Tacoma zoo releases names of endangered red wolf pups born there recently. We like Myrtle

The eight red wolf pups at Point Defiance Zoo have gotten their names.

The three males are Chester, Cypress and Hawthorn, and the five girls are Camellia, Magnolia, Myrtle, Peat and Willow.

More than 4,500 people voted on the names, which are taken from plants and trees from the wolves’ native habitat in North Carolina.

People overwhelmingly preferred this set of names to the other option, which were names taken from places in Hyde County, North Carolina, zoo officials said in a news release this week.

In the weeks since they were born on May 10, their mom Charlotte has taken good care of them as they’ve gotten stronger and healthier, the zoo reported. The pups have started exploring their surroundings, climbing in, around, and out of their root cellar den.

“Charlotte is being a fantastic mother,” Jenn Donovan, the senior staff biologist in the Kids’ Zone/Red Wolf Woods area of the zoo, said in the news release. “She’s been nursing and bonding with them. As they become more mobile and independent, she’ll spend less time with them but will continue to keep a watchful eye.”

The pups weigh between 3 and 4 pounds, according to an exam done Tuesday by Point Defiance Zoo veterinarian Dr. Kadie Anderson.

“They’re growing fast, and they all appear to be healthy. They are the future of their species,” Anderson said in the release.

North American red wolves reached the edge of extinction about 40 years ago and remain critically endangered. There are only about 40 in the wild and around 250 in zoos across the country.

Keeper chats

Zoo staff biologists will talk about the red wolf family during daily 2 p.m. keeper chats at Point Defiance Zoo. “If guests are fortunate, the pups and mom Charlotte will make an appearance,” the zoo says, but “puppy sightings aren’t guaranteed.”