Meet Lucky, the first cross-fostered maned wolf pup

Posted by on Jul 18, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Meet Lucky, the first cross-fostered maned wolf pup

Lucky is making news – and history – as the first-ever cross-fostered maned wolf.

The Endangered Wolf Center recently teamed up with the Smithsonian National Zoo’s Conservation Biology Institute and Zoo Boise in what has become the first ever attempt to foster a maned wolf.

It’s a success story born out of peril. Born May 5 to a maned wolf at Zoo Boise who was unable to raise her litter, “Lucky” was the only surviving pup. Zoo Boise hand-raised her for about a week, hoping to soon foster her into another maned wolf family. Because of our expertise in raising wolf pups, the Endangered Wolf Center got the call.

Regina Mossotti, EWC Director of Animal Care and Conservation, flew to Boise to pick up Lucky and took her to the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Virginia for a foster opportunity with a maned wolf at their facility. But cross-fostering is no guarantee, and after an unsuccessful attempt, Regina brought Lucky home to the EWC.

Already she was living up to her name. As luck would have it, a domestic female dog with a litter close in age and size to Lucky was made available to the EWC. Domestic dogs are actually great foster dog candidates because their milk is healthier than formula for pups (which was especially important as Lucky was under weight). Plus, dogs speak a closer language to maned wolves than humans do, which will help in the transition when she is introduced to the adult maned wolves at the EWC. Jacqui, a Labrador mix, bonded with Lucky immediately, nursed and cared for her as one of her own pups.

Nicknamed for her survivor instincts, Lucky had grown from less than a pound to 11 pounds at 11 weeks, and continues to grow and thrive with her foster family. Her size is no measure for her big personality. “She’s a strong pup,” Regina boasts. “She’s a fighter – and a survivor. And so intelligent, too. She outsmarts her foster puppy brothers and sisters, figuring out puzzles and showing a ton of curiosity.”

Lucky for us, her personality makes Lucky the perfect ambassador for her species. Never before has a maned wolf been available for human interaction – up close and personal – to educate the public about the species. She and the staff at EWC are happy to tell her story, which is not only heartwarming, but an example of the critical, cutting-edge conservation efforts at the EWC in the name of preserving and protecting the species.

To that end, soon Lucky will be introduced to Nopal, the male maned wolf at the EWC with the hope he will bond with her, help raise her and show her the ropes when it comes to being a maned wolf.

To schedule an interview with Lucky, at the Endangered Wolf Center or at your location, call 636-938-5900.

Learn more about Maned Wolves

Here’s your chance to ‘Eat What the Wolves Eat’

Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Here’s your chance to ‘Eat What the Wolves Eat’

Famed chef Rob Connoley offers chance to ‘Eat What the Wolves Eat’

Dinner at the Endangered Wolf Center features locally foraged menu

Acclaimed chef Rob Connoley and the Endangered Wolf Center are offering supporters of wolves a truly unique opportunity – an evening that Connoley playfully calls “Eat What the Wolves Eat.”

Chef Rob Connoley autographs his cookbook “Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm and Field.”

Connoley, a former James Beard Award semifinalist who specializes in foraged and hunted ingredients, will be preparing a seven-course meal featuring nearly 30 different ingredients gathered from the woods of Missouri. While Connoley won’t be cooking exactly what wolves eat, he will be theming his dishes to reflect ingredients found within the food chain of this apex predator.

All proceeds from the June 4, 2017 event will benefit the Endangered Wolf Center.

Tickets are just $150 per person. In addition to the unique meal, guests will be treated to a specialty cocktail, three wine pairings from the Wine Merchant, and an opportunity to visit with Daisy, a fennec fox living at the Center.

Seating is extremely limited. Reservations can be made by calling 636-938-5900 or visiting

Connoley will be opening a new restaurant in St. Louis – Bulrush STL – in 2018. He returned to his hometown of St. Louis this past summer from New Mexico, where he operated the Curious Kumquat. That restaurant was featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times and Saveur magazine.

Curious Kumquat was located next to the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, the heart of where Mexican wolves are reintroduced into the wild. The Endangered Wolf Center plays a key role in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s reintroduction program.

During his 15 years in New Mexico, Connoley became quite familiar with the locals’ perception of  Mexican wolves. “I participated in the daily debates and arguments as wolves were the focus of fear or hope by ranchers and conservationists,” he said. “I heard neighbors talk about the fear of their children playing outside or their pet that had gone missing. Yet my experience in the wild was that those fears were unfounded and unrealistic.

“Spending far more time off-trail in the back country than most, I would spend hours each day gathering plants and hunting game. Wolf encounters were unheard of. They wanted their privacy as they roamed the vast remoteness of the region,” he said.

“Early in my career I had the honor of cooking a meal at Ted Turner’s ranch, which boarded wolves preparing for reintroduction,” Connoley said. “Listening to the evening howls as they called to their future pack was a sound that I’ll always remember.”

Last fall, Connoley released his first cookbook, “Acorns & Cattails: A Modern Foraging Cookbook of Forest, Farm and Field.”

“Eat What the Wolves Eat.”

Tickets: $150 per person

Date: June 4, 2017


Cocktails from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Visit with Daisy the fennec fox from 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Dinner starts at 7 p.m.


Endangered Wolf Center

6750 Tyson Valley Road

Eureka, Missouri 63025



For more information:

Contact Director of Education and Operations Ashley Rearden


[email protected]

Facilities Manager job opening

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Facilities Manager job opening

We’re looking for a Facilities Manager responsible for the maintenance, custodial and horticulture needs of the Endangered Wolf Center on a day-to-day basis.

This is a full-time, 40 hours-per-week position. The work week for this position will be Monday through Friday, with the occasional weekend shift for special events.

To apply please send resume and cover letter to Ashley Rearden, Director of Education and Operations, at [email protected] by May 15, 2017.

For full jobs details, please see the PDF below.

View Facility Manager Job Details

World’s first Mexican wolf pup born from artificially inseminated frozen/thawed semen

Posted by on Apr 26, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on World’s first Mexican wolf pup born from artificially inseminated frozen/thawed semen

Partnership of Government, Institutions Achieved Reproductive Breakthrough for Critically Endangered Species

April 2 marked a historic first in conservation. An endangered Mexican wolf, Vera, gave birth to a tiny male pup conceived by artificial insemination, using sperm that was preserved by freezing.

“This little pup offers new hope,” said Virginia Busch, Executive Director of the Endangered Wolf Center (EWC). “To succeed in conserving a species, many tools are needed in our proverbial ‘toolbox.’ Using frozen semen will help maintain the genetic and overall health of the critically endangered Mexican wolf population by allowing scientists to draw from a larger pool of genes—wolves at other institutions and also deceased individuals.”

A decrease in genetic diversity can compromise a population by increasing the incidence of low birth weights, reducing litter sizes and raising the mortality rate of pups. Reproductive technologies, such as frozen semen and artificial insemination, were developed to support gene diversity by allowing reproduction between genetically valuable individuals at different locations and even after natural death of a male.

This pup was born at the EWC using sperm collected by Saint Louis Zoo research and animal health staff in January 2015 from a male Mexican wolf at the EWC and stored at the Saint Louis Zoo’s cryopreservation gene bank—one of the world’s largest gene banks established specifically for the long-term conservation of an endangered species.

The nonsurgical transcervical intrauterine insemination of the female wolf was performed at the EWC on Jan. 27, 2017 by Dr. Bruce Christensen, DVM, Assistant Professor of Population Health & Reproduction, University of California-Davis with assistance of the Saint Louis Zoo animal health staff.

Wolves are keystone species, and as scientists have learned with the reintroduction of wolves in Yellowstone, they are a vital part of keeping the plants and animals in an ecosystem healthy. The Mexican wolf was eliminated from the wild in the United States in the 1970s and from Mexico in the1980s.


Once the captive population grew large enough, FWS launched a reintroduction program in 1998 with the release of 11 Mexican wolves into the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Now, Mexican wolves are found mostly in the United States, in Arizona, New Mexico.  In addition, there are approximately 230 captive wolves in the care of more than 50 institutions both in the United States and Mexico.

“While the captive program has prevented the extinction of  the Mexican wolf, with only roughly 130 Mexican wolves in the wild today, we still have a lot of work to do to in order to recover the species,” said Peter Siminski, The Living Desert’s Director of Conservation, Chair of the SSP and a member of the Mexican Wolf Recovery Team. “We are hopeful the wild populations will benefit from these reproductive technologies, as well.”

In 1990, at the request of FWS, the Saint Louis Zoo, established a frozen semen bank for the FWS Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the SSP. In the beginning, Dr. Asa and Saint Louis Zoo Laboratory Manager Karen Bauman and animal health team worked in collaboration with the Endangered Wolf Center to collect wolf semen to bank for potential future use from wolves housed at the Center for potential future use. But by the early 2000’s, the wolf population in managed care grew larger and the Dr. Asa and Karen Bauman expanded their collection efforts, traveling around the country to collect wolf semen to bank from many different facilities in the Species Survival Plan.

Today, the frozen zoo—or combined gene bank—located at the Saint Louis Zoo and at the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico contains genetic materials from over 200 male and female Mexican wolves.

“The birth of a pup at the Endangered Wolf Center represents a major breakthrough and is a remarkable example of institutional collaboration between the Saint Louis Zoo, the Endangered Wolf Center (EWC), The Living Desert, the University of California-Davis, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP),” said Dr. Cheryl Asa, retired Director of the AZA Reproductive Management Center at the Saint Louis Zoo, who for more than 25 years has worked with other national and international organizations to save the Mexican wolf. The EnBusch added, “Collaboration is key to conservation success, and the Endangered Wolf Center is proud to partner with the Saint Louis Zoo, The Living Desert, the FWS, universities and all of the SSP institutions to help save this amazing wolf.”

Thanks to the work of these organizations, the howl of the Mexican wolf, missing from the landscape for more than 30 years, can once again be heard in the mountains of northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States

Limited Tours Offered During Puppy Season

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Limited Tours Offered During Puppy Season

Starting on May 14th, the Endangered Wolf Center will be opening for small private tours Wednesdays-Sundays. Private tours are a minimum of $80, which covers 4 people in your group. Reserve with us by calling 636-938-5900.

We will open up for public tours again starting on June 11th.

During this time we expect possibly 1 or 2 more litters. It’s an exciting time for the center and we will update when we have new information!

High School Poetry Workshop

Posted by on Mar 29, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on High School Poetry Workshop

High School Poetry Workshop at the Endangered Wolf Center Spring 2017

Creative Writers find their inspiration everywhere, but the Endangered Wolf Center’s Poet-in-Residence and 2016 TEDx Presenter Travis Mossotti says that the secluded woods of the EWC are one of the absolute best places to look for it. This spring, high school writers will have the unique opportunity find inspiration right alongside Mossotti and other award-winning poets.

Travis was selected as a TED Speaker in the Gateway Arch TEDx Series.

“Poetry and the inspiration are built into the creek beds and canopies here at the Endangered Wolf Center,” Mossotti says, talking about the upcoming Poetry in the Woods Writing Workshop. “This workshop will give students the chance to come here and find it for themselves.”

Enrollment is limited to just forty students—those who are interested should register soon, before the seats fill up (CALL 636-938-5900 TO REGISTER or EMAIL [email protected]). Sign up for four classes, each are four hours long. Students can choose the morning or afternoon session. The first workshop will be held on Saturday, April 29th, 2017, and the remaining three workshops will be held on consecutive Saturdays (4/29, 5/6, 5/13, & 5/20).

The focus is on a holistic approach to developing the individual poet’s unique talents—“university-level craft lectures, writing exercises in the woods, discovery hikes, poetry performance lessons, all led by award-winning faculty members; the goal is to foster a quiet, safe space where poets can engage what matters most to them,” Mossotti says.

Travis assisting his wife Regina, a biologist, while she was catching and collaring mountain lions (the mountain lion in the photo was asleep) in the red wood forests of California

Session time starts at 9:00 a.m. and goes to 1:00 p.m. each Saturday. Students will be greeted at the gatehouse and led down a winding, wooded path to Washington University’s Living Learning Center where Mossotti and other guest instructors will lead students through creative writing exercises, poetry lectures, and performance lessons—all geared toward developing student writing portfolios and culminating with a student poetry reading on the final day, Saturday, May 20th, 2017 (family members are welcome to attend the final reading event). Click here for driving directions to the Endangered Wolf Center.

Years in the making, this spring’s 2017 high school workshop is the first of many such sessions to come. Plans are already in the works for a fall workshop, and faculty members from across the country are lining up to become a part of this one-of-a-kind opportunity.

Travis reading in Los Angeles, California while he was on his Field Study National Book Release Tour

African painted dog talk highlights positives

Posted by on Mar 10, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on African painted dog talk highlights positives

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.

Dr. Greg Rasmussen arriving at the Saint Louis Zoo after his visit to the Endangered Wolf Center March 8-9, 2017.

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
  • 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.

Shaba, a female African painted dog at the Endangered Wolf Center. Photo by Michelle Steinmeyer.

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.

Vote for Saint Louis Zoo as nation’s best

Posted by on Mar 7, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Vote for Saint Louis Zoo as nation’s best

​​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

​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?

Seasonal jobs on our Education team

Posted by on Mar 2, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Seasonal jobs on our Education team

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

Watch us on ‘Great Day St. Louis’

Posted by on Jan 13, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on Watch us on ‘Great Day St. Louis’

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.