Thursday, November 29, 2018

Although Fewer than 30 Wild Red Wolves Remain, USFWS Opts to Delay Recovery Efforts

With just 24 critically endangered red wolves remaining in the wild, the red wolf is already dangerously close to extinction. We're facing an irrevocable loss and it's happening quickly right under our noses.

Yet earlier today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its decision to delay any action:

"In light of a federal court ruling issued earlier this month in the Eastern District of North Carolina, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is extending its review of a proposed rule to adapt its management of red wolves in the state. The additional review time will provide the Service the opportunity to fully evaluate the implications of the court decision."
USFWS's decision to delay its commitment to recovering the world's most endangered wolf comes just three weeks after a federal judge ruled that USFWS has a duty under the Endangered Species Act to implement proactive conservation measures to achieve species recovery.

USFWS's announcement also comes one day before it's federal proposal, announced in June, was to be finalized.

With fewer than 30 wild red wolves remaining, how much time can we afford to waste?


USFWS Proposed Regulations

In June, the USFWS released its proposal for managing the last wild red wolves - a single population in eastern North Carolina consisting of fewer than 30 individuals. The Service proposed to reduce the red wolf recovery area by nearly 90 percent and limit the wild population to just 10 – 15 wolves. The proposal would also eliminate protections for any red wolves that wander off the newly-designated recovery area, effectively allowing anyone to kill red wolves on private lands, for any reason.

Americans Overwhelmingly Support Red Wolf Recovery

Endangered species recovery is a matter of pride and concern for all U.S. citizens. When USFWS solicited public comments on its draft proposal, the plan was met with near unanimous opposition from the American public. Out of 108,124 comments submitted between June 28th and August 28th, 99.9 percent favored the need for strong federal protections for red wolves.

Only 19 comments explicitly supported the agency’s plan to eliminate red wolf protections and shrink the recovery area. Thirty additional comments - with 13 of these coming from a single real estate developer - expressed general opposition to red wolf recovery.

Red Wolf Victory

With the opportunity to comment closed and USFWS's decision poised to be finalized by November 30, the future for red wolves remained on shaky ground. Without renewed federal commitment to save the last wild red wolves, one of the few apex predators to roam the U.S. Southeast would be relegated to the history books.

Enter Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC), a non-profit law firm representing a coalition of conservation groups who initiated a lawsuit against USFWS in 2015 for authorizing the capturing and killing of non-problem red wolves, and abandoning conservation measures that had been used for decades. In an October court hearing, SELC asked the federal judge to intervene as USFWS's imminent plan would hasten the animal’s extinction and be a further violation of federal law.

Examining USFWS’s decisions to allow private landowners to shoot and kill red wolves, to end captive-to-wild release events, and to end efforts to prevent hybridization with coyotes, the court ruled on November 5 that USFWS violated legal requirements to protect and recover the world’s last wild red wolves. The Judge also made permanent the court’s September 29, 2016 order stopping the USFWS from capturing and killing red wolves, and authorizing private landowners to do the same.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Yellowstone Wolf 926F Killed For Trophy

926F by Spencer Wilhelm in 2013
Officials have confirmed that Yellowstone wolf 926F of the Lamar Canyon Pack, known to some as “Spitfire”, was killed for trophy less than five miles from the northeast entrance to the park. She was the daughter of legendary she-wolf 06.

The importance of a keystone predator such as the wolf to a balanced and resilient ecosystem is undeniable. Studies also show that since their return over 20 years ago, wolves have delivered an economic boost to Yellowstone’s surrounding communities. University of Montana researchers found that wolves bring an estimated $35M in annual tourist revenue to the region.

Trophy hunting of wolves brings in money too. Wolf hunting licenses cost $19 for residents and $50 for nonresidents.

Perhaps Montana should take a closer look at the economics of wolf hunting. Seems that Yellowstone wolves are worth a lot more alive than dead.

R.I.P., 926F

You Heard Our Howls - Thank You!

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You did it! Yesterday, the Wolf Conservation Center invited you to be a part of Giving Tuesday and you heard our howls! Over 800 supporters helped the WCC meet our matching grant of $30,000! We are humbled by your support and incredibly grateful for having friends like you.

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Your Donation For Wolves Will Be Matched!

Seeing double? That's because it's Giving Tuesday - the day gifts to the wolves have DOUBLE the impact!

All donations received TODAY ONLY (including checks dated November 27) will be matched up to $30,000, thanks to an anonymous pledge from a friend to the wolves!

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tomorrow Only - Your Donation Will Be Matched

All gifts received TOMORROW (including checks dated November 27) will be matched up to a total of $30,000, thanks to an anonymous pledge from a very generous friend!

Mark your calendar to give greater for wolves tomorrow on Giving Tuesday!

Your Support is Critical.
Wolves continue to be subjected to aggressive hunting and trapping in states where protections have been lifted. Wild Mexican wolves and red wolves face serious recovery challenges that will affect their future success. Finally, the very law that is meant to protect endangered species - the Endangered Species Act - is under fire like never before.

But we won’t give up.
The WCC sees a world where vibrant populations of wolves roam wild landscapes across the continent; where no species of wolf cowers on the edge of extinction; and where every child learns of, and respects, these essential creatures.

So we need your help.
Your critical support today will help the WCC continue its commitment to ecosystem education, species preservation, and environmental advocacy!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Gifts that Give Back to the Wolves

This holiday season, consider giving a gift that gives back to the wolves! Find wonderfully wild items for people of all ages in the Wolf Conservation Center online store, like these beautiful knitted hats made with Predator Friendly Wool! The wool comes from sheep raised by farmers who do not kill native predators on their land like coyotes, mountain lions, bears, and wolves.

All merchandise proceeds help support the Wolf Conservation Center's work to protect and preserve wolf populations in North America.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Amazing Facts About Turkeys!

Did you know that turkeys are known to exhibit over 20 distinct vocalizations? A distinctive gobble, produced by males, can be heard a mile away!

Just like us and wolves, individual turkeys have unique voices. This is how turkeys recognize each other.

Lots of wild turkeys call the Wolf Conservation Center home. We're thankful to have them - they help control the tick population. Thank you, Turkeys!

Learn more!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Chew On This

Wolves don't feast on Thanksgiving, they feast whenever they can!

Prey isn't always abundant for wolves, so they've developed a metabolism that helps them store fat and energy for long periods while prey is scarce. When food is available, they eat as much as they can – gorging animals, like wolves, can eat great amounts of meat in a single sitting (some say 20+ lbs!) and then go for days without food at all.

So don’t feel bad if you overeat tomorrow on Thanksgiving. You’re simply channeling your inner wolf!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Howls

Meet Mexican gray wolf F1345, a.k.a. Magdalena.

Magdalena arrived at the Wolf Conservation Center from the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, IL in November of 2016. She lives on exhibit with Mexican gray wolf M1059 (“Diego”).

The dark beauty was born on May 29, 2015, and is the older sister to two wolves who received the “call of the wild” in April of 2016. As pups, her younger siblings were placed in the den of the Arizona-based Elk Horn Pack of wild wolves with the intention that the pack’s adults would raise the two with its own litter. In this process, known as “cross-fostering,” very young pups are moved from a litter at a zoo or wildlife center to a wild litter of similar age so that the receiving pack raises the pups as its own. The technique, which has proven successful with wolves and other wildlife, shows promise to improve the genetic diversity of the wild wolf population.

Learn more about Mexican gray wolves!

Friday, November 16, 2018

U.S. House Passes Bill to Strip Federal Protections for Gray Wolves Nationwide

Science, not Congress, should be the decision-maker when it comes to endangered and threatened species.

Yet the U.S. House just passed H.R. 6784 - a bill seeking to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the Lower 48 with the exception of the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf.

In addition to stripping protections for most gray wolves from the federal endangered species list, this bill prohibits its judicial review thus preventing any legal challenge.

It was approved, 196-180, and now goes to the Senate.

See how your representative voted here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Celebrating Wolf Week With North Carolina State University

What better way to promote red wolf recovery than by working with organizations that have a vested interest in safeguarding these critically endangered animals?

The Wolf Conservation Center was proud to join representatives from Defenders of Wildlife, Red Wolf Coalition, Museum of Life and Science, Wildlands Network, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS) at NCSU’s “Wolf Week”! Hosted by Wolves 4 Wolves, a student-run organization focused on raising awareness for endangered wolf species, the week is filled with various wolf-related activities to allow students to learn more about these essential predators.

wolves4wolves_logoAfter all, North Carolina is the only place in the entire world where red wolves live in the wild – talk about school pride!
Visit Wolves 4 Wolves to learn more.

Note: The mounted red wolf died of natural causes and is used as an educational tool by USFWS.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

House Bill Seeks to Delist Gray Wolves Nationwide

November 13 -- The U.S. House this week is expected to vote on a controversial bill that would remove the gray wolf from the endangered and threatened species list in most of the country.H.R. 6784, from Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), would remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for the wolves in the Lower 48 by the end of fiscal 2019.

While the return of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes has been an incredible success story, this iconic American species still only occupies a small portion of its former range and wolves have only just started to re-enter areas like northern California, where there are large swaths of suitable habitat. By stripping federal protections from wolves nationwide, wolves in historically occupied areas like the southern Rockies and Northeast may never be able to establish viable populations despite suitable habitat and availability of prey. A national delisting for wolves would reverse the incredible progress that the ESA has achieved for this species over the past few decades and once again put the gray wolf at risk of extirpation.

In addition to stripping protections for most gray wolves from the federal endangered species list, this bill would preclude judicial review of de-listing actions, thus furthering a damaging trend of Congress undermining the ability of Americans to seek out justice and defend our civil rights, public health, and environment.

Take Action Today

Science, not Congress, should be the decisionmaker when it comes to endangered and threatened species. Please urge your representative to stand up for wolves, the Endangered Species Act, and the rule of law by opposing H.R. 6784.

This action is open to U.S. residents only.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

A Wild Salute

Atka_flag_logo_edit_smAs we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Saturday, November 10, 2018

One Wolf's Howl Ignites an Explosive Song

Just like us, each wolf has a unique voice so distinctive features of each individual's howl allow wolves to identify each other. And when every member of the pack joins the chorus, the singular howls and their harmonies give the listener the impression that the pack is larger than it actually is.

Alawa is often the goofiest howler in her family. Sometimes she doesn’t even get up to sing with her siblings.

Her howl is guaranteed to make you smile in this video!

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Washington Officials to Kill Three Protected Wolf Families to Protect Cows

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials have ordered the killing of the last two remaining members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) family, the last three wolves of the Togo pack, and one or two wolves from the Smackout wolf family.

Why? To protect cows grazing on private and public lands.

Because the department is set to have three concurrent kill operations underway, Director Susewind has decided to issue the Togo Pack kill permit to the livestock owner “allowing him, his immediate family, or his employees to kill wolves if they are within his private fenced pasture where the livestock are located.”

Beyond being cruel and in violation of the desires of a majority of Americans, these kill orders are not working.

WDFW has been killing wolves to deter conflict since 2012 when the agency wiped out the entire Wedge pack, yet depredations on livestock continue.

WDFW knows that peer-reviewed research demonstrates that killing predators is not only an ineffective solution to deter depredation on cows, but it can even result in increased attacks on livestock by survivors.

Killing state-endangered wolves on to benefit the profit margins of a private business is wrong on every level.

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

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Conservation-Minded Child Names Critically Endangered Red Wolf

Maples have long signified strength and endurance, and now, thanks to Clare Dür, the autumnal tree will now share its name with a critically endangered red wolf pup. Clare, an elementary school student from New York, suggested the name “Maple” for red wolf pup m2234 because “every maple leaf is different and special just like red wolves.” Red wolves are some of the most endangered mammals in the world, with less than 24 remaining in the wild. And just like people, every red wolf is special and deserving of his or her own identity.

Meet red wolf pup Maple!
Meet red wolf pup Maple!

In an effort to raise awareness for red wolves, the Wolf Conservation Center hosted a Red Wolf Pup Naming Contest and received over 100 entries! Interested children in grades K - 8 were encouraged to draw a picture of m2234, pick their desired nickname, and explain why they chose that name. With so many wonderful entries, it was incredibly challenging to decide on one winner, but it was incredibly exciting to see so many children eager to show their support for red wolves.

Clare will receive a sponsorship kit for Maple (m2234) will be able to watch Maple and his family via the WCC’s live webcam. Tune in now for a glimpse of Maple!

Go Vote and Stand for Wolves!


Monday, November 5, 2018

Federal Judge Bans USFWS from Capturing and Killing Red Wolves

A VICTORY for red wolves! Judge finds USFWS's rollback of red wolf protections is a violation of the Endangered Species Act and bans USFWS from capturing and killing, and authorizing private landowners to capture and kill wild red wolves!

“For four years now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been dismantling one of the most successful predator reintroductions in U.S. history,” said Sierra Weaver, senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC).

“The service knows how to protect and recover the red wolf in the wild, but it stopped listening to its scientists and started listening to bureaucrats instead. The law doesn’t allow the agency to just walk away from species conservation, like it did here.”

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


Sunday, November 4, 2018

When Wolves Get a Toy Snake

Today we gave the Ambassador wolves an "invincible" snake dog toy!

Of all the Ambassador wolves, Nikai is the one who really enjoys playing with toys. But he was too slow on his feet and his big brother Zephyr got to the snake first.

Apparently "indestructible" is not in Zephyr's vocabulary...

Eventually, patience pays off for Nikai, and after he marks what's left of the toy as his own, he doesn't have to worry about sharing anymore.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

To Be Happy Is To Howl!

Meet Nikai!

Beyond being beautiful, he's a powerful player in the fight to preserve wolves’ rightful place in the environment.

Learn about wolf behavior here

Thank you, Nikai, for opening minds, rewilding hearts, and raising awareness for the importance and plight of your wild kin.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Memories Matter - Preserving a Species Memories for Future Generations

Wildlife conservation isn’t just about raising the numbers on a population count. It’s also an act of cultural preservation.

When we prevent the killing of a wolf family, we’re not just saving lives, we're also saving the pack's memories and traditions.

If a family group is left unexploited (that is, not trapped, shot, poisoned or otherwise killed by humans) it will develop extraordinary traditions for hunting, pup-rearing, and social behaviors that are finely tuned to its precise environment and that are unique to that particular long-lived family group.

Memories matter for other species too.

"Bighorn sheep and moose learn to migrate from one another. When they die, that generational know-how is not easily replaced," reported Ed Yong of The Atlantic.

Thus preserving a species memories of traditions may require preserving routes and corridors over which animals like bighorn sheep can travel.


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Analysis: Public Overwhelmingly Opposes Feds’ Plan to Nearly Wipe Out Wild Red Wolves in North Carolina

For Immediate Release: November 1, 2018


Ron Sutherland, Wildlands Network, (919) 641-0060,
Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center, (914) 763-2373,
Perrin de Jong, Center for Biological Diversity, (828) 595-1862,
Ben Prater, Defenders of Wildlife, (828) 412-0981,
Marjorie Fishman, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128,

Analysis: Public Overwhelmingly Opposes Feds’ Plan to Nearly Wipe Out Wild Red Wolves in North Carolina

99.9 Percent of Submitted Comments Support Red Wolf Conservation

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposal to remove protections from the nation’s only wild population of endangered red wolves has been met with near unanimous opposition from the public. Out of 108,124 comments submitted, 107,988 comments (99.9 percent) favored the need for strong federal protections for red wolves.

In June, the Service solicited public comments on its proposal for managing the red wolf, which has been reduced to a single wild population in eastern North Carolina consisting of as few as 30 individuals. The Service proposed to reduce the red wolf recovery area by more than 90 percent, with the revised recovery area only expected to provide sufficient space for 10 to 15 red wolves to safely roam. The proposal would eliminate protections for any red wolves that wander off Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Dare County Bombing Range, effectively allowing anyone to kill red wolves on private lands, for any reason.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s shameful hostility toward red wolves has been met with the strongest possible condemnation by the citizens of this country,” said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity in Asheville, North Carolina. “The verdict is in, and citizens from across this country, this state and the red wolf recovery area want the feds to do more, not less, to protect and recover this critically endangered species.”

"Many of us have long wondered why Americans of previous generations didn't rise up to save the ivory-billed woodpecker, the passenger pigeon, or the Carolina parakeet,” said Dr. Ron Sutherland, conservation scientist for Wildlands Network. “Well, here we are in 2018, and the American people have spoken with a strong and virtually unanimous voice that the red wolf must be saved from extinction and kept in the wild where the species belongs. Will Congress and the Service listen?"

"Once again, the American public has expressed overwhelming support for the red wolf. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must heed this call, recommit to proven management strategies and work to prevent the extinction of the world's most endangered canine," said Ben Prater, Southeast Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife.

“Every voice raised in support of wildlife can make a difference, and Americans overwhelmingly support the Red Wolf Recovery Program,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “We’re counting on the Service to take notice and follow the best available science to ensure that the world’s most endangered wolves remain a living, breathing part of the landscape in eastern North Carolina.”

“Wildlife, including red wolves, are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in trust for the American people,” noted DJ Schubert, Wildlife Biologist at the Animal Welfare Institute. “The people have now spoken loud and clear of their support for the protection and recovery of the red wolf in the wild and it is time the government starts to listen and comply with the public’s clear message.”

People living in the areas most directly affected by red wolves also expressed overwhelming support for their conservation. Out of 2,923 comments submitted by North Carolinians, 2,898 comments (99.1 percent) spoke out in favor of red wolf protection. From the current five-county recovery area in eastern North Carolina where the wolves live, 75 out of 95 comments submitted (78.9 percent) were also pro-wolf.

North Carolina’s governor also spoke out against the Service’s proposal and expressed support for red wolf recovery. “There is a viable path forward for North Carolina’s red wolves living in the wild, and I have directed relevant departments in my administration to work with USFWS to continue the recovery program and build upon its success to date,” said Governor Roy Cooper in a comment submitted to the Service on July 30.

Only 19 comments explicitly supported the agency’s plan to eliminate red wolf protections and shrink the recovery area. Thirty additional comments, with 13 of these coming from one real estate developer, expressed general opposition to red wolf recovery.

Volunteers from Wildlands Network, the Wolf Conservation Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Animal Welfare Institute reviewed each of the thousands of comments submitted to produce this analysis. The exercise was motivated by the need to provide the most accurate accounting of public sentiment as the Service regularly dismisses comments received on petitions or those compiled by conservation organizations. For example, in 2017 during the initial scoping period for the current proposal, the agency reported only receiving 12,000 comments when approximately 55,000 were submitted, ignoring the vast majority of comments received in support of red wolves.


Wildlands Network envisions a world where nature is unbroken, and where humans co-exist in harmony with the land and its wild inhabitants. Our mission is to reconnect, restore, and rewild North America so life in all its diversity can thrive.

The Wolf Conservation Center is an environmental education organization committed to conserving wolf populations in North America through science-based education programming and participation in the federal Species Survival Plans for the critically endangered Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. Through wolves the WCC teaches the broader message of conservation, ecological balance, and personal responsibility for improved human stewardship of our world.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come.

The Animal Welfare Institute ( is a non-profit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild.

Additional Media Resources:
Journalists wishing to confirm these numbers should contact to receive copies of the comment files and analysis tables.
Wildlands Network has placed photos of wild and captive wolves in this Dropbox Folder.
Wildlands Network's videos of wild red wolves are available here.
The Wolf Conservation Center also has an extensive library of photos and videos of captive red wolves - contact Maggie Howell, (914) 763-2373,

After Killing Mom and Pup from Helicopter, Officials Still on the Hunt to Kill Entire Wolf Family

Officials from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have yet to post an update re their efforts to kill the last remaining members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf family.

WDFW issued the kill order for the father wolf and his 6-month-old pup on October 26, 2018,  a month after the agency's sharpshooters took to the air to shoot down the mother and a different pup.

Their crime? Preying on livestock that are grazing on public lands.

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

Killing wolves (state-endangered no less) to benefit the profit margins of a private business isn't "conservation".

Please contact WDFW Director Kelly Susewind and WA Governor Jay Inslee before it’s too late and respectfully ask them to call off the kill order.

WDFW: CALL 360-902-2200

Governor Inslee: CALL 360-902-4111