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.

‘Working to save wild canids’

Posted by on Jan 9, 2017 in Blog | Comments Off on ‘Working to save wild canids’

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.”

Regina Mossotti (at right), Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center, during a check of a wolf pup with Stephanie Arnie of “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.”


Our 2017 events, camps & programs

Posted by on Dec 16, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Our 2017 events, camps & programs

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)

Ava Dharna poses with a raven at Wolf Fest 2016. The raven was one of many exotic animals brought to Wolf Fest by Conservation Ambassadors . Endangered Wolf Center photo.

Wolf Fest

Saturday, Oct. 21, Endangered Wolf Center


Members’ Day

Saturday, Nov. 11, Endangered Wolf Center


Holiday Boutique

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

Daisy the fennec fox is a mainstay at Foxy Friday Wolf Howls, and frequently appears at outreaches. She also appeared at Wolves & Wine in 2016. Endangered Wolf Center photo by Michelle Steinmeyer.

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



8-Mini Camp

28-Movie Night Foxy Friday


5-Cinco de Mayo Foxy Friday

6-Mini Camp

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

Messy Play Days are scheduled for June, July and August in 2017. Endangered Wolf Center photo.


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




Trivia Night sponsors and donors

Posted by on Dec 15, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Trivia Night sponsors and donors

Trivia Night 2017 was held at the Kirkwood Community Center. The event once again sold out: All 40 tables were sold but guests at two of them were unable to attend.

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

Event Sponsors:

Jay Smith

Gift Shop Sponsor:

Virgil and Sandra VanTrease

Harvest Plaza Animal Hospital

Beverage Sponsors:

Connor, Penny & Fiona Anderson and Stella Amsinger

St. Charles Animal Hospital and Clinic

Round Sponsors:

Round 1:

William Meyer and Christine Meyer

Linda Reifschneider, President, Asian Elephants Support –

Round 2:

George and Lee Weber

Paul and Karen Kipp and Friends

Round 3:

The Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic

Dedicated to Dora, Mommy’s Baby – The Kriegh Family

Round 4:

Carolyn and Terry Ryan

Wayne Norwood

Round 5:

Cheryl Morrow

Caroline Saunders

Round 6:

Gerry Hufker and Celeste Ruwwe

Round 7:

The Broom Family

Tre, Maxine, Bradley, and Dorothy May in memory of Maverick and Bob

 Round 8:

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:

Alpine Shop

AMC Theaters



Are We There Yet? LLC

Auto Zone


Chandler Hill Vineyards

Cheesecake Factory

Cracker Barrel

Chris’ Pancake House

Chuck Boots

Citizen Kane’s Steak House

Clayton Pilates Studio

Columbia Golf Club

CQ Express Car Wash

Dickerson Park Zoo

Drury Hotels

Fairmount Park

Funny Bone West Port Plaza

Gateway Grizzles

Grant’s Farm

Grey Eagle Distributors

Ices Plain and Fancy

Imo’s Pizza

Kaldi’s Coffee


Lazy River Grill


Old Spaghetti Factory


Pi’s Pizza

PRP Wines

Rock n Brews

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Saint Louis Zoo

Soulard Coffee Garden


Three Sixty

Tower Tee Golf Complex

Urban Chestnut Brewing Co.

Urban Feed and Supply

Weber Grill

The Wine Merchant

The Wolf Café

Melissa Stagnaro

Lee Streett

Mr. C. Stephen Kriegh and Dr. Pamella S. Gronemeyer

Rachel Broom

Julie Tasch

Jen Backer

Glen Boggs

Jack Hagedorn

Jim Kuchar

Sandy and Tim O’Shaughnessy

Michelle Steinmeyer

Chris Weber

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.

Executive Director Virginia Busch’s message

Posted by on Dec 12, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Executive Director Virginia Busch’s message

(The message below from Executive Director Virginia Busch appears in the Endangered Wolf Center’s Winter 2016 Magazine. The current issue and previous issues are available on our website.)

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.

Virginia Busch
Executive Director

Meet Wild Earth Allies (formerly FFI Inc.)

Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Meet Wild Earth Allies (formerly FFI Inc.)

wile-earth-allies-logo-no-tagline-reverseOne 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,, 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.

$50,000 matching grant was met, thanks to you!

Posted by on Nov 11, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on $50,000 matching grant was met, thanks to you!

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!