Tuesday, May 21, 2019

PUPDATE: Mexican Wolf Pups' First Meaty Mouthfuls



The almost four-week-old Mexican gray wolf pups are eating solid food!

At 25 days old, the gradual process of weaning has begun. The pups’ menu has expanded to include small pieces of deer meat regurgitated by their parents and older siblings.

In between napping and eating, the pups are romping, playing, biting, and tackling one another. Beyond being great fun for the siblings, the pups are sharpening important skills, establishing a pecking order in the family hierarchy, and strengthening family bonds.

Follow the pups’ progress 24/7 via live webcams!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Endangered Wolf Pups Snuggle on Big Sister's Back



Raising pups is a family affair; it is natural for all the wolves to pitch in.

With parents Trumpet and Lighhawk, the four three-week-olds born on April 26, and the three yearlings (Babs, Kral, and Jow Darling) born in 2018, Wolf Conservation Center webcam viewers have an opportunity to study the complex social structure of a multigenerational pack.

The yearlings will assist their parents in rearing their younger siblings by regurgitating food for them, playing with them, and even babysitting. Moreover, the parents will demonstrate critical parenting strategies and techniques for the yearlings to employ when they have pups of their own.

Passing down knowledge from one generation to the next also allows the family to maintain traditions unique to that pack.

Join the lovable Mexican gray wolf family now via live webcams!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Remembering Atka on his Birthday




Today is Endangered Species Day – a day offering opportunities for people of all ages to learn about the importance of protecting endangered species and everyday actions they can take to help protect them.

Today is also Atka’s birthday. He would have been 17 years old.

Although we miss Atka very much, his larger-than-life influence on the world persists. His legacy lives on in an empowered public who will continue the fight to safeguard his endangered kin.

Atka taught us that each of us can make a difference, and all of us ought to try.

Thank you, Atka. We’ll always love you.

Celebrate a Legend




Limited Edition Atka Apparel is Back by Popular Demand!

Celebrate Atka 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. Additional styles and colors available.

Proceeds will help us continue the fight to safeguard the wild legacy Atka leaves behind. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Mexican Gray Wolf Pup Born at Wolf Conservation Center Released to the Wild


One small step for an endangered pup, one giant leap for Mexican gray wolves.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SOUTH SALEM, NY (May 15, 2018) -- Mother’s Day came early for a critically endangered Mexican gray wolf living at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to wolf conservation. On April 26, Mexican gray wolf F1505 (affectionately named Trumpet) gave birth to a litter of five critically endangered pups.

Beyond being cute, the pups represent the WCC’s active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

The WCC is one of more than 50 institutions in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

Most wolves born in captivity spend their lives there, but unbeknownst to the largest of the litter, the female pup was destined for a wild future.

On May 9, the two-week-old pup was flown to Arizona and successfully placed in the den of the Saffel wild wolf pack, where the breeding female had recently given birth to her own litter. Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter to be raised by surrogate parents.

According to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Initial Release and Translocation Proposal for 2019, Mexican gray wolves within the wild population are as related to one another as full siblings. This cross-foster recovery technique provides the opportunity to augment the population’s genetics.

Addressing genetic imperilment requires an active program of releasing wolves from the more genetically diverse captive population to mitigate further inbreeding. USFWS’s goal for 2019 is to foster up to 12 pups into the wild in New Mexico and Arizona, with the hope that they will eventually spread their genes to the greater population. 

WCC Curator Rebecca Bose and Paul Maus, DVM in Arizona

The WCC has been a critical partner in the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program for nearly two decades. To date, three adult Mexican gray wolves from the center have been released in the wild. Participating in a cross-foster, however, is a historic first for the center.

“Trumpet’s pup is part of the critical effort to save her imperiled species,” said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the WCC. “At just two pounds, she’s a North American superhero! She’s become a living, breathing part of the southwestern landscape, and her story will help raise awareness for Mexican gray wolves and the active efforts to save them.”

“The WCC is thrilled to be a part of this important recovery mission,” stated WCC Curator Rebecca Bose. “The collaboration among all who had a hand in delivering Trumpet’s pup to her wild family is a true testament to the dedication of everyone involved. In addition to USFWS, the Arizona Game and Fish Department and WCC veterinarian Paul Maus, DVM were key. We are especially appreciative of a generous friend of the center for providing his plane to transport the precious passenger from New York to Arizona!”

Trumpet and her pups are not on public exhibit, but sixteen live webcams, available on the WCC website, invite an unlimited number of viewers to enter the private lives of these elusive creatures.
Background

The Mexican gray wolf or “Lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of Mexican gray wolves in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998, the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Current estimates put the wild population at 131 in the United States.

PUPDATE: Two-week-old Mexican Wolf Pups Grow Bolder



The Wolf Conservation Center’s critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups born on April 26 are almost three weeks old! This is a significant milestone for the pocket-size predators.

Born blind and deaf with their eyes and ears closed, wolf pups rely solely on their sense of smell and the feel of their surroundings to navigate for their first couple of weeks. Their eyes (blue in color for now) began to open at 10 – 12 days old and their ears should open up soon. Generally, pups begin to hear at about 21 days old and their ears will begin to stand up too!

As the pups continue to practice walking, they’ll grow bolder and begin appearing outside of the den more and more!

Monitor their development by joining the critically endangered kiddos via live webcams!

Background

Beyond being cute, these pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in an effort to save a species from extinction.

The WCC is one of more than 50 institutions in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan – a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only seven remaining rescued from extinction in captivity. In 1998, the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising only 131 individuals – an increase from 114 counted at the end of 2017.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Mother’s Day Surprise – Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pups Born at the Wolf Conservation Center

Elusive. Endangered. Extremely Cute.

Rare Mexican Gray Wolf Pups Born at the WCC!

Mother’s day came early for Mexican gray wolf Trumpet! On April 26, the mother of three gave birth to her second litter! Beyond being adorable, the pups represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in the effort to save a species on the brink of extinction.


The Mexican gray wolf or “Lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of Mexican gray wolves in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998, the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Current estimates put the wild population at 131 in the United States.

To watch the family’s progress, tune in to their live webcams.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Teeny Tiniest Wolf We’ve Ever Known Turns One!


Happy first birthday to the teeny tiniest wolf we’ve ever known!

Born on May 8, 2018 to Mexican gray wolves Rosa and Alléno, Craighead and his eight siblings (who were all named for fabulous female conservationists ) quickly stole the hearts of wolf supporters worldwide with their spunky personalities – and drastic size differences! As the runts of the litter, Craighead and his sister Diane proved that weight is simply a number; it’s the attitude that matters!

Beyond being cute, Craighead and his siblings (Diane, Bria, Hélène, Carson, Beattie, Mittermeier, Lek, and Goodall) represent the Wolf Conservation Center’s active participation in the effort to save their critically endangered species from extinction. 


Join them now via LIVE webcam and share some birthday love!

Note: We’re quite proud of Diane, Bria, Hélène, Carson, Beattie, Mittermeier, Lek, and Goodall, but Craighead’s growth is simply too adorable not to document!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Oregon Bans M-44 “Cyanide Bombs”



Victory for wildlife – Oregon has banned the use of M-44s, also known as “cyanide bombs”! Huge thanks to Predator Defense, Oregon Wild, and Audubon Society of Portland for their tireless work on this issue.

On May 6, Governor Kate Brown signed SB 580 to ban sodium cyanide devices used for predator control statewide, thus preventing the deaths of countless more dogs and wild animals.

“This is a vital public safety issue that has been addressed,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense. “M-44s are planted like land mines around Oregon and other states. They must be universally banned before a child is killed.”

M-44s are both lethal and indiscriminate. The reason they cannot be deployed safely is because no child, pet or wild animal can read warning signs and there is virtually no place in the great outdoors they do not go. The use of cyanide bombs garnered national attention in 2017 when a 14 year old Idaho boy was severely injured, and his dog killed, when he inadvertently activated a device that was on a hill behind his house.

More via Predator Defense.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The Perils of Rodenticide


Last month, radio-collared mountain lion P-47 was discovered dead in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with his likely cause of death being exposure to rat poison. A necropsy revealed that the three-year-old lion had evidence of six difference anticoagulants in his system, and had internal bleeding in his head and lungs.

Though rodenticides are intended to only target rats and mice, other animals such as raccoons, squirrels, and rabbits often mistakenly consume them as well. Poisons don’t work instantly and can cause an animal to suffer and become disoriented in the days leading up to its death, making them easy targets for predators.


Carnivorous species further up on the food chain will often prey on these vulnerable and sickly animals, thus becoming secondary consumers of the toxins. Birds and reptiles may succumb to this exposure to lower doses, while other carnivores such as bobcats and coyotes may continue to ingest the anticoagulants by unknowingly consuming multiple poisoned animals.

These rodenticides are known to weaken the immune systems of animals, making them significantly more susceptible to infection and disease. Anticoagulants in the poisons – which prevent blood from properly clotting – can cause fatal internal hemorrhaging.

Further, researchers have found strong links between exposure to these poisons and the prevalence of mange in wild populations. Mange is a highly contagious mite that burrows under the skin creating extreme itchiness, which leads to hair loss, infection, hypothermia, and starvation.

When approaching pest management, these factors must all be taken into consideration. Using indiscriminate control, such as poisons and glue traps, causes undue suffering and devastation to our wild community.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Special Milestone for Red Wolf Veronica


Red Wolf Veronica (F1858) turns eight years old today!

‘She is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel.’ ~Jodi Picoult

The beautiful matriarch is the ultimate teacher- leading both her brood and those who she unknowingly inspires with her strength and perseverance.

The mother of ten has beamed into our homes and hearts via webcam – opening the door to understanding the highly social nature of wolves, the benefits of cooperative living, the importance of her endangered kin, and our efforts to recover them.

She calls our attention to the things that really matter for wolves – work, love, patience, and family.

Although her family of 12 resides off-exhibit at the Wolf Conservation Center, webcam watchers can join the elusive family in real time.

Join her family now by tuning in here!

Monday, April 29, 2019

Caught in the Act! Endangered Wolf Pups Kill Webcam


Essential. Endangered. Extremely naughty!

These soon-to-be one-year-old Mexican gray wolf pups had a great time playing this morning! Too bad it was at the expense of their HD dencam.

Beyond being naughty, these critically endangered Mexican gray wolves represent our active participation in an effort to save the species on the brink of extinction.

The Mexican gray wolf or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

NCSU Students Work to Save Red Wolves


“Wolfpack spirit?” You bet!

Students at North Carolina State University are showing their love for wolves – and not just their school mascot. A student-run organization, Wolves 4 Wolves, formed in 2017 with two main objectives: educating NC State students and the public about endangered wolf species, and contributing to conservation through service and fundraising.

The club frequently offers educational events on their Raleigh campus, but decided to focus on the service aspect of their mission over their spring break in March. With funding from the Wolf Conservation Center, a group of dedicated students embarked on a volunteer trip to the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, home to the world’s only wild red wolves.


NCSU freshman Monika Graham writes,

Over the course of two days, we spent a majority of our time at the refuge cleaning up trails in the refuge itself and around the USFWS Visitor Center, which included trimming branches, removing thorny vines, relocating logs and rocks that obstructed paths, and tidying up trails with bridges. We also got to talk with officials and volunteers who worked in the refuge more about the recovery program and what was actually going on behind-the-scenes. At least, as much as they could tell us! They also informed us about current projects they had in the works and told us about potential job/volunteer opportunities they had available in the area. With the late night discussions we had, we dove deeper into the history of the red wolf program and the long-term effects we as humans have made on wild populations, and discussed various government proposals that are to affect current populations of red wolves. The final highlight of the trip had to be howling with the captive wolves held at the refuge. At the most, there were about 12 of us out in the refuge, and it was amusing to hear the wolves respond to us. Especially when we all howled together, like they were trying to compete with us for who had the better howl!



The dedicated efforts of Wolves 4 Wolves members highlight the importance of individual efforts to help recover critically endangered red wolves. Every voice raised in support of wolves can make a difference, and when we all howl together, we can make big things happen!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Six Captive Mexican Wolf Newborns Released to the Wild

Mexican gray wolf pup born at the Wolf Conservation Center in 2018.

Six critically endangered Mexican gray wolf pups receive the call of the wild!

The pups, born at the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri, were placed with two wild wolf families in an effort to increase the genetic diversity of the wild Mexican gray wolf population. Because the entire existing Mexican wolf population descended from just seven founders rescued from extinction, genetic health is the primary consideration governing most recovery efforts.

The captive-to-wild release of newborn pups, an initiative called cross-fostering, is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter so the pups can grow up as wild wolves.

“This is amazing news,” stated Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director Maggie Howell. “Returning wolves to their ancestral home in the wild is our goal – the environment needs wolves.”

According to USFWS’s Initial Release and Translocation Proposal for 2019, the wild population’s mean kinship (MK) is approximately 0.25. This means that, on average, “individuals within the population are as related to one another as full siblings.”

“Cross-fostering can be an incredibly effective tool for augmenting the genetic health of the wild population,” explained Howell, “it proved successful in red wolf recovery efforts for over a decade.”

“While we applaud the agency’s dedication to cross-fostering, this should not be the only strategy relied upon to increase genetic diversity in the wild population,” stated Howell. ” Addressing the Mexican wolf’s genetic imperilment requires USFWS to resume releasing wolf family groups into the wild as well – the means by which reintroduction was initiated in 1998 and successfully undertaken until abandoned under political pressure in 2007.”

USFWS aims to cross-foster up to 12 pups from captivity in 2019.

Learn more.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Happy Earth Day


It's the 49th Earth Day, an annual international event meant to raise awareness about the efforts to protect the planet and secure a sustainable future. This day underscores the ripple effect of each individual’s actions that benefit the environment to ensure a viable planet for generations to come.

How will you celebrate?

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Move Over Easter Bunny


Wolves have this covered...

With 42 specialized teeth for slicing, tearing, and grinding, wolves are supremely well-equipped carnivores. A wolf could make short work of a helpless Easter egg, but Atka, one of the most magnificent wolves in the world, instead chose to take a slower, perhaps even epicurean, approach when presented with an egg as a treat.


Atka passed away at sixteen and a half years old on September 22, 2018, but his spirit lives strong in the hearts of many all over the world.

Learn more.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Happy Holidays!


To those who observe wishing you a blessed Good Friday and Happy Passover.

Critically Endangered Red Wolf Pups Celebrate First Birthday!




On a breezy afternoon last April, red wolf F2121 (affectionately nicknamed Charlotte) quietly gave birth to four pups and was soon followed by red wolf F1858 (Veronica), who gave birth to six pups hours later. Over the next few months, the growth of these rare wolves was monitored by a global audience via live-streaming webcams that allowed the public to observe animals they might otherwise never see.

Although the pups are no longer the potato-sized predators viewers fell in love with, they’ve matured into robust, intelligent yearlings with different personalities and names. Three of Charlotte’s pups (Ben, Deven, and Marley) were bestowed nicknames in honor of children who greatly value their role as a keystone species, while their brother (Maple) was named by a New York student who believes each red wolf is as unique as every maple leaf.

Veronica’s litter of six was named in honor of a family of fierce environmental advocates – Martha, Rich, Hunter, Max, Shane, and SkyRae – in the hopes that each pup would grow to be as wildly independent as their namesakes.



Beyond celebrating their birthdays, the (now) yearlings are celebrated for the role they play in the effort to save red wolves 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 a few years ago to just 24 known wolves today.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Prepping for Endangered Mexican Gray Wolf Pups?



The arrival of spring means changing temperatures, chirping birds, and critically endangered wolf pups!

Pregnancy can be an exciting and magical time for parents but waiting can be excruciating for well-wishers! No pups yet for critically endangered Mexican gray wolf Trumpet (F1505), but her belly appears quite large – a sign of potential pregnancy. Over the next few weeks, WCC’s Curator, Rebecca Bose, will monitor her progress and record any milestones, i.e. plucking the hair from her big belly – a custom for expectant mothers when preparing for pups.

The WCC is one of 54 facilities in the U.S. and Mexico participating in the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) – a bi-national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of Mexican wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research. The Mexican wolf SSP management group for the Mexican gray wolf determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all Mexican wolves descended from just 7 founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of Mexican wolf breeding pairs, and Trumpet and Lighthawk (M1564) are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.

Sometimes saving a species isn’t very romantic, but it turns out that Trumpet and Lighthawk are a vibrant, loving, and playful pair that make it look like a whole lot of fun! We saw the pair engage in several copulatory ties so given a gestation period of 63 days her due date would be around April 24th. Keep your paws crossed!

Join the expectant family now via LIVE webcam!

Background

The Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) or “lobo” is the most genetically distinct lineage of wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act. Today in the U.S., there is a single wild population comprising 131 individuals – an increase from 117 counted at the end of 2017.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Letter: Hazing Coyotes Protect the Animals and Humans


It’s no secret I like coyotes. In fact, part of my job as Wildlife Outreach Specialist at the Wolf Conservation Center in New York is to address the rampant misinformation so widely circulated about coyotes. That is why I felt compelled to respond to Leo Maloney’s Op-Ed that is rife with misrepresentation of coyote behavior.

Maloney implies throughout his piece that the DEC’s recommendation – the same shared by multiple scientific agencies – to haze coyotes away from human development is not an effective strategy, and he alleges that a better method is simply to shoot coyotes on sight. Though he accurately states, “The danger, especially to small pets or possibly small children, comes when coyotes become habituated to humans and become especially bold,” he then dismisses the efficacy of hazing techniques despite the fact that these methods have been proven effective at limiting human-coyote conflicts. Instead, he suggests that it’s best that readers remove the potentiality of conflict by simply eliminating coyotes from the landscape.

Maloney also pointedly ignores that the best available science recognizes that lethal control is an ineffective means of curbing coyote numbers. He says, “My feeling [is] that the best way to reduce the number of coyote conflicts is to reduce the number of coyotes.” Contrary to his personal belief, studies have shown that when coyotes are lethally managed their population actually exhibits a “rebound effect” which causes a marked population increase. This is because indiscriminate killing of coyotes disrupts pack structure, which ultimately results in an increase in breeding pairs in the area. Yet in a stable pack structure, coyotes effectively limit their own population growth.

Additionally, indiscriminate killing of coyotes won’t actually eliminate conflicts. If an area’s coyotes aren’t causing public safety issues, there is no need for lethal removal. Hazing and attractant-removal are crucial in preventing wildlife from becoming too comfortable around humans. Additionally, coyotes actively defend their territories from intruder coyotes. Why remove coyotes that have exhibited no sign of inappropriate behavior at the risk of opening up the territory to individuals who do not know the “rules” of the area?

Letter originally published in the Oneida Daily Dispatch in response
to Leo Maloney’s April 3rd op-ed, DEC warns people to avoid coyotes.

Written by Dana Goin, Wolf Conservation Center Wildlife Outreach Specialist.

For questions, please reach out to Dana at DGoin@nywolf.org

Friday, April 12, 2019

For Wolves, Grooming Helps Strengthen Family Bonds


For wolves, grooming helps strengthen family bonds.

When Ambassador wolf Alawa licks and nibbles Nikai, not only is Alawa keeping her brother's fur clean and free of debris, her grooming efforts are gestures of intimacy that reaffirm the unique emotional bonds that shape the foundation of the family.

Because when it comes to wolves, it's all about family.

More about wolf behavior here.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

'Tis the Season for Wolf Pups!


blog_pup_edit_wideDid you know that spring is "wolf pup season"? Wolves engage in mating behavior in the winter months so a gestation period of 63 days means April, May, and early June could be potential pup birthdays!

The Wolf Conservation Center is home to several potential breeding pairs, both Mexican gray wolves and red wolves, and these pairs can all be watched via webcam. Let us know if you see anything exciting!

Learn more about the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf recovery programs here.


Photo: red wolf pups born in 2018 to parents Veronica (F18580) and Sam (M1784).

Monday, April 8, 2019

Endangered Mexican Wolf Population Increases Despite Record Number of Deaths in 2018

Lobo_pup_leaf_edit_logo_blog
In its annual survey released today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) reports that 131 wild Mexican gray wolves were counted in the U.S. - a 12% increase since last year and a new high since the critically endangered wolf was returned to the wild 21 years ago.

"This is encouraging news," said Maggie Howell, Executive Director of the Wolf Conservation Center. "But given the severity of the wild Mexican gray wolf population’s genetic crisis (USFWS reports that wolves within the wild population are as related to one another as full siblings), you can't measure recovery by numbers alone. We have a long way to go until this keystone species is recovered."

Illegal mortality remains one of the two biggest threats to Mexican wolf recovery. Although the wild population grew by an estimated 12%, USFWS confirms a record number of documented mortalities - 21 Mexican gray wolves were found dead in 2018.

To remedy the wild population's limited genetic diversity, the second largest hurdle to recovery, USFWS plans to cross-foster up to 12 pups in 2019. Cross-fostering is a coordinated event where captive-born pups are introduced into a similar-aged wild litter so the pups can grow up as wild wolves.

"While we applaud the agency's dedication to cross-fostering, this should not be the only strategy relied upon to increase genetic diversity in the wild population. To date, it remains uncertain if the results of cross-fostering will attain the required degree of genetic improvement. Moreover, USFWS has no contingency plan in place to compensate for potential failure to achieve its cross-foster goal," stated Howell. "We encourage USFWS to resume releasing wolf family groups into the wild as well - pair-bonded adult male and female Mexican gray wolves with pups - the means by which reintroduction was initiated in 1998 and successfully undertaken until abandoned under political pressure in 2007."

The USFWS report confirms the following details about the current wild population in the U.S.:

According to the report:
  • There is a minimum of 32 packs of wolves (two or more animals), plus seven individuals.
  • A minimum of 18 packs had pups; 16 of these packs had pups that survived to the end of the year.
  • A minimum of 81 pups were born in 2018, and at least 47 survived to the end of the year.
  • The population growth occurred despite 21 documented mortalities last year.

Background:

Mexican gray wolves are the most genetically distinct lineage of gray wolves in the Western Hemisphere, and one of the most endangered mammals in North America. By the mid-1980s, hunting, trapping, and poisoning caused the extinction of lobos in the wild, with only a handful remaining in captivity. In 1998 the wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.


Friday, April 5, 2019

The Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale

family_nikai_alawa_duo_edit_logo_email
Join Dr. Rolf Peterson on April 24 at 7 pm EST for a special (and FREE) webinar about the wolves and moose of Isle Royale!

Isle Royale is a remote wilderness island in Lake Superior and home to populations of wolves and moose that are known worldwide. These animals are the focus of the longest-running study of a predator-prey system in the wild, and Dr. Rolf Peterson, an internationally recognized wildlife ecologist at Michigan Technical University, has been at the helm of the project for over four decades.

Isolated by the frigid waters of Lake Superior, the Isle accommodates wolves and moose in a forest where none of them are exploited by humans, where there is no hunting, no persecution, no logging. Before the National Park Service began its wolf relocation project last fall, this ecologically rare setting was at risk of vanishing along with the last two wolves remaining on the island.

To date, 13 wolves have been relocated to Isle Royale from the mainland of US and Canada. The wolf relocation project is a part of a planned "genetic rescue" of Isle Royale’s dwindling wolf population – an effort to keep the species going and allow the unique ecological study that began 60 years ago to continue.

The Wolf Conservation Center is hosting this free webinar on April 24 at 7 pm EST.


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Clever Raven Caches Food


Studies have shown that ravens seem to anticipate theft by rivals, and will cache their food to save some for later. Ravens will observe other ravens’ behaviors and will raid their caches if they have the chance. “At the same time, ravens with thievery on their minds try to look like they're not watching too closely, which would make the cache-building ravens suspicious.” Their complex social interactions are just one of the signs of their high level of intelligence. This video was captured on one of the Wolf Conservation Center's trail cameras set up in the wilderness surrounding the WCC.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Trail Cam Reveals Wolf Conservation Center's Other Wild Residents


Although the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) is only an hour away from New York City, there's actually more native wildlife around than a person might expect. From owls and eagles to eastern coyotes and bobcats - New York’s Westchester County is pretty wild!


Here are some of the critters that our trail-cam captured in the month of March alone!


The Wolf Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit 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.


In an effort to increase our local impact, the WCC is committed to educating the local community on the wildlife with whom we share our landscape. This initiative includes providing off-site programs for schools, nature centers, libraries, and more to discuss the importance of our native flora and fauna.


If you have questions regarding coexistence with wildlife local to the New York tristate area, or if you would like to find out more about our off-site programs pertaining to local wildlife, please contact our Wildlife Outreach Specialist Dana Goin at 914-763-2373.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scientific Report Finds Red Wolf and Mexican Gray Wolf as Taxonomically Valid


Is the red wolf a distinct species or, as critics in North Carolina have long contended, a hybrid unworthy of Endangered Species Act protection? What about the Mexican gray wolf - is the lobo a "real" subspecies?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognizes both as valid and lists each as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Although politicians should leave decisions about whether a species is deserving of protection to scientists and experts at wildlife agencies – these questions were posed by some members of Congress seeking to remove federal ESA protections the rare and at-risk wolves.

In a provision tucked away in the 2018 must-pass budget bill last March, Congress ordered the USFWS to get an independent analysis of whether red wolves and Mexican gray wolves are a taxonomically valid species and subspecies, respectively.

Over the past year, an expert panel appointed by the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), Engineering, and Medicine has been conducting an analysis of scientific literature to answer the following two questions:
  1. Is the Red wolf a taxonomically valid species?
  2. Is the Mexican gray wolf a taxonomically valid subspecies?

In its new report released today, Evaluating the Taxonomic Status of the Mexican Gray Wolf and the Red Wolf, NAS confirms that both red wolves and Mexican gray wolves are indeed valid.

“A majority of experts on red wolf taxonomy have concluded, time and time again, that the red wolf represents a unique lineage that is worthy of conservation and should remain a listable entity under the ESA,” stated Maggie Howell, Wolf Conservation Center Executive Director. “No longer plagued by questions of taxonomy, USFWS needs to re-evaluate its recent decisions and management changes and bring its efforts back in line with the conservation mandate of the ESA. Today’s findings give USFWS no excuse to further delay its recommitment to recovering the red wolf within the current five-county Red Wolf Recovery Area in North Carolina.”

The red wolf and Mexican gray wolf are among the most endangered mammals in North America. Both species at one time were extinct in the wild.

Red Wolf Background

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

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.

Federal Court Finds USFWS in 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, on November 5, 2018, a federal court ruled 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.

USFWS has been silent re red wolf recovery since November 2018. Only 24 wild red wolves are known to remain in the wild.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Howls of Thanks!



You did it! 

Yesterday we invited you to be a part of our one-day LoboWeek fundraiser and you heard our howls! Hundreds of supporters helped the WCC raise close to $27,000, exceeding our goal of $20,000! 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!

Video: Critically endangered Mexican gray wolf Diego (M1059)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Tiny wolf. Big personality. GIANT raffle prizes!

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It's LoboWeek! This week marks the 21st anniversary of the Mexican gray wolf's (“Lobo”) return to the wild! Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, the howl of the rarest and most unique subspecies of gray wolf was once again greeted by the mountains of the southwest.

This LoboWeek, we're inviting you to celebrate Lobos by featuring the teeny tiniest wolf we've ever known - Craighead the Mexican gray wolf!

In order to further the Wolf Conservation Center's mission of raising awareness for wolves, we're offering a FREE RAFFLE of Craighead-themed items to help you integrate wolves into your daily life. The drawing will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019, and the winner will be contacted via email. One lucky winner will receive:
  • 11x14 inch Craighead canvas photo
  • 5x5 inch framed Craighead paw print
  • Mexican gray wolf stuffed toy
  • Jean Craighead George book bundle
  • "Got wolves?" bumper sticker
Enter the raffle now!

LoboWeek - Celebrating the Mexican Gray Wolf's Wild Milestone

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This week marks the 21st anniversary of the Mexican gray wolf's (“Lobo”) return to the wild! Missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, the howl of the rarest and most unique subspecies of gray wolf was once again greeted by the mountains of the southwest.

Celebrate this exciting milestone for Lobos and wildlife conservation by joining the #LoboWeek movement (March 24 – 30)

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Feds Urged to Free Two Endangered Wolves Trapped in New Mexico

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Feds Urged to Free Two Endangered Wolves Trapped in New Mexico

SILVER CITY, N.M.— Thirty-seven organizations today sent a letter urging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to free two endangered wolves trapped in New Mexico and halt additional trapping.

Federal trappers recently removed two Mexican gray wolves from the wild and set traps for a third wolf for preying on cattle in the Gila National Forest. Because the removals undermine wolf recovery, today’s letter urges the Service to cancel the removal order and promptly release the captured wolves.

“Wolves can’t be recovered with traps and bullets,” said Michael Robinson, senior conservation advocate with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Mexican wolves are closer to extinction than the government admits. Removing wolves to placate the livestock industry is the last thing we should be doing to this profoundly endangered population.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service has refused to release its removal order to the public. But the agency has acknowledged that the order authorizes the killing of a wolf or multiple wolves.

“Given the excessive losses to the wolf population in the last year from unlawful killing, traps and other unknown causes, it's crucial that this wolf's life be spared,” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the Rio Grande Chapter of the Sierra Club. “A kill order is contrary to the goal of the recovery of this highly imperiled species.”

The Mexican wolf is one of the most endangered mammals in North America, with two reintroduced populations in Mexico and the U.S. Southwest, and roughly 300 captive wolves.

Federal trapping and shooting on behalf of the livestock industry has kept the population low since reintroduction began in Arizona and New Mexico in 1998. In 2017, 114 wolves were counted in the wild. The Fish and Wildlife Service will soon release 2018 numbers. In Mexico, approximately 35 wolves stem from a reintroduction program begun in 2011.

“Any loss to the wild population is a step backward for Mexican wolf recovery,” stated Maggie Howell, director of the Wolf Conservation Center. “The Fish and Wildlife Service should be releasing captive wolves into the wild as recommended by scientists, not taking critically endangered lobos out.”

“This area is good habitat for wolves, but clearly not such a great place for livestock,” said Greta Anderson, deputy director of Western Watersheds Project. “Real conflict reduction would mean permanently closing the allotment and allowing wildlife to be wild on our public lands.”

The letter from conservation groups points out the inequity in the Service ignoring the advice of scientists and allowing wolves to scavenge on livestock carcasses, and then scapegoating wolves when they begin to prey on cattle near where they scavenged.

It is not known if those circumstances precipitated the present conflicts. But in the past, Rainy Mesa has seen repeated incidents of cattle dying from non-wolf causes and then being scavenged by wolves. Wolves then began preying on livestock and suffered the consequences.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Idaho Kills Seven Wolves to Boost Elk Numbers for Human Hunters

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Idaho killed seven wolves via its "Wolf Control Program" in the remote and rugged areas of the Clearwater National Forest. The state wants to kill wolves to boost the elk population for human hunters in the Lolo Elk Management Zone.

Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) prefers to manage wolf populations using hunters and trappers and only authorizes its "control actions" where regulated killing has been insufficient to meet "management" goals. The Lolo zone is steep, rugged country that is difficult to access, especially in winter. To date, hunters and trappers have reported 18 wolves killed in the Lolo zone during the 2018-19 season.

IDFG just killed seven more.
"Fish and Game stepped up predation management in the Lolo area through increased harvest opportunities of black bears and mountain lions. Restoring the Lolo elk population will require continued harvest of black bears, mountain lions, and wolves along with wolf control actions when needed and meaningful large-scale habitat improvements."
History tells us, however, that the Lolo elk population dropped to historically low levels before wolves were restored to the region. So in an effort to boost elk numbers for human hunters, Idaho is scapegoating wolves and ignoring the many factors that affect elk population including human activities, weather, disease, and wildfire.

Do you think this killing campaign is an appropriate use of taxpayer resources?

Lawsuit Filed to End Artificial Feeding At National Elk Refuge

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A coalition of environmental groups yesterday sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) seeking to halt the practice of artificially feeding nearly 10,000 elk at the National Elk Refuge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Although the refuge is supposed to sustain healthy populations of native wildlife, the artificial winter-time elk feeding program creates crowded conditions, with consequences that are both extensive and dangerous.

The feeding grounds are hotbeds for disease transmission, including Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a degenerative neurological illness that is similar to mad cow disease. The disease spreads rapidly among ungulate populations and poses serious disease risks to the very elk populations they aim to support and other wildlife too.

As of this year, CWD has been detected in animals in 26 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just in November, the first case in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park was confirmed in a mule deer. There is no known vaccine.

Beyond shutting down the federal and 22 state-managed feedgrounds, perhaps Wyoming should allow native predators to limit the disease. Wolves are well suited to cut the disease out of the deer, elk, and moose herds because they naturally focus on culling the weak and the sick from the herd.

Instead of recognizing the value that wolves provide, Wyoming last year doubled down on its hostile and extreme anti-wolf policies and upped its wolf kill quota for the state's "Trophy Zone" to 58 wolves, a 32 percent increase over last year’s quota of 44.

In the other 85 percent of the state, Wyoming classifies wolves as shoot-on-sight vermin; wolves and pups can be killed any time, by almost any means, and without a license.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Emergency Action to Save America's Gray Wolves

Oppose_delisting_edit_blog_On March 15, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officially proposed removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across the entire lower 48 states, a plan that would put the future of the gray wolf and its proven benefits to ecosystems at serious risk.

The proposed rule removes federal Endangered Species Act protections for all gray wolves in the contiguous United States except for the population of critically endangered Mexican gray wolves in Arizona and New Mexico, where only about 114 remain.
TAKE ACTION: Tell the USFWS to keep wolves protected!

The most effective way to show opposition to USFWS's delisting proposal is to write personalized comments on the proposed rule in the Federal Register.

Open the suggested talking points here to guide your words.
  1. Use the link above to open optional talking points above to guide your words
  2. Go to the proposed rule on Federal Register here.
  3. Once on the Federal Register, select the “Comment Now!” button.
  4. Type your comment into the box.
The 60-day public comment period remains open through May 14, 2019.

Both Dogs and Wolves Cooperate with Humans

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A recent study conducted by behavioral researchers in Austria shows that dogs and wolves both work equally well with humans, albeit in different ways.

The study tested the extent to which dogs and grey wolves collaborate with humans in order to solve certain tasks. Findings show that both dogs and wolves cooperate intensively with humans and are equally successful, although the animals attain their goals in different ways. In their cooperation with human partners, dogs followed the behavior of the humans while wolves led the interaction: they were more independent.

Based on the results of the study, the researchers proposed that dogs were selected for breeding because of their higher submissive tendencies, which helped minimize conflicts over resources and ensured the safe coexistence and cooperation in which humans lead and dogs follow.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St Patrick's Day Kiss?

kISS_ME_ARCTIC_logo_smArctic pride!?
Wild Arctic gray wolves (Canis lupus arctos) live primarily in the Arctic, the region located above 67° north latitude. The land is covered with snow and ice for most of the year, except for a brief period during the summer. Arctic wolves have adapted well to this icy environment. Atka, like his wild counterparts, had white fur, which allowed him to blend into snowy surroundings. To help reduce heat loss, his ears were rounded, he had a shorter muzzle and shorter legs than other gray wolf subspecies. He also had hair between the pads of his feet and long, thick fur to keep him warm in temperatures that were as low as minus 70° Fahrenheit.

About Atka

Atka lived to be the oldest ambassador wolf at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), passing away peacefully in September 2018 at 16 years old. He arrived at the WCC from Minnesota when he was just 8 days old.

The confident and charismatic ambassador won the hearts and opened the minds of hundreds of thousands of people throughout his storied career.

Atka wasn’t just a luminary in the world of conservation, he was a superstar! Thank you, Atka, for allowing the world to form lasting connections with not only you but your wild kin as well. We will always remember and honor your wild legacy.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Peace.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Department of the Interior Announces Gray Wolf Delisting Plan

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Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) formally announced its plan to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

Wolves once ranged across most of North America, a vital part of many varied ecosystems. But an unremitting slaughter by humans brought wolves to the brink of extinction.

The Endangered Species Act (ESA), signed into law in 1973, gave us a second chance to right this wrong.

But just as wolves are beginning to reclaim territory, USFWS is pushing a plan to remove federal protections from nearly all gray wolves in the contiguous United States—a move that, if implemented, will threaten fragile populations still trying to make a comeback on the American landscape.

Without federal protection, 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.

While USFWS delisting proposal is not likely to spell extinction for wolves throughout the Lower 48, losing federal ESA protections will have deadly implications for wolves.

History tells us that under the states’ authority to manage wolf populations, wolves die at the hands of trophy hunters. Starting in 2011, wolf management, at one time or another, returned to the states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. All but one of these states opened a hunting season on wolves within the first year of having management authority. Although Michigan refrained from immediately opening a season on wolves, state representatives unabashedly altered the right of referendum for Michigan voters to allow its inaugural trophy season to begin the following year.

Nearly two thousand wolves were killed in 2011-2013 alone, and thousands more since in states where protections were temporarily or permanently lifted.

This isn't the first attempt by USFWS to strip gray wolves of federal protection. The Interior Department had also proposed removing the gray wolf’s endangered status in 2013, but the effort was unsuccessful. In the federal mandated Independent Peer Review of the 2013 delisting rule, the five-member panel of scientists agreed unanimously that USFWS's proposal was scientifically unsound.

USFWS proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow on March 15, opening a 60-day public comment period.

Please visit www.nywolf.org for information and opportunities to take action.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Howling Dialects of Wolves



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, like Jack (M1606) featured in this video, 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.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Feds Seek to Strip Federal ESA Protection for Gray Wolves Nationwide

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

Today, Acting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will soon propose a rule to remove federal Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states.

Wolves once ranged across most of North America, a vital part of many varied ecosystems. But an unremitting slaughter by humans brought wolves to the brink of extinction. By the 1960s, government-sponsored extermination had wiped out nearly all wolves in the Lower 48 states. Only a small population of gray wolves remained in extreme northeastern Minnesota and on Isle Royale.

The Endangered Species Act, signed into law in 1973, gave us a second chance to right this wrong.

With ESA protections and the support of the American public, the gray wolf was able to return to limited portions of its native range. In areas where wolves began to recover, like the northern Rocky Mountain states and western Great Lakes states, scientists have noted more diverse plant and wildlife thriving where they had been suppressed for decades.

By stripping federal protections from nearly all gray 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.

Losing federal ESA protections would also have deadly implications for wolves: in just the last few years, thousands of wolves have been shot or trapped in states where protections were temporarily or permanently lifted.

This isn't the first attempt by USFWS to strip gray wolves of federal protection. The Obama administration had also proposed removing the wolves’ endangered status in 2013, but the effort was unsuccessful. In the Independent Peer Review of the 2013 delisting rule, the five-member panel of scientists agreed unanimously that USFWS's proposal was based on insufficient science.

USFWS intends to publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register in the coming days, opening a public comment period on the proposal. This proposal will exclude Mexican gray wolves, which would remain a listed subspecies under the ESA.

Monday, March 4, 2019

NPS Releases Four More Wolves on Michigan’s Isle Royale

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Before the National Park Service began its wolf relocation project last fall, the last two wolves to call Isle Royale home were at risk of vanishing from the island altogether, along with the island’s ongoing wolf-moose study that began nearly 60 years ago.

The wolf relocation project is a part of a planned "genetic rescue" of Isle Royale’s dwindling wolf population. Scientists working on the island’s wolf-moose study had been advocating for relocating wolves to the island for years. They believe that a genetic rescue is the only option for keeping the species going and allow the unique ecological study to continue.

The wolf relocation project’s goal is to provide much-needed genetic diversity for the island's wolves. Additional wolves will help restore the predator-prey balance on the island between wolves and moose.

Translocating wolves, however, is easier said than successfully achieved. Two wolves died last fall since their initial capture on the mainland. A female died upon capture before making it to the island, and a male was found dead on the island just weeks after his release there. Another female left the island during the coldest days of the season via an ice bridge that formed between island and Canada.

Members of the wolf relocation project hope the newest relocated wolves, three males and a female released last week, will fare better in their new home. Only time will tell. In the meantime, follow Wolves and Moose of Isle Royale for updates.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Webcam Footage Answers Age-old Question, "Where Do Wolf Pups Come From?"



It’s an exciting time for wolves — it’s the season of romance. Hormones are racing, and earlier this week red wolves Charlotte (F2121) and Jack (M1606) engaged in a copulatory tie - three times!

The gestation period (length of pregnancy) is 63 days. So, for now, keep your paws crossed that Charlotte and Jack will be welcoming priceless (and adorable) contributions to the recovery of their rare species later this spring.

Background

The Wolf Conservation Center is one of a network of facilities participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan - a national initiative whose primary purpose is to support the reestablishment of red wolves in the wild through captive breeding, public education, and research.

The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) management group determines which wolves should be bred each year by using software developed for the population management of endangered species. This is necessary because all red wolves descended from just fourteen founders rescued from extinction. Genetic diversity is the primary consideration in the selection of red wolf breeding pairs and Charlotte and Jack are a great match on paper with an extremely low inbreeding coefficient.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Role of Reproductive Management in Mexican Wolf Recovery

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In an effort to offer insight into the complex and critically important world of Mexican gray wolf reproductive management, the Wolf Conservation Center is extending a FREE webinar on March 27 -The Role of Reproductive Management in Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery - with Cheryl Asa, Ph.D.!

All Mexican gray wolves alive today derive from just seven individuals rescued from extinction. In 1990 the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Program asked the Saint Louis Zoo’s Research Department to establish and maintain a semen bank for the species, to preserve genetic material in the form of frozen semen. Following technology advances in the mid-2000s, genes from females in the form of frozen eggs and ovarian tissue have been added. In the past 30 years, samples have been frozen from 165 males and 51 females, with the cooperation of 28 zoos around the U.S., including the (WCC). The program has included adaptations of methods, developed in domestic dogs, for inducing timed ovulation and artificial insemination (AI), so frozen semen can be put to use.

The WCC has been key, in particular, in the development of these protocols for females. In contrast to enhancing fertility through techniques like AI, breeding programs also need contraception to limit the number of pups born each year and to prevent inbreeding. A successful breeding program that manages which wolves breed each year is key to Mexican wolf recovery.

Tune in to the FREE webinar March 27, at 6 pm EST.

Register here.