Willow's Den

Welcome to Willow's Den
Greetings from our Mexican Gray Wolf Ambassador!

cute pose

Willow has been an ambassador for their wild Mexican gray wolf relatives with the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project for many years. Willow recently received their name during a naming contest for children from all over the world. The winning name was submitted by a 9-year-old named Sylvia who is in 3rd grade. When asked why she chose this name and why she likes wolves, she stated, "The name will remind people of nature and the importance of wolves to the environment. They are part of a healthy and balanced planet."

Within the Grand Canyon Ecoregion, there is a species of willow named Salix arizonica (Arizona willow). This subalpine species is found near wet meadows, streamsides, and cienegas in Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado. Willows are often overgrazed by ungulates (hooved mammals). Willows benefit from the presence of wolves because wolves help to keep ungulate species moving, therefore they can't overbrowse the willows in sensitive riparian areas.
honk for wolves Earth Day 09

Mexican gray wolves are one of the rarest and most endangered animals in North America. All Mexican gray wolves alive today are the descendants of just seven individuals that were left by the early 1980s. Thanks to the efforts of captive breeding facilities around the U.S. and Mexico, Mexican gray wolves were saved from extinction and reintroduced back into the wild on March 29, 1998. As of the last U.S. population count at the end of 2021, only 196 Mexican gray wolves exist in Arizona and New Mexico. They still face many threats for their long-term recovery and conservation in the wild, including limited genetic diversity and artificial boundary rules that hinder their ability to disperse into the excellent habitat of the Grand Canyon region.

The Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project believes that building public respect and support for Mexican gray wolves throughout their current and future habitat is essential to their successful long-term recovery. You’ll see Willow at community events in Flagstaff and around the Grand Canyon region. As our Mexican gray wolf Ambassador, Willow has an important role in helping us reach hearts and minds about the benefits of restoring wolves in the Grand Canyon region.

Two of Willow's favorite books to recommend for young readers are titled "Wolf Babies!" by award-winning husband-and-wife photography team Lisa and Mike Husar and "Howl: A New Look at the Big Bad Wolf" graphic novel by artist and author Ted Rechlin. Both of these books as well as stickers of adorable Willow are available for sale in our Lobo Marketplace.

Willow, the Wolf ambassador, illustrations were created for the Grand Canyon Wolf Recovery Project by artist Licia Baldini. You can follow Licia's work on social media @artegreen.it. You can create your own recycled 3D craft project of Willow at home by watching the video below and following this link to the Arte Green blog post with templates you can print out. The Arte Green site is in Italian, so be sure to use your browser to translate the directions to English or the language of your choice.

Download and print the templates for 3D Willow craft project in the YouTube video

You may also download coloring sheets of Willow and their family to print out and color at home.
Willow coloring page
Willow howling coloring page
Willow with family coloring page

Follow Willow's adventures on TikTok!