This is Will Waddell. Will is an important person to me (and others too) because he is a big-guy in the world of red wolves. Will is based in Tacoma, Washington at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. He is the Red Wolf SSP Coordinator. Species Survival Plans (SSPs) are programs that take a particular species in peril (typically animals endangered or threatend in the wild) and manage the entire population as one group. Breeding and conservation tend to be high on the priority list for SSPs.
There are 42 facilities where red wolves are housed. Will manages the red wolf studbook and coordinates all the comings and goings of the red wolves within the captive population. He also works closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service. USFWS is responsible for all the red wolves- the 180+ that are in the captive population, as well as the 100+ red wolves that roam free in the wild.
I talk and email with Will regularly. Most recently about our breeding pair of red wolves. We joke about “duct-taping” the wolves together in order to encourage breeding. I talk with him when we have medical situations that might arise. About a year ago, we were emailing and talking regularly when one of our red wolves, #1389, was having extensive issues and ultimately was euthanized. I also see Will once or twice each year at red wolf master plan meetings and AZA conferences.
With red wolf breeding season ending, and red wolf birthing season right around the corner (March 23 is the earliest that red wolves have been born) I am sure I will be communicating with Will a bunch, just as many others will. I’ll be communicating with you too, keeping you up-to-date on the red wolves at the Museum and those that are born at other institutions.