Press Release: CEO Virginia Busch to Retire in December

Posted by on Oct 5, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Press Release: CEO Virginia Busch to Retire in December

Virginia Busch, CEO of the Endangered Wolf Center (EWC), announced on October 4th she will retire at the end of this year after 10 years leading one of the region’s/country’s largest conservation centers to preserve and protect Mexican wolves, red wolves, and other wild canid species. Although  Busch will step away as CEO, she will continue to work in a strategic consultant role that will include donor relations, marketing and branding, and strategic planning for the EWC beginning  January 1, 2022. 


EUREKA, MO – AUGUST 07: Virginia Busch poses for a portrait on August 7, 2019 at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri. (Photo by Kelsey Grant)


Busch joined the Endangered Wolf Center as its Executive Director in 2012. Under her leadership,  the EWC has grown significantly in size as well as revenue. The nonprofit organization is considered the cornerstone of wolf conservation in America, has earned a global reputation for breeding endangered wolves and other canids, leading husbandry research, strong education programs, and participating in releasing wolves in the wild. As part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recovery programs, the EWC has continued to make history over the last few years helping to develop the  Mexican Wolf Pup Foster Program. Successfully fostering 38 wolf pups into the wilds of Arizona and New Mexico. In fact, every Mexican gray wolf can trace his or her roots back to one place — the  Endangered Wolf Center, which in 2021 celebrates its 50th year in preserving and protecting wolves. 

Virginia Busch poses with a raven.

At Wolf Fest, Ginny presents while holding a raven.


EWC Board Chair Rhiannon McKnight said: “We are most grateful for Virginia’s visionary leadership over the past decade and are thrilled she will remain a part of our pack to continue guiding the Endangered Wolf Center’s mission. She has worked tirelessly to engage the St. Louis community and has positioned the Center for continued success in the future. “


“It has been a rewarding and pleasurable experience leading the Endangered Wolf Center for the past 10 years. Influencing the narrative about the misconceptions of wolves and other top predators and the essential roles they play in the health and sustainability of our ecosystems has been the most challenging aspect of my career thus far. I am proud of the work we have done on this front. I am excited to continue to work with the exceptional EWC team and turn the leadership over to  Executive Director Mark Cross, who has been managing the day-to-day operations for the past two  years.” Busch said. 

Virginia Busch smiles while holding Daisy the fennec fox.

Photo Credit: Kelsey Grant


EWC Executive Director Mark Cross said, “I have greatly appreciated Virginia’s leadership during  my time with the EWC, and like the rest of the team, look forward to continuing to work with her on our programs and especially with the EWC’s upcoming 50th-anniversary celebration.” 


Since Busch’s arrival in 2012, the EWC has delivered on its mission through cross fosters and/or releases of 43 pups and adult wolves to the wilds of New Mexico, Arizona, and North Carolina,  improved or built multiple capital projects including new habitats, enclosure enhancements,  administrative office space, and a vet and nutrition center, built out a strong education platform, which includes on and off-site programming, enhanced the marketing and branding of the Center, and grew the EWC’s collaborative partnerships to accelerate the mission.


Virginia Busch and Marjorie Dellas celebrate a successful charity polo match alongside the St. Louis Polo Club team.

Virginia Busch and Marjorie Dellas celebrate a successful charity polo match alongside the St. Louis Polo Club team.


The EWC has grown from a team of nine to more than 25 under Busch’s leadership, developed a strong board of directors, and lead the organization to financial stability, growing revenue from $500,000 to $3 million. 

Two animal keepers and Virginia Busch present on a morning talk show with ambassador animal, Lucky the maned wolf.

Virginia Busch presents on Good Day DC in Washington DC with Lucky the ambassador maned wolf.



What are your future plans? 

Virginia Busch sits with Lucky the maned wolf in a studio.

Photo Credit: Justin Barr | Gazelle Magazine

I will continue to serve in a strategic consulting role for the EWC and continue to stay involved in wildlife conservation and animal welfare under my board positions with Wild Earth Allies, World  Wildlife Fund and the Humane Society of Missouri.


Why now? 

After ten years, I feel the organization is ready for new leadership and a fresh perspective on its continued growth. Personally, I want to broaden my scope of entrepreneurship.   


For media inquiries, contact:

Joan Lee Berkman 

Face Watchers 

C: 314.799.1204 

[email protected] 

Female Eagle Scout Honors Marlin & Carol Perkins’ Legacy

Posted by on Aug 19, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Female Eagle Scout Honors Marlin & Carol Perkins’ Legacy


The Endangered Wolf Center celebrated the Grand Opening of the Marlin & Carol Perkins Stage alongside Shannon Renkey, the Perkins family, and current host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Peter Gros. The Marlin and Carol Perkins Stage is an Eagle Scout project led by Shannon Renkey of Scouts BSA Troop 911.


Shannon Renkey is one of five scouts that founded the first female Scouts BSA Troop in the greater St. Louis Area Council Boone Trails District.

Shannon Renkey is one of five scouts that founded the first female Scouts BSA Troop in the greater St. Louis Area Council Boone Trails District. 

Shannon was the first female in the Greater St. Louis Area Council-Boone Trails district to appear before the Eagle Project Proposal Board and the first to have it approved. The scope of the stage project was formidable for a scout and Shannon accepted that challenge.  

“I told her it would take at least $3,000,” said Greg Renkey, Shannon’s father and scout mentor. “The pandemic would make it difficult to raise that much money and she might not make that inaugural Eagle Scout class. I laid out the option to pick a smaller project to ensure she completed it by February. Shannon declined that suggestion.” 



To be in the inaugural class of female Eagle Scouts, she would need to have the project completed and reviewed by the Eagle Board by February 8, 2021.

“Shannon specifically chose to do more for the EWC than to receive a personal ‘first’ award,” Greg said.


Special thanks to Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom for providing a matching gift for this project.

Shannon and her volunteers completed the on-site installation on March 14, 2021. She received the project acceptance signature from the Endangered Wolf Center and appeared before her Eagle Board on April 26, 2021, becoming the third member of female Scouts BSA Troop 911, and the third girl in the entire Boone Trails District to receive her Eagle Scout award. She is currently the youngest girl Eagle Scout in Boone Trails District. 

The stage has a stunning railing, stairs perfect for group photos, and a beautiful stain on the wood. It is located near our campfire area and was recently opened to the public. We are grateful for her efforts and dedication to our mission.




“I first visited the Endangered Wolf Center in December of 2019. My mom won a Tour and Enrichment package during a silent auction. It was so fun to tour the EWC and get to see so many wolves up close. After the tour, our group made wreaths that we threw into the painted dog enclosure. It was fun to be able to interact with the painted dogs and to watch them play with the wreaths. I wanted to be able to help these amazing animals by raising awareness for the EWC.” – Shannon Renkey.


Peter Gros joins EWC staff and the Perkins family to celebrate the Grand Opening of the Marlin & Carol Perkins Stage.


She dedicated this stage to EWC founders, Marlin and Carol Perkins, in honor of our 50th anniversary. Marlin was the TV host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, so it is particularly special that they generously matched Shannon’s fundraising efforts to help make this project possible.  



“We love working with youth leaders in our community – like Shannon – to promote awareness and action to help conservation efforts. We’re excited to use the stage for animal ambassador meet and greets, summer camps, presentations, concerts, and more!” – Executive Director, Mark Cross.

Shannon, along with the entire EWC Staff, thanks all of the donors and volunteers that contributed to her project, especially Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and the family of Marlin and Carol Perkins for their generous support. Shannon is honored to contribute her project to this valuable conservation history.


Stephanie Arne Appointed Director of Education for the Endangered Wolf Center

Posted by on Jun 24, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Stephanie Arne Appointed Director of Education for the Endangered Wolf Center

Photo Credit: Mutual of Omaha


Missouri-based Endangered Wolf Center CEO Virginia Busch has announced the appointment of Stephanie Arne as its new Director of Education.

Arne is an accomplished wildlife conservationist and the former host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. She has worked in 20 countries and filmed stories on everything from polar bears to penguins. 

According to Busch: “Stephanie has a strong connection with nature. She embraces the importance of living as a part of the natural world, rather than separate from it. And she knows that sharing that connectivity is critical to protecting nature on a global scale.

She has worked with and learned from biologists, conservation leaders, CEOs, farmers and fishermen in Africa, Australia, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, and the United States. Her impressive work experience will be invaluable to our growing program of work at the Center.”

As a wildlife conservation professional, Arne is committed to raising awareness about the disconnect between modern society and the natural world. And she’s determined to explore and share how each of us can use our specific talents and skills to bridge that gap to make our planet a healthier place for generations to come. 


Photo Credit: Mutual of Omaha


“I am incredibly excited to join such an innovative, passionate organization that will allow me to tap into my long-standing commitment to education and engagement of adults and children to understand the importance of conservation and endangered animals,” said Arne. “I first met the Center’s team while filming a story for Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom online series a few years ago. I was so inspired by their work and truly look forward to being a member of their impressive, dedicated animal care team and leading-edge canid research and fostering program.”


Photo Credit: Mutual of Omaha

In addition to her new position at the Endangered Wolf Center, she is the wildlife and conservation ambassador for CuriosityStream and a public speaker on global efforts in conservation and sustainability. Her insight has earned her a seat on the International Union of Conservation Nature’s (IUCN), Education and Communication Commission.


Recently, Arne became a Deep Elite Ambassador for Scubapro; named Ambassador for the Planet by the Wyland Foundation; was profiled in Dive Alert Magazine; joined the advisory council for the Alaska Sea Life Center, and became co-founder of The Creative Animal Foundation.

Arne has become a regular on Harry Connick Jr.’s daytime show, “Harry!” and appeared on The Weather Channel, and Animal Planet’s, “Animal Nation” with comedian, Anthony Anderson. She’s also been featured on an episode of the HGTV series “Tiny House, Big Living”, kicking off the tiny house tour for the Creative Animal Foundation.

EWC Fosters 11 Mexican Wolf Pups to the Wild

Posted by on Jun 9, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on EWC Fosters 11 Mexican Wolf Pups to the Wild

2021 has been an eventful and record-breaking pup foster season at the Endangered Wolf Center.

In total, 22 pups born in managed care – half of which came from the Endangered Wolf Center – were fostered into eight wild packs this spring.

Two of our Mexican wolf mothers, Vera and Zana, gave birth to litters that were fostered into four wild packs in New Mexico and Arizona. Their valuable genetics will strengthen the health of this critically endangered wild population.



An Unforgettable Journey

At only ten days old, the pups may not remember their journeys to the wild, but the experience is unforgettable for our team.

In fact, the pups were so tiny that their ears and eyes were still closed. They relied entirely on our team to safely transport them to the wild. Partnering with state and federal agencies, the biologists worked to get them settled into a den with their new brothers and sisters – a task our team didn’t take lightly.

It was still dark outside at about 4 a.m. when a small group of our Animal Care experts brought several pups from our Mexican wolf litters in for veterinary exams.

Once the pups were weighed, microchipped, and given their health exams, they were driven to the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, MO, where they flew off to their new wild homes.

The pups traveled with our Animal Care team to Arizona and New Mexico from Missouri on donated flights. Two of Vera’s pups went into the Owl Canyon Pack in New Mexico and three went into the Elk Horn Pack in Arizona; just a few weeks later, three of Zana’s pups were placed into the Lava Pack in New Mexico and three into the Hoodoo Pack in Arizona.



Fostering Pups is Making a Difference

The wild Mexican wolf population is already seeing the benefits of fostering wolf pups as an important conservation technique.

The Endangered Wolf Center works in collaboration with many state, federal, and native American agencies, as well as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) partners, all of which work together to save this critically endangered wolf. The SSP, which is made up of over 50 zoological institutions across North America, helps with breeding genetically healthy animals, which uses science and genetic information to help strengthen the population.

The Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team (IFT) has documented that fostered pups have the same survival rate as wild-born pups in their first year. “The data shows this technique is working, and for a critically endangered animal that was once down to just a handful of individuals left in the wild, this incredibly creative and innovative conservation effort is proving to be invaluable,” said Regina Mossotti, EWC’s Director of Animal Care and Conservation and the USFWS/SSP’s Pup Foster Advisor.


The Journey Continues

The travel may be over, but for these 11 newly wild pups, the journey is just beginning.



It’s hard to be wild. Wolves continue to experience hardships that come from an unfortunate legacy of misinformation and villainization through folklore. Because of this, wolves are misunderstood and therefore, unfortunately, feared. This causes their conservation to be difficult and often a polarizing topic.

Can Wolves and Humans Coexist?

Absolutely. As our world changes rapidly, coexistence with wildlife is becoming more important than ever.

“Our relationship with wildlife and wild places has been out of balance. Programs like cross-fostering show that great strides are being made to help the wild rebound, recover, and continue to support healthy ecosystems,” said Virginia Busch, CEO of the Endangered Wolf Center.

As a keystone species, wolves play a critical role in the health of an ecosystem. By strengthening wolf populations in the wild, there is a ripple effect of environmental health that impacts plants, animals, and humans.



We thank the many individuals and organizations that helped to make this possible.

Aerial Transportation: Aero Charter, APLux, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and Lighthawk Conservation Flying

EWC Wildlife Release Heroes:
Jim and Lionelle Elsesser, Jane Habbegger, Geraldine Hufker, Peg Kaltenthaler, Jim and Kathy Runk, Celeste Ruwwe, Jay and Sharlla Smith, Doug and Joyce Wiley, Karen Winnick, Dr. Rhiannon McKnight, and Dr. Tammy Smith

Special thanks to the coordinated efforts of:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Game and Fish Department, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico State Lands Office, U.S. Forest Service, and the Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan.

You Can Help Endangered Wolves

If you would like to become a Wildlife Release Hero, please make a donation here and mention “Wildlife Release Fund” in the comments section.


Historic Release of American Red Wolves to the Wild

Posted by on May 12, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Historic Release of American Red Wolves to the Wild

An American red wolf from the Endangered Wolf Center is one of four adults added to the wild population in North Carolina to help this critically endangered species recover.


Things Just Got Wild…

On April 30 and May 1, 2021 four American red wolves from the Endangered Wolf Center, Wolf Conservation Center, and Wolf Haven International were released in a protected refuge of North Carolina. The goal? To assist in maintaining the only wild population of the most critically endangered wolf in the world. 

This collaborative effort is the first time since 1998 that adult American red wolves were released into the wild from managed care facilities.


American red wolves board their flight to North Carolina.



Why Save the American Red Wolf?

“The American red wolf is a national treasure, and I am proud to be part of this committed team working to save the American red wolf from extinction,” said Chris Lasher, Animal Management Supervisor at the North Carolina Zoo, the AZA Red Wolf Species Survival Plan (SSP) Coordinator, and the AZA American Red Wolf Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) Program Chair.

As a keystone species, the release of red wolves is critically important. Keystone species help maintain ecological balance and the plants and animals within this ecosystem rely on the red wolf to maintain this balance. When red wolves remove sick or diseased animals, the spread of disease, including zoonotic pathogens, is reduced, creating a healthier environment for animals, plants, and humans. 

“We are connected and dependent on healthy ecosystems,” said Virginia Busch, CEO of the Endangered Wolf Center. “Keystone species such as red wolves are a crucial piece of the puzzle to help restore balance to these damaged and fragmented wild places, which are all around us.”


One of the most endangered wolves in the world, an adult American red wolf calmly travels to its new wild home in North Carolina.


Red Wolves Prepare for Takeoff, Thanks To…

Transportation for these red wolves was donated by Aero Charter, Lighthawk, and Pilots To The Rescue and at a significantly reduced rate by Alaska Airlines.

One of the flight crew joked that the wolves seemed calmer than many of their human passengers!


“This historic conservation effort was a great example of what can be accomplished when multiple entities such as the USFWS, conservation groups, nonprofits, and private companies all work together with the same principle goal to save an American species,” said Regina Mossotti, Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center and the AZA Red Wolf Species Survival Plan Vice Coordinator.


Wild About Red Wolves – Why Are Releases so Important?

Releasing animals is a conservation strategy that takes individual wolves bred and born in managed care and places them in their native range. Because the wild population of American red wolves is dangerously low, it is vital to place individuals of breeding age on the landscape to assist in the repopulation of the most endangered wolf species in the world. The zoological institutions and conservation centers that house these red wolves manage them in a way that allows them to retain natural instincts which will help them survive in the wild. For example, working to maintain a wolf’s natural instinct to stay away from humans, the SSP does not habituate wolves to humans, wolves are housed in groups and are fed native prey (such as deer) to teach them what to hunt, etc. 


Aero Charter staff prepare the plane for takeoff for this donated flight to help save the most endangered wolf in the world.


The American red wolves were introduced to the landscape through a “soft release” process.  A habitat surrounded by temporary fencing was installed and animals were placed inside for a length of time providing them an acclimation period to their new environment and time to bond with their mates. When the time is right, the fencing will be opened, allowing the red wolves to confidently enter their new home.


The First Recovery Effort of Its Kind

This American red wolf recovery effort is the first of its kind. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), working with their partners, released the first red wolves into the wild in 1987. The program was successful for several decades and the wild population grew to an estimated 150 individuals. Unfortunately, over the past 14 years, the already critically endangered wild population plummeted to fewer than 20 American red wolves in the wild. Before these wolves were released there were 10 known collared red wolves and an estimated 17-20 total red wolves in North Carolina. 


USFWS and Endangered Wolf Center Staff work together to collar an American red wolf before releasing it into its native range in North Carolina.


American red wolves are solely native to the United States. Historically, they roamed the Southeastern United States, from Pennsylvania to Missouri, to Texas, to Florida. Due to overhunting and habitat loss, the population declined dramatically. In 1973, the red wolf was officially listed as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. In the 1960s and ’70s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked to capture the few remaining wild wolves to bring them into zoological institutions to launch a breeding program in hopes to recover this species. They accomplished this goal, but by capturing the few remaining wild red wolves, the American red wolf was functionally extinct in the wild. The breeding program in managed care was very successful and led to the first releases in 1987 in North Carolina which is currently the only location in the United States inhabited by wild American red wolves.


How You Can Help

You can get involved to help save the American red wolf. A great way to start is by learning about them, sharing what you know, and supporting organizations that are working to save this species. You can symbolically adopt our pack of American red wolves to support their conservation both at our facility and in the wild.

Benefit Endangered Wolves While You Shop

Posted by on Dec 4, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Benefit Endangered Wolves While You Shop

Holiday shopping looks a little different this year, but don’t worry! We’ve curated the perfect gifts that keep giving… to your loved ones and the planet.

Every gift you purchase through the Endangered Wolf Center Gift Shop helps us continue to provide expert care, veterinary services, education, and nutrition to the animals in our care.

Shop online now or schedule an appointment with one of our personal shoppers in our Gift Shop, call (636) 938-5900. Our employees can guide you in finding the perfect gift for your friends and family.

Unforgettable experiences, annual memberships, and thoughtful gifts for the animal lover in your life… there is something for everyone.

EXPERIENCES: Find gift certificates for our popular tours.

MEMBERSHIPS: Make an honorary pack adoption in your loved one’s name and they’ll receive a 12-month membership and other gifts to celebrate their sponsorship.

ANIMAL-THEMED GIFTS: Find hand-crafted jewelry, puzzles, apparel, stuffed animals, books, and more in our online gift shop.

Endangered Wolf Center Gift Shop


Are you in the St. Louis area? You can also shop in person from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day except Tuesday. Admission to the gift shop is free.

The Endangered Wolf Center is located on the grounds of Washington University’s Tyson Research Center, at 6750 Tyson Valley Road, Eureka, MO 63025. Just come to the front gate and you’ll be directed to the gift shop.

For more information, call 636-938-5900.

Endangered Wolf Center Gift Guide

NOTE: All orders placed for tees and hoodies through our Bonfire Store must be placed by December 7th to ensure delivery in time for Christmas day.

All products below are available while supplies last.

Be sure to follow us on social media to see special gift shop deals during our “12 Days of Howliday Cheer Guidebook” from now until December 15th, 2020.


Gifts for Kids

Furry plushies are the perfect cuddly gift for the kids in your life! These plush toys can be gifted individually or as a pack! 

Our Pack Plushie Collections come in small, medium, or large to fit every budget!

Animal books, scramble puzzles, and board books for the kids are educational and just plain fun. 




Apparel for Kids – You can find kid’s sizes in our t-shirt and hoodie collection, as well as fun wearables and accessories in our online gift shop.

Wolf Slap Watch

Pack Pride Tee

Protect the Heart of the Wild Tee

Wolf and Fox Scarves – Different Styles and Colors Available


Gifts for Women

Nothing says “I love you” like something that sparkles AND supports endangered species! The Wild Pearle Collection of wolf-themed jewelry is elegant and beautiful – the perfect gift for your wife, mother, or any alpha female in your life.


Gifts for Men

Notoriously difficult to shop for, the men in your life will love our cozy hoodies, sweatshirts, and tees! These gifts for your boyfriend or husband are customizable in a variety of styles and colors.


All You Need is Love Hoodie

Rediscover Red Wolves Tee

Protect the Heart of the Wild Hoodie


Gifts for Dog Moms


Most dog moms wish they could adopt ALL the pups… a symbolic adoption of our pack of Mexican wolves, American red wolves, or African painted dogs will make their hearts full. Our adoption packages provide a unique bond with a special animal or pack.

Check out our Adoption packages!


Adopt our Pack of Mexican wolves!


Gifts for Photographers


Photographers will love the opportunity to photograph the animals that call the Endangered Wolf Center home.

Experience: The Photography Tour offered here at the Endangered Wolf Center is a unique behind-the-scenes tour guided by one of our expert Education staff.

The Center’s large wolf enclosures have a natural, serene and wooded surroundings that provide the ability to get breathtaking photos of Mexican gray wolves, red wolves, maned wolves, African painted dogs, and swift foxes.

The tour is designed to allow professional and novice photographers alike time to try different locations, use different cameras and lenses and work in the beautiful natural lighting conditions at our facility.


Gifts for Animal Lovers

An Alpha Membership comes with these special keepsakes. Packages and Membership levels vary.

Anyone passionate about wildlife and conservation will love the opportunity to symbolically adopt a pack of wolves and join our pack as an Endangered Wolf Center Member.



LGBTQ-Friendly Gifts

The Beatles + Wolves & Foxes + Pride = The perfect LGBTQ-Friendly gift that supports humans and wildlife!

All You Need is Love – Pride Tee

Last-Minute Gifts


Private Tours are outdoors and allow visitors to maintain a safe social distance from our keepers and education staff.

A Private Tour is an experience your family and friends will not soon forget! This private guided tour is the ideal way to experience the Endangered Wolf Center. Tailored to what you most want to see and learn, we’ll share insights we’ve gathered over four decades of working with and for wolves and other wild canids.

Virtual Programs

We offer a variety of educational Virtual Programs and Virtual Field Trips that bring the wild right into your home – virtually! Schedule your Virtual Program by calling (636) 938-5900 or email [email protected]

Our popular “Animals of the Endangered Wolf Center” Virtual Program shares information and visuals to educate you about the adorable animals that call the EWC home.


During the “Animals in My Backyard” Virtual Program, you’ll meet one of our Animal Ambassadors!


We hope this Gift Guide has helped you choose the perfect gifts for everyone in your life!

Still on the prowl? Our Gift Shop staff is happy to help! Schedule an appointment with one of our personal shoppers by calling (636) 938-5900.

Wolf Awareness Week: Sculpting the Tale of the American Red Wolf

Posted by on Oct 5, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Wolf Awareness Week: Sculpting the Tale of the American Red Wolf

Join the Endangered Wolf Center for a free discussion on the world’s most endangered wolf, the American red wolf. With fewer than 20 red wolves in the wild today, the time is now to get involved in saving this species.

Special guests Dale Weiler and Loti Woods will join us to share their inspiring path to impacting conservation through art and how YOU can use your talents to help conserve endangered animals.

News & Education
First, you’ll hear breaking news from Regina Mossotti, Director of Animal Care and Conservation, about exciting news from our facility that will benefit red wolf conservation.

Then, you’ll learn a brief history of this misunderstood, overlooked animal and the incredible conservation efforts taking place to prevent extinction.

Joining us to inspire you to use your talents to benefit endangered animals is the passionate pair behind Weiler Woods for Wildlife. Using the art of sculpture and the written word, they’ve propelled conservation efforts and raised awareness about “underdogs” of the animal world, including the American red wolf.

This Wolf Awareness Week, we hope you will join us for this special, free event and gain the inspiration you need to protect wildlife and wild places.




Meet the Speakers


Regina Mossotti, a wildlife biologist, has been the Director of Animal Care and Conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center for almost 10 years. She has worked with both captive and wild carnivores for over 16 years, including capturing and collaring mountain lions in California to researching wolves in Yellowstone. She is currently the Vice Coordinator of the AZA American red wolf Species Survival Plan and sits on the management team for the Mexican wolf Species Survival Plan. She is also the Foster Advisor for the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Species Survival Plan foster efforts and is an expert in the field at this effort.



Dale Weiler and Loti Woods
Dale Weiler is a sculptor, engineer, Navy pilot, business consultant, and conservationist. Dale first touched stone in his late 40s and knew he was born to be a stone sculptor. His wildlife sculptures are in museums and zoos around the world.
“Just Settling In”, his sculpture of an American red wolf mom and her pup has been donated to over 25 red wolf conservation organizations throughout the country.
Loti Woods is a business owner, insurance broker, native plant gardener, and conservationist. After Loti sold her insurance brokerage firm, she moved to the foothills of North Carolina to be closer to nature and wildlife. One of her first conservation efforts was funding and helping plant three butterfly gardens in partnership with her local land conservancy.
Loti & Dale met at one of Dale’s art shows and it was love at first sight. After getting engaged in eight days in their late 60s, they looked at each other and said “what do we do now?”.
The answer was the creation of Weiler Woods for Wildlife to promote awareness and protection of misunderstood animals and their habitat. Using Dale’s sculptures and Loti’s blogs, they hope to inspire others to become conservationists for the underdogs.
To learn more about Weiler Woods for Wildlife, visit and join us for this special online event.

Highlights of Summer Wolf Camp 2020

Posted by on Sep 30, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Highlights of Summer Wolf Camp 2020

Campers Connect with Nature in a Blended Program



Despite the ongoing and unconventional challenges of this summer, the Endangered Wolf Center continued to provide educational experiences to the community with our annual Summer Wolf Camp program. This year, campers chose from unique themes that highlight an element of natural history: art, science, and adventure. “Fairy Tails,” “Inspectors,” and “Explorers” gathered for one week both on-site and online with their Camp-in-a-Crates in tow!

Our summer camps aim to create lasting ties between our campers and nature. All weeks covered a wide range of topics with a focus on their chosen theme. The popular “Fairy Tails” placed an emphasis on art, while Teen Camp “BioMe” explored art, adventure and passion development. Teen campers even had the opportunity to make a positive difference in their local ecosystems by each constructing a bat box out of recycled wood.

Our staff used a blended program of online learning and in-person activities to give campers an unforgettable experience. Weekly activities included a keeper chat, hikes, and a full tour of our site where campers get to see many of our eight canid species. Sawyer (everyone’s favorite opossum) even stopped by to share his story.


Counselor “Tails” – Camp Counselor Jamie Shares Highlights of Wolf Camp


The first day of Summer Wolf Camp in 2020 just so happened to be the first Monday of the month, when tornado sirens are tested near the Endangered Wolf Center. 

Picture this…

First, we hear the painted dogs squeak in response as they rattle the back corner of the fence. Their nails tap the ground excitedly. They seem giddy as they run back and forth from one end of their habitat to the next. Most of the campers have never seen anything like it. But what comes next puts them in awe. 

As the tornado sirens continue to blare, Mack’s and Vera’s pack seem to think it’s a mechanical wolf. As they howl, two elderly wolves join in. The campers observe Flint in his habitat, unable to resist singing with the rest of the Mexican wolves. Though Flint is an old-timer, his howl is still strong and deep. 



It’s a milestone for these animal enthusiasts. After all, it’s the first time most of these campers have ever heard wolves howl. This experience is like seeing your first rainbow or making your first wish on a shooting star. It’s a rare moment when nature is comfortable enough to surrender her secrets. 

“I’m asking my parents to sign me up every year,” says one camper as she watches the American red wolf throw her head back in song. 

One little girl writes down observations on her clipboard. Watching endangered animals in person is an experience that no cell phone or iPad can deliver. Seeing these beautiful creatures in a place where they can be themselves seems to make the kids feel at home. 

The kids and the grown-ups have the same passion for wildlife conservation, which fosters a sense of hope for the future of our endangered species. Whether or not they become conservationists, these campers are full of passion.

Every year the campers evolve by the end of the week. The quietest campers drag their guardians by their hands to meet other campers’  parents and they exchange numbers. The kid who struggles to climb the nature-break hill is now navigating the creek all on his own. Even virtual activities bring out the best in these aspiring naturalists. 

Outdoor settings like this beautiful creek allow for social distancing and plenty of space to explore.

By creating a blended camp program, campers got the best of both worlds – to play outside, spend time in nature, and bring the wild home with them with virtual education and activities about endangered animals.  


Distance Learning During Summer Camp


Most Zoom calls begin with games of charades or campers announcing they have a special guest before angling the camera at their dog. Some kids even bring plush toys to keep them company during the zoom chats. Today the campers are meeting a special guest we have chosen based on the theme of the week – explorers week. 

Kristen Schulte, educational director of the Missouri River Relief program, is spotlighted on our Zoom call. 

“Since we’ve been doing this for the last 20 years, we’ve picked up 940 tons of trash,” she shares. 

A camper in the top right of the screen drops her jaw, eyes wide in astonishment. But Kristen is just getting started. 

“One of my favorite things we find in the river is…are you ready? Messages in a bottle.”  

She’s arranged a variety of bottles on the table in front of her. Each decorated differently, sporting dents and battle scars from rough rides in the Missouri River. The kids take turns guessing what each message might say. Kristen gives them opportunities to look at the bottles and types of paper before reading each message. Some of these brittle pages are older than the kids themselves.

One letter from 2004 requests correspondence confirming somebody found the bottle. Little did they know it would be a river clean-up team. As we talk about the beauty of human connection through these types of messages, we ask the kids a big question that even grown-ups struggle to answer amid social distancing: “What are some ways to maintain a human connection while leaving no trace on our environment?” Some ideas include washable chalk messages on the driveway, putting up signs in windows, and leaving letters in library books for people to find. 

Speaking of social distancing, you may be wondering how on earth we manage to entertain the kids without our usual interactive games. Some long-time camp parents may hear their camper relaying a game of “Tales,” or “Predators and Prey,” both of which involve tagging. This year we invented new games, including “Alpha May I,” a game to teach about telemetry. 


Two young campers practice their telemetry skills using tools biologists use in the wild to track and protect wolves.


Telemetry is the method used by biologists to locate wolves in their natural habitat. To emulate this, we invite one camper to hide the radio collar while another holds up the radio receiver and listens very carefully for the tiniest beep. The closer the camper is to the transmitter in the collar, the louder the beep. After a camper triumphantly discovers the hidden collar, we wipe down the equipment with disinfectant and give another kiddo a turn. But it’s not just the younger kids having a lifetime experience at the Endangered Wolf Center. 

This year Teen Camp gets some bonus opportunities, including a private wolf howl evening program and the chance to build take-home bat boxes. Though wolves are the stars of the EWC, we recognize the importance of every animal who calls our Center home. Early in the week, we had a Zoom chat with Bat Specialist Delainey O’Donnel. Delainey eagerly invited questions about these creatures who, like wolves, struggle with inaccurate media representation. Teen Camp enjoyed the freedom to work with power tools under counselor guidance. 


Teen campers proudly show off their handmade bat boxes.


By Thursday, the night of the howling and second-to-last meeting of the week, Teen Camp had formed a family-like bond. Three of the campers sat in a circle, one to a bench while the other two worked with Camp Director Danna Hilleren to construct personal bat boxes. Each box came with easy-to-read tips and tricks for how to mount it properly. Some campers couldn’t manage to look away from the sky as they searched for nocturnal creatures. 

As Zoom calls become the new normal and we continue to social distance, we believe our future generations must maintain a connection with nature. Camp this year managed to follow guidelines provided the CDC while building new friendships and memories that will shape curious minds. 


A Unique, Successful Year of Summer Camp


A huge thank you goes out to all who made this blended summer camp program a huge success. We may have had a new format, but the end result was the same: educating and inspiring our campers to care about natural spaces.

Teaching the next generation about conservation is an important piece of our mission because we believe that education leads to an understanding and appreciation of the environment and the animals we share it with. 

Thank you to the amazing guest speakers who joined us on Zoom to inspire our kids: children’s author Jeanine Ransom, environmental artist Hanna Fox, lab scientist & Astronomical Society member Katie Czeschin, River Relief Education Director Kristen Schulte, and Naturalist & Bat Specialist Delainey O’Donnel. These wonderful speakers gave amazing and engaging presentations and not only captured the kids’ imaginations but also inspired them to investigate the world they live in. Thank you to Backyard Trail Builds for donating the recycled wood that we used to build the bat boxes.

Thank you to our campers, their families, and our volunteers for their continued support of this innovative camp program!

EWC Service Provider Victim of Cyberattack

Posted by on Sep 9, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on EWC Service Provider Victim of Cyberattack

We were recently notified about a data security incident our third-party vendor, Blackbaud Inc., experienced. The Endangered Wolf Center takes the protection and proper use of your information very seriously.

At this time, we understand that Blackbaud discovered and stopped a ransomware attack. After discovering the attack, Blackbaud’s Cyber Security team—together with independent forensics experts and law enforcement— successfully prevented the cybercriminal from blocking their system access and fully encrypting files; and ultimately expelled the threat from their system. Prior to locking the cybercriminal out, the cybercriminal removed a copy of a backup file which contained some information about our donors. This occurred at some point beginning on February 7, 2020 and continued through May 20, 2020, during which time the cybercriminal could have been intermittently attempting to access data.

It’s important to note that, according to Blackbaud’s investigation, the cybercriminal did not access credit card information, bank account information, or social security numbers. However, we have determined that the file removed may have contained contact information, demographic information, and a history of donors’ relationships with our organization, such as donation dates and amounts and events attended. As part of its response efforts, Blackbaud paid the cybercriminal’s demand and received confirmation that the copy that was removed had been destroyed. Based on the nature of the incident, Blackbaud’s research, and third party (including law enforcement) investigation, Blackbaud has informed us that it has no reason to believe that any data went beyond the cybercriminal, was or will be misused, or will be disseminated or otherwise made available publicly.

We sincerely apologize for this third-party vendor breach and regret any inconvenience it may cause. Should you have any further questions or concerns regarding this matter and/or the protections available to you, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (636) 938-9306 or [email protected] Below is a link to an account of what transpired as it has been communicated to us by our service provider.

For more information you can visit

Enter to Win Our Wolf T-Shirt Design Contest!

Posted by on Sep 8, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Enter to Win Our Wolf T-Shirt Design Contest!


Attention Artists, Designers, and Creatives of all ages…

We are excited to announce our Wolf T-shirt design contest! The winner will have their design featured on our next t-shirt.

Each t-shirt campaign we create serves as a fundraiser for our care and conservation efforts of endangered animals. That means YOU can be a part of this important work by using your talents to have a positive impact on wildlife.

We’re looking for art and designs that focus on our wolves- Mexican wolves and American red wolves!

Did you know that our last t-shirt campaign featured the art of 10-year-old Bella, a pack member of the Endangered Wolf Center since 2014?

Submissions are due by 9/25/20.

After reviewing, finalists will be posted on our social media for public voting!

Get inspired by checking out our online t-shirt store!

Fill out this form to submit your entry. From there, we will select our favorites that will move to a round of public voting on our social media pages! A winner will be announced in October and t-shirts featuring the design will be made available in our store.


Submit Your Entry



1) Make sure that the upload is a .AI, .EPS, or .PDF vector image. .PNG, and .JPG files are also acceptable.

2) For best results please upload art with a transparent background and a resolution of at least 1500 x 1500 pixels.

3) Please do not include any words with your design.

4) Maximum file size per design is 10 Mb.

5) Up to 5 designs can be submitted per form.

6. Design must be wholly original. By submitting a design, you are guaranteeing that you hold original rights to everything in it, that it may be printed on t-shirts, advertised, and reproduced in any other way the Endangered Wolf Center sees fit and that it does not contain any copyright material.

7. The Endangered Wolf Center reserves the right to make adjustments to all entries, including colors of the design and the shirt.

8. Design must feature a wolf or multiple wolves.


Get Inspired!

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