(ANCHORAGE) – Five wolf pups rescued from the massive Funny River Wildfire have found a new home.
The Minnesota Zoo, located south of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Apple Valley, Minn., has offered to accommodate the entire litter and will receive a permit to house them permanently. The pups – two females and three males – are currently receiving care at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.
“The Minnesota Zoo has an established relationship with the Alaska Zoo and has been a good partner with us in past orphaned wildlife situations,” said Cyndi Gardner, acting permitting biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
“The (Minnesota) facility is well-qualified and respected, and we’re confident the pups will have a good home there.”
The pups will remain at the Alaska Zoo until veterinarians are certain the animals are old enough and healthy enough for transport. When found on Tuesday, they weighed about 2.5 pounds apiece and suffered from dehydration and punctures from porcupine quills.
“Really, their health is the driving factor behind the pups’ eventual transport,” said Pat Lampi, executive director at the Alaska Zoo.
Department and Alaska Zoo officials agree that keeping the pups together is important. The Alaska Zoo currently houses a family group of wolves from another part of the state and maintaining pack structure appears to enhance the wellbeing of the group.
“It’s the companionship,” said Lampi. “They were born together in the wild and now they can grow up together. As long as they remain together, wherever they go is home.”
Soldotna Area Wildlife Biologist Jeff Selinger was called after firefighters found the wolf pups in a den off Funny River Road. Selinger made the decision to remove the animals and arranged for their initial care with the Alaska Zoo.
For more information about the Minnesota Zoo, see the webpage at http://mnzoo.org/