I had no idea that these majestic animals were literally in our own backyard.

We've seen the posts on social media of coyotes running around the Hudson Valley, many quickly misidentifying them as wolves as they dart by. In 2017, Facebook was abuzz with a 'rare coywolf' sighting in Nyack.

Are There Wolves in New York?

According to Adirondack.net, wolves were native to New York and the Adirondacks but were extinct in the region for many years. Some reports state that a wolf was killed in 2001 just north of Great Sacandaga Lake.

So while wolves may not be native to the Hudson Valley region anymore, there is an organization working with the wild canines located in South Salem, New York.

Meet the Wolves of the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York

Wolf Conservation Center is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit environmental education organization whose mission is, according to its website, "to protect and preserve wolves in North America through science-based education, advocacy, and participation in the federal recovery and release programs for two critically endangered wolf species - the Mexican gray wolf and red wolf. "

WCC explains that currently in the US there is a single wild population comprising 186 individual Mexican Gray Wolf and a wild "population comprising only 8 known" individual red wolves. There are currently 21 Mexican gray wolves and 10 red wolves living at the WCC however, they are living off exhibit in the Endangered Species Facility.

While those 30 plus wolves are not accessible to the public, there are 3 special wolves who act as ambassadors to the Wolf Conservation Center. Their names are Alawa, Zephyr, and Nikai and they act as inspiration to "our guests onsite in South Salem, NY, and inspire thousands more around the world via live webcams."

Alawa, Wolf Conservation Center
Alawa, Wolf Conservation Center

Alawa, pictured above and Zephyr, pictured below are littermates and were both born on April 20th. They celebrated their 11th birthday earlier this week and the conservation center shared videos of the two enjoying the beautiful weather.

Zephyr, Wolf Conservation Center
Zephyr, Wolf Conservation Center

Nikai is a tan and gray wolf who has been with WCC since 2014.

The Wolf Conservation Center has a long list of events planned for the 2022 season. Events include an Evening Howel on April 23rd and 30th. Guests will "Learn about the mythology, biology, and ecology of wolf families and discover why April is a magical time for packs in North America. " After the informational session, guests will then take a "short sunset hike to howl with Ambassador wolves Alawa, Nikai, and Zephyr and potentially behold the WCC’s critically."

To learn more about the Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem visit NYwolf.Org.

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