Red Wolf SSP meeting

The Red Wolf SSP Master Plan meeting occurred the end of July in Little Rock, Arkansas. This year I spent almost four days embedded in interesting, intense, and challenging conversations trying to solve a variety of tasks and potential problems. People from Zoos, Nature Centers, Government Agencies, Conservation groups, University’s, and more, gathered to work together to find common paths forward.

Most of the folks at the Red Wolf SSP meeting. In the background is Arkansas state capital building.

Over 60 of us were graciously hosted by the Arkansas University System and A-State, home of the Red Wolves. A-State’s mascot is the Red Wolf and the school is engaged in a variety of conservation initiatives for the species.

Over 15 separate presentations and breakout sessions were on the agenda. We heard reports from scientists and researchers on sperm cryopreservation, microbiome and irritable bowel disease research, Human perception of carnivores; Human Dimensions in NC; and genetics and master planning in species.

A view into my home-away-from-home. I spent almost three full days in this room with other red wolf caretakers, experts, researchers, and general fans.

We had updates from cooperators in the SSP on the status of the SSP; veterinary reports; husbandry manual; AZA’s American Red Wolf SAFE program; and more. We honored outgoing SSP Coordinator Will Waddell. He served for well over 25 years as the leader of our team.

Several of my fellow Red Wolf SSP Management group partners on the left, We were honoring outgoing SSP Coordinator Will Waddell, on the right.

We spent a whole day on education– our Education Summit. We also unveiled the new Red Wolf SSP Logo too. We spent this past spring gathering ideas and designs and here’s our new logo:

One of the breakout sessions that Regina, from the Endangered Wolf Center, and I facilitated.. This one was specifically discussion how can USFWS, state agencies, private NGOs, and landowners work together. We discussed roadblocks, concerns, roles, goals, and more.

A whole day is also spent on planning and breeding. This is when we look at all the red wolves in the population, the genetic state of the population, what wolves had pups in the past year, what wolves we’d like to make pups in the next year, and make plans to move any wolves for breeding or other reasons.

It’s an overwhelming day. We’re pretty sure our family of wolves will be staying here next year, but final planning is underway now. More news next month.

The beginning of the planning day. Each institution is represented on the wall with a big white piece of paper. If a facility, like the Museum, has one area for wolves, we leave the paper unmarked. If a facility, Like the Wolf Conservation Center in NY has two areas for red wolves, we add a line on the paper (more lines mean more holding spaces for wolves). Male wolves get their studbook number on a blue sticky notes and females on a pink sticky note. This process allows us to visually see what the population looks like and allows us to move wolves (sticky notes) and look at what we’ve done.




Leave a Reply