The voting is complete and Wolf Pup 1 and Wolf Pup 2 now  have permanent  names!

Be sure to watch 5 Eyewitness News at 10:00 p.m., Monday, July 11, 2016. News anchor Kevin Doran news will be announcing the winning pup names and the winners* of the Pup Naming Contest!

*The winners will be notified prior to the broadcast. If there were multiple entries of the same winning name, the entrant who submitted the name first will be the winner of the contest.

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Don’t miss KSTP News Anchor Kevin Doran’s story on the wolf pups’ journey!


Wolf Pup 1 (aka Axel)

Axel is a bold pup that explores without hesitation and often finds himself in new situations that create uncertainty.  This doesn’t stop him from jumping in with all four paws.  Axel’s independence is apparent when greeting the adult wolves, often showing a high tail when he approaches the thin protective barrier separating him from wolves ten times his size.

Name Finalists:

Axel – Named after Axel Heiberg an island in the Canadian arctic lying immediately west of the more famous Ellesmere Island known for its unique wildlife including arctic wolves.

Peary – Named after Robert Edwin Peary, Sr. an American explorer who claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole with his expedition on April 6, 1909.

Matteo – In memory of Matthew Lenz, a long-term supporter of the Center’s ambassador wolves whose life was touched by the connection to our former wolves, Lakota and Shadow


Wolf Pup 2 (aka Grayback)

Grayback has a stronger social bond with pup care staff and relies on that bond to reassure him when he’s intimidated. Even when sleeping, he tends to gravitate towards the handlers. This strong bonding behavior also appears to relate to his relationship with the adult wolves; Grayback is more likely to initiate a howl with his fellow ambassador wolves.

Name Finalists:

Hawthorne – The Hawthorne effect (also referred to as the observer effect) is a type of reactivity in which individuals modify or improve an aspect of their behavior in response to their awareness of being observed.  This truly describes Pup 2’s personality who is always aware of those watching.

Hudson – In reference to a subspecies first categorized in 1941 of a medium sized white wolf near Hudson’s Bay, Canada.

Grayson – Grayson has a meaning “son of a steward.”  A “Steward” is best described as a care-giver and Pup 2 seems to have a calmer nature, spending more quiet time with staff definitely seeking care.  This name was also selected because it was close to his nickname, Grayback and some feel it may be appropriate to have a similar name.