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Name the leaders of the Middle Fork pack of the Greater Gila Bioregion
During the months of June and July 2012, WildEarth Guardians hosted a public naming contest to honor two wolves refered to by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as "AM871" and "AF861." We conducted the contest to honor the individual identities of these two wolves who comprise the Middle Fork pack and to enhance Mexican wolf recovery and to deepen the connection between individual wolves and the general public.
The contest was conducted in two phases. During the first phase participants were instructed to submit names that either referenced the Gila, or the species and its characteristics, or a name that evokes beauty. Then our all star wolf panel selected four names for both the male and the female and we asked participants to cast their vote for the final names.
“Bacho” received the most votes for the male and is the Apache word for wolf and given that the Middle Fork Pack roams the highlands that were once the summer home of the Apache people, this selection recognizes them. In addition, this name honors a now deceased wolf pack of the same name, whose alpha male was killed by a poacher; poaching remains one of the biggest threats to Mexican wolf recovery.
“Esperanza” received the most votes for the female wolf and is the
Spanish word for hope. In addition to honoring the long history of
Spanish culture in the Mexican wolf’s region, this beautiful name
conveys the multiple feelings these wild animals evoke including our
hope for their survival and conservation.
Who is Bacho?
"I’m top dog in the Middle Fork Pack. I started it with Esperanza after I left the Aspen Pack. We live in the Gila National Forest, in New Mexico. People who own cows think we don’t belong here and persecute us. I have escaped so far though I did lose a leg in one of those terrible leghold traps. I met Esperanza in 2006 and we’ve been together since."
Who is Esperanza?
"I originally came from Saddle Pack but I teamed up with Bacho in 2006. I’ve had several litters of pups, but I don’t know what happened to some of them. I hope some are ok and working in other packs. I only have three legs too. I got hurt a few years back but I’m a survivor."