April 11, 2019
The US Fish & Wildlife Service have released the results of their annual count and the reports are positive. Each year, in anticipation of the annual count, Lobos of the Southwest holds a Pup Naming Contest to give names to determine the names of each of the newly-collared Mexican gray wolves” to “to give names to each of the collared Mexican wolf pups born in 2018 each of the newly-collared Mexican gray wolves. This year over 120 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.
Wolf mating season begins in the spring for a short period and 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 2018.
“The contest is such an important – and fun – way for our kiddos to learn about wolves and the importance of apex predators in our ever-changing ecosystems. Our students are deeply touched as they learn about the plight of the Mexican gray wolves and hopeful of the efforts to reintroduce wolves back into the wilderness of Arizona and New Mexico.” said Sarah Hooper, 6th grade teacher at the Bosque School in Albuquerque, NM. “Our 6th grade “scientists” enjoy thinking of names for the wolf pups and finding ways to support their names using evidence from what they learned about wolves. It’s truly one of their favorite activities of the year. From a teacher standpoint, I’m seeing how they use evidence to support an idea. From our student’s standpoint… they have so much fun thinking of names for adorable Mexican gray wolf pups!”
Wolf advocates, breeding facilities, and other stakeholders in the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf utilize these 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.
“Genevieve was brave, kind, loved all animals including Mexican gray wolves, and worried about their lives.” wrote NimuÃ«, a second grader and the top winner this year. NimuÃ« chose Genevieve after her twin sister, who passed away recently. NimuÃ«, Genevieve, and their other sister, Nerissa, have all been contestants in past Pup Naming Contests. Nerissa had another winner this year — Asiza. The image below was NimuÃ«’s drawing submission. You can see all of the contest entries HERE.
The winning names this year are:
Artimis (fp1721) Iron Creek Pack Submitted by LiaT., Nellie Brown, & Lucy collins 7th Grade
Asiza (fp1823), Prime Canyon Pack
Submitted by Nerissa Oriana Genocchio
Athena (fp1702), Frieborn Pack
Submitted by Team Gabi M., Sienna Yang, & Ye-Ji
Cazador (mp1710), Iron Creek Pack
We received two submissions with this name from; Nara P., 6th Grade
Abbi Friggens and Clara Scherzinger, 6th Grade
Destello (mp1831), Luna Pack
Submitted by Team Ace Ehrhart, Tyler DeFeudis, Jack Baird, & Maddox
Dumbledore (mp1717), Dark Canyon Pack
Submitted by Andrew S.
Everardo (mp1790), Prime Canyon Pack
Submitted by Team Straube – Harrison, Luke & Bennett
Kindergarten & 2nd Grade
Fe (fp1794), Pine Spring Pack
Submitted by Maggie McCarty
Flow (fp1696), Elk Horn Pack
Submitted by Harrison Straube
Fuerte (fp1825), Pine Spring Pack
Submitted by McKenna W.
Genevieve (fp1791), Prime Canyon Pack
Submitted by NimuÃ« Liana Genocchio
Geronimo (mp1715), Lava Pack
Submitted by Luke Straube
Isra (fp1712), Iron Creek Pack
Submitted by Andrew R.
Llave (fp1828), Maverick Pack
Lupa (fp1834), San Mateo Pack
Submitted by Aubrey Campbell
Maximus (mp1695), Elk Horn Pack
Submitted by Team Veronica T. & Gwen Stanley
Nelson (mp1827), Prieto Pack
Submitted by Team Asher T. & Sean C.
Obol (fp1822), San Mateo Pack
Submitted by Lexie Draper
Paprika (fp1792), Saffel Pack
Submitted by Debbie P.
Rapido (fp1697), Elk Horn Pack
Submitted by Brooklyn
Shaman (mp1789), Hoodoo Pack
Submitted by Saharah King
Yuma (fp1792), Saffel Pack
Submitted by Ruby M.
The contest was juried this year by an illustrious panel of wolf advocates:
Cristina is an ecologist and the Chief Scientist at Earthwatch Institute, USA. In her ecological research she focuses on wolves and fire in Rocky Mountain ecosystems. She has a master’s degree in conservation biology from Prescott College, a PhD in Forestry and Wildlife from Oregon State University. She is a Smithsonian Research Associate, a Boone and Crockett Club professional member, and a Black Earth Institute Scholar/Advisor. Her first book, The Wolf’s Tooth, was published in 2010 by Island Press. Her second book, The Carnivore Way, was published by Island Press in May 2014. She is currently writing a book about climate change, Taking the Heat: Wildlife, Food Webs and Extinction in a Warming World. More on Cristina on her website.
Brytnee is the Arizona Field Campaigner for the Center for Biological Diversity. She works to ignite people across the country to take action in resistance to the Trump administration’s threats to wildlife, public lands, water and the climate. In 2012 Brytnee spent several months in the Isaan region of Thailand, where she stood in solidarity with indigenous communities battling the effects of mines and dams.
Jean has been a vital advocate for Mexican gray wolf recovery for decades. She is known to have had more wild lobo sightings than just about anyone else alive today. She camps in Mexican wolf country year-round and tracks the project’s efforts meticulously. You can learn more about Jean on our website.
Bria Shay Neff
Bria is the founder of Faces of the Endangered, a Facebook page that features her paintings of animals and raises funds for various animal advocacy groups. Bria, now 12, has painted over 250 species of endangered animals and landscapes. She has continued to focus on endangered species while also highlighting the causes: habitat loss, deforestation, global warming, poaching and human conflict. Bria is a past winner of the Pup Naming Contest.
An Arizona desert rat since 1964, Linda has won numerous awards for her commentary in the largest papers in the state’s two largest metropolitan areas. Her opinion pieces for The Arizona Republic, made her a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003. Her commentary opposing a draconian Arizona immigration law won the Scripps Howard Walker Stone Award for editorial writing in 2011. She was named to the Arizona Republic’s editorial board in 1993 and wrote editorials until her recent retirement. Linda is also the author of Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders, a memoir that chronicles her husband’s visa denial and their experience with the immigration system.
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, hunting, and trapping interests. 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.