During the entire month of November, the Minnesota Zoo​ will be sharing stories of the many rescued and rehabilitated animals that we care for. All of our animals receive amazing care from zoo staff, volunteers and community members. All of this work is made possible because of YOUR amazing support – thank you! Check back daily as we feature a new story from around the Zoo.

Heartstrings around the country were tugged in the spring of 2014 when we learned about five orphaned gray wolf pups that were rescued from the massive Funny River Wildfire in Alaska. Two female and three male pups were rescued from an abandoned den by local firefighters and were brought to the Alaska Zoo to be treated for dehydration and even porcupine quill punctures. As they were being cared for by the Alaska Zoo staff, these pups healed properly and were even strong enough to make the trip down to the Minnesota Zoo where they have made their permanent home along the Medtronic Minnesota Trail.

These five wolfs – Hooper, Huslia, Gannett, Xray and Stebbins – are now in their “teenage” years and are still growing. Once full grown, they will likely surpass the 100 lb mark by early next year. They zookeepers have noticed they are still working out a pack hierarchy and are often seen running around playing tag and tug of war with the branches. This play behavior will transition into displays of dominance and submission – all a part of establishing a pack structure. Hooper is currently the largest of the pack.

Did you know? Gray wolves have a sense of smell 80 times stronger than humans. This helps them track, hunt, communicate, and avoid danger.

You can learn more about this amazing species on our upcoming Wild Wolf EdVenture trips coming up this winter/spring in Ely, MN.