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The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan: Saving the Red Wolf Through Partnerships. International Wolf 25(1):9-13

Glimpse of
an African…
Wolf ?
Saving the Red Wolf
Through Partnerships
Are Gray Wolves Still
Endangered? PAGE 14
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Make Your Home Howl
3 From the
Executive Director
17 Tracking the Pack
20 Wolves of the World
23 Book Reviews
24 Personal Encounter
26 Wild Kids
28 A Look Beyond
On the Cover
Photo by Cécile Bloch.
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In the Long Shadow of
the Pyramids and Beyond:
Glimpse of an African…Wolf?
Geneticists have found that some
of Africa’s golden jackals are
members of the gray wolf lineage.
Biologists are now asking: how
many golden jackals across Africa
are a subspecies known as the
African wolf? Are Africa’s golden
jackals, in fact, wolves?
by Cheryl Lyn Dybas
Are Gray Wolves Still
In December a federal judge ruled
that protections be reinstated for
gray wolves in the Great Lakes
wolf population area, reversing
the USFWS’s 2011 delisting
decision that allowed states to
manage wolves and implement
harvest programs for recreational
purposes. If biological security is
apparently not enough rationale for
conservation of the species, then the
challenge arises to properly express
the ecological value of the species.
by Mike Phillips
The Red Wolf Species Survival
Plan: Saving the Red Wolf
Through Partnerships
In 1967 the number of red wolves
was rapidly declining, forcing those
remaining to breed with the more
abundant coyote or not to breed at all.
The rate of hybridization between the
two species left little time to prevent
red wolf genes from being completely
absorbed into the expanding coyote
population. The Red Wolf Recovery
Program, working with many other
organizations, has created awareness
and laid a foundation for the future to
conserve the species.
by Jeremy Hooper
4 149
International Wolf Center
Jeremy Hooper
Cécile Bloch
Don Gossett
Publications Director
David E. Kline
Graphics Coordinator
Carissa L. Winter
Consulting Editor
Marianne Strozewski
Technical Editor
Dr. L. David Mech
Graphic Designer
Tricia Austin
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2 Spring 2015
Raptors, Meet Our Wolves
s an education-oriented organization celebrating its 30th year, we’re fascinated with
the relationship wolves have with many animal species. Like wolves, birds of
prey command interest and reverence worldwide. We’re excited to partner with
raptor organizations and experts starting this May to bring a new exhibit for all ages to the
International Wolf Center’s interpretive center in Ely, Minnesota. Through demonstrations
featuring live raptors, educational displays, and beautiful photography from Minnesota’s
Heidi Pinkerton, we hope to enlighten the tens of thousands of annual
visitors about other majestic predators.
With our bias towards interactive learning, this temporary exhibit, Raptors
Predators from the Sky, will teach about the habitat, prey, biology and behavior
of these carnivorous birds. We invite you to swoop in and become uplifted
by the eagle, falcon, hawk, owl, condor, kestrel, vulture, kite, osprey, merlin,
harrier and more!
Many of us venture out into the world’s wildlands to enjoy tranquility and
beauty, while building lasting memories with family and friends. Although, unfortunately,
we rarely see wolves and other apex predators in the wild, a look skyward will often
reward us with a glimpse—and if we are prepared, a photograph—of a soaring predator.
Heidi’s stunning raptor photos will serve as encouragement to the photographer in all of us.
Our summer issue of International Wolf will have more
about this educational exhibit, as will
We hope you’ll join us in Ely from May 2015 through
May 2016 to learn together about raptors and, of
course, wolves. n
Nancy jo Tubbs
Dr. L. David Mech
Vice Chair
Cree Bradley
Paul B. Anderson
Cindy Carvelli-Yu
Rick Duncan
Nancy Gibson
Debbie Hinchcliffe
Judy Hunter
Deborah Wold Lewis
Dr. Rolf O. Peterson
Mike Phillips
Debbie Reynolds
Jerry Sanders
Paul Schurke
Dick Thiel
Ray Wells
Teri Williams
Rob Schultz
The International Wolf Center
advances the survival
of wolf populations by
teaching about wolves, their
relationship to wildlands and
the human role in their future.
Educational services and
informational resources
are available at:
1396 Highway 169
Ely, MN 55731-8129, USA
email address:
Web site:
Rob Schultz
Rob Schultz, executive director
From the Executive Director
© Heidi Pinkerton
International Wolf Spring 2015 3
In the
Long Shadow
of the Pyramids
and Beyond:
Glimpse of
an African…
Cécile Bloch
Illustration: Shutterstock/IRStone
4 Spring 2015
A New Wolf in Town
heune, Senegal.The village,
perched along the Senegal
River, doesn’t appear on a
map, but it’s the site of one of the most
far-reaching conservation genetics
discoveries of the decade. There Africa’s
first gray wolf, Canis lupus lupaster,
formerly thought to be the golden jackal
Canis aureus, lopes across the rolling sandy
plains of the western Sahel. The “new
wolf” has a range that extends more than
6,000 kilometers (3,700 miles) from Egypt
to Senegal. Biologist Philippe Gaubert of
the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle
in Paris and his colleagues reported
the finding in the August, 2012, issue of
the journal PLOS ONE.
When the wolf was initially dis-
covered by geneticists in 2011, its range,
they believed, was confined to Ethiopia
and Egypt. Now biologists are asking:
how many golden jackals across Africa
are in fact wolves? “Unique field observa-
tions in Senegal allowed us to provide a
diagnosis of the ‘African wolf’ that clearly
distinguished it from the golden jackal,”
says Gaubert. But hybridization between
the two may be happening, at least in
Senegal, based on detection of Canis
lupus lupaster genes in Canis aureus there.
In July 2011, researcher Cecile Bloch,
a co-author of the 2012 PLOS ONE
paper, observed wolf-like canids on the
periphery of packs of golden jackals
near Kheune. The animals were larger
and darker than the jackals. They also
behaved differently, with solitary and
somewhat shy demeanors. The only
interactions observed between the two
were fighting by the larger canids for
carcasses being eaten by golden jack-
als, “the latter inevitably abandoning its
food to the former,” says Gaubert.
Ultimately, Bloch, Gaubert and others
looked at the DNA of seven animals that
proved to be African wolves: one east of
Parc National du Djoudj near Kheune;
five in Algeria’s coastal region between
Skikda and El-Kala; and one in Mali,
Adrar des floras, Terarabat. They also
found that two other seeming golden
jackals were mostly African wolves. Both
were in Senegal, one a captive animal at
the Zoo du Parc de Hann in Dakar, and
one in the wild not far from Kheune.
Mitochondrial DNA, which the
scientists used in their study, “shows only
part of the picture of the African wolfs
lineage,” says biologist Dr. L. David Mech
of the U.S. Geological Survey and the
University of Minnesota. It tells us about
the wolfs heritage through the mother’s
side; nuclear DNA offers a more com-
plete view. As with other wild canids,
studies (and scientific journal papers
to be published soon) are underway
to reveal its origins and genetic makeup.
Is lupaster a wolf or a close relative?
While the research is ongoing,
“our assessment of the African wolfs
range supports the idea of a wide
spectrum of habitats for the species,”
says Gaubert, “from Mediterranean coastal
and hill areas, including hedged farm-
lands, scrublands, pinewoods and oak
forests in Algeria, to tropical, semi-arid
savannas in Senegal and massifs in Mali.”
This range, he says, poses the question
of how such large carnivores went un-
detected for so long. Or did they?
In the Time of the
It is 2494 B.C., Egypt’s Fifth Dynasty.
A procession makes its way to a sun-
temple, where the pharaoh’s Sed Festival,
held in the 30th year of his reign, is
set to begin. The gathering renews the
sovereign’s youthful vitality. A greeting
awaits him: two officers wearing caps and
tails lined with fur—fur the Egyptians
believe came from wolves. The human
sentries represent the jackal gods Anubis
and Wepwawet, Anubis’ lesser-known
twin. The two were the guardians of the
border between life and death, a bound-
ary which, in ancient Egypt, only canine
International Wolf Spring 2015 5
believe the Egyptians fashioned elabo-
rate tombs to protect the dead from
the jackals. But were Anubis and Wep-
wawet in fact jackals? Could one or
both gods have been something else?
Egyptians thought so long ago. What
did they know that we don’t, or didn’t,
until 2011? That Wepwawet and Anubis
were wolves in jackals’ clothing.
Millennia later, Aristotle was the first
European to write of wolves in Egypt,
stating that they were smaller than those
found in Greece. “The same observation
was made by twentieth-century biologists
when they compared the sizes of jackal
skulls,” says ecologist Claudio Sillero-
Zubiri, deputy director of the Wildlife
Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU)
at the University of Oxford in the U.K.
Fast-forward to a few years ago, when
an Indian biologist named Yugal Tiwari
sent Sillero-Zubiri a picture from a video
Tiwari had filmed in Eritrea. The footage
showed a lanky canine with large paws
“that might have been a desert-dwelling
wolf,” says Sillero-Zubiri. “We hoped
more information would turn up, but
unfortunately it didn’t.”
More to the Story
But Wepwawet and Anubis did not
remain quiet in their underworld. While
doing field work in Ethiopia, scientists
from universities in Ethiopia and Norway
noticed that certain golden jackals looked
different. “They were larger, more slen-
der, and sometimes had a whitish color,”
says Nils Stenseth, a geneticist at the
University of Oslo. The researchers col-
lected scat specimens for DNA analy
sis. The samples, including some from
“more usual-looking” golden jackals,
were shipped to Stenseth’s laboratory for
analysis. “With breathless excitement,”
remembers Sillero-Zubiri, the Oslo sci-
entists contacted him and others on the
project. The jackal samples appeared to
be wolf DNA—but didn’t correlate with
samples in GenBank, the world’s largest
repository of genetic sequences.
Cécile Bloch
divinities traversed. Called “the openers
of the roads,” Anubis led the way to the
south, Wepwawet to the north.
Anubis and Wepwawet were named
for the propensity of jackals to hunt
rodents by night near cemeteries. Some
6 Spring 2015
“We could hardly believe our eyes,”
says Eli Rueness, a geneticist at the
University of Oslo and lead author of
the January 2011 paper in PLOS ONE
reporting the results. “We had unwit-
tingly uncovered genetic evidence of a
cryptic canid [a species hidden within
a species] that looked like a golden
jackal,” says Sillero-Zubiri, “but whose
genetic code told another tale.” The biol-
ogists unveiled the news: some golden
jackals are gray wolves. Scientists then
updated the wolfs scientific name to
Canis lupus lupaster, after the gray wolf
Canis lupus. Hereafter, it is referred to
simply by its scientific name, lupaster.
Lupaster is the only gray wolf on the
African continent. The discovery tells
researchers that members of the gray
wolf lineage lived in Africa as far back as
three million years ago. The wolves even-
tually spread through the Northern
Hemisphere. They became the
well-known gray wolves of the
northern United States and
Canada. “We now know
that wolves were indeed
in Africa in the days of
the ancient Egyptians—
and long, long before,”
says Stenseth.
Lupaster looks like
a large, blackish-yellow
dog. Its tail is brush-
like, with black hairs on
the end. A mane of long,
coarse, black-tipped fur runs
from its crown to the base of its
tail and onto its shoulders and hips.
The golden jackal is smaller than lupaster,
with soft, pale fur, and it is a social animal.
A breeding pair is often followed by its
offspring, and it sometimes forms packs
when hunting. Its cry, heard just after
dark or shortly before dawn, is a long,
wailing howl followed by three yelps:
“dead Hindoo, where, where, where.”
In contrast, lupaster travels alone.
A nocturnal creature, it is sometimes
glimpsed as the sun begins to set,
when it emerges from caves and crev-
ices, and from tombs. Whether it howls
remains unknown.
Wepwawet continues to open new
roads. Further analysis links the lupas-
ter specimens from Ethiopia with the
same genetic sequences of animals
2,500 kilometers to the north in Egypt.
“The results place lupaster in Egypt, as
well,” says Sillero-Zubiri.
Lupaster’s range extended as far south
as the Sinai Peninsula, scientists knew,
but didn’t, it was thought, reach main-
land Africa. Stenseth, Sillero-Zubiri and
others, however, believed that many
canids identified as golden jackals as
far south as Kenya and beyond might
be lupaster.
Philippe Gaubert proved them right.
“As we look more closely with genetic
tools at even well-studied species such
as the gray wolf in North America,” says
biologist Dr. Rolf Peterson of Michigan
Technological University, “we’re refin-
ing our understanding of these animals.
For Africa, and for North America, what
we thought 10 years ago about the bio-
geography of the wolf has been turned
on its head.” The 2011 and 2012 find-
ings, Peterson believes, are far from the
end of the story.
Lone Wolf in a Starkly
Beautiful Land
Genetic techniques are revealing the
hidden biodiversity of largely unex-
plored places such
as Ethiopia. The
discovery of lupas-
ter’s true identity
shines a light on a
formerly dark cor-
ner of the world:
the Afroalpine
Field observations distinguish the African wolf (left) from the golden jackal (right), but biologists
have unveiled evidence that the golden jackal, with its soft, pale fur may be a hybridization of the
blackish-yellow lupaster, with its brush-like tail and mane of coarse, black-tipped fur.
Cécile Bloch
Lee R. Berger
International Wolf Spring 2015 7
fauna and flora, an assemblage of spe-
cies that evolved in the relative isolation
of the highlands of the Horn of Africa.
Understanding the intricacies of that
biodiversity may come not a moment
too soon for lupaster. Although golden
jackals are listed by the International
Union for Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) as a “species of least concern,”
lupaster may be much rarer. “It’s a prior-
ity, for both scientific and conservation
efforts, to determine this wolfs where-
abouts and numbers,” says Stenseth.
Gaubert agrees. “Since ‘jackal-like’
canids in Africa are regularly killed to
protect livestock,” he says, “it’s urgent
to develop a conservation strategy for
the African wolf. Shepherds say that the
African wolf hunts larger livestock such
as sheep, goats, and even cows, whereas
the golden jackal only preys on lambs.”
The Menz Guassa Community
Conservation Area in Ethiopia’s high-
lands may hold the key. Lupaster has been
seen most often in this land of short scrub
plants sprouting from rock-strewn hill-
sides. “The region is among the Ethiopian
highlands’ most pristine and secluded
natural wonders,” says Zelealem Tefera,
a scientist at the Frankfurt Zoological
Society (FZS) Ethiopia Office. The FZS
supports conservation projects through-
out Africa in countries like Ethiopia,
Tanzania and Zambia.
Guassa villagers live in kebeles
(farmers’ associations). In the day’s last
light, Wepwawet may walk among them.
“Out of the corner of your eye at sunset
you might just spot lupaster,” says Karen
Laurenson, an ecologist and veterinarian
at the FZS-Ethiopia Office. She’s glimpsed
an animal that emerges at dusk, seem-
ingly out of thin air, to disappear just as
quickly. “I think I’ve seen lupaster, but
didn’t know at the time what it was.”
Laurenson is concerned that the wolf
could be gone before we know it. “Golden
jackals and other canids are susceptible
to rabies, canine distemper virus, and
other diseases. With a population that
may, or may not, be very small, lupaster
could disappear in the blink of an eye.”
Homo sapiens?
Disease and inbreeding clearly
aren’t the only challenges lupaster faces.
Uncovering this cryptic species’ secrets
may be a mixed blessing.
“My Grandma told me about wolves
that stole her livestock,” offers one
villager. “I’d always ask if she was sure it
wasn’t a hyena, dog, jackal, or fox, but
her answer was firm: ‘it’s a wolf.’ She said
that wolves were once very common,
but that she hasn’t seen any for decades.
I’ve heard many claims like that.”
Where there’s livestock, lupaster may
be, too. “We know so little about this
subspecies,” says Zillero-Zubiri. “Who
can say whether and when it takes
sheep? It’s still a shadow on a ridge.”
Luckily, says Tefera, “People here refer
to it as the ‘nomad jackal’ rather than the
more common jackals they’ve accused of
killing their lambs.” Its elusiveness may
be lupaster’s salvation.
Wepwawet Among Us
“Woollff!” shouted Lajos Nemeth-
Boka, lead naturalist and tour leader for
GreenEye Ecotours in the U.K. It was
November 2007 when Nemeth-Boka was
driving slowly along the west bank of the
Nile River between Luxor and Aswan,
Egypt. “An animal crossed the road in
front of us, coming from the Nile’s shore
and running toward the Sahara sands,”
he says. “I’ve seen golden jackals and
I’ve seen wolves, and there is a big differ-
ence between the two. This was clearly
a wolf.” It was, he believes, lupaster.
In later Egyptian art, Wepwawet
was depicted as part-human, part-wolf,
with the body of a human and the head
of a wolf. European Egyptologists
mistook Wepwawet for a jackal, even
though the ancient Egyptians clearly
identified the god, and the animal for
which it was named, as a wolf. According
to texts inscribed in the pyramids,
Wepwawet often led the way to suc-
cess for Egyptians from messengers to
kings. Five thousand years later, will we
give Wepwawet’s incarnation the recog-
nition—and protection—its position as
Africa’s only gray wolf deserves? n
Science journalist and ecologist Cheryl
Lyn Dybas, a Fellow of the International
League of Conservation Writers, also
brings a passion for wildlife and conser-
vation to National Geographic, Natural
History, National Wildlife, BBC Wildlife,
Scientific American, The Washington
Post, and other publications.
Editors Note: This article has been adapted
from previous pieces in Natural History and
Africa Geographic.
Cécile Bloch
8 Spring 2015
f the road to extinction was a hundred
miles long, the red wolf was already in
the ninety-ninth mile and was about
to drop off the edge into extinction.” These
were the words of Curtis Carley, wildlife
biologist and future coordinator of the
Red Wolf Recovery Program. In the 1970s,
Carley, with help from scientists including
Ron Nowak and Howard McCarley, led
a charge to save the remaining red wolves.
They were about to embark on a conser-
vation journey unlike any other.
The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan:
Saving the Red Wolf Through Partnerships
Text and Photos
International Wolf Spring 2015 9
Like all wolf populations in the
United States, the red wolf (Canis rufus)
had been mostly eliminated from
the landscape due to intense human
persecution, habitat loss and degra-
dation, and prey declines resulting
from over-harvesting by humans.
This forced scientists, government
officials, and the general public to
make a decision—attempt to save
the species or watch it go extinct.
In 1967 the red wolf was listed by
the newly adopted federal Endangered
Species Preservation Act. When the
Endangered Species Act became law in
1973, a recovery plan was developed
for the red wolf. At this time, the num-
ber of red wolves was in rapid decline,
with those remaining forced to breed
with the more abundant coyote (Canis
latrans) or not to breed at all. The rate
of hybridization between the two spe-
cies left little time to prevent red wolf
genes from being completely absorbed
into the expanding coyote population.
Recognizing that the red wolfs existence
was in peril, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (USFWS), led by Carley, began
an effort to capture and remove the
remaining red wolves from the wild.
Though such an effort to cause the
functional extinction of a species in the
wild seemed counterintuitive and was
challenged by many, Carley believed
that this was the only way to save the
species from extinction. Over a seven-
year period (1973-1980), 400 canids
that resembled red wolves were captured
within the wolfs historical range. Of
these 400, only 17 were identified as red
wolves; the majority were coyotes and
red wolf-coyote hybrids. Of these 17, 14
would become the “founders” of the red
wolf captive population, removed from
the wild and taken to Point Defiance
Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) in Tacoma,
Washington. This marked the beginning
of the red wolf captive breeding program.
Captive Program History
The USFWS partnered with PDZA in
1973 to maintain and manage red wolves
The red wolf is
recognized as
being in danger
of extinction.
The red wolf is
listed as an
endangered species
under the
Preservation Act.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service begins study
of the red wolf in
southeastern Texas and
southwestern Louisiana.
The captive
breeding center
at Point Defiance
Zoo and Aquarium
(PDZA) acquires
first red wolf.
The first litter of
red wolf pups is
born at PDZA.
The Endangered
Species Act becomes
federal law. The first
Red Wolf Recovery
Plan is completed,
and implementation
Red wolves are
released on Bulls
Island, South
in captivity that had been removed
from the wild. Their goals were to
certify the genetic purity of wild-
caught wolves, increase the number
of genetically pure red wolves in cap-
tivity, and maintain a continuing red
wolf gene pool for reestablishment
of the species in the wild and for
distribution to selected zoos. New
husbandry techniques were quickly
developed, including the adoption
of an unconventional “hands-off”
approach designed to reduce the
likelihood of wolf-human habituation
by minimizing interactions between
wolves and their keepers (unlike some
gray wolves, red wolves are not hand-
raised in captivity). Scientists were hope-
ful this approach would maintain a level
of the wolves’ intolerance of humans,
minimizing the potential for human-wolf
conflict at reintroduction sites.
By 1981 the American Association
of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) had
developed the Species Survival Plan
(SSP) program with a stated mission
to “cooperatively manage specific, and
typically threatened or endangered,
species populations within AZA-
accredited Zoos and Aquariums, Certified
Related Facilities, and Sustainability
Partners.” The AZA approved the red
wolf for the SSP program in 1984, lead-
ing to the development of a new manage-
1962 1963 1964 1965 19 66 1967 1968 1969 1970 19 71 1972 1973 1974 19 75 1976 1977 1978 1979
Brief Historic
Time Line for
the Endangered
Red Wolf
The commitment of the Red Wolf SSP
will continue to be a critical factor
in the long-term survival of one of the
world’s most endangered animals
as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
prepares to announce its decision about
whether to continue or to terminate
the Red Wolf Recovery Program.
10 Spring 2015
The last red wolves
are removed from the
wild. The red wolf is
declared functionally
extinct in the wild.
The Red Wolf
Recovery Plan is
revised, updated
and approved.
The Alligator River
National Wildlife
Refuge (ARNWR)
is established.
Four pairs of captive-born
wolves are released in
the ARNWR. An island
propagation site is
established on Bulls
Island, South Carolina,
to acclimate wolves
to the wild before
mainland release.
pups are born in the
wild in the ARNWR.
The first litter of pups
via artificial
insemination is born
at PDZA.
Red wolves are released
in Pocosin Lakes
National Wildlife Refuge
(PLNWR). First pups are
born in the GSMNP.
Scientists and experts
determine hybridization
with coyotes to be the
greatest threat to
recovery of the red wolf.
An Adaptive Management
Plan is developed to
address and manage
The first wild litter of pups
is born in the ARNWR.
A second restoration
project is started in
Great Smoky Mountains
National Park (GSMNP).
project is
1980 19 81 1982 1983 1984 1985 19 86 1987 1988 1989 19 90 1991 1992 1998 19 99 2000
ment plan to ensure the persistence of a
“healthy, genetically diverse, and demo-
graphically varied captive population.”
By 1989 the USFWS had integrated the
SSP into the Red Wolf Recovery Program,
marking the first time a USFWS Recovery
Plan had been combined with a Species
Survival Plan.
The Red Wolf Species Survival Plan
(RWSSP) initiated a network of facilities
across the country with a common goal
of restoring the red wolf to its native
range. This network provided more space
for housing red wolves, increased oppor-
tunities for breeding and research, and
a broader outreach campaign. Resulting
increases in the captive population
brought the program closer to its goal
of wild reintroduction.
In 1987, ten years after the first pups
were born in captivity and seven years
after the species was declared biologically
extinct in the wild, eight red wolves were
released into Alligator River National
Wildlife Refuge in eastern North Carolina.
This represented several firsts: an attempt
to reintroduce a wolf into the wild; a car-
nivore from captive stock; and a species
previously declared extinct in the wild.
While the need for assisting in wild
recovery efforts has shifted as the wild
population has grown, the RWSSP, led
by coordinator Will Waddell, contin-
ues to play an integral role in recovery
efforts by: 1) scientifically managing
the captive population and supplying
wolves for release when needed to add
genetic vigor to the wild population or
when additional reintroduction sites
are identified; 2) supporting field con-
servation activities, such as by applying
captive research to the field; 3) working
in areas such as genome banking
and assisted reproduction, contracep-
tion, behavior and husbandry; and
4) promoting red wolf awareness.
The RWSSP: A Closer Look
A cornerstone of the RWSSP’s suc-
cess has been the management of captive
breeding. In a systematic fashion, breed-
ing efforts are designed to increase genetic
International Wolf Spring 2015 11
diversity and ensure long-term viability
of the red wolf population. Built from
just 14 wolves, the current population
is characterized by closely-related indi-
viduals. As a result, undesirable effects
believed to be attributed to inbreeding,
such as lower birth weights, smaller
litter sizes, physical abnormalities, and
increased pup mortality, continue to
pose potential problems. To mitigate
these effects, the RWSSP collaborates
with scientific advisors from the AZA
Population Management Center (PMC) to
base breeding efforts on a comprehensive
genetic and demographic analysis of the
population. With the help of a computer
software program, information on the
pedigrees of all wolves in the population
reveals how closely related individuals
are to one another and to the population
as a whole. From this information, pairs
whose offspring would be least related to
the population are identified for breeding,
the key to improving genetic diversity.
Such stringent captive-breeding man-
agement became even more valuable in
2002 when program biologists began a
pioneering effort to supplement the wild
population with captive-born pups.
Cross-fostering integrates genetically
valuable, captive-born pups into wild lit-
ters in an attempt to increase population
numbers and, most importantly, genetic
diversity. For both an increase in popu-
lation and diversity to occur, a captive-
born pup must be raised by a wild wolf
pack, survive to maturity, and reproduce.
Usually, candidates for fostering, both
captive and wild, are selected based on
three ideal factors. The captive and wild-
born pups must be similar in age, less
than 2 weeks old, and the wild litter must
be relatively small, to prevent overbur-
dening the mother. The first successful
cross-fostering in 2002 led to a captive-
born male wolf producing a wild litter
of his own in 2004. Cross-fostering has
become an effective tool in red wolf recov-
ery efforts. Acceptance of fostered pups
by wild mothers has been high, leading
to more captive-born wolves producing
litters in the wild. Recognizing these suc
cesses, the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery
Program recently adopted and completed
a successful cross-fostering effort.
In 2007, the 20th anniversary of the
release of red wolves into North Carolina
and the 30th anniversary of the first red
wolf litter born at PDZA, the Red Wolf
Recovery Program was awarded the North
American Conservation Award from the
AZA, illustrating the benefits of organi-
zations working together to conserve a
species. Moreover, it demonstrates that
zoos, nature centers, and similar orga
nizations can and will play a significant
role in future red wolf conservation. Not
only do they bring awareness to red wolf
conservation, they provide the public
an opportunity to see red wolves and to
experience a rare glimpse into the social
lives of these mysterious canids. n
Jeremy Hooper is a graduate student at
the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga,
where he’s studying the relationship
between humans and coyotes in the city
of Atlanta, Georgia. He has been involved
with the RWSSP since 2008 through his
work at the Reflection Riding Arboretum
and Nature Center in Chattanooga.
Jeremy’s goals are to improve relations
between humans and predators through
research, education and partnerships.
The entire North
Carolina red wolf
population is wild born
except for two pups
born at North Carolina
Zoo and fostered into a
wild den, where they
are raised by wild wolf
One hundred to 130 wild
red wolves roam 1.7 million
acres in northeastern North
Carolina. Over 170 exist
in captive populations.
Adaptive management
is working to control the
coyote population in
the recovery area.
Coyote hunting at night with
artificial light is suspended in
5-county red wolf restoration
region pending the outcome
of a lawsuit filed by Southern
Environmental Law Center
(SELC) on behalf of the Red Wolf
Coalition (RWC), Defenders of
Wildlife (DOW) and the Animal
Welfare Institute (AWI).
A federal court issues a preliminary
injunction blocking the North Carolina
Wildlife Resources Commission
(NCWRC) from authorizing coyote
hunting—including at night—in the
5-county red wolf restoration area.
Settlement Agreement is reached
between plaintiffs (RWC, DOW, AWI)
and NCWRC. The NCWRC agrees
(1) to impose specific conditions on
coyote hunting in the restoration
region and (2) to list the red wolf as a
threatened species in North Carolina.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS)
conducts internal review of Red Wolf
Recovery Program.
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
One of the 2002
fostered wolves
fathers a litter of
eight pups.
Alarming increase occurs
in suspected or confirmed
gunshot mortalities. Wild
population is estimated
at 90–100 wolves.
SELC, on behalf of
RWC, DOW and
AWI, asks a federal
judge to halt all
coyote hunting in
5-county red wolf
restoration region
in northeastern
North Carolina.
USFWS will
announce its
decision regarding
the future of the
Red Wolf Recovery
Red Wolf Recovery Program
… demonstrates that zoos,
nature centers, and similar
organizations can and will
play a significant role in
future red wolf conservation.
12 Spring 2015
the Cinderella Wolf (wolf 42) and the 06’ female (wolf
832). Known for their intelligence, leadership, hunt-
ing abilities, and parenting, these wolves are admired
by scientists and the general public.
As is standard practice, Cane was placed in quaran-
tine before release into the main enclosure with Old
Mom. Met with nervous anticipation, the day finally
arrived. We opened the door. He was in. Mom initi-
ated the first meeting. Side by side they both stood
firm and tall. Several times early on, Cane put a paw
on Old Mom’s back, and she would soon return the
favor. After a couple of minutes, Cane went on his way
seemingly more interested in exploring his new home.
According to the reports, Cane was most aggressive
around food. We threw in two pieces of meat. Each
grabbing a piece, the two wolves moved away from
each other. Then, in a moment I’ve never forgotten,
Old Mom seemed to decide, “I want his piece, too.”
She took it from him. Since that day, neither Tish nor
I have seen any of the behaviors mentioned by Cane’s
past keepers. Old Mom had straightened him out. n
— Jeremy Hooper
Old Mom Stands Firm
n December 2012, a large male red wolf weighing 70-80
pounds arrived at the Reflection Riding Arboretum
and Nature Center, a RWSSP cooperator located in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. His name was Cane, and all we
knew about him was that he had a history of dominant and
aggressive behaviors toward other wolves, notably females.
Due to these persistent behavioral issues, the RWSSP wanted
to transfer 7-year-old Cane to a new facility. Tish Gailmard
was the Director of Wildlife at Reflection Riding and also
a member of the RWSSP Advisory Committee. She and I
came to a similar conclusion—if any wolf was capable of
holding its own, it was Old Mom.
An 11-year-old, 40-pound female red wolf, Old Mom
is a very confident, dominant animal. Nicknamed “Busy
Feet” by a past keeper, she’s constantly on the move,
patrolling her enclosure, eyes alert and tail held high.
She usually initiates and ends howls, closing with a
long series of impressive barks, as if reinforcing claim
of her area. As I’ve watched her over the years, I’ve
imagined what she would have been like as a wild
red wolf. My thoughts raced with comparisons of
well-known, successful gray wolves from Yellowstone—
Old Mom
International Wolf Spring 2015 13
n a stunning move on December 19, 2014, Federal Judge Beryl Howell ruled that
Endangered Species Act protections be reinstated for gray wolves (Canis lupis)
in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, North
Dakota and South Dakota. The ruling resulted from a lawsuit filed by the Humane
Society of the United States and other wildlife protection groups against the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) December 2011 decision that removed the
act’s protections. That delisting decision allowed state fish and game departments
to manage wolves and to implement harvest programs for recreational purposes.
The judge’s ruling ended all public taking of wolves in the Great Lakes states for
depredation control or any other purpose except defense of human life. The ruling
did not put an end to federally enacted depredation control efforts in Minnesota,
where the wolf was returned to threatened rather than endangered status.
Rob Jackson
Are Gray
Wolves Still
14 Spring 2015
Even though the ruling could be
interpreted as indicating otherwise,
the gray wolf is biologically secure in
Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin
and should have remained so, even with
liberal state management. However, a
thorough reading of the Endangered
Species Act indicates that biological
security and legal recovery are not nec
essarily one and the same. The latter
requires wolves to be far more common
and widely distributed than the former.
One can argue that wolves have been
biologically secure in Minnesota since
the 1970s when approximately 1,000
animals lived there. The state used that
argument to oppose the original listing of
the species. But the Endangered Species
Act has always required that the gray
wolf be more common than that. The
law requires that a species be secure (not
endangered or threatened, but suitable
for delisting) across a significant portion
of its range. Put another way, recovery
requires that before delisting can occur a
species can only remain insecure (threat-
ened, endangered, or extirpated) across
no more than an insignificant portion
of its range.
This notion of recovery is consistent
with the definitions for important words
in the act including endangered, threat-
ened, and species. It is consistent with
the USFWS’s previous delisting deci-
sions for species other than the wolf. In
those cases, the species in question were
fairly common and widespread at the
time of delisting. Finally, this notion
of recovery is consistent with the all-
important “Findings” section of the
Endangered Species Act which specifi-
cally identifies ecological value as an
important reason for conserving imper-
iled species. It is very hard for the eco-
logical value of a species to be properly
expressed if it is absent from many of
the ecoregions of its historical range.
In sum, Judge Howell took sharp
exception to the USFWS’s advance of a
novel, relatively easily attained approach
to gray wolf recovery. While it is easy
to understand that the difficulty of
wolf recovery offered rationale for this
approach, it is important to note that
the courts have rendered it unlawful.
Judge Howell set aside the delisting
decision because she concluded that the
USFWS had failed to adequately explain
why the majority of the Great Lakes
wolf population area, where the species
remains extirpated, was insignificant
and, therefore, superfluous to recovery.
The term insignificant is important in
the context of the Endangered Species
Act, since its counterpart significant is
included in the definitions for endan-
gered and threatened species:
Endangered species—any species
…which is in danger of extinction
throughout all or a significant
portion of its range.
Threatened species—any spe-
cies which is likely to become an
endangered species within the
foreseeable future throughout all
or a significant portion of its range.
When considering significant and
insignificant it is important to accept
that the insignificant portion of a spe-
cies’ range can include large areas that
are not occupied securely, if at all, by
the species. Recovery does not require
that a species occupy all of its range. It
is equally important, however, to accept
that in every meaningful way, significant
has to mean more than insignificant.
Recovery does require that a species be
fairly widespread in the area considered
by the original listing action, which
typically is the species’ historical range,
before federal protections are lifted.
Judge Howell also concluded that the
USFWS erred by adopting a piecemeal
approach to wolf recovery by delisting
the Great Lakes gray wolf population
when it was never more than a subset of
the originally listed entity (i.e., the gray
wolf across a much larger area) which
had not been recovered. According
to the judge the Endangered Species
Act only allows for the delisting of the
Wolves will
always stir
deep emotions
in us. How
one perceives
Judge Howell’s
ruling probably
depends more
on personal
values than
originally listed entity in total, rather
than piecemeal.
Lastly, Judge Howell was concerned
that the USFWS had failed to adequately
explain why a liberal recreational
harvest of wolves did not threaten the
species. It is worth noting that since del-
isting, Great Lakes region trophy hunters
and trappers have killed more than 1,500
wolves. A recent USFWS internal report
indicates that recreational and manage-
ment harvests can cause declines in wolf
populations, despite the birth of far more
pups (about 11,000 since delisting) than
wolves killed by hunters and trappers.
Since Judge Howell’s ruling was some-
thing of a shocker, given the presence
of more than 3,000 wolves and several
hundred breeding packs in the Great
Lakes states, it is reasonable to consider
possible consequences.
International Wolf Spring 2015 15
The USFWS’s most recent vision for
recovery of the wolf subspecies that
occupies the Great Lakes states called
for delisting from the Great Plains to the
Pacific Northwest based solely on its bio-
logical security in Minnesota, Michigan,
and Wisconsin (and, curiously, Canada).
Judge Howell’s ruling strongly suggests
that this vision comes up short. Why?
Because the area targeted for delisting
includes vast tracts of highly suitable, but
unoccupied, habitat that is significant
in many relevant ways. Judge Howell’s
ruling bolsters an interpretation of the
Endangered Species Act that concludes
that federal protections for the wolf must
apply until the species is securely dis-
tributed across much more of this area.
The judge’s ruling might prompt
some elected officials to try to gut the act.
Given the controversial nature of wolves,
it is reasonable to expect blowback of
this sort. I suspect, however, that any
substantive change to the Endangered
Species Act would be hard to enact.
Given the public’s overwhelming and
persistent support of the law, President
Obama would seem an unlikely ally in
such an effort, and procedural rules for
the U.S. Senate could be exercised to
prevent such a bill from ever passing.
The ruling might prompt some
elected officials to try to amend the
Endangered Species Act to minimize
the consequences of recovery. Some
amendments may be in order. It could
be useful to amend the phrase “sig-
nificant portion of range” to read
“significant portion of historical range
where habitat remains suitable or can
be made so through reasonable means.”
Granted, such an amendment would
create a slippery slope, given the myriad
definitions that could be attached to
significant, suitable, and reasonable means.
However, the vast extent of private land
across much of the gray wolfs histori-
cal range precludes recovery there. Due
to extensive private land in Illinois, for
example, the state seems lost to the
gray wolf. No reasonable means seem
to exist to change that fact. There is no
doubt that passage of the Endangered
Species Act cleared the way to secure a
future for the gray wolf, but it was large
tracts of public land, not private land,
that allowed that future to be realized.
Rather than gutting or lightly amend-
ing the Endangered Species Act, a more
likely legislative response to Judge
Howell’s ruling would be fiscal in nature.
Congress could, for example, defund
activities by attaching riders to unrelated
spending bills. This is the approach that
Congress recently used to express dis-
favor with the USFWS’s consideration
of listing the greater sage grouse. Or
Congress could legislatively delist the
wolf as it did in Idaho and Montana.
Several legislators are now preparing
such a bill.
Wolves will probably always stir deep
emotions in us. How one perceives Judge
Howell’s ruling probably depends more
on personal values than facts. Whether
it is cause for celebration or regret, it
clearly signifies that biological security
is not necessarily an adequate threshold
for wolf recovery under the Endangered
Species Act. It seems that even contro-
versial species must be fairly widespread
before federal protections can be lifted,
or the USFWS has to adequately explain
why more widespread distribution is
not possible or necessary to honor the
spirit and intent of the act.
Mike Phillips has been a Montana state
legislator since 2006 and is currently a
state senator. For the last 29 years he has
worked with threatened and endangered
species in the research, management and
policy realms. He led the effort to restore
the red wolf to northeastern North
Carolina and the gray wolf to Yellowstone
National Park. He has served on every
Mexican Wolf Recovery team convened
since 1995, and has directed the Turner
Endangered Species Fund since he
co-founded the organization with Ted
Turner in June 1997.
Rob Jackson
16 Spring 2015
Nancy Gibson
Tracking the Pack
Looking Toward the Future with
an Eye to the Past
by Lori Schmidt, Wolf Curator
s part of the International Wolf
Center’s wolf care plan, we have
chosen to rotate new pups into
the Exhibit Pack every four years.
Even though the memories of 2012
pups, Luna and Boltz, seem recent, we
are heading toward the 2016 pup intro-
duction. The Center maintains wolves
as ambassadors to the wild for the pur-
pose of educating our visitors about the
physical and behavioral traits of wolves.
One aspect under discussion in the
scientific community is genetic variations
among wolf populations. In 1989, when
we started the resident wolf program
at the Center, there were 24 accepted
subspecies of wolves in North America.
By 1995, due to new analyses of skull
measurements, subspecies of the gray
wolf in North America have been reclassi-
fied to include five subspecies of wolves.
To gain more insight into this issue,
search the Center’s website http://www. for the article, “The Scientific
Classification of Wolves: Canis lupus
soupus.” For the purpose of this article,
we currently recognize five subspecies.
These subspecies are the Canis lupus
occidentalis or northwestern wolf, Canis
lupus arctos or arctic wolf, Canis lupus
nubilus or Great Plains wolf, Canis lupus
baileyi or Mexican wolf, and Canis lupus
lycaon, the eastern timber wolf.
The Center’s captive wolf program
has been managing multiple sub-
species of wolves since 2000, allowing
visitors to the educational facility in
Ely, Minnesota, or visitors to our web-
site, to observe the behavioral patterns
and physical characteristics of our
wolves. In May 2000 the Center first
diversified its Exhibit Pack by adding
arctic wolves represented by Shadow
and Malik. Grizzer, Maya and Nyssa,
representing the Great Plains wolves,
joined the exhibit in 2004. With the
arrival of Aidan and Denali in 2008, both
northwestern wolves, the Exhibit Pack
contained three of the five subspecies.
The natural process of aging warranted
the retirement of Shadow from the
Exhibit Pack into the Retired Pack in July
2010. We are currently managing two
subspecies in the Exhibit Pack: Aidan and
Denali are northwestern wolves; Luna
and Boltz are Great Plains subspecies.
As we look to the future introduc-
tion in 2016, we turn an eye to the
past and share many fond memories of
Shadow and Malik’s time in the exhibit.
Their unique white pelage, representative
of arctic wolves, drew the attention of
many visitors, and the pair bonding of
Maya and Shadow proved the point that
scientists often make—regardless of
the subspecies, a wolf is a wolf is a wolf. n
Nancy Gibson
Kelly Godfrey
During the winter of 2005, even though the Center’s
wolves are spayed and neutered, Shadow chose Maya to be
the dominant female and display a behavior called parallel gait.
Captive born Shadow and Malik as they neared
one month of age; note the white guard hairs are
just starting to appear on their heads and legs.
Wild, two-month-old arctic pups photographed
on Ellesmere Island, Canada;
note white guard
hair already
International Wolf Spring 2015 17
Major Contributors and Special Gifts
Albrecht Family Foundation
Michele Amacker
Hayes Anderson
Patricia Bellace
Scot Bernstein
Boy Scout Troop 411,
Stacy MN
Leslie Brown
Lori Buswell
Cindy Carvelli-Yu
Patricia Clarke
Lisa Crawford
Kevin Culver
David D. Dayton
James Denton
Daniele de Ponthiere
Connie Di Bratto
Brian and Ellen Dietz
Melanie Donaghy
Connie and Mike Dowler
Richard Duncan
Joseph Ehrbar
Alan and Sharon Fearey
Denise and Mike Ferguson
Friends of Tamarac
National Wildlife Refuge
Sonia Fuerstneau
Bridget Fusco
Valerie Gates
Deborah Gentile
Michael Gerritsen
Nancy Gibson and
Ron Sternal
Edward Gleason
Carol J. Green
Joe and Jody Greenhalgh
Wesley Haut
Charles and Sharon Heck
Debbie Hinchcliffe and
Jerry Sanders
Judy Hunter
Neil Hutt
Michael Huwaldt
Richard Jolkovsky
Kristine Karnos
Christopher Kennedy
Jeanie and Murray Kilgour
Paula Kocken
Robert and Kathleen Kulus
Connie and Nick LaFond
James Lundsted
Donna Mack-Iwanski
Kathryn Mahigan
Sylvia Mannig
Linda McGurn
Dr. L. David Mech
Dave Messinger
Seamus Metress, Ph.D.
Barbara Müller
Janice Navratil
Roger and Hollie Parsons
Robert Patterson
Patricia Pettis
Tanya Reiss
Debbie Reynolds
The Constance Robert
Fund of the Community
Foundation for
Greater New Haven
Paul E. Robert
Michael Ross
Michael Sanders
Daniel and Susan Schmitt
Martha Schoonover
Bradley and Melissa
Paul and Susan Schurke,
Wintergreen Dogsled
Kathleen and
Michael Shopa
Sharon Siebert
Andrene Smith
Guy Smith
Code Sternal
Nancy jo Tubbs
Joseph Velasquez
Michael Vieths
John and Donna Virr
Bruce Weeks
Ray Wells
Jean West
James Wiener
Virginia Wolfe
Brian and Kathy Yelton
In memory of Bebe and Bella:
Donna Duran
In memory of Marian Bloechl:
Dianne Wulff
In memory of Arlin Erickson:
Dick and Deb Thiel
In memory of Jim Gates:
Joan Gates
In memory of Pat Gillespie:
Essential Health, St Mary’s
Hospice, Virginia, MN
In memory of Heidi
and Brandy:
Richard Bartlett
In memory of Lakota:
Nancy Vanderwerff
In memory of Marcia Larson:
Tracy Bygrave
In memory of
Mary Nicholson:
Margaret Nicholson
In memory of Vivian Nohr:
Catherine Criel
In memory of Remy:
Lisa Nivens
In memory of Shadow:
Kathy Belgea
Helena Goscilo
In memory of
William Weisman:
Audrey Wolf
In memory of Wildlife:
Marina Mooney
In honor of Darlene Berchin:
Darlene Berchin
In honor of Ryan Bruno’s
The Visco Family
In honor of my children:
Stephanie-Ann Bahr
In honor of Pam Churn:
Lorianne Churn
In honor of Lynn Cook:
Barbara Cook
In honor of William Fox:
Elaine and Myron Schlechter
In honor of Greg Gailen:
Jill Weems
In honor of Susan Goebel:
David Bedrin
In honor of Karl Hassis:
Thomas Cowette
In honor of Judi Jarnberg’s
Sarah Booth
In honor of Bob Landis:
Deborah Hinchcliffe and
Jerry Sanders
In honor of Conrad Patrick, Jr.:
Nick Patrick
In honor of Debbie Reynolds:
Susan Anderson
In honor of Siobhan Rix:
Joanna Pasternack
In honor of Jerry Sanders:
Rich Hinchcliffe, Jr.
In honor of my 6th-grade
SETSS class:
Iveliz Colon
In honor of the marriage of
Kris Sheldon and Anine Jensen:
Sally Larson
In honor of Paige Snyder,
who is very concerned
about the wolves:
Robert Snyder
In honor of Frederick deRosset
Strong’s 100th birthday:
Richard and Gail deRosset
In honor of Eli Weissman:
KB Weissman
Matching Gifts
Ameriprise on behalf of:
Erik Johnson
Melissa Kotek
Christopher Lamere
Paul Trevizo
Connexus Energy on behalf of:
Shannon McDonald
Hospira on behalf of:
Stanley Lipinski, Jr.
Medtronic on behalf of:
Cathy Gray
In-Kind Donations
Justin Benjamin
Charles Biviano
Carol Brooks
Leslie Brown
MaryAnn Canning
Christine A. Coletta
Carlos Horta Font
Traci McFadden
Kathleen Melde
Eleanor Sabatini
Susan Todd
Doris Werner
Kathy Yelton
Margaret A. Haines
Edna Mae Lamb
Members and
Monthly Donors
Bob Akerley
Mara Arico
Rebecca Becker
Darcy Berus
Major Individual Donors and Foundations
18 Spring 2015
Member Profile
Jen Webb
Finding Strength
in a Time of
Personal Tragedy
By Darcy Berus
nyone who sees Jen Webb’s
five wolf tattoos can tell
she loves wolves. They’ll
hear excitement in her voice
when she talks about her dis-
covery of the International Wolf
Center. She said, “I was surfing
online and found what I thought
was an amazing place and all you
do to teach people about this
misunderstood creature.”
On the phone from her
Pennsylvania home, Jen shared
with me why she’s been a member
of the International Wolf Center
since 2006. “I’ve always had a
passion and fascination for these
beautiful animals…I would give
anything to see a wolf in person
and take a picture of one, but traveling
is an issue for me. That’s why I haven’t
been able to visit (the International Wolf
Center’s Interpretive Center in Ely).”
Not long ago, Jen experienced the
tragic loss of Rich, her husband of 22
years. In her search for strength, she
looked for ways to get up each morning
and face the day. “I needed to be a part
of something positive and latch onto
it …something to help me focus,” she
said. After seeing the Center’s CrowdRise
online fundraising drive for a new “Wolf
Wagon” for the Wolf Care program, she
decided to create her own CrowdRise
campaign to boost the effort. “I was
hoping not only to meet my goal, but I
wanted to help in whatever way I can…
It gave me something positive to be
involved with.”
Jen’s campaign was a huge success!
She not only exceeded her goal—so far,
over $1,600 and counting—but she is
regaining her personal strength and
positive spirit.
“You take a lot of things for granted.
You figure there’s always tomorrow. But
I’ve come to see that it’s not always true.
And then it takes time to heal. It was
important for me to get involved. I want
to give and help wolves, however I can.”
Thank you, Jen, for reaching out to
the International Wolf Center and letting
your dedication to our mission help you
in your personal recovery journey. We
are touched by your story and are grate-
ful for your generous, enduring spirit.
Photo courtesy of Jen Webb
Anne Braaten
James Brady
Carol Brooks
Michael Byrnes
Mary Ann Canning
Carly Dent
Linda Dougherty
Matthew Dresnick
Cameron Feaster
Martina Fehlhaber
Vic and Yvonne Gagliano
Jennifer Herstein
Carol Hodges
Karen Hodsdon
Judy Hunter
David Kline
Catherine Kling
Debbie Kowalski
Hui Chuan Li
Valerie Lockhart
Louise Murphy
Roberta Odell
Michael Pastorelli
Dana Pond
Nancy Powers
Henry and Carol Rompage
Bette Jean Rua
S. Schade
Pierre Schlemel
Rob Schultz and
Andrew Engelhart
C.A. Sharp
Catherine Shepard
Rebecca and Ronald Sinclair
Paul Smith
Peter Smith
Patti and Bob Sobecke
Carol Lynn and Ronald
Lynn Streadwick
Walt Stump
Leslie Teuber and David Albert
Nancy Vanderwerft
Manuel Vazquez
Sandra Weiner
Steffanie Wiggins
Linda Williams
International Wolf Spring 2015 19
Andersen verified that this wolf origi
nated from the Mielkeler pack in Sachsen,
the easternmost part of Germany. The
wolf was born in 2009 and had traveled
around 850 kilometers (more than 528
miles) to the northern part of Jylland
called Thy, home to a national park,
as well as diverse landscapes including
beaches and farms.
DNA samples and photos now show
that wolves have spread to several parts
of Jylland, and that at least eleven wolves
have been in Denmark, all males.
They come from Germany, Poland and
the Baltic countries, and some have
traveled over 900 miles (more than 1448
As in many other countries, Prior
notes, the return of wolves has provoked
discussion among the Danes. The popula-
tion is polarized: those who do not want
the wolf, typically hunters and farmers
who claim the country is too small for a
Wolves Return to Denmark: A Long
Journey, An Even Longer Time
by Tracy O’Connell
erete Prior writes from Denmark
about the arrival of wolves in
her country. She spent a week
with International Wolf Center staff in the
Northwest Territories, and has remained
a friend of the Center through the years.
She notes that Denmark had not been
home to wolves in the wild for several
decades. The last wolf was killed in 1813.
Nearly 200 years later, in October 2012,
a wild wolf was observed in Jylland,
also called Jutland, the Danish main
land that shares a border with northern
Germany. The animal died a month later
from an infection in the chest which had
caused a buildup of fluid in the lungs,
according to an autopsy. It showed no
sign of rabies, distemper or parvovirus
With the help of German scientists
from the Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut
und Naturmuseum, a major science
museum in Frankfurt, and DNA tests,
the Danish scientist Liselotte Westley
Awen Briem
Wikimedia Commons/Jens Buurgaard Nielsen
Tved Klitplantage in Thy
National Park, Denmark:
Evidence shows that wolves
from Germany, Poland and
the Baltic countries have
traveled hundreds of miles to
the diverse landscapes of this
national park in Denmark.
20 Spring 2015
meters (more than 8,500 feet) and the
snow would have been about six meters
(more than 19 feet) deep at the time.
Nicholls notes, “Slavc was one of
an estimated 4,000 wolves living on the
Balkan peninsula of south-eastern Europe.
This most urbanized, industrialized and
farmed continent on Earth is now home
to some 12,000 wolves, 17,000 brown
bears and 9,000 Eurasian lynx.”
If it was a mate Slavc sought, the trip
paid off. In early 2012 he passed through
Italy’s Lessinia Natural Regional Park in
the province of Verona. Biologists there
had seen video footage of a female wolf,
judging by its posture when it urinated.
Slavc kept going, however, and tarried
for a while farther north, in a region of
vineyards and greenhouses, where he is
believed to have killed the only domestic
livestock he hunted on this trip. Then he
backtracked to the regional park, depicted
online as a verdant wonderland of 10,000
hectares (more than 24,500 acres). Here
he met the she-wolf, now dubbed Juliet,
in tribute to the Shakespearean character
of that region whose story did not end as
well. Park rangers confirmed the prints
of two canids together in the snow. The
pair produced litters in 2013 and 2014;
the 2014 litter had seven pups.
A plan to re-introduce now-
departed species into the UK, described
by British environmental activist George
Monbiot in his book, Feral, has been set
back by a government plan to subject
species not now present in the landscape
at least some of the time, to eradication
and control. The re-wilding plan has the
support of the John Muir Trust, which
sees ecotourism among the advantages,
and millionaire Paul Lister, who wants to
introduce bears and wolves to what he
envisions to be an enclosed 50,000 acre
area (more than 20,234 hectares) which
encompasses his estate in Sutherland,
as well as other land. Other species that
would be similarly barred by the gov-
ernment’s proposed ruling: the lynx,
European beaver, brown bear, spotted
hyena, lion, wolverine and blue stag bee-
tle. “Some would be widely welcomed;
others not at all, but it’s clear that a debate
about which species we might bring back
is one that many people in this country
want to have, but that the government
wants to terminate,” in the words of James
Delingpole, himself vocal in opposition
to the re-wilding proposal, writing in
the UK’s Breitbart online news service.
Lessinia Natural
Regional Park
Thy National Park
large predator and that the wildlife will
suffer; and those who welcome the wolf
as a long-lost inhabitant of the country
and a tribute to the diversity of nature.
The Danish government has agreed
on a management plan for wolves which
states that it is illegal to hunt them and
forbidden to destroy the areas where
wolves have established themselves.
Denmark is committed to follow the
European Union rules which dictate
strong protection of wolves, while pay-
ing compensation to farmers who lose
livestock to wolf attacks. It has basically
adopted the same rules as Sweden, where
two men were sentenced to two years in
prison last September for killing a wolf.
Meanwhile, farmers are investigating
new measures, such as various kinds
of fences and the use of guard dogs, to
protect livestock, especially sheep.
Elsewhere in the World…
Wolf OR-7 made waves
throughout the world’s media
for his wide-ranging travels from his
native Oregon pack to California and
back to Oregon, spawning a movie and
fan club. Now he has a counterpart
in Europe—Slavc, a wolf collared in
2011 in southern Slovenia, which has
traveled 2,000 kilometers (more than
1,242 miles) to Italy. Slavc stayed with
his natal pack from his June collaring
into December, then headed north. His
travels were tracked by Slovenian biolo-
gist Hubert Potočnik, who gave the play-
by-play in an interview last August with
Henry Nicholls for the online news site
Concerned that Slavc would be shot
by people confusing him with a stray
dog because of his collar, Potočnik
reached out to the media with infor-
mation throughout his trek. He reports
Slavc crossed two major motorways
in the early days, using underpasses
and overpasses to navigate traffic. He
swam the Drava River, a tributary to the
Danube, at a place that was 280 meters
(more than 900 feet) wide, where there
were no bridges. He crossed the Austrian
Alps where the lowest pass was 2,600
International Wolf Spring 2015 21
It was widely reported last
August that a pack of starving
wolves attacked a farming community
in rural China near the Mongolian bor-
der, injuring six people, some severely.
Some sources claimed the wolves were
after the village’s sheep population, and
only attacked humans who were defend-
ing the flocks. Editors note: International
Wolf has no independent confirmation of
the alleged attacks on humans or whether the
wolves were rabid
In an article last June, freelance
journalist Luke-Dale Harris
described the way the public’s popular
conception of wolves as bad animals
causes them to be singled out more
than lynx or bear for public hatred. “The
wolf is a demonic image that corrupts,
destroys innocence, and makes victims of
the small ones,” a theater producer tells
him of the villain in the classic children’s
play, The Goat with Three Kids. “He feels
the smell of blood and flesh. He goes
on high rocks and howls at the moon.
All of this makes us think of him like
of a demon.” Harris contends Romanian
media “take a similar approach,” noting,
“Stories of the grisliest wolf attacks are
splashed all over…and feature sensa-
tionalist headlines.”
The nation’s first-ever attempt
at counting its wolf population
aims to do so by documenting howls.
“Every wolf howl is unique, just like every
tiger has a unique stripe pattern on its
body,” says Bilal Habib, a scientist at the
Wildlife Institute of India and an expert
on wolves. Ananda Banerjee, writing in
the English-language Indian website Mint,
notes that there is no well-documented
population estimate for wolves anywhere
in the Indian subcontinent. The pro-
posed census will be through a means
called “capture and recapture,” he says,
explaining that it is a method commonly
used to estimate a species’ population.
Scientists will record samples of wolf
howls in various areas over various sea-
sons, using the formula Total = original
number tagged x total recaptured ÷ number
tagged on recapture.
Banerjee addresses the challenges
of protecting the wolf in India, citing
that nation as the cradle of wolf evolu-
tion in which a proposed three species
exist, two of which—the Indian and
Himalayan wolves—are unique to the
subcontinent. The third, the Tibetan
wolf, is from the wolf-dog
clade, or ancestry, that is found across
the rest of Eurasia and North America.
He notes that human population pres-
sure will continue to exert demands on
wolf habitat, as the treeless grasslands
are considered by the government to be
a wasted area and, therefore, not pro
tected as a resource, but rather marked
for development.
The goal of protecting wolves is seen
as less noble than protecting other spe-
cies, like the rhino, elephant, lion or
tiger, Banerjee explains. Adding to the
difficulty of protecting wolves is their
need for big tracts of land in which to
disperse new populations, which this
crowded nation can ill afford. Noting
the negative views of wolves because of
their depredation of livestock, Banerjee
draws attention to the positive myths
that have grown up around these ani-
mals as indication that their stories can
be cast in a more positive light, citing
Romulus and Remus, who, according to
legend, built Rome after being raised by
a wolf, and Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling’s
The Jungle Book, whose extraordinary
talents are credited to his being raised
by wolves in the jungle.
Tracy O’Connell is associate professor
emerita of marketing communications at
the University of Wisconsin-River Falls
and a member of the International Wolf
Center’s communications
and magazine
George Hughes
International Wolf has no independent confirmation of the alleged attacks on
humans or whether the wolves were rabid
22 Spring 2015
and development of major highways,
often interrupt natural corridors, while
national parks, wilderness areas and
continental-scale conservation efforts
support the “carnivore way.” Eisenberg
aids the lay reader with helpful defini-
tions of biological terminology and offers
stories of face-to-face encounters with
these provocative predators.
Mission: Wolf Rescue. Targeted for kids
10 and older, this 128-page National
Geographic Kids large paperback by
Kitson Jazynka and Daniel Raven-
Ellison is irre
sistible for all
ages. Full-page
and eye-catch
ing graphics sur-
round readable
information and
activities that
ground children
in the basics of
wolf behavior
and biology.
they are intro
duced to engag-
ing observations
from profession-
als who interact
with wild animals, including biologists,
photographers, veterinarians, and res-
cue workers. The booklet encourages
sensible ways to help wolf populations,
and it might well inspire a child’s pas-
sion to work with animals. Adults could
do worse than to share this with a kid
and, themselves, become enthralled
once again with the world of wolves.
dults can gain insight into key
predator research and the pathway
for the migration of imperiled
species, while kids can become inspired
to care about and work with animals.
These awesome animals sometimes
frighten, often delight, and always engage
readers of all ages.
The Predator Paradox: Ending the
War with Wolves, Bears, Cougars, and
Coyotes. Author John
A. Shivik is an even-
handed storyteller and
experienced researcher
who brings into sharp
focus the world of
bears, cougars, and
coyotes—as well as
those who revere,
detest, or study them.
In short, readable sec-
tions, The Predator
Paradox introduces the
insights of key predator
researchers and con-
servationists, includ-
ing Dave Mech, Diane
Boyd, Hank Fischer
and Doug Smith. Shivik
references a myriad of
inside sources. He quotes Richard Nixon
signing the 1973 Endangered Species
Act, saying, “…nothing is more price-
less and more worthy of preservation
than the rich array of animal life with
which our country has been blessed.”
Interviewing a widowed grandmother
whose small Wisconsin cattle herd lost
two head to wolves, Shivik notes, “The
dead were cows with calves. The wolves
ate her cash income for the whole year.
It’s not the magnitude of the killing;
it’s how personal it feels.” The second
half of the book focuses on the cre-
ative fervor and imperfect science of
finding methods to deter wolves from
taking livestock. Flags, surgical steril-
ization, fences, artificial scent marking,
and relocation projects are detailed in a
way that will fascinate anyone who has
ever, even for a minute, been intrigued
by predator research.
The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and
Conserving North America’s Predators.
Researcher Christina Eisenberg takes
us on a trek from
Mexico, north
through the
Rocky Mountains
to Alaska. This
potential wild
lands corridor, she
contends, is essen-
tial for the disper-
sal, breeding, and
future survival of
our charismatic
megafauna: griz-
zly bears, wolves,
lynx, jaguars, cou-
gars and wolver-
ines. Offering a
chapter on each
one, Eisenberg
provides an over-
view of how sci-
ence, policy, and
environmental ethics promote, or stand
in the way of, a pathway for the migra-
tion of these imperiled species. Human
extraction activities, such as logging,
The Predator
Paradox: Ending
the War with Wolves,
Bears, Cougars,
and Coyotes
2014. Beacon Press
Written by John Shivik
208 pages
The Carnivore Way:
Coexisting with and
Conserving North
America’s Predators
2014. Island Press
Written by Christina
328 pages
Excitement, Entertainment, Learning
Can Be Shared
by Nancy jo Tubbs
Mission: Wolf Rescue
2014. Turtleback Books
Written by Kitson Jazynka and
Daniel Raven-Ellison
128 pages
International Wolf Spring 2015 23
The Red Wolves of the Ozarks
by Steve Weems
arly pioneers to the Ozark hills
of Carroll County, Arkansas,
recounted wolves as being abun-
dant. According to the book Pioneer
Tales by Cora Pinkley-Call, the earliest
European settlers to Carroll County
had to continually guard their stock
against the threat posed by wolves and
other predators. At night wolves would
“come and pick up the crumbs from
where (the settlers) had eaten” in their
primitive pioneer camps. The wolves
were often described as large and either
reddish-gray or black in color. Biologists
say it was the red wolf that was found
in Carroll County.
I’ve long been fascinated by the stories
of wolves in Carroll County. I recall sit-
ting with my grandfather, Jack McCall,
on cold winters’ nights, asking about
them. He would spit tobacco juice into
a coffee can at his feet, feed the stove
another stick of wood, and patiently
answer my questions.
In my time Jack McCall was an
elderly, compact man in a cowboy hat.
He was a lifelong farmer and timber
man whose livelihood took place out of
doors, tending his livestock and land.
At an early age I realized that his life
was centered more on the production
of food than earning money. Cash was
necessary, but you couldn’t eat it. And
when you have twelve children, like he
and Granny, an abundant food supply
is critical.
Jack McCall was quick to defend that
food supply with a gun. He didn’t take
kindly to competition, whether it be
groundhogs in the garden or predators
in the livestock. He considered it to be a
life and death matter for all concerned.
I’ve heard the opinion that Carroll
County never had any actual wolves—
that the old tales were of coyotes. I’ve no
doubt that Jack McCall would have been
surprised by this argument as wolves
and coyotes not only look different, they
sound different. In his younger days, he
killed wolves for the bounty and because
they killed sheep. Later, he killed coy-
otes because they preyed on his chickens
and ducks. In his mind the two types
of animals were not the same. Wolves
were obviously bigger than coyotes, but
they also carried themselves differently
when they moved. In John Sealander’s A
Guide to Arkansas Mammals, he recounts
an Arkansas red wolf specimen tipping
the scales at 90 pounds. I’ve read that
out West, pure coyotes seldom weigh
more than 30 pounds.
There is a story from the 1930s of
McCall men being seen with a horse-
drawn wagon piled with the bodies of
dead wolves. They’d been running the
wolves with hounds into areas where men
lay in wait with rifles, ready to ambush
and kill. I don’t exactly understand the
shutterstock/Colin Stitt
The farm that Granny
grew up on is now a small
part of the Nature Conservancy’s
King’s River Preserve…
The red wolf, though, is missing.
24 Spring 2015
intricacies of this hunting method, but it
was apparently successful. The hounds
would likely have been foxhounds or
coonhounds, the traditional athletic,
long-eared dogs used for tracking and
giving chase in the Ozarks. Though more
rare, another type of dog was employed
to battle these predators.
When I was young, Granny also told
me about wolves, which she indicated
were numerous in her childhood. Raised
upriver several miles from her future
husband in the Mason Bend of Kings
River, she saw them only occasionally,
but heard them often. Across the river
from her family’s log house was a high
bluff where the wolves would congregate
at night and howl. Like other sheep farm-
ers of the time, her father hated wolves.
She recalled that circa 1918, he left on
a trip, traveling what was considered a
great distance. He returned with two
massive wolfhounds, dogs powerful
enough to hunt and bring down wolves
on their own. When the wolves gathered
across the river on the bluff, Granny’s
father would release the wolfhounds.
The farm that Granny grew up
on is now a small part of the Nature
Conservancy’s Kings River Preserve in
Carroll County. The preserve protects
ten miles of clear, free flowing river and
the surrounding acreage for a variety
of native species, several quite rare. The
red wolf, though, is missing.
The Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission says that in the 1940s,
Carroll County had one of the larg-
est populations of wolves left in the
state, the small farms and woodlands
providing good habitat. Each year the
number of pure wolves dwindled, as
they were hunted by man and interbred
with coyotes.
Carroll County continued to offer a
$15 bounty on wolves in 1966. In 1967,
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed
the red wolf as endangered under the
Endangered Species Preservation Act.
In 1969 the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission gave wolves protected sta-
tus. By 1980 the red wolf was officially
extinct in the state of Arkansas.
Late in life, Jack McCall, not one for
giving a predator an even break, was
wistful about the disappearance of the
wolves from Arkansas. He wondered
if it was man’s place to annihilate an
entire species. n
Steve Weems returned to writing moti-
vated by his love of the forests and lore
of his native Ozark Mountains. He draws
inspiration from deep woodland hikes,
clear spring-fed creeks, and the thrill of
continually discovering nature’s mysteries.
His writing is often fueled by the desire to
capture the tales of a disappearing culture
learned from the elders of his family.
He lives with his wife and three children
in a deep hollow near Eureka Springs,
Arkansas. Murder in the Ozarks is his
first full-length novel.
Blog/Web site:
Jack McCall and his hounds
Photo courtesy of Steve Weems
International Wolf Spring 2015 25
Telemetry The use of electronic equipment to
locate a distant source. Researchers use telemetry
equipment, such as receivers and antennas, to locate
signals emitted from radio collars which have been
put on the wolves they are studying.
Biologist A person who studies living organisms,
life processes and/or the animal and plant life of a
particular place. Biologists also study the relationship
of living things to one another.
Canis lupus
The scientific name for the gray wolf.
rizzer is a Great Plains subspecies of the
Gray Wolf (Canis lupus nubilus). He is cur-
rently the only wolf in retirement at the
International Wolf Center. He was born on May 5,
2004. Grizzer was removed from the Exhibit Pack in
March, 2011, after the loss of his littermate, Maya.
It was determined that Grizzer had been losing con-
fidence in his status and, without the support of his
littermate, he struggled to compete with his younger
packmates. Now in the retirement enclosure, he has
less stress, but he can still interact with the other
wolves through the fences. This winter Grizzer has
been alert to the sounds of nearby sled dogs and the
ravens perched overhead waiting to steal a scrap of
food. Visitors to the Center cannot see Grizzer in the
retirement enclosure, but he can be seen through the
live wolf cams at as well as in weekly
updates on YouTube about all the ambassador wolves
at the Center.
International Wolf Center
26 Spring 2015
Word Search
Use the Word Bank below to
find the words hidden in the
puzzle. Words may be found
horizontally, vertically, diago-
nally, forward and backward.
inter is a great time
for scientists to track
and study wolves, because
wolves are easily seen against
the white winter snow, espe-
cially from an airplane. With
the thick summer foliage gone
and with the use of radio-telemetry equipment, scientists can track
and study radio-collared wolves and their packs.
Radio telemetry works like a radio station, sending out very high
frequency (VHF) signals. Wolves are captured and fitted with trans-
mitter collars. When the wolf is released, the transmitter starts send-
ing out VHF signals. When the wolf biologists are in range with an
antenna and receiver, they hear the beeping noise emitted from a
wolfs collar. Thanks to this technology, wild wolves can be located
and studied.
Visitors to the International Wolf Center can learn about track-
ing, observation, data collection and radio telemetry. They can even
try all the radio telemetry equipment outside at the Center. Check
our website to look for radio telemetry classes for kids
and adults. n
Darcy Berus
International Wolf Spring 2015 27
The Future Holds Challenges
for Washington’s Wolves
by Diane Gallegos
fter being absent for over 70 years,
wolves have been recolonizing
in Washington since early 2000
by dispersing from neighboring Idaho,
Montana, Oregon and British Columbia.
Currently the gray wolf (Canis lupus) is
listed and protected as endangered in
Washington under state law and pro-
tected under the federal Endangered
Species Act in the western two-thirds
of the state. Wolves in the eastern third
were removed from federal protection
in 2011.
The Successes
In 2007, in anticipation of wolves’
return, the Washington Department of
Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) convened a
citizens’ stakeholder group to develop
a recovery and management plan. The
Washington Wolf Conservation and
Management Plan, adopted in December
2011, serves as the wolf recovery plan
for the state. Addressing gray wolf-live-
stock conflicts is an essential part of the
plan. Thanks to a bipartisan effort, the
state legislature provided funding for
research, training and cost-sharing for
nonlethal deterrents, including range
riders, fencing, night penning, guarding
and herding animals, and the removal
of carcasses. In addition to support with
nonlethal deterrents, the plan also pro-
vides for compensation in the event that
producers experience livestock losses, as
well as the legal permission for livestock
producers in the eastern portion of the
state to kill wolves caught in the act of
attacking livestock or guarding animals.
The Challenges
Although a great deal of support is
available to Washington livestock pro-
ducers, some have chosen not to par-
ticipate in nonlethal deterrent programs,
research, or compensation, and they are
pressuring WDFW to employ intensive
lethal management of wolves. Human-
caused mortality has been a major cause
of losses for Washington’s wolves since
wolves began recolonizing in the state,
including the killing of two breeding
females in 2014.
The Future
While wolf recovery continues to have
broad public support in Washington,
we are at a crossroads. Will we work
together to effectively employ current
nonlethal tools and support the research
needed to develop new methods of pro-
tecting livestock, or will we revert to
intensive lethal practices of the early
1900s? The state wolf conservation goal
is a minimum of 15 successful breed-
ing pairs for three consecutive years
in three recovery regions across the
state from eastern Washington to the
Olympic Peninsula. I believe that with
cooperation, collaboration, and inno-
vation Washington can be a leader in a
sustainable 21st century wolf manage-
ment program that protects these apex
predators (along with bears and cougars)
while continuing to have functioning
livestock production. n
Diane Gallegos has served as the executive
director of Wolf Haven International since
2011. She began her career as a field
biologist and has served in leadership
positions for a number of nonprofit
organizations prior to joining the staff
at Wolf Haven.
Photo courtesy Wolf Haven International
Although a great deal of support is available to Washington
livestock producers, some have chosen not to participate in nonlethal
deterrent programs, research, or compensation, and they are
pressuring WDFW to employ intensive lethal management of
wolves… While wolf recovery continues to have broad public
support in Washington, we are at a crossroads.
28 Spring 2015
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