The five wolf pups rescued by firefighters during the Funny River fire will soon leave the state for their new home in Minnesota.
Currently being housed at the Alaska Zoo, the five pups will be taken in by the Minnesota Zoo, located south of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Apple Valley, Minn. According to Pat Lampi, executive director at the Alaska Zoo, this will not be the first time the two zoos have worked together to give orphaned wildlife a new home.
“We have received several of our Bactrian camels over the years from them, and Shannon [Jensen] here has helped us transport a few brown bear cubs in the past to their zoo,” Lampi said Friday. “We trust them, and we’re very comfortable with this decision.”
The five pups, two females and three males, will remain in the Alaska Zoo infirmary until their health has improved enough to be transported, reports Department of Fish and Game spokesman Ken Marsh. Zoo officials say the pups were left without food and water for several days during the fire until they were rescued, and suffered injuries from an encounter with a porcupine.
“Really, their health is the driving factor behind the pups’ eventual transport,” Lampi said.
Both the Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Zoo officials agree that keeping the pups together is important. Both zoos house their own family groups of wolves, something Lampi says has shown zoo officials the importance of maintaining pack structure for the well-being of its individuals.
“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.”
No date has yet been set for the pups’ exodus while they recover, which could take more than a few weeks, according to Marsh. Once they are healthy enough, zoo officials will allow the public more visual access to the pups in the infirmary.