Two critically endangered captive Mexican gray wolves (companions  F749 “Mama” and M1198 “Alleno”) are cautiously curious upon discovering an iPhone.

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 eleven wolves were reintroduced into the wild as part of a federal reintroduction program under the Endangered Species Act.  At last count earlier this year, only 110 lobos remained in the wild.

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.

For more information about wolves and the Wolf Conservation Center‘s participation in wolf recovery,  you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram too.

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It is with a heavy heart that I share sad news about a special wolf. Mexican gray wolf F1145, nicknamed “Anastasia” by Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) volunteers, passed away today.

F1145 was born on April 22, 2008 at the WCC. F1145 never received the opportunity to take her rightful place on the wild landscape like brother and litter-mate M1141 will later this year. Nor was F1145 ever granted the opportunity to raise of family of her own. For all her 7 years, F1145 resided off-exhibit with her family in a remote enclosure where she unknowingly helped raise awareness for the importance and plight of her wild kin.

Wolves are naturally fearful of people, and a number of our Mexican gray wolves are candidates for release. Maintaining their timidity around people is essential if we want them to have a good chance of survival if released into the wild. The WCC’s Endangered Species Facility houses five vast enclosures which provide a natural environment where these most elusive creatures can reside with minimal human contact. Most of these enclosures are equipped with wireless surveillance cameras to allow WCC staff to observe food and water intake and monitor the physical well-being of each wolf without the animals’ knowledge.

Because these webcams are available for the public, F1145 was able to enter our homes and hearts via webcam, opening the door to understanding the importance of her endangered kin and our efforts to recover them.

WCC Curator Rebecca Bose noticed on Sunday that F1145’s muzzle was a little swollen. Normally this wouldn’t be alarming, however, fast-growing nasal tumors are prevalent among Mexican wolves. Since 1995 more than 25 cases of nasal tumors have been documented in the captive populations of Mexican wolves in both Mexico and the U.S.A. Although cancer represents only 3.3% of the causes of death in the registered Mexican wolf populations; 44.4% of these neoplasms are nasal tumors. In its great majority these tumors are locally aggressive but rarely metastasize. A genetic component is currently being investigated.

Bose noted via eyewitness account and webcam that F1145’s muzzle and face was becoming increasingly misshaped at an alarming rate. Early this morning, WCC staff brought F1145 to our lead veterinarian Dr Charlie Duffy VMD of Norwalk Veterinary Hospital where her cancer was confirmed. F1145’s tumor was very aggressive and in just days began to erode her skull. She is no longer in pain now. We put the sweet wolf to sleep.

Our hearts go out to her 16-year-old mother F613, her sister F1143, her brothers M1140, M1141, M1139, and those of you she had unknowingly touched.

R.I.P., Sweet loba

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California Department of Fish and Wildlife released photos today of California’s first wolf pack – the Shasta pack – since the state’s gray wolf population went extinct in 1924. State and federal authorities announced Thursday that a remote camera captured photos earlier this month of two adults and five pups in southeastern Siskiyou County.

Read more via California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Will New York one day celebrate a similar homecoming? We hope so.

Recognizing the need to explore the need for this apex predator and the potential for its recovery in the Northeast USA, the Northeast Wolf Coalition was established in March, 2014 as an alliance of conservation organizations in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut and beyond. The Coalition’s work is guided by some of our nation’s best and brightest conservation scientists to ensure the foundation of its work is based on the application of the best available and most current scientific principles. The Coalition believes the return of the wolf will reflect a more fully functional and wild Northeast, with wolves fulfilling dynamic and evolving ecological functions in the changing environments that comprise our region.

As conservationists in the 21st century, we are faced with the challenge of helping nature continue to heal and flourish for future generations. Thus, the need to explore the critical factors that affect the wolf’s return and its potentially positive impact to the natural biological diversity of the Northeast has never been more important.

The Northeast Wolf Coalition envisions an ecologically effective wolf populations in healthy, diverse ecosystems managed as a public trust across North America. Wildlife conservationists must be equipped with a foundation of knowledge and the necessary tools to proceed with due diligence when promoting wolf recovery in the region. Thus, it’s the a priority of the Northeast Wolf Coalition to first and foremost encourage effective trans-boundary cooperative relationships with federal, state, and provincial agencies, organizations, and the general public that lead to responsible best practices that promote wolf recovery in the region.

Learn more about the Northeast Wolf Coalition here.

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