Thursday, September 26, 2013

Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day in memory of Dr. Holly Reed

This week, we have another fantastic entry from a guest blogger!  Will, the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) Coordinator at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, (Tacoma, WA) shares his recent experience with the Susan G. Komen 3-Day fundraiser walk.  Thank you to Will and Marla for raising awareness for this important cause!

Will and Marla share a laugh with one of Seattle PDs 3Day support team.

With the encouragement and contributions from many friends and colleagues, my wife and I participated in and completed the Susan G. Komen Seattle 3-Day. We shared the 60-mile walk with over 1000 other participants throughout Seattle’s streets and surrounding communities, across bridges and along urban pathways with a common purpose, to support efforts to help find the cures to end breast cancer. Cheering sections along the route offered all sorts of goodies and the ever present crew of volunteers, decked out in a range of wacky pink getups, gave us inspiration as we trekked on to the next pit stop and into camp the first two nights. Rain and wind for part of the final day was a mere inconvenience as we headed toward the Space Needle to finish the walk. 

Dr. Holly Reed
It’s fair to say that many of us know someone… a relative, friend, co-worker, or neighbor who has, in some way, been affected by breast cancer. In our case, we lost a dear friend and co-worker, Dr. Holly Reed, last November to breast cancer. Holly served as the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan Veterinary Advisor for many years with compassion, humor, and grace and we were honored to walk in her memory.

Monday, September 23, 2013

RWSSP of the month—Trevor Zoo at Millbrook School (Millbrook, NY)

The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (RWSSP) is the foundation of the Red Wolf Recovery Program. To let people know what’s happening throughout the program through, we are continuing to feature different RWSSP locations.  The RWSSP of the month is the Trevor Zoo at the Millbrook School. The zoo is one-of-a-kind, representing the only zoo in this country that is located at a high school. The zoo was established in 1936 at Millbrook School, a coeducational independent high school in Millbrook, New York. Its founder, Frank Trevor, was Millbrook School’s first biology teacher and a man with a passion for sharing his love of wildlife with all people, especially children.

Trevor Zoo currently is home to 80 different species, including seven endangered species.  The first red wolf came to Trevor Zoo in 2007.  In January 2012, the female received a mate who was transferred from RWSSP facility, Jackson Zoo (Jackson, MS).  It was a match made in heaven as they quickly paired and had six pups that spring (May 2012): four females and two males. The breeding male then left in January 2013 to be paired with another female for the 2013 breeding season at RWSSP site, Wolf Conservation Center (South Salem, NY). The four sisters were recently transferred to a new RWSSP site, Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site (Charleston, SC) this summer.  The breeding female and two male pups are still on exhibit at Trevor Zoo.

Here’s a video of the pups when they were 5 days old at their first health examination:
The zoo is also very active in fundraising and community outreach.  This past spring they partnered with the Keep Safe Project, which focuses on raising awareness for endangered species. Artists were invited to decorate 100 wooden keepsafe boxes for fundraising for different causes, including red wolf conservation. Online bidding for the boxes occurred in April and was a wonderful success! Together, these artists and donors raised over $2300 for the Red Wolf Recovery Program and red wolf conservation efforts. Thank you Trevor Zoo at the Millbrook School and the Keep Safe Project! We are grateful to these partners for their continued role in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan and send a thank you to all their staff.

Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Welcome Kate, the new red wolf caretaker intern!

Please help us welcome our most recent addition to the Red Wolf Recovery Program, Kate!  She is the red wolf caretaker intern from September through December 2013. 

Kate grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina and continues to reside there with her family when she’s not working remotely.  Some of her favorite things to do are reading, horseback riding, hiking, and watching British television.  She also love music and played clarinet in the marching band for six years.  Kate graduated in 2012 from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.Sc. degree in Biology.  Since then, she has worked in different internship programs to gain experience and figure out what she wants to do next professionally.  Her goal is to be involved in animal care and research of terrestrial carnivores such as wolves and big cats.  Her main research interest is studying social communication within groups of animals.  Kate has a wide range of research experience with various species, including sea turtles in North Carolina and Florida, and sulfur butterflies in the Colorado Rockies.  She also studied abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands two years ago and got to put her scuba certification to good use.  Within North Carolina, she also spent a summer working at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and had the opportunity to overcome an intense fear of snakes.  By the end, she was a convert and was handling the snakes regularly at the museum; however, she still maintains a healthy distance from them in the wild. 


We’re lucky to have Kate as she enjoys the challenges of new experiences and is an incredibly dedicated worker.  She also knows her way around the refuge already, she was a General Refuge intern at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge this past summer and explored and gained useful knowledge about the native wildlife.   She looks forward to learning more about red wolves, gaining additional animal care experience, and assisting with the efforts of the Red Wolf Recovery Program.

Welcome Kate!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Surprise Trip to Alaska!

We have a guest blogger this week, Ryan, from Red Wolf Recovery Program! He's recently returned from a fire assignment and is sharing the details and photos this week from his trip.  Thanks, Ryan!
Firefighters in Idaho. Photo by Anthony Conte, U.S. Forest Service.
Wildland firefighting is something I have participated in for a number of years now.  Since Red Wolf Recovery Program-related field work tends to slow down during the dog days of summer, it provides me an opportunity to do shift gears for a while and lend a hand during the peak wildfire season.  Once a firefighter declares himself available for a (typically 14 day) detail, he or she can be called up at any time and sent to wherever resources may be needed at the time.

On August 10, I received such a call.  Another Alligator River biologist and myself were to fly to Boise, ID, and then drive to Oregon where we were to staff an engine.  We quickly packed our gear and booked our flights to Boise out of Norfolk, VA.  We were not yet halfway to Norfolk when we got a call from dispatch – the engine we were to staff had been accidentally double booked.  Our resource order was cancelled and we were to return home.  Disappointed, we stopped for a bite to eat before turning around.  It wasn’t 15 minutes later, however, when we received another call from dispatch.  Our plans had changed again.  We were to drive to Asheville, NC, where we would join the rest of a 20 person hand crew bound for Alaska!
We were both ecstatic!  Getting a fire detail in Alaska is extremely rare, especially in August, when cooler, wetter weather typically moves in and squelches the remaining fires, sending resources home.  This year, a high pressure system had settled in over Alaska’s interior, which kept several fires burning much later than normal, and they were forced to order up additional resources to assist with suppression.

NC Inter-agency crew. Photo by Anthony Conte/U.S. Forest Service
After joining the rest of our inter-agency crew (we had firefighters from the US Forest Service, National Park Service, and US Fish and Wildlife Service) we joined 4 additional 20-person crews and flew to Fairbanks, Alaska.  From there, the 5 crews were sent to various wildfires in the surrounding area as needed.  Our crew was sent to the Birch Creek fire, a 25,000 acre fire burning in tussock tundra and black spruce less than 50 miles from the Yukon River and the Arctic Circle.  Our assignment was to cut a containment line to keep the fire away from surrounding communities, and, if conditions permitted, do a burnout on the fire side of the containment line.  We completed the containment line in just a few days, and then the cooler, wetter, weather pattern more typical to that part of Alaska in August, gradually moved in.  Our burnout was no longer needed, and we were sent back to the western lower 48, where fire danger was still extremely high and many wildfires were still burning.
Denali (Mt. McKinley). Photo by Ryan Nordsven/USFWS
Coastal mountains and glaciers in Alaska. Photo by Ryan Nordsven/USFWS.
Birch Creek fire camp - interior Alaska. Photo by Ryan Nordsven/USFWS.
We extended our detail to 21 days (instead of the normal 14) and continued to assist with two fires in north-central Idaho along the Clearwater River, and two more near the Idaho/Montana border just north of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  As I mentioned earlier, when you make yourself available for a fire detail, you never really know where you will end up or who you will be working with.  After spending almost 4 weeks (including travel) with a great bunch of people and seeing some of the wildest, most scenic country in the US, I feel like I couldn’t have hand picked a better fire detail!
Clearwater River - Idaho. Photo by Anthony Conte/U.S. Forest Service.
A big thank you to all these firefighters from the Red Wolf Recovery Program!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Red wolf howling events: summer recap and fall schedule

The Red Wolf Recovery Program  had a wonderful summer howling season!  From June through August, we hosted 12 howling events on Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.  We lucked out and only had a single weather cancellation this summer.   More than 640 people joined us at these events, helping raise over $3250 that is directly returned to fund red wolf conservation efforts in the field.  Thank you to everyone for their support!

In September, we take a small break from the howlings, but there are still opportunities to attend a howling event this fall.  We offer three *free* events on the following Saturdays:

Free Fall Saturday Howlings
No Registration Required

  • October 12 - Wolf Awareness Week - 6:00-7:30 pm
  • November 16 - Full Moon Howl - 5:00-6:30 pm
  • December 7 - Holiday Howl - 5:00-6:30 pm

For more information and a list of important things to bring, please visit our event website.

Here’s a preview of what you might hear if you join us!  This video was taken by Wolf Haven International (Tenino, WA), a participant in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan program.

Special howls of thanks to Lizzy, our summer Red Wolf Caretaker intern, who conducted most of the howling events.  Thank you, Lizzy!