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
The Endangered Wolf Center’s Trivia Night 2017 is set for Friday, Feb. 10.
The event again will be held at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road, Kirkwood, MO 63122.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and trivia begins at 7 p.m.
This year, for the first time, full tables of players can upgrade to VIP status. VIPs will have the opportunity to meet Daisy the fennec fox, McGwire the World Bird Sanctuary’s bald eagle, Clay the hog-nosed snake and parrots. These ambassador animals will be available from 6 p.m. until shortly before trivia questions start at 7 p.m.
VIPs also will enjoy express check-in, preferred seating and table service.
Free beer will be provided to all guests over age 21. Free soda, water and snacks are available for players of all ages.
Regular admission is $30 a person, or $240 for a table of eight.
For $320, or $40 a person, whole tables can upgrade to VIP status.
Multiple sponsorship opportunities are available, starting at just $125 (round sponsor).
Round sponsors ($125) can get a table of eight (regularly $240) for a total price of $350, a discount of $15.
VIPs can sponsor a round ($125) and get a table of eight (regularly $320) for a total price of $425, a discount of $20.
$250 Beverage Sponsors, $500 Gift Shop Sponsors, $5,000 Event Sponsors and $25,000 Matching Gift Sponsors also get either discounts or free tables.
Prizes will be awarded to the top three scoring tables. There also will be a silent auction, great door prizes, raffle prizes and a 50-50 raffle.
Please call 636-938-9306 or send in this form to make reservations or to discuss sponsorship opportunities. This event usually sells out, so don’t delay in making reservations.
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!
(This is an edited version of a news release issued jointly by the Endangered Wolf Center, the Chicago Zoological Society, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Arizona Game and Fish Department. It contains information about the cross-fosters that was previously reported on the Endangered Wolf Center website and in the Center’s Summer 2016 Magazine.)
Albuquerque, New Mexico — In their native habitat of the southwestern United States, Mexican wolves are on the rise due to dedicated and collaborative efforts to cross-foster captive-born wolves into the wild by several agencies and organizations, including the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri; the Arizona Game and Fish Department; the Chicago Zoological Society; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
The institutions this week announced evidence that cross-fostered pups are surviving in the wild.
On April 23, the Endangered Wolf Center flew two just-born critically endangered Mexican wolf pups to New Mexico to be cross-fostered by a wild pack. This historic collaborative effort between the Endangered Wolf Center staff and the USFWS represented the first time pups born in captivity were “adopted out” in this way. Two of those pups from a litter of six — m1461 and f1462 — made the long journey from St. Louis to New Mexico and were placed into the New Mexico based Sheepherder’s Baseball Park Pack.
A few days later, five Mexican wolf pups were born at Brookfield Zoo in Illinois and two of their pups — m1471 and f1472 — were placed in the den of the Arizona-based Elk Horn Pack of wild wolves.
In May, another litter of four Mexican wolf pups were born at the Endangered Wolf Center, and two of the pups — f1480 and f1481 — were placed in the den of the Arizona-based Panther Creek Pack.
All three wild dens were documented with five pups, and the addition of the captive born pups increased the total litter size of all three packs to seven each.
The goal of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is to reintroduce the species to its native habitat, and biologists have developed this novel way of helping this effort. Cross-fostering is a technique where wolf puppies from one litter are placed with another litter. The wolf mother will adopt the additions as her own. Placing pups from captivity into a wild litter not only helps increase the population size in the wild but also helps increase genetic diversity. It is also a wonderful way to have wild parents (with an established territory and experience) raise and teach the pups how to survive.
Extreme terrain and logistics make it very challenging, and timing has to be just right. Wild and captive litters have to be born within a few days of one another, and the transfer from captivity to the wild has to occur before the pups are 10 days old. This means the wild den location needs to be known, a flight needs to be scheduled, perfect weather conditions need to exist and many other logistics need to be coordinated. All of these factors make the success of the efforts all the more remarkable.
On Sept. 18, 2016, the Mexican wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) captured a male pup associated with the Elk Horn Pack. Genetic analysis done by the Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics at the University of Idaho recently confirmed that the pup is m1471 (one of the cross-fostered pups). During the capture and handling, biologists gave the wolf a brief exam, administered vaccines, and fitted him with a radio collar, which will allow the IFT to track him and learn important information about the animal’s behavior, survival and dispersal, and will provide potential new pack formation in the future.
The ITF includes wildlife biologists from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, USFWS, U.S. Forest Service, White Mountain Apache Tribe and USDA Wildlife Services,
In October, IFT biologists also confirmed via trail camera photos that the Panther Creek Pack had a minimum of six pups. This indicates at least one cross-fostered pup — f1480 or f1481 — in that pack has survived.
IFT continues efforts to monitor and confirm pup survival in the Sheepherder’s Baseball Park Pack.
“It’s a long way from St. Louis to the recovery area, and the time-sensitive nature of fostering adds an extra layer of intensity. But seeing the pups safely into the wild — and learning now that they are not only surviving but thriving — makes the entire journey all the more remarkable,” said Regina Mossotti, Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center. “The Mexican wolf is vital to keeping the ecosystem healthy. I’m amazed that so many institutions could partner together to overcome all of the logistical challenges.”
“We are thrilled to hear that one of the pups was located and is doing well with his foster pack,” said Bill Zeigler, Senior Vice President of Animal Programs for the Chicago Zoological Society. “The success of the program is a true testament to the collaboration with our partners.”
“The support and partnership we have with the Brookfield Zoo and the Endangered Wolf Center is tremendous,” said Benjamin Tuggle, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Southwest Regional Director. “Survival of these pups increases the chances of improving the genetic health of the wild population.”
Another Mexican gray wolf with a link to the Endangered Wolf Center and the Brookfield Zoo also has been confirmed in the wild. In 2014, female wolf F1126, known as Ernesta — who was born at the Endangered Wolf Center in 2008, and then moved to Brookfield Zoo in 2010 — was released to the wild with a mate. Shortly after release the two got separated, possibly as a result of an encounter with an already existing pack. Alone, she gave birth in the wild to six pups. To help the survival of her puppies, two of them were cross-fostered into the Dark Canyon Pack. This wild-to-wild litter foster paved the way for the captive-to-wild foster. One of these puppies (now 2 years old), was recently identified as Ernesta’s son and appears to be paired with a female leading into the 2017 breeding season. (Following a re-release of Ernesta with a new mate and her four other pups, her body was found in early 2015. The cause of death for Ernesta is undetermined due to the condition of her remains, although illegal mortality is suspected.)
The Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program is a multi-agency collaboration between the USFWS, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the White Mountain Apache Tribe, the USDA Forest Service, and the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service—Wildlife Services, several counties, as well as private organizations.
Mexican wolves are the most rare and most genetically distinct subspecies of North American gray wolves. The current population of the species in the captive breeding program is 243 individuals in 54 institutions. As of December 2015, a minimum of 97 Mexican gray wolves were living in the wild in the United States. This reintroduced population is now a naturally functioning wolf population.
About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit CZS.org.
About the Endangered Wolf Center
The Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis, Mo., is the premier wolf conservation, education, reproduction, and research center in the United States. Its mission is to preserve and protect Mexican wolves, red wolves and other wild canid species, with purpose and passion, through carefully managed breeding, reintroduction and inspiring education programs. The Center was founded in 1971 by Marlin Perkins and his wife Carol. Perkins is best known as the longtime host of television’s “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” The Endangered Wolf Center is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) certified facility. It has been the birth site of about 200 Mexican wolves, and every Mexican wolf in the wild can trace its lineage back to the Center. For more information, visit www.endangeredwolfcenter.org and follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information on the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Program, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf or www.azgfd.gov/wolf.
Agreement results from lawsuit brought by
Endangered Wolf Center and other conservation groups
A U.S. District Court judge in Arizona has issued an order that requires the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete a recovery plan for the critically
endangered Mexican wolf despite concerns from wolf opponents.
The USFWS recently reached a settlement between the Endangered Wolf Center, Defenders of Wildlife, Wolf Conservation Center, Center for Biological Diversity and former USFWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Coordinator David R. Parsons.
Under the settlement agreement, the USFWS is required to:
- Complete a Mexican wolf recovery plan by Nov. 30, 2017.
- Conduct an independent peer review of the draft plan.
- Provide status reports on the recovery planning process to the court and the parties every six months until the recovery plan is issued.
Furthermore, the above terms are now judicially enforceable as a result of the court’s ruling.
The Endangered Wolf Center is proud to have been a part of this effort on behalf of the Mexican wolf.
“With only about 100 Mexican wolves left in the wild a comprehensive recovery plan based on science and experience could not have come at a better time,” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center. “It just goes to show, when we work together we can save species.”
Fittingly, this great news was announced during #WolfAwarenessWeek
(Note: This event occurred Nov. 10, 2016 at the Saint Louis Science Center. Other screenings will continue to take place nationally. Please visit redwolfrevival.org and click on “Screenings” for a calendar of when and where they will occur.)
The Saint Louis Science Center and the Endangered Wolf Center are partnering to present “Red Wolf Revival,” the award-winning short documentary by the Nestbox Collective and Susannah Smith.
Open to the public, the screening will take place Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Saint Louis Science Center at 5050 Oakland Avenue. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the program will begin at 6:30 p.m.
Following the film, there will be a panel discussion, featuring prominent voices in the red wolf survival story (listed below) and Roshan Patel, the director of the film.
Tickets are available for $10 for members of either institution or $15 for non-members. To purchase tickets, call 314-289-4424 or visit any box office at the Saint Louis Science Center.
A cash bar and snacks will be available.
“Red wolves are the only large carnivore species that is solely native to the United States … truly ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ They are more American than apple pie and baseball combined, yet most Americans don’t realize that red wolves exist, let alone that they are on the brink of extinction.” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center.
“Red Wolf Revival” has received several awards, including Best Conservation Film and Best Short Film by the International Wildlife Film Festival and Best Documentary at the Progeny Film Festival.
The short documentary details the struggles facing the last remaining wild population of the American red wolf. Once native to Missouri and the entire Southeastern United States, red wolves are now on the brink of extinction, with fewer than 50 left in the wild. The film is centered on the historic recovery effort in Eastern North Carolina, and documents the multifaceted struggle to reintroduce one of the rarest animals on earth in the face of cultural, economic and biological challenges in North Carolina. The film director sat down with landowners, writers, scientists, nature centers and concerned citizens to examine the cultural landscape in the region, how the story became urgent, and explore the implications of the changes to come.
“Saving endangered animals takes a high level of science expertise,” said Pamela Braasch, Director of Education Programs for the Saint Louis Science Center. “The Science Center is very excited to partner with the Endangered Wolf Center in raising awareness of the plight of the red wolf and highlighting the science behind saving the species.”
Meet the Panel
Roshan Patel, award-winning documentary filmmaker
Patel is a filmmaker deeply rooted in conservation storytelling. His films about critically endangered species such as Asiatic lions and red wolves have been selected for festivals around the world and have won Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Conservation Film awards. His work has also been featured on National Geographic’s short film showcase. “Red Wolf Revival” will be on PBS in early 2017. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.
Pete Benjamin, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Red Wolf Recovery Program based in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Tom Meister – Biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation
Meister has been with the Conservation Department for 25 years, starting with Volunteer Naturalist, Naturalist, Visitor Center Manager and Interpretive Programs Supervisor. For the past 15 years, he has been a Wildlife Damage Biologist, providing education, technical evaluations and training to Missourians who are experiencing conflicts with wildlife. He is also a member of response, research and relocation teams for mountain lions, feral hogs, black bears and elk.
Regina Mossotti, Director of Animal Care and Conservation
Mossotti is a carnivore biologist who has worked with large carnivores for over 12 years. She has worked with many different species, from wolves in Yellowstone to mountain lions in California. She began her work at the Endangered Wolf Center as Director of Animal Care and Conservation six years ago. Regina currently sits on the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan (SSP) Management Teams for the red wolf, Mexican wolf and African painted dog. SSPs help save critically endangered species through research, education, conservation and husbandry.
Ashley Rearden, Director of Education
Rearden graduated from St. Louis University with a B.A. in Communication and with a Juris Doctor Degree from St. Louis University’s School of Law and passed the Missouri bar exam that fall. Her passion for animals and education led her to the Endangered Wolf Center in 2012. As Director of Education and as an Education Adviser for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Red Wolf Species Survival Plan, she works with organizations and schools across the country to develop education tools that help spread awareness about the critically endangered red wolf.
About the Saint Louis Science Center
The mission of the Saint Louis Science Center is to ignite and sustain lifelong science and technology learning. It is one of the top 15 science centers worldwide and was named one of the Top 10 Science Centers for Families by Parents magazine. The Saint Louis Science Center complex includes a four-story OMNIMAX® Theater, Boeing Hall and the James S. McDonnell Planetarium. For more information about the Saint Louis Science Center, please visit www.slsc.org.
About the Endangered Wolf Center
The Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri, just outside St. Louis, is the premier wolf conservation, education, reproduction, and research center in the United States. Its mission is to preserve and protect Mexican wolves, red wolves and other wild canid species, with purpose and passion, through carefully managed breeding, reintroduction and inspiring education programs. The Center was founded in 1971 by Marlin Perkins and his wife, Carol. Perkins is best known as the longtime host of television’s “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.” The Endangered Wolf Center is an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) certified facility and is a 501(c)3 non-profit. For more information go to: www.endangeredwolfcenter.org and follow the Center on Facebook and Twitter.