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Apple Valley, MN 55124
Apple Valley, MN – July 15, 2014: Five orphaned gray wolf pups, rescued from the massive Funny River Wildfire in Alaska, will be arriving at their permanent home – the Minnesota Zoo.
The pups, two females and three males, were rescued on May 27 by an Alaskan fire crew who discovered a wolf den in a bulldozer line at the Kenai Peninsula fire. The pups were found without their mother, and appeared to have been without her for at least two days. Upon their discovery, they were brought to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage where they were deemed to be suffering from dehydration and porcupine quill punctures. The pups stayed in Alaska long enough to be deemed healthy enough for travel. Now nine weeks old, they were transported to the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport via Delta Air Lines.
The Minnesota Zoo was chosen by Alaska Fish and Game Department as the pups’ permanent home. “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.”
Adds Minnesota Zoo Collection Manager Tony Fisher: “We are extremely grateful to the Alaska Zoo for taking such good care of these pups, and to the Alaska Fish and Game Department for allowing us to be their permanent home. We are excited that the pups have arrived, and look forward to caring for them.”
Department and zoo officials agreed that keeping the pups together is important; as such, they will remain a pack, living on the Minnesota Zoo’s Medtronic Minnesota Trail following a mandatory quarantine period.
When they move into their permanent home, the pups will join an exhibit Trail experiencing a robust reproductive season, resulting in a zoo visitor experience that will feel like a surge of “fall babies” on the Medtronic Minnesota Trail. The Trail’s newest residents also include four lynx kits (born May 6), a porcupette (born May 29), and beaver kits (born June 26) along with the adult puma, black bear, wolverine, coyote, and other residents.
When last weighed, the wolf pups ranged from 12.5 to 14.4 pounds. When fully grown, they will weigh between 70 and 110 pounds and be up to three feet tall at the shoulders and six feet in length. Gray wolves are highly social and live in packs. Gray wolves are listed as “least concern” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They were de-listed from the Endangered Species List in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Great Lakes and Rocky Mountain regions which includes Minnesota.
The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. Open year round, the Zoo is one of the State’s premier cultural attractions serving 1.3 million visitors annually. With a mission to connect people, animals and the natural world, the Zoo is a member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA). Learn more at mnzoo.org or by calling 952.431.9500.