The Mexican gray wolf puppies born at Brookfield Zoo at the end of May recently had their first wellness exams, and all received healthy reports from zoo veterinarians. The 8-week-old puppies — three males and a female — are now in need of names.

The Chicago Zoological Society, which operates the zoo, has named one of the males Nestor, in memory of Ernesta, a female wolf who lived at Brookfield Zoo from 2010 to 2012 and was then released to the wild in New Mexico as part of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s recovery program.

She later was found dead in the Gila Wilderness recovery area, but Ernesta contributed greatly to the program, and her legacy lives on through the litter of pups she delivered in the wild in 2014.

Three of the puppies are still in need of names, and the society is asking the public to vote for their favorites. Staff have chosen potential names that have some connection with the Spanish language, the region that encompasses the species’ natural habitat of Mexico and the southwestern United States, and a conservationist who has made a difference. Those wishing to help in the final selections can cast votes for their favorites on the zoo’s website at

The choices for the two male puppies not yet named are:

  • Coronado (the name given to a pack of wolves released to the wild)
  • Hector (a common Spanish name)
  • Aldo (the name of conservationist Aldo Leopold)
  • Inigo (a Spanish name meaning “fiery”)
  • Chavo (a Spanish name)
  • Fausto (a Spanish name meaning “lucky”)

 The names to select from for the female puppy are:

  • Magdalena (a village in New Mexico)
  • Artesia (a city in New Mexico)
  • Winona (means “first born daughter” in a Native American language)

Voting will take place from July 23, beginning at noon, to Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. The names with the most votes for each of the three puppies will be announced on Thursday, Aug. 6.

Submitted by the Chicago Zoological Society.