The Jackson Zoo’s litter of red wolf pups will get their new Choctaw names in a Saturday ceremony that will also include representatives from the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.
Eight pups were born March 30 to mother Taluda and father Kanati, both Cherokee names. Red wolves were once common throughout eastern and south-central United States.
One sad note for the occasion is the loss earlier this week of one of the pups. A male pup was injured sometime late Thursday. After consultation with the zoo veterinarian Dr. Michael Holifield, senior zoo staff decided the injury was too severe and painful and the male pup was euthanized, the zoo said in a release. No further details were immediately available.
Saturday’s ceremony will celebrate the seven pups and include remarks from Jackson Zoo executive director Beth Poff, Choctaw Tribal Chief Phyliss J. Anderson and Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber. Choctaw storyteller Evaline Davis will tell the “Shokka Annopa” (Pig Tales) of the “Nashoba hicha Shokkata” (The Wolf and the Possum), Choctaw social dancers will perform and Choctaw Indian Princess Lanena Grace John will announce the given Chata names to the pups.
The red wolf pups will be given Choctaw names in honor of the only federally recognized tribe in Mississippi. Names were chosen by students of the six tribal elementary schools, the tribal chief and the Choctaw Elderly Center. They’re based on the pups’ personalities and physical attributes.
Other zoo babies this season include the first Jackson Zoo orangutan birth, and hatching of black-necked swan cygnets in April.
All moms are eligible for half-price admission on Mother’s Day Sunday.