panhandle - were located on the island yesterday! That means that your great uncle, M1804 or Thicket, survived Hurricane Michael!

Thicket was born at the Wolf Conservation Center in 2010 and released on St. Vincent Island, a red wolf propagation site, in 2013.

Refuge managers picked up signals from the adults' radio collars yesterday, and they assume the 6-month-old pups who don't have collars are safe with their parents.

Photo: Red wolf pup Marley born at the WCC on April 19, 2018. She's Thicket's grandniece :-)

Monday, October 15, 2018

Idaho Fish & Game Commissioner Resigns After Criticism of Trophy Hunting Trip

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner Blake Fischer resigned Monday after criticism of his African hunting trip!

Blake Fischer, an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner, came under fire after bragging about killing at least 14 animals while hunting in Africa, including a whole family of baboons - baby and all.

Fischer received criticism from people all over the world - you did it! Never underestimate the power of our collective voices!

Fish & Game Commissioner Under Fire After Bragging About Killing Family of Baboons in Africa


Blake Fischer, an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner, is being criticized after bragging about killing at least 14 animals while hunting in Africa, including a whole family of baboons - baby and all. Does this seem like a person who should be in charge of wildlife?

State Fish and Game Commissioners across the country have great power – they make decisions re the conservation and “management” of the wildlife in their respective states.

To kill a sentient creature for the purpose of using its body or part of it as a trophy is not conservation - it is essentially killing for fun or as a celebration of violence.

While we appreciate his peers who are calling for Fischer’s resignation, we ask that they also look inward at Idaho’s hunting policies, including Idaho’s unethical trophy hunting seasons on wolves.

If killing baboons is terrible, why is it acceptable to kill wolves and other predators for trophy?

Alas, is “conservation" a misnomer in today's American wildlife agency system?

Contact the Commissioners re removing Fischer immediately by emailing them here - (please be respectful)

More. (WARNING - graphic photos)

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Wolf Hunt Quota Set To Kill Twenty Percent of Alaska's Rare Alexander Archipelago Wolves

Although only 225 rare Alexander Archipelago wolves remain on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that hunters will be allowed to hunt and trap 45 wolves on Prince of Wales and associated islands this fall and winter hunting season, and on federal lands no less.

Any hunting or trapping of these rare wolves is already controversial.

The Alexander Archipelago wolf is a genetically distinct subspecies of gray wolf that dens in the roots of old-growth trees in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Its populations are already fragile, threatened by logging and hunting.

Three years ago, after a 60% drop in the population in just one year, the wolves were feared endangered and twice petitioned to be listed under the Endangered Species Act. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed that protecting them under the ESA “may be warranted."

Despite this, Alaska Department of Fish and Game will allow hunters to hunt and trap 20% of the Alexander Archipelago on Prince of Wales while U.S. Department of Agriculture is working to undermine safeguards for the Tongass's centuries-old trees - the only home for these wolves and their prey.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Celebrate a Legend with Limited Edition Atka Apparel

Thank you all so much for your kindness following the passing of Ambassador Wolf Atka. While he leaves an enormous hole in our family, it is heartwarming to know that his spirit lives on in so many.

Thousands of people from all over the world have reached out to us. You shared comforting words, heartfelt memories, artwork, poems, and flowers. To see over four hundred local friends at Atka’s open house memorial meant so much to us, and we know Atka would have enjoyed seeing you there too.

Atka worked to create a better world for wolves, and so will we.

Help us celebrate him with your purchase of apparel from our limited edition 'Guardian Spirit' collection featuring a hand-drawn image of Atka himself by artist Jane Lee McCracken.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Southeastern Coyotes: Hunter or Scavenger? New Study Finds Answer

Understanding prey selection by predators is a fundamental goal in ecology because it represents an essential ecological process influencing behavior, community structure, and ecosystem productivity.

In a new paper published Wednesday in PLOS One, researchers explore how environmental factors like vegetation density, time of year, and home range size influence prey use by southeastern coyotes.

“We found that coyote packs relied mostly on deer, rabbits, and small mammals,” explained lead author of the study, Joseph Hinton, PhD of Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia.

Previous studies suggest that coyote predation of white-tailed deer in the southeastern
United States occurs primarily on fawns during the summer months, that predation on
adult deer is low, and most consumption of deer during winter is a result of scavenging - eating the carcasses discarded by deer hunters.

Hinton's study, however, reveals that "adult deer were consumed year-round, indicating that coyotes are procuring deer via predation." Additionally, his findings suggest that "the use of fruit by coyotes was opportunistic, as the use of mammalian prey did not appreciably decrease with increasing use of fruit."

These findings are novel because they suggest that the diets of southeastern coyotes consist primarily of mammalian prey procured through predation and not scavenging.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Endangered Red Wolf Born at the WCC in the Path of Hurricane Michael

Communities along the Florida panhandle are bracing for the onslaught of Hurricane Michael, but what about the wildlife?

Critically endangered red wolf M1804, aka Thicket, was born at the Wolf Conservation Center in 2010 and released in the wild in 2013 on St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge - a remote barrier island just offshore the Florida panhandle.

Saint Vincent Island compacts a diversity of habitats into 12,000 acres, making it an ideal red wolf island propagation site. But when in the path of Hurricane Michael - a storm threatening to become the strongest hurricane on record to strike the Florida Panhandle - this island is far from ideal.

In this video, supporters of the refuge recount the devastation caused to the barrier island by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. The red wolves proved resilient 13 years ago, surviving the tsunami-like surge by seeking higher ground.

We hope Thicket and his family prove their resilience in the face of this new threat.

Please join us in sending positive thoughts to all the people, pets, and wildlife in the path of this storm.

Red Wolf Pup Milestone

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The nearly 6-month-old red wolf pups have gotten a lot bigger, and so have their teeth! Between 4 and 6 months of age, a wolf pup permanent adult teeth displace the smaller milk teeth.

Adult wolves have 42 teeth. There are 20 teeth in the upper jaw (6 incisors, 2 canine, 8 premolars, and 4 molars), and 22 teeth in the lower jaw (incisors, 2 canine, 8 premolars, and 6 molars). The canine teeth, or fangs, can be 2.5 inches long and are used for puncturing and gripping their prey. The front incisors are for nibbling small pieces of meat off the bone; the sharp carnassial teeth work like scissors to sheer meat away from bones. Molars are for grinding and crushing.

Bigger teeth also make for a bigger toothy grin!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Think of Wolves This Election Day

The midterm elections are on November 6.

Voting is one of the most important things we can do to protect wolves, wildlife, and the environment. We can’t tell you who to vote for, but we encourage you to research your candidates’ positions and voting records on the issues that matter to you.

Learn how current members of Congress voted on key conservation issues HERE.

To make your voice heard you must VOTE on November 6!

Monday, October 8, 2018

For Wolves, Song is Social Glue

Although wolves use varied vocalizations to express themselves, their howl is the most famous. Howling helps keep family members (or pack-mates) together.

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

Essential. Endangered. Extremely Chatty Red Wolf.

Did you know that wolves across the world speak in 21 different dialects, with differences depending both on species and location?

The largest-ever study of howling in the 'canid' family of species – which includes wolves, jackals, and domestic dogs – has shown that the various species and subspecies have distinguishing repertoires of howling, or "vocal fingerprints".

The characteristic howls of red wolves usually include a series of barks, yips, and sometimes growling, especially when voiced in alarm. The red wolf’s howl sounds somewhat similar to a coyote’s, but is often lower pitched and lasts longer.

More via PHYS.ORG.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Fifty Wolves Howl to the Night

Nobody does night better than wolves.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Arctic Angel

Thank you, Bria, and all of Atka's friends who've mourned his passing. 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.

Atka worked to create a better world for wolves, and so will we.