Endangered Wolf Center | St. Louis Public Radio

Endangered Wolf Center

The Mexican wolf is one of the most endangered wolf species in the world, with only a few hundred left in the wild.
Endangered Wolf Center

Back in January, long before most Americans were suddenly stocking up on groceries and other essentials, Regina Mossotti and her colleagues were already paying close attention to COVID-19 headlines. They decided to order several months’ worth of food — for their wolves, that is. And now, they’re glad they did.

Mossotti, a wildlife biologist, is director of animal care and conservation at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, Missouri. While some staff members now work from home, Mossotti and other animal caregivers are continuing their essential on-site roles, even as they’ve had to temporarily shut down the educational programs so critical to the nonprofit’s revenue.

“We won’t let the care of our animals be affected,” she has said. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 27, 2012 - Carol Perkins said her 26 years with renowned zoologist Marlin Perkins was more than a marriage. It was an adventure.

She would often recall in interviews a trip to the Belgian Congo with her then newly minted husband. She awoke one night to find a large lizard under her pillow.

Deon Morris, left, and David Scales examine a deer that was hit by a car. They will transport the deer to a bird sanctuary where it will feed carnivorous birds. March, 2019
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Nearly anyone who has driven has seen it: a dead animal on the side of the road. Fenton resident Jim Marshall was seeing a lot of dead animals last fall — especially deer — and it was beginning to bother him.

Then one day he noticed two deer on the side of Interstate 44 within a few hundred feet of each other.

“One was a doe, and quarter mile down was a buck,” Marshall said. “By Friday, they were still there. I thought they would be picked up over weekend. But on Monday, they were still there. However, someone came by over the weekend and cut off the head. I guess they wanted a trophy.”

Two African painted dog puppies sit in their enclosure at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Earlier this year, the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka had its first litter of African painted dog puppies, giving researchers a chance to compare how they develop in captivity versus the wild.

Over several decades, people in countries like Botswana and Zimbabwe have killed African painted dogs for preying on livestock and out of fear of them. The species is sometimes nicknamed “devil dogs.” Less than 5,000 members of the endangered species roams in sub-Saharan Africa.

A gray wolf
John and Karen Hollingsworth/USFWS

Wildlife conservationists worry that a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove federal protections for the endangered gray wolf will hurt efforts to restore the species in states where it has disappeared, such as Missouri.

Although the species is native to Missouri, the state has not had gray wolves since the 1950s, largely due to hunting, habitat loss and landowners killing them for preying on livestock. Today, only about 5,000 live in the western Great Lakes and Northern Rockies regions.

A red wolf
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Animal conservationists near St. Louis are planning to breed red wolves, the rarest species of wolves on the planet, at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

The Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, which provides refuge for endangered wolf species, has been working with A-State to raise awareness of red wolves in recent year. The species became A-State’s mascot in 2008, after it retired its former mascot, the Indian Family.

Conservationists and university officials plan to build a red wolf breeding center in the next three years to house four or five pairs of wolves. Red wolves were once found in many parts of the eastern U.S., but only 30 wolves remain in the wild, on the North Carolina coast. About 200 live in captivity in sanctuaries such as the Endangered Wolf Center.

A three-week-old Mexican gray wolf pup is examined by scientists at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka. The pup was born from artificial insemination that used thawed semen.
Endangered Wolf Center

The future is looking brighter for the endangered Mexican gray wolf, as scientists have announced the birth of the first pup of the species to be born from artificial insemination that used frozen semen. 

There are 130 Mexican gray wolves that remain in the wild, largely in Arizona and New Mexico. Some live at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka, where the new pup was born. In collaboration with the Saint Louis Zoo, scientists at the center have been collecting and freezing semen from endangered wolves for more than 20 years.

What’s more metal than wolves? A benefit for a wolf center

Jan 12, 2017
Detail from Winter Wolves concert poster designed by Lauren Gornik
Provided by Lauren Gornik

For many people, conservationists and heavy metal fans may not seem to have much in common. But for Simon Koch, they're a natural combination. 

That's why for the third year in a row Koch has organized a “Winter Wolves: a benefit for the Endangered Wolf Center.”

Lazarus, a male Mexican wolf, at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka.
Mary Delach Leonard|St. Louis Public Radio

Volunteer Lisa Houska is hunkered down next to a tall cyclone fence at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka. She’s peering at a hillside, observing a handsome pair of thick-furred Mexican wolves and their three pups that were born last year.

“We’re watching Sibi and Lazarus. This is their second breeding season,’’ Houska whispers.

For two hours on this unseasonably warm winter morning she’ll sit motionless, trying not to disturb the family. She’s hoping to witness another successful courtship between mom and dad.

Carol Perkins, Conservationist And Humanitarian, Dies At 95

Oct 25, 2012
(Courtesy Saint Louis Zoo)

Updated 5:52 p.m.

Carol Perkins, a conservationist and humanitarian and the widow of famed zoologist Marlin Perkins, has died.

The Saint Louis Zoo says Carol Perkins died Saturday at her home in Clayton, Mo. She was 95 and had been in declining health.

Marlin Perkins was the director of the Saint Louis Zoo who gained international fame after becoming host of television's "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" in 1962. The program aired for 26 years until his death in 1986.

Swift fox kits born at Endangered Wolf Center

Jun 14, 2012
Regina Mossotti, Endangered Wolf Center

A litter of three swift foxes, two females and one male, has been born at the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka – the first in a dozen years. The four-week-old foxes will get their first round of vaccinations today.

The kits are being raised by a trio of adult foxes – the breeding female’s sister is helping the parents care for their young.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 15, 2011 - The Mexican gray wolves in Arizona have faced their fair share of challenges, and just as they're making a comeback after being hunted to the point of extinction in the wild, they're facing another hardship: one of the hottest, fastest, most intense wildfires in Arizona history.

The plight of the Mexican grays hits home for many in St. Louis. The group of about 50 wolves, the only wild Mexican grays in the world, can trace their ancestry back to the Endangered Wolf Center in Eureka.