Wednesday, April 30, 2014

RWSSP site of the month--Wolf Conservation Center!

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, we are continuing to feature different RWSSP locations.  The RWSSP of the month is the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in South Salem, New York.  WCC was founded in 1999 by Hélène Grimaud, as a private, not-for-profit environmental education organization. The WCC’s mission is to promote wolf conservation by teaching about wolves, their relationship to the environment, and the human role in protecting their future. The WCC accomplishes this mission through onsite and offsite education programs emphasizing wolf biology, the ecological benefits of wolves and other large predators, and the current status of wolf recovery in the United States.
Captive red wolf at WCC.  Photo credit: Rebecca Bose.

In 2003, the WCC joined the RWSSP program.  Additionally, the WCC also participates in the SSP for another critically endangered wolf species, the Mexican gray wolf (Canis lupus baileyi). Since then, WCC has grown both their wolf population and their staff, with 30 wolves and 4 full-time employees (and many talented volunteers!).  They have established 19 acres of protected land as home for their SSP programs, Ambassador wolf populations, and education programs.

Captive red wolf at WCC.  Photo credit: Rebecca Bose.
The WCC is currently home to four red wolves, including two breeding pairs 1394M and 1291F and 1565M and 1397F. Of these animals, 1291F has been a resident WCC the longest amount of time.  She arrived in 2004 from Trevor Zoo (Millbrook, NY). Her mate, M1394 was transferred to WCC from Mill Mountain (Roanoke, Virginia) in 2011. The other pair is a more recently duo, with M1565 arriving from St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge (Florida) in December 2013 (read about his journey here).  F1397 came to WCC from the North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro, NC) in 2009.  From their website, you can observe F1397 and M1565 through the den and exclosure cameras in their exhibit.

Captive red wolf at WCC.  Photo credit: Rebecca Bose.
Wolf Conservation Center has also played a large role in red wolf education efforts, both within the RWSSP network and through public events at the site.  WCC offers multiple programs and opportunities for kids to learn about wolves, use telemetry tracking tools, and meet wolf ambassadors. Registration for four day summer programs for grades 2-3 and grades 4-6 is currently open.

Thank you Wolf Conservation Center!! Special thanks to WCC's Curator, Rebecca Bose, for sharing her amazing photographs of the red wolves at WCC!

Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Earth Day!

Wild red wolf pup. Photo credit: B. Harrison/USFWS.

Today in honor of Earth Day 2014, we recognize the evolving challenges of conservation. Many threatened and endangered species are still in decline, causing scientists and concerned citizens to find new ways to find a more sustainable future.  How can you help?

1         1.  Learn about red wolves and other wildlife
Wolves and other predators are often misunderstood.  Education is key.  The more you know the more effective you will be at changing attitudes.  Visit the Red Wolf Recovery Program  and USFWS Endangered Species websites to get started! 

       2.   Visit a place where red wolves live
Plan a trip to red wolf country in northeastern North Carolina, the only place red wolves currently exist in the wild. Visit a zoo or nature center in the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan.  Find a red wolf exhibit near you.

       3.  Get involved
Support the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, or one of our many partners.  We can work together!

      4.  Express your concerns about wildlife
Talk to elected officials, lawmakers, and leaders of civic and business organizations.  Ask them to support wildlife conservation efforts and programs. Find your state representative here.

      5.  Protect natural areas
Red wolves and other wildlife need space and wild lands to thrive.  Support land conservation initiatives and programs.  We work with The Nature Conservancy, the Wildlands Network, and other groups on land protection issues.

      6.  Reduce your carbon footprint
Climate change impacts many wildlife species.  Learn how you can calculate and reduce your carbon footprint.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RWSSP of the month--Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge

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 on the blog.  The RWSSP of the March is Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge (ARNWR) in northeastern North Carolina.  The 154,000-acre refuge is located on the mainland portions of Dare and Hyde Counties, North Carolina. The offices for refuge staff, as well as members of the Red Wolf Recovery Program, are located in the Coastal NC National Wildlife Refuges Gateway Visitor Center.

Photo by R. Nordsven/USFWS

Aerial view of ARNWR. Photo by Melissa McGaw.
In March 1984, a large parcel of land in Dare County was set aside to become the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge. ARNWR is well recognized as the location of the initial restoration efforts for the Red Wolf Recovery Program.  In 1987—just three years after the refuge was established—four breeding pairs of red wolves were released onto the refuge.  As a sign of early success in the program, the first wild pups were born the following spring.  Additional releases (facilitated by successful captive breeding efforts), intensive monitoring, and the establishment of partnerships in the local community has allowed the restored population of red wolves to expand west from ARNWR to include approximately 110 wolves occurring over more than 6000 km2 in the Red Wolf Recovery Area. The collaboration between ARNWR and the Red Wolf Recovery Program has served as a model for restoration of other controversial endangered carnivores including gray wolves, African wild dogs, and black-footed ferrets.  

Release of a red wolf on ARNWR. Photo by R. Nordsven/USFWS.
In addition to the wild red wolves on the refuge, there is also a RWSSP facility on the ARNWR.  This RWSSP site currently has four full-time captive residents: one breeding pair, and two adult females.  The three females arrived from Virginia Living Museum (Newport News, VA) in 2007 (one born in 2006, and two sisters born in 2007).  The breeding male was born at Henson Robinson Zoo (Springfield, IL) in 2007 and transferred from North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro, NC) in 2010. The breeding pair had their first litter of pups in 2013 (one of which was fostered into the wild). We’re hoping for more pups this year—stay tuned!

Happy 30th Birthday to Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge! Please visit their website or Facebook page for more information!