TACOMA, Wash. –They’re just wee puppies now. Too small, really, for big, majestic names.
But as the endangered red wolf pups at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium grow, their legs getting longer and stronger, their small yips maturing into deep-throated barks and signature howls, will they be best represented by interesting-named places you might visit – or tall stately trees and lush foliage?
Zoo members, zoo guests and social media fans haven’t met the nearly 2-week-old pups yet, but they can help name them through an online survey beginning today.
Zookeepers in the Red Wolf Woods area of the zoo put on their thinking caps, did some geographic sleuthing and came up with two slates of names for the five girls and three boys born to mom Charlotte and dad Hyde on the afternoon of May 10 and into the morning of May 11.
And here are the contenders:
- Buxton, Bogs, Macley, Widgen, Carmur, Slade, Ponser and Mackay. All were chosen to represent place names in Hyde County, N.C., a part of the southeastern United States that sits in the wolves’ native range. The pups’ dad, Hyde, was named for Hyde County following his birth in 2012.
- Hawthorn, Chester, Cypress, Magnolia, Camellia, Myrtle, Peat and Willow, all selected to represent the varied trees, bushes and plants that grow in the wolves’ native region.
Just go to this redwolfnames link to cast a vote for one of the slates. The naming survey will be open for a few weeks while the pups nurse and bond with mom in their root cellar den and other spaces of the zoo’s Red Wolf Woods habitat.
It likely will be a few weeks before they’re mobile and ready to emerge from the den into spaces where they’re visible to zoo guests.
Red wolves are critically endangered, with only about 40 in the wild and just over 250 in zoos and wildlife centers across the nation.
The pups are part of a cooperative effort that helped bring this iconic animal back from the brink of extinction four decades ago. Point Defiance Zoo has been at the forefront of the program, and these eight pups represent another step in the survival of this species.
For more information about red wolves and red wolf conservation, go to www.pdza.org//animals/red-wolf-woods.
To make a tax-deductible donation on behalf of red wolves, go to www.thezoosociety.org/support-red-wolves.