Given that he was talking about an endangered species, it was refreshing to hear Dr. Greg Rasmussen sound so many optimistic tones during his talk on African painted dogs March 8, 2017 at the Endangered Wolf Center.
Rasmussen even used the term “Map of Opportunity” when he displayed a map showing where African painted dogs can be found in national parks in five African nations that have united to create the Kavango Zambezi trans-frontier Conservation area (KAZA), the largest trans-boundary conservation area in Africa. Here under one conservation umbrella, painted dogs in Angola, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia have the potential to thrive and expand, Rasmussen said, though he did discuss the need to “shore up” and connect the area. (He said about 3,000 dogs live in protected areas, another 2,000 in unprotected areas.)
He discussed technological improvements in solar-powered tracking collars that also carry metal guards that protect painted dogs from wire snares that poachers use in an illegal bush meat trade. Snares are a major cause of painted dog deaths even though the snares aren’t intended for them.
Rasmussen was the founder of Painted Dog Conservation and currently runs Painted Dog Research Trust in Zimbabwe. He spoke to an audience of about 40 at the Endangered Wolf Center Speaker Series — his fifth appearance at the Center — during his annual tour of painted dog facilities and conservation organizations in the United States and Europe. The night after his visit to the Endangered Wolf Center, he appeared at the Saint Louis Zoo Lectures series.
Five African painted dogs currently live at the Endangered Wolf Center. Three males arrived the day after Rasmussen’s talk, transferring from the Henson Robinson Zoo in Springfield, Illinois, in hopes that they breed with the two females already here.
Among other highlights noted by Rasmussen:
- Progress is visible on the African Ecology Training Center for young aspiring biologists and conservationists. He encouraged audience members to donate via a GoFundMe campaign at www.gofundme.com/PDRTZimbabwe
- Plans are being drawn for a school for local village children, who currently walk about 15 miles to school.
- Enough evidence exists to shut down shady tour operators — some operating under the guise of “pseudo-researchers” — who disturb the dens of African painted dogs, threatening their very survival.
The progress regarding den disturbance was especially pleasing to audience members who heard Rasmussen in 2016, when he also talked about that grave threat. Since then, he said, research has been compiled that may soon lead to shutting down the operations of irresponsible tour operators.
The research shows that when dens are disturbed, pups are moved more often, resulting in a 30 percent increase in pup deaths. Pups involved in frequent moves play about two hours less per day than pups in undisturbed dens. Pups from disturbed dens are fed less, and their legs end up about 7 percent shorter than those in undisturbed dens.
Rasmussen noted the value of eco-tourism. But safeguards are needed, he said. “In Yellowstone, you can see wolves. But no one’s allowed anywhere near a wolf den — and that’s it.”
He also made these comments and observations about African painted dogs:
- “They have a Three Musketeers attitude: All for one, one for all.”
- “There’s no conflict in the pack, no fighting, no dominance — ever.”
- “Every morning, every dog in the pack greets every other dog.”
- “Their eyes are never bigger than their stomach.” (He said that two dogs can kill a 600-pound kudu in 60 seconds but would only do so if there were enough mouths to feed.)
- “By age 1, the pups will have determined their alpha,” the smartest in the pack, not necessary the largest.
The Speaker Series appearance took place at Washington University’s Tyson Research Center Living Learning Center. The Endangered Wolf Center is located on property it rents from Tyson Research Center.
Let’s help the Saint Louis Zoo get recognized as the Best Zoo in the nation. Voting is currently underway in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards Program.
Voters have until Monday, March 27 at 11 a.m. Central Time to make their choices. Anyone can vote in this contest, and anyone can vote from a mobile device, an office desktop and a home computer — all on the same day! Vote now! Vote often! Help the Saint Louis Zoo earn this honor it so richly deserves.
Cast your ballot at http://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-zoo-2017/saint-louis-zoo-st-louis/
This past summer, the Saint Louis Zoo was chosen as the No. 1 Free Attraction in the nation by the USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards Program. Wouldn’t it be great if the Saint Louis Zoo earned top honors again as the country’s best zoo?
Join our Education team this summer in one of three temporary, part-time seasonal positions. We are now taking applications for:
Seasonal Tour Guide
Summer Tour Guide
Summer Camp Counselor
Click on any of the positions to read the job descriptions and requirements and how to apply.
All of these jobs offer a great opportunity to work with a fun group of people and to help conservation and wildlife while gaining valuable work experience. We hope to see your this summer at the Endangered Wolf Center.Seasonal Tour Guide Job Description
Summer Tour Guide Job Description
Summer Camp Counselor Job Description
Click here to watch Matt Chambers’ interview with Endangered Wolf Center Executive Director Virginia Busch, which was aired live Jan. 3, 2017 on the “In the Spotlight” segment of “Great Day St. Louis” on KMOV.
Here’s a link to “Working to save wild canid species from extinction,” an article by Regina Mossotti, our Director of Animal Care and Conservation. It appeared in “Nature’s Newsletter,” a publication of the Delaware Valley Eagle Alliance. The article begins on Page 8.
The article begins with Mossotti noting “an increasing disconnect between younger individuals and their understanding of why zoos and other captive facilities still exist.”
2017 Calendar of Events
Friday, Feb. 10, Kirkwood Community Center
Volunteer Appreciation Dinner
Sunday, April 9, location to be determined
Wolves & Wine Auction
Friday, April 21, Selkirk Auctioneers and Appraisers
Saturday, Aug. 19, Defiance, Missouri
(Rain date, Sept. 23)
Saturday, Oct. 21, Endangered Wolf Center
Saturday, Nov. 11, Endangered Wolf Center
Saturday, Dec. 2, Endangered Wolf Center
2017 Education Programs
7-Campfire Wolf Howl
14-Winter Wolf Camp
21-Fennec Fox Howl
4-Campfire Wolf Howl
11-Wine and Chocolate Valentine’s Day Howl
25-Fennec Fox Howl
4-Campfire Wolf Howl
10-Campfire Wolf Howl
13-Spring Wolf Camp session 1
18-Fennec Fox Howl
20-Spring Wolf Camp session 2
24-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl
25-Campfire Wolf Howl
31-Campfire Wolf Howl
28-Movie Night Foxy Friday
5-Cinco de Mayo Foxy Friday
26-Movie Night Foxy Friday
11-Messy Play Day
12-16-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 1
19-23-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 2
24-Fennec Fox Howl
26-30-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 3
5-7-Summer Pup Camp (ages 4&5)
7-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl
9-Messy Play Day
10-14-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 4
17-21-Summer Wolf Camp (ages 6-12) session 5
22-Fennec Fox Howl
24-27-Summer Wolf Camp (teens)
4-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl
13-Messy Play Day
2-Campfire Wolf Howl
16-Fennec Fox Howl
22-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Howl
30-Campfire Wolf Howl
7-Campfire Wolf Howl
13-Oktoberfest Foxy Friday (beer and brats)
14-Fall Wolf Camp
27-Campfire Wolf Howl
28-Howl-o-ween Wolf Howl
3-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Wolf Howl
4-Campfire Wolf Howl
18-Fennec Fox Howl
25-Campfire Wolf Howl
9-Campfire Wolf Howl
15-Foxy Friday Wine and Cheese Wolf Howl
23-Campfire Wolf Howl
Our Trivia Night 2017 was a fun and successful fundraiser for the Endangered Wolf Center.
Thanks to all who took part, and to those who sponsored the event – especially Event Sponsor Jay Smith – or donated prizes. Trivia Night 2017 was held Friday Feb. 10 at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 South Geyer Road.
More than 300 players competed, with the winning team – table #31 – getting 96 of 100 answers correct. The second and third teams had 93 and 92 correct.
This year, we added a VIP table level, where guests got to meet and be photographed with ambassador animals before the Trivia contest, including our fennec fix Daisy and McGwire the World Bird Sanctuary bald eagle. Our western hognose snake Clay was on hand (literally) as were a pair of parrots. VIPs enjoyed table service – no waiting in line for beer, soda, water or snacks – plus preferred seating. If you weren’t a VIP this year, you’ll probably want to enjoy its advantages next year.
All guests over age 21 enjoyed free Budweiser, Bud Light and Michelob Ultra, thanks to the generosity of Grey Eagle Distributors. And all guests were welcome to soda, water and snacks.
We’d like to thank and acknowledge these sponsors and donors:
Trivia Night 2017 Sponsors
Gift Shop Sponsor:
Virgil and Sandra VanTrease
Harvest Plaza Animal Hospital
Connor, Penny & Fiona Anderson and Stella Amsinger
St. Charles Animal Hospital and Clinic
William Meyer and Christine Meyer
Linda Reifschneider, President, Asian Elephants Support – www.asianelephantssupport.org
George and Lee Weber
Paul and Karen Kipp and Friends
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic
Dedicated to Dora, Mommy’s Baby – The Kriegh Family
Carolyn and Terry Ryan
Gerry Hufker and Celeste Ruwwe
The Broom Family
Tre, Maxine, Bradley, and Dorothy May in memory of Maverick and Bob
The Kostman Family
And thanks to these donors for providing gift cards, gift certificates and items for our raffles, silent auctions, door prizes and table prizes, or other services that made the night possible:
Are We There Yet? LLC
Chandler Hill Vineyards
Chris’ Pancake House
Citizen Kane’s Steak House
Clayton Pilates Studio
Columbia Golf Club
CQ Express Car Wash
Dickerson Park Zoo
Funny Bone West Port Plaza
Grey Eagle Distributors
Ices Plain and Fancy
Lazy River Grill
Old Spaghetti Factory
Rock n Brews
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Saint Louis Zoo
Soulard Coffee Garden
Tower Tee Golf Complex
Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.
Urban Feed and Supply
The Wine Merchant
The Wolf Café
Mr. C. Stephen Kriegh and Dr. Pamella S. Gronemeyer
Sandy and Tim O’Shaughnessy
As always, our volunteers are essential to making this night successful. We greatly appreciate them. Special thanks to Jack Hagedorn for asking the trivia questions and entertaining the audience and to Chris Weber for providing the sound and visual systems.
Dear Friends of the Endangered Wolf Center,
I decided to get inspired while writing this article by going outside. Sitting with the warm sun on my face, a cool autumn breeze, birds singing and leaves rustling gives me a sense of clarity and calmness that I find difficult to obtain when at a desk under fluorescent lights.
I am saddened that as a society we have to label what once was an everyday activity for most of America’s children 30 years ago; going outside and digging in the dirt, making forts and catching lightning bugs is now called “nature play.”
The Endangered Wolf Center offers many opportunities to get back into nature. Our educational programs allow both adults and children to become intimate again with nature to heighten all five senses.
Year-end giving is upon us and I am delighted to rise to the challenge of a $50,000 matching grant generously offered by the Joanne Woodward Trust, Clea Newman Soderlund and the August A. Busch III Charitable Trust. Every dollar donated through the end of the year will be matched up to $50,000. This challenge grant marks a milestone for the Endangered Wolf Center as the largest in our history. As an organization that has experienced tremendous growth in the past three years, this grant symbolizes the faith that our stakeholders have in the continued success of the Center. (Update: The challenge grant was met.)
While our mission has always remained the same – to breed, reintroduce and educate – the educational component has become much more important in our fast-changing society. The Center has expanded all aspects of our education programming – tours, field trips, outreach, scout groups, distance learning and camp experiences – to focus on affecting change quickly. This increased effort ties in very nicely to what scientists and researchers already know as invaluable access to the outdoors and nature play. The benefits are boundless – increased focus in schoolwork, decrease in depression-related illnesses, increase in self esteem, overall sense of happiness, better conflict resolution and the list goes on. (Here are links to two insightful studies: Does Nature Make Us Happy? American Institutes for Research 2005 study.)
The Center is dedicated to continuing to expand our educational programing to all urban areas of St. Louis where nature relatedness is much needed. A large project we are focused on for 2017 is adding a new education/multipurpose building. This building will allow us to accommodate hundreds of programs and reach many more children in the metropolitan area. I invite you, our longstanding supporters, to contribute to our challenge grant. Year-end donations will support the operational cost of the Center and allow our staff to focus on raising the final funds to support a new educational building.
I wish each and every one of you a joyous and fulfilling Holiday Season. Thank you for your continued support of our great mission.
One of our great conservation partners has a new name: Wild Earth Allies. (It formerly was known as Fauna & Flora International Inc.)
Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center, is Vice Chairman of the organization’s Board. The group’s vision of “a world where wildlife flourishes in healthy ecosystems that sustain us all” is very much in sync with the Endangered Wolf Center’s goals.
With the new name, Wild Earth Allies must build its social media presence from scratch. Please like and share the Wild Earth Allies Facebook page and like and share it. And please follow them on Twitter.
Below is the text of a press release from Wild Earth Allies announcing its new name:
Fauna & Flora International, Inc. announces name change to Wild Earth Allies
U.S. non-profit builds on past successes while expanding global conservation work
CHEVY CHASE, Md., Nov. 16 – Fauna & Flora International Inc.* announced today that it is expanding under a new name — Wild Earth Allies — in response to opportunities to deepen its conservation work internationally and in the United States.
“We’re excited to build on our history while broadening the vital areas of the natural world we protect for the benefit of wildlife, habitats and people,” states Clea Newman Soderlund, Board Chairman.
“The name Wild Earth Allies signifies our vision of a world where wildlife flourishes in healthy ecosystems that sustain us all,” said Katie Frohardt, Executive Director. “We are committed to strengthening field-level conservation with high-performing partners globally.”
Wild Earth Allies will continue to pursue cutting edge initiatives to protect our planet’s biodiversity, with the same lean structure that helped it achieve the top rating as a 4-Star Charity Navigator organization for six consecutive years.
The new website, wildearthallies.org, features its signature initiatives to protect marine turtles, great apes and the Maya Golden Landscape in Belize — all built on longstanding local partnerships. It also introduces new work protecting threatened trees in the United States, while increasing engagement in landscapes globally. Wild Earth Allies expects to expand the scope and reach of its programs in 2017.
“Wild Earth Allies will inspire the collaborative action that’s essential to leverage precious resources for wildlife and deliver a sustainable future for all of us,” says Virginia Busch, Board Vice Chairman.
*Fauna & Flora International Inc. was formerly the non-profit US partner of Fauna & Flora International, a UK charitable conservation organization.
Because of your help, we met our biggest matching grant offer ever! The Joanne Woodward Fund with Clea Newman Soderlund and the August A. Busch III Charitable Trust had offered to match dollar-for-dollar all donations up to $50,000 through the end of last year. Thanks everyone, and a special thank you to our generous matching grant sponsors!