Mother’s Day came early for a critically endangered red wolf living at the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) in Westchester county. Yesterday morning red wolf F1563 (a.k.a. Salty) gave birth to a litter of pups — each no larger than a potato.

WCC staff conducted the initial health check this morning and all 7 pups look healthy – 6 boys and 1 girl. These pups are not only adorable, they are a valuable contribution to the recovery of their rare and at-risk species.

Follow the pups’ progress on the WCC webcamsFacebook and Twitter.

Red wolf F1563 with noisy newborns on live dencam

Red wolves are among the world’s most endangered species; with just a few hundred animals in existence (and less than 100 in the wild), they are classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “Critically Endangered.” Only one place on the planet are wild red wolf populations viable and secure – North Carolina. But the state’s Wildlife Resources Commission has asked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to terminate the entire red wolf recovery program in North Carolina which would inevitably result in the loss of the last wild population of red wolves and render the species “Extinct in the Wild” and set an extremely dangerous precedent that will negatively impact all endangered species.

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.

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“…this is an opportunity, more than a problem, to really embrace a wilder city.”

New York News

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Although the most famous form of communication for wolves is the howl, wolves “talk” to one another in several ways. Watch Ambassador wolves Zephyr, Nikai and Alawa communicate in this video. In addition to using their voices, the siblings also use body language to convey the rules of their pack. What do you think they’re saying?

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Almost 200,000 concerned citizens from around the globe have signed Pacific Wild’s online petition opposing the British Columbia government’s scientifically unsound wolf slaughter. The government aims to inhumanely kill hundreds of wolves by helicopter for the next five years in the name of conserving declining caribou herds, this season 84 were killed. Decades of habitat destruction and human encroachment have left B.C.’s mountain caribou on the edge of extinction. Instead of protecting critical food and habitat for caribou, the B.C. government is placing the blame on wolves.

Recognizing a need to take action, Ashley, an inspired seventh grader from John Jay Middle School, mobilized support for B.C.’s wolves. Ashley appealed to her school and was granted permission to make a presentation about the situation in B.C. and her concern for the misunderstood predator. Her speech motivated both students and faculty alike to take action and sign Ashley’s petition to help stop the B.C. crisis in its tracks.  Ashley also wrote this compelling poem:

Wolves Cry – By Ashley S. from Pacific Wild on Vimeo.

Ashley exemplifies the amazing potential of their generation to make this world a better place. Thank you, Ashley!

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Seven years ago today, the Wolf Conservation Center family grew. During the early morning hours on April 22, 2008, Mexican gray wolf F613 quietly had six pups in her den and created a new holiday- “B’Earth Day.” The six newborn pups (three girls and three boys) were not only adorable, they were and still remain an essential contribution to the recovery of their rare species.
After a week had passed, WCC curator Rebecca Bose gave the pups their first checkup. At this age, pups are still blind, their eyes not opening until about 10 days of age. Since these wolves are a part of the Mexican wolf Species Survival Plan, it was important that they received as little human contact as possible so they retained their natural wariness of people.

WCC staff became reacquainted with the litter when the pups were two months old. This is also when the pups were officially given their alphanumeric “names.”

Also at this age, beginning at about 5 weeks old, the pups emerged from the den to explore the world around them.  Because the tiny explorers cannot go far, adult wild wolves will travel less during this season, keeping most activities focused on the den or rendezvous site.  All ears and paws, the pups romp, play, bite, and tackle one another. This of course is great fun for the siblings, but it’s also a way for the pups to sharpen important skills that they’ll require as adults and lets them establish which sibling will be dominant in the pack hierarchy.  By the time the pups celebrated their first birthday in 2009, one male yearling was clearly his father’s right hand man, shadowing every move of his handsome role model.

As the siblings matured, opportunities came knocking. As a part of ongoing efforts to reintroduce critically endangered Mexican gray wolves into a portion of their ancestral home in the United States southwest and northern Mexico, U.S. Fish and Wildlife (USFWS) selected one of the pups to be released into the wild! Mexican gray wolf M1141 was transferred from the WCC in September of 2013 to meet his “bride” at USFWS’ Sevilleta Management facility in New Mexico to prep him for his eventual home on the wild landscape of northern Mexico. Today, M1141 remains at pre-release facility south of the border in Northern Mexico and is slated to receive the “call of the wild” soon.  Although M1141 will be the third Mexican wolf from the WCC chosen for release into the wild, he’s a pioneer among his litter-mates.

Sadly, on May 13, 2014 Mexican wolf F1144 passed away after her kidneys failed.

All grown up now, the four remaining “Earth Day Pups” reside with their soon to be 16-year-old mother, F613.  So today on their birthday, we’re keeping our hopes high that one day we can offer more of them the ultimate gift – an opportunity to bring their ancestral home on the wild landscape back to balance. Happy B’Earth Day, Lobos!

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