A litter of five wolf pups firefighters rescued from fire lines of the Funny River wildfire earlier this week are receiving around-the-clock care at the Alaska Zoo infirmary.
The orphaned pups -- three males and two females -- are still recovering from going without food for at least a couple of days before they were rescued. They also have injuries from an encounter with a porcupine, which zoo officials say probably crawled into their den to escape the flame.
"Right now it's just recuperation for them after the ordeal they've been through, and gaining their strength, getting hydrated, and getting their energy levels back up," said Pat Lampi, the zoo's executive director.
The pups, which are about two weeks old, are fed puppy formula every three hours. On Thursday, they drank 50 grams -- twice as much as they did the day before, according to curator Shannon Jensen.
During feedings, keepers conduct full body exams to check for porcupine quills, which they're still finding.
"They can wreak havoc on their internal organs and even kill them," Jensen said.
Ken Marsh, a spokesperson for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation, says the orphaned pups' rescue is a very rare situation, which is garnering a lot of interest.
"We've actually pulled something from the smoldering ashes here, and maybe some good is going to come out of it," said Marsh.
That good might be difficult to see through all the destruction. Although the Funny River fire has killed a great deal of wildlife, biologists say lush habitats will later grow.
"It allows the new growth to come up, which is needed by moose, hares, grouse, all of those kind of critters," Marsh said.
Fish and Game is working to find a permanent home for the litter and wants the pups to stay together. How long the pups will remain at the zoo's infirmary depends on how quickly their health improves.