Pictured: A howling Mexican gray wolf pup.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
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Mexican wolf pup naming contest open to K-8 students


Tara Alatorre

ARIZONA – Students from kindergarten to eighth grade will have the opportunity to name this year’s wild-born Mexican gray wolves in the sixth annual Lobos of the Southwest Pup Naming Contest.

Every January the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team tracks the population of the Mexican wolf, which is an endangered species, in an annual year-end survey.  Scientists capture, collar and identify each wolf they find with a unique number, including wild-born pups to track the recovery of the species. 

Lobos of the Southwest, which is an organization striving to recover the Mexican gray wolf through advocacy, uses the survey to give names to the pups found. The wolves mostly live in Arizona and New Mexico in an area known as the Blue Range Recovery Area, which is managed by U.S. Wildlife Service.

“We believe that these critically endangered animals deserve more than generic numbers, so we are reaching out to children,” according to the Lobos of the Southwest’s website.

One wolf, Echo, who was named in the contest, caught the nation’s attention in 2015, when she became the first wolf seen near the Grand Canyon's North Rim in seventy-years; and was accidently shot and killed by a hunter in Utah soon after.

Mexican wolves are one of the most endangered mammals in North America, and are a federally protected species. There is an ongoing recovery effort from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department to reintroduce populations of the native predators back into their natural habitats, with only fewer than 120 roaming wild, according to The Center of Biological Diversity.

“The contest is a great tool to bring more awareness of the plight of Mexican wolves, particularly to children within the Southwest and beyond," said Maya Rommwatt, coordinator at Lobos of the Southwest.

The naming contest is open to children across the globe, and all entries must be received by February 1, and submitted to namelobopups@gmail.com. 

“Every year dozens of children express their admiration of the Mexican gray wolf by entering the annual pup naming contest,” she said.  “Winners see their entries publicized on our website and in social media, and more importantly, they watch the wolf pup they’ve named live a wild and free life.”
There are three age categories and requirements:

  • Kindergarten through second grade: Pup names should be submitted with an entry form, art work featuring Mexican Gray Wolves and a brief explanation of why the name was chosen.


  • Third through Fifth grade: Pup names can be submitted with an entry form, with artwork focused on Mexican Gray Wolves, a brief explanation of why the name was chosen, and a poem, or a short essay explaining why the name was chosen.
  • Sixth through Eighth grade: Pup names should be submitted with an entry form, and a poem or short essay explaining why the name was chosen.


  • Entries can be submitted by individuals or teams.
  • You can’t use names that have been given to pups in the past; check website for a list of names previously given.


Winning entries will be recognized and celebrated in the Lobos of the Southwest email newsletter, and on the organization's social media pages.  For a complete list of guidelines, entry form or more information please visit, www.mexicanwolves.org.