Working with the Smithsonian

Working With the Smithsonian

Wildlife Waystation works with the Smithsonian to preserve wildlife

This year, our vets partnered with internationally recognized scientists from the Smithsonian’s Conservation Biology Center in Front Royal, Virginia on two studies for wolves and mountain lions. These studies support understanding endangered and threatened populations allowing for improved conservation.

Working in cooperation with scientists and veterinarians who volunteered their expertise, Wildlife Waystation performed vital castration for the ten new male wolves we rescued from a fur farm in the mid-west. While this was a procedure necessary to keep the wolves from breeding, it also allows us to participate in an important study that would help preserve the species. Wildlife Waystation sent the wolves’ testes to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute to help learn more about Grey wolves and their reproduction in the wild. It was a particularly lucky find for the institute as pure grey wolves are difficult to find in captivity. “The wolves we helped to rescue were being breed for color,” said Dr. Rebecca Richard, Chief Veterinarian at Wildlife Waystation. “Their DNA tested to 95% grey wolf, which is the highest level percentage assessed for grey wolves.”

The tissues are used to develop cryopreservation and other reproductive techniques specific to the species.

Armed with this information, scientific and veterinary teams can use the knowledge so gleaned to better manage healthy wild populations of wolves. Wildlife Waystation, and our new managed wolf population, is contributing to the greater health of wild wolf populations all over North America.

Wildlife Waystation's newest mountain lion resident, Cascade, is also helping to support the conservation of the threatened population of mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains. This group of mountain lions is facing serious challenges with cats being hit by cars attempting to cross freeways, pressure from human encroachment into habitat, and the depredation of livestock engendering hostility from property owners against the big cats. The U.S. National Park Service is working to monitor and support this delicate population and has partnered with Smithsonian scientists. Dr. Budhan Pukazhenthi, traveled to WW to help teach NPS wildlife biologists field medicine techniques for use on the wild large felids. When Cascade needed to be anesthetized for routine end of quarantine exams that include physical exams, dental checks, radiographs, blood work, vaccines and deworming, it allowed these scientists the opportunity to learn first-hand skills to help save the cats in the wild.

We are so very excited to participate in the conservation efforts to protect these magnificent apex predators.

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