Wednesday, July 31, 2013

2013 Red Wolf Species Survival Plan Meeting

Last week, different collaborators from 15 facilities participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) met for the annual RWSSP meeting in Homosassa Springs, Florida at Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The Red Wolf Recovery Program Assistant Coordinator, Becky, joined the group composed of folks from Chattanooga Nature Center (Chattanooga, TN), Endangered Wolf Center (Eureka, MO), North Carolina Museum of Life & Science (Durham, NC), Wildlife Science Center (Forest Lake, MN),Wolf Conservation Center of New York  (South Salem, NY), Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site (Charleston, SC), Tampa Lowry Park Zoo (Tampa, FL), North Carolina Zoological Park (Asheboro, NC), Tallahassee Museum of Natural History, (Tallahassee, FL), Knoxville Zoological Gardens, (Knoxville, TN), Salisbury Zoological Park, (Salisbury, MD), Western NC Nature Center, (Asheville, NC), Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, (Glen Rose, TX), Wolf Haven International, (Tenino, WA), Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, (Homosassa, FL), Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, (Tacoma, WA), and researchers from Louisiana State University.

2013 Red Wolf Species Survival Plan Group. Photo credit: K. Brzeski

Participants met over 3.5 days to discuss husbandry methods and techniques, current and ongoing red wolf research, and facility updates.  The bulk of the meeting is dedicated to examining all the available breeding wolves in the SSP program (across 40+ locations) to see if individuals need to be moved from facility to facility to form the best potential breeding pairs.  With more than 175 breeding red wolves in the captive population, this is no small feat.  Age, health history, genetic relatedness, and logistical difficulties of transferring animals are all taken into consideration when deciding new pairs.  While the matchmaking and moving process looks like a complicated process, the group was a well-oiled machine and successfully tracked and paired all individuals.  Hope's hoping to successful pairings and more pups next spring!

Organizing individuals at different RWSSP facilities.

Examining pairs and red wolf matchmaking.

A tied pair during breeding season. Photo credit: Greg Dodge.

We would like to extend a big thank you to the RWSSP Coordinator, Will, for organizing everyone for the meeting and to the staff at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park for hosting us!

Please visit the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan  to learn more about the facilities participating in the captive breeding program and recovery efforts.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Welcome new RWSSP sites: Akron Zoo and Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site!

The success of the Red Wolf Recovery Program is partially due to developing strong conservation partnerships. The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) is the foundation of the recovery program. Without its collective expertise and resources, the future of the red wolf would be uncertain.  This month we will start highlighting different RWSSP facilities to let people know what’s happening throughout the recovery program. We will feature one RWSSP partner each month on the blog.

To kick off our first feature, we actually have two RWSSP partners we’re excited to share—both of which are brand new and have red wolf exhibits opening this month.
Photo Credit: Trevor Zoo
Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site is part of the South Carolinas State Park system and is located in historic Charleston.  The new Red Wolf Habitat in their Animal Forest is the new home for four sisters from another RWSSP site, Trevor Zoo at the Millbrook School in New York.  These females are approximately one year of age. Their grand opening was earlier this month.  Here's a short video showing the habitat and red wolves at their new home. Please visit their website, Friends of Charles Towne Landing, or Facebook page for more information!
Photo Credit: Akron Zoo
Akron Zoo (Akron, Ohio) first open in 1953 and has been expanding ever since.  It is the new home to two female red wolves, which will be in their newly constructed Mike and Molly Stark Grizzly Ridge.  This new exhibit will include grizzly bears, bald eagles, river otters, and native Ohio birds.  In addition to these animals, red wolves and coyotes will also be featured for the first time at the zoo.  The exhibit opens July 20. Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information!

We are grateful to these new partners in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and send a big welcome to all their staff!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

How/where do I see a red wolf?

Photo Credit: John Froschauer

We’ve been receiving lots of inquiries about where to see a red wolf.  The wild, reintroduced population in northeastern North Carolina occupies over 1.7 million acres of the Red Wolf Recovery Area, over 60% of which is on private land. This distribution, together with the elusive nature of red wolves, can make them difficult to see in the wild.  However, if you want to take your chances, there are three national wildlife refuges within the Red Wolf Recovery Area that are open to the public: Alligator River, Pocosin Lakes, and Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuges.  Additionally, there is a small island population at St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Alligator River also offers regular howling safari programs throughout the summer on Wednesdays.  For more information on the howling events, visit our website.  

There are also numerous educational and recreational events offered by the Red Wolf Coalition at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Red Wolf Education and Healthcare Facility in Columbia, North Carolina. Programs like Talk Like a Red Wolf, Red Wolf 101, or Red Wolf Kids are great for families or small groups interested in an introduction to red wolves, their lives and their conservation. Please visit the Red Wolf Coalition’s Calendar of Events site to learn more about the various events and the dates/times they are scheduled, and to reserve seats for your family or group.

The best way to see a red wolf is to visiting one of the more than 40 zoos and nature centers participating in the Red Wolf Species Survival PlanThese facilities play a significant role in red wolf recovery by informing visitors about the value of wolves in ecosystems, inspiring the public to support the wolf's reestablishment in the wild, and allowing people to see red wolves close up.  To find a Red Wolf Species Survival Plan facility near you, check out the map below:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Red Wolf Readings and Research Aids

 Photo: B. Bartel/USFWS

We’ve been posting a lot about recent red wolf book releases, but there also have been accounts and articles written and published about red wolves in scientific and popular literature, technical reports, books, and grey literature. Click on these links below to view the different resources:

Books, scientific articles, and magazine/newspaper articles
Red Wolf Recovery Program technical reports 
Brochures on red wolves, by USFWS & partners  
Educator Resources