This Saturday, May 10 at 11am, the red wolf pups that were born this March will be getting their names. Representatives from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians will be on location to reveal the Choctaw names, as well as a storyteller and Choctaw dancers.
The press conference will include remarks from Jackson Zoo Executive Director Beth Poff, Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and City of Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. Choctaw storyteller Ms. Evaline Davis will tell the ‘Shokka Annopa’ (Pig Tales) of the ‘Nashoba hicha Shokkata’ (The Wolf and the Possum); Choctaw Social dancers will perform two animal dances and the 2013-2014 Choctaw Indian Princess Lanena Grace John will announce the given Chata names to the Red Wolf pups.
The eight red wolf pups were born on March 30 to mother Taluda and father Kanati, both Cherokee. This litter is being given Choctaw names in honor of the only federally recognized tribe in the state of Mississippi, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. The names were chosen by students of the six tribal elementary schools, Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson, and the Choctaw Elderly Center and are based on the personality and physical attributes of the pups.
Once common throughout the eastern and south-central United States, red wolf populations were decimated by the early part of the 20th century as a result of intensive predator control programs and the degradation and alteration of the species’ habitat. An intensive recovery began with the remaining 14 wolves. Today, more than 100 red wolves roam their native habitats in eastern North Carolina and nearly 200 red wolves are maintained in facilities throughout the United States. The species is managed by a Species Survival Plan which coordinates the breeding of captive wolves to be introduced into the wild. Captive-born pups like the ones born at Jackson Zoo play a critical role for future breeding and potentially as candidates to be introduced into the wild.