286 weeks since last adult wolf release!
Lobos of the Southwest

What You Can Do

Second Annual Mexican Wolf Pup Naming Contest Results

Students Give Names to Mexican Wolf Pups Born in 2013


We are happy to announce the winners of our Second Annual Mexican Wolf Pup Naming Contest!

Students from kindergarten through eighth grade participated in the contest in teams or as individuals. Altogether, 86 contestants from the United States and Canada submitted over 70 entries that included art or essays along with the names the contestants chose. From these, 9 names were chosen as winners to name the 9 pups born in 2013 who have been collared and recorded by the Mexican wolf interagency field team.

An additional 12 names were selected as runners up, whose name selections will be assigned to pups if and when additional pups are collared.  The remaining entries all received honorable mentions.

The contest judges had a very difficult task. Entries were ranked based on a combination of the pup name, originality of the art or essay, and the reason given for the name. It was evident that a great deal of thought, creativity and passion went into the entries we received.

These young people and their teachers and parents give us hope for the future of Mexican gray wolves and we think that they are ALL WINNERS!

You can click the wolf pup names to see the actual entries*


Esperanza – Bluestem Pack female pup 1339 – Submitted by Maddie D.
“In Spanish Esperanza means ‘hope.’ Hope for a new start, lucky life in the city or in the country. Esperanza is a Spanish name and it is a Mexican Grey Wolf. This name symbolizes Mexico, hope, luck and beauty. That’s why this is a good name for a Mexican Grey Wolf pup!”

Esperanza – Bluestem Pack female pup 1339 – Submitted by Team Emily P. and Annabelle B.
“’Esperanza’ means ‘hope’ in Spanish. We believe this is a perfect name for a Mexican wolf pup because this shows Mexican origin. Also, this species is nearly extinct. There are only about 58 grey wolves in the wild and 100 in captivity. Every generation of these wolf pups born in the wild gives us hope that this species will survive years to come. The name Esperanza shows that we are hopeful and determined to return this species to its healthy state as it was long ago.”

Geronimo – Maverick Pack male pup 1336 – Submitted by Krystianna F.
“I was warmed by the sun, rocked by the winds and sheltered by the trees as other Indian babes. I was living peaceably when people began to speak bad of me. Now I can eat well, sleep well and be glad. I can go everywhere with a good feeling.”

Nike – Willow Springs Pack male pup 1329 – Submitted by Turner Burns
“Dear Mexican Gray Wolves,
This is my artwork for the lobo naming contest. I would like to name a wolf pup Nike, because Nike is the goddess of victory in Greek myths. She is often shown with wings, and I drew wings to show how cool it would be if wolves had wings so they could fly away from hunters. Also, I think Nike is just a nice name.
Love, Turner”

Niku – Bluestem Pack male pup 1331 – Submitted by Hayley Kristinat
“Because it means victory in Finnish.”

Poco – Willow Springs Pack male pup 1338 – Submitted by Grace Schram
“Because it means little and the pup is little and Poco is a Spanish word for little and they are Mexican gray wolves so
it makes sense.”

Shadow - Bluestem Pack male pup 1330 – Submitted by Renea Stratton
“They are like a shadow in the dark and the  only thing that gives them away is their pretty glowing eyes.”

Unique - Bluestem Pack female pup 1332 – Submitted by Danielle H.
“I think that Unique is a good name because that name is unique.  And Mexican gray wolfs are unique!”

Verde - Bluestem Pack female pup 1333 – Submitted by Eleanor W.
“Wolves help plants and trees, and plants and trees are green.”

Zia - Bluestem Pack female pup 1340 – Submitted by Lillian R.
“I think that we should name the wolf Zia because it represents New Mexico. I like the meaning of the Zia, because it is on the NM flag. It means the four points of the compass (north, south, east, and west); the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, autumn and winter); the four periods of each day (morning, noon, evening, and night); the four seasons of life (childhood, youth, middle years, and old age); and the four sacred obligations one must develop (a strong body, a clear mind, a pure spirit, and a devotion to the welfare of others). Looking at the map the Mexican Gray Wolves are being introduced in New Mexico so it would show that it is a New Mexican and that’s where it’s from. Also the sacred obligation is a strong body, which I am sure she would have.”


Athena – Submitted by Ashley G.

Bailey (II) – Submitted by Neil K.

Emerald – Submitted by Xander H.

Faith – Submitted by Ian K.

Howls – Submitted by Larissa Solarie

Lupa – Submitted by Julian B.

Mocha – Submitted by Team Anna S., Annathea E., & Isaiah L.

Pathu kui – Submitted by Jason M.

Sequoia – Submitted by Callista H.

Survivor – Submitted by Michael S.

Survivor – Submitted by Team Zachary B. & Elijah D.

Valiente – Submitted by Helen W.

Wolfie – Submitted by Thea K.

Honorable Mentions

Aileen – Submitted by Beia S.

Ambrose – Submitted by Max M.

Andy – Submitted by Team Ashlee O. & Grace C.

Arnold – Submitted by Tim M.

Ash – Submitted by Ethan O.

Bay Fire – Submitted by Jadyn G.

Cameron Bairstow – Submitted by Team Max R. & Kobe H.

Cerberus – Submitted by Josh B.

Chewy – Submitted by Team Kyel M. & Ethan R.

Dan – Submitted by Nico K.

Demetri – Submitted by Payton E.

Donn-Liath Chliste – Submitted by Team Chloe L. & Sierra K.

Fang – Submitted by Joshua Kristinat

Faolan – Submitted by Isabel D.

Fierce – Submitted by Hannah P.

Finn – Submitted by Gabe B.


Gandalf – Submitted by Gabe B.


Gregory – Submitted by Jake G.

Hazel – Submitted by Team Eden A., Shane C. & Elizabeth M.

Howler – Submitted by Javier G.

Hunter – Submitted by Autumn Larsen

Hunter – Submitted by Jakob M.

Hunter – Submitted by Hunter C.

Hunter – Submitted by Team Eddy L., Savanna D. & Jack M.

Ich – Submitted by Sebastian S.

Inferno – Submitted by Team Selena P. & Francesca B.

Jasper – Submitted by Grace P.


Kendall Williams – Submitted by Team Emma O. & Avelaka S.

Luna – Submitted by Maya L.

Max – Submitted by Carsten T.

Ozzy – Submitted by Tomas J.

Ralphford – Submitted by Antonio P.

Romulus – Submitted by Gabe W.

Rufus – Submitted by Dani J.

Rusty – Submitted by Luke D.

Rusty – Submitted by Dante M.

Rusty – Submitted by Ethan M.

Shaggy – Submitted by Aryanna D.

Softy – Submitted by Giulia P.

Speelse – Submitted by Quinn C.

Starpup – Submitted by Team Allison M. & Ashna J.

Stefano – Submitted by Lizzy E.


Vanilla – Submitted by Team Shena S. & Joselyn Z.

Wolfy – Submitted by Caleb F.


For the most recent Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project Monthly Update with information about these pups’ packs, click here.

** NOTE: Only the contestants’ for whom we received parental consent have their names and entries posted here.

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Launching the Program

The breeding program got off to a rough start. The only female—who was pregnant at the time of capture—gave birth to four males and one female, but the female pup died four days later. Fortunately, in 1981, at the Endangered Wolf Center (formerly Wild Canid Survival and Research Center) in Eureka, Missouri, this wild-caught female gave birth to one male and three female pups, all of which survived and reproduced in captivity.

By 1983 the captive breeding program was more firmly established with the birth of three litters totaling 15 pups. This breeding line of Mexican wolves is called the "McBride" lineage for the name of the trapper who caught the founders. Only one of the four males and the female successfully bred in captivity, and the unknown wild mate of the captured pregnant female is considered a third founder of the McBride lineage.

There were two other breeding lines of what were thought by some to be Mexican wolves, one in the U.S. called the "Ghost Ranch" line and one in Mexico called the "Aragón" line. Thanks to DNA testing, a team of experts was able to confirm that these wolves were in fact pure Mexican gray wolves, and these wolves were then included in the breeding program.

Today's wild wolves and all of those remaining in captivity can be traced to the seven Mexican gray wolves—four males and three females—that survived the U.S. government's extermination program.

Captive breeding has continued, and as of July 2008 there were 327 Mexican wolves living in 47 captive wolf breeding or holding facilities in the United States and Mexico, many of which are zoos.

Wolf Exhibits



Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

Heritage Park Zoo

Navajo Nation Zoological and Botanical Park
Window Rock

The Phoenix Zoo

Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center


California Wolf Center

The Living Desert
Palm Desert


Colorado Wolf and Wildlife Center

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Park
Colorado Springs


Brookfield Zoo / Chicago Zoological Society




Sedgwick County Zoo


Zoo New England


Binder Park Zoo
Battle Creek


Minnesota Zoo
Apple Valley

Wildlife Science Center
Forest Lake


Endangered Wolf Center

Dickerson Park Zoo

New Mexico

Alameda Park Zoo

Albuquerque Biological Park

Hillcrest Park Zoo

Living Desert State Park

Wildlife West Nature Park

New York

Wolf Conservation Center
South Salem

Utica Zoo

North Dakota

Dakota Zoo


Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Columbus Zoological Garden


Oklahoma City Zoo
Oklahoma City


Lehigh Valley Zoo


El Paso Zoo
El Paso

Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Glen Rose


Wolf Haven International

Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian National Zoo


Africam Safari
Puebla, Puebla Mexico

Museo del Desierto
Saltillo, Coah, Mexico

Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico "Alfonso L. Herrera" del Bosque de Chapultepec
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico de León
León, Guanajuato Mexico

Zoológico de San Juan de Aragón
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico Guadalajara
Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico

Zoológico "Los Coyotes"
México, D.F. Mexico

Zoológico Tamatán
Cd. Victoria, Tamaulipas Mexico

Zoológico Zacango
Toluca, México Mexico