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Wolf Conservation Center

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Wolf Conservation Center  August 17, 2010
7 Buck Run, South Salem, NY
Mexican Wolf Program with Maggie Howell

Nestled in the woods in South Salem, NY, just over the Connecticut line, is the Wolf Conservation Center.  You take a walk into the wild, in a way, when you visit here.  The wolves that can be viewed are three gray wolves, and a pen with red wolves, now boasting two red wolf pups.. Pretty exciting!

But this is not a story about the wolves that people can come here and view, even though they are wonderful and quite awesome to see.  This is about the wolves that are kept so far out of view that even Maggie and her staff at the Center rarely see. These are  most special wolves, and Maggie beams when she says the Wolf Conservation Center has one of the largest holding areas for Mexican wolves in the country.

Why are these wolves kept out of sight?

With the population of Mexican wolves critically endangered, they serve a special purpose.  Habituation to humans is the last thing these wolves need.  Maggie explains how there are only about four hundred Mexican wolves today, and only a few dozen  living in the wild. Not long ago the Mexican wolves were actually extinct with none left in the wild,  and down to a total population of seven in captivity. Centers such as the Wolf Conservation Center are so important.  And so are its tenants!

The WCC has seen two of their Mexican wolves reintroduced into the  wild, and Maggie beams like a proud mom when she talks about them.  More wolves are targeted to be released from the Wolf Center with no specific date as yet.  There is a breeding pair at the center and Maggie is hoping that this next season brings puppies, and hopefully they will find their way into the wild as a family.

There are so many obstacles and hurdles that these Mexican gray wolves face, and Maggie is encouraged with some good news, the latest being Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico putting a stop to trapping in the recovery areas of New Mexico.

The second of the two wolves from the WCC introduced into Arizona , F836, is quite the story, and one that Defenders uses even today.  She saw her time in the wild before being shot and left on the side of the road. Maggie hopes that some positive came out of that through  education.

It was a real learning experience listening to Maggie, and one could feel her passion. Maggie and Spencer, and the rest of the staff and volunteers at the Center do incredible work, day in and day out. They are trying to save a species, and  at the same time educate people with the many programs they offer.

I made the trip to the  Wolf Conservation Center with my niece Brooke, and it was encouraging to see Brooke listening so attentively as Maggie talked about the Lobo.  Maggie reached Brooke  in such a way that she came away with a greater respect for what obstacles wolves face in the wild.  Maggie and I both agree that it is Brooke and her generation, and those after her, that are so important to the survival and continued protection of wolves such as F836.

Please visit www.nywolf and become involved in this important cause to save these critically endangered Mexican gray wolves.  And if you ever get the chance, visit the Wolf Conservation Center and take in one of their highly acclaimed presentations that they offer.

And while you are there listen for the howl of the Lobo!  It is the sweet sound of freedom they cry for.

Be sure to watch the video!

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