Huckleberry, Little Wild, Keeper, Clover. Four wolf pups were born to the Bluestem Pack in 2012. When they were a few months old they were captured and outfitted with radio collars by the field team and were assigned official studbook numbers: male (m)1275, female (f)1289, m1277, and f1280.
Last year Lobos of the Southwest held its first annual pup naming contest for kids, kindergarten through eighth grade, and fifteen* wolf pups, including the four in the Bluestem pack, got names. By now these two-year-old pups would be almost grown so I decided to check up on them.
Huckleberry (m1275), named by kindergartner Macabe W. for the berries that grow where the wolves live, is still running with the Bluestem Pack. If he stays with them through this year’s pup season (pups are born in April or May), he will likely be recruited to babysit once they are old enough for their mother, the alpha female, to go out hunting. It’s relatively rare to be able to see and identify a specific wolf, but in this post from last fall I included a video of Huckleberry that was taken by Arizona Game and Fish.
Little Wild (f1289) was given her name by three first graders, Emily M, Keeley C. and Emily B. Sadly, Little Wild died in August last year during a routine capture operation similar to the one above.
Keeper (m1277) was named by Turner B., a third grader who included a drawing of a serious-looking wolf with this explanation, “. . . I think the pup’s name should be “Keeper” because it’s important to KEEP these wolves alive.” Last fall Keeper had started traveling separately from the pack. In December he was found dead from a gunshot wound, killed illegally.
Clover (f1280) was named by Gypsie G., a fourth grader, who named the wolf for good luck. Late last year Clover started traveling with alpha male (AM)1038, formerly part of the Hawks Nest Pack. The two are now considered a pack.
All of the winning entries from last year’s contest can be seen here along with Turner’s picture.
In the recent count of Mexican wolves, seventeen pups born in 2013 were identified (six of them to the Bluestem Pack). Once again, Lobos of the Southwest is having a naming contest and will be accepting entries through March 14th. The entry form and information about the contest can be found here.
The winning names will be announced sometime in the spring–a great way to celebrate the sixteenth anniversary of the Mexican wolves being reintroduced to the wild!
*Capturing wolves is tricky so it isn’t too surprising that five more pups were caught after the conclusion of the contest. Their names came from the runners-up.