For Immediate Release
March 20, 2020
Contact: Amy Harwood, email@example.com
Participating Parent Contacts:
Julie Williams, firstname.lastname@example.org
Gloria Straube, GiaStraube@gmail.com, 305-304-6021
Abigail Beutler, email@example.com, 801-477-5171
María Carolina Cruz, firstname.lastname@example.org
Participating Teacher Contacts:
Pam Sever, email@example.com, 505-898-6388
Wild Mexican Wolf Pups Named By Young Wolf Advocates
Annual Pup Naming Contest Reveals Names for the Latest Pups in Lobo Recovery
The US Fish & Wildlife Service have released the results of their annual count and the reports are positive — 24% increase. Each year, in anticipation of the annual count, Lobos of the Southwest holds a Pup Naming Contest to determine the names of the newly-collared Mexican gray wolves. This year over a hundred children submitted contributions to the contest from all over the world. Once the list of names is chosen, the top picks are given to each of the lobo juveniles.
“The Wolf Pup Naming Contest gives our kids a chance to be part of the future in solving endangered animal crises. The contest allowed Harry to research and learn more about the endangered Mexican Gray Wolf. He loves all animals and wants to do everything he can to save them,” said Julie Williams about her son, Harry’s participation. Their family lives nearby the Wolf Conservation Center, one of the captive facilities that has been critical to the success of the Mexican gray wolf recovery.
Wolf mating season begins in early spring for a short period; the pups are born in late spring. The annual count happens in the winter when the wild population is at its most stable. The newly collared wolves have been with their packs since Spring 2019.
Wolf advocates, breeding facilities, and other stakeholders in the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf utilize names when referring to the wolves along with their given number as a way to promote the public’s connection to their stories and survival as they grow.
“This is the 4th year my boys (Bennett, Luke & Harrison) have participated in the pup naming contest. Every Christmas break we sit down as a family with blank paper, markers and a dictionary. They each start thinking of words that they can directly relate to a name and what the Mexican Wolves mean to them and the future. Their art enables them to find themselves and lose themselves at the same time. The real heart of this project is that it teaches them about compassion and empathy for an endangered species,” said Gloria Straube. The Straube family lives near the Endangered Wolf Center, another captive facility actively engaged in wild wolf recovery.
From the kids:
Ralph, a 3rd grade homeschooled kid writes: “I chose the name Valhalla for my wolf since I learned that Vikings had great love and respect for wolves who would join them in Valhalla in the after life. Only great warriors went to Valhalla so my wolf represents the place where only the great ones go. Wolves must be sacred, loved and respected. Not killed because of old fairy tales and werewolf fears. “
Lizzie Beutler, a seventh grader from Sandy, Utah, won with the name Moonstreak. “Wolves are one of nature’s most beautiful and essential creations. Without wolves, the food chain would be unbalanced. Unfortunately, Mexican gray wolves are dangerously close to extinction, and mankind must save them.”
“I chose this name for the pup because I want her to thrive in the wild, be strong and yet be beautiful. For me this name represents freedom, beauty and equality for all earthlings. May she grow up to have lots of pups of her own and I will help name them all,” wrote Sami, a 5th grader from Elk Grove, California who submitted the winning name Zara.
Anna, a third grade winner from Granger, Indiana submitted the name Light, “because there is a light of hope that this species can keep thriving.”
2020 Pup Naming Contest Judges:
Vanessa Renwick is an internationally-recognized filmmaker and visual artist. Her career has included numerous works about wolves. She is based in Portland, Oregon. www.odoka.org
Darlene Kobobel is the founder of the Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center. Since 1993, she has been committed to the welfare of wolves and wolf-hybrids. She is based in Divide, Colorado. www.wolfeducation.org
Daniel Gachuz-Bracamontes is a wildlife biologist. He spent the fall of 2019 working with the Mexican Wolf Recovery Interagency Field Team. He lives in Guadalajara, Jalisco and researches zoology at Universidad de Guadalajara.
Background on Mexican Gray Wolves:
The lobo, or Mexican gray wolf, is the smallest, most genetically distinct, and one of the rarest subspecies of gray wolf. The subspecies was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1976, but recovery efforts have suffered without implementation of recommended recovery actions by responsible wildlife agencies.
Although lobos once widely roamed across the southwestern United States and Mexico, the Mexican wolf was purposefully eradicated from the U.S. on behalf of American livestock. In 1998, after the few remaining wolves were put into captivity in an attempt to save the species, the Service released 11 Mexican wolves to a small area on the border of Arizona and New Mexico now known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area.
Mexican wolves are at tremendous risk due to their small population size, limited gene pool, threats from trapping, and illegal killings.