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Wolf pups orphaned in wildfire will go to Minnesota Zoo

Devin Kelly
Alaska Zoo keeper Jim Rutkowski, left, curator Shannon Jansen, and keeper Zach Shoemaker feed wolf pups at the Alaska Zoo on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pups were rescued from the Funny River fire.
Loren Holmes
Alaska Zoo curator Shannon Jansen looks for porcupine quills in a wolf pup rescued from the Funny River fire. The pup and four of his siblings are temporarily housed at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. May 29, 2014.
Loren Holmes
Alaska Zoo keeper Jim Rutkowski holds a wolf pup at the Alaska Zoo on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pup and four of his siblings were rescued from the Funny River fire.
Loren Holmes
Five live wolf pups - four males and a female, all black in color - were rescued from the Funny River Horse Trail Fire line Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Cyndi Gardner
Medics Eric Zucker and Alicia Renfer hydrate and remove porcupine quills from the wolf pups that were found in their den next to a firebreak. Firefighters found the den while fighting the Funny River Horse Trail fire earlier in May. The firefighter who crawled in the den and pulled out the pups was Steven Niksik.
Stephen Miller
Five live wolf pups - four males and a female, all black in color - were rescued from the Funny River Horse Trail Fire line Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Cyndi Gardner
Alaska Zoo keeper Zach Shoemaker feeds one of the wolf pups rescued from the Funny River fire on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pups are eating 250-300 calories per day.
Loren Holmes
Alaska Zoo keeper Jim Rutkowski, left, curator Shannon Jansen, and keeper Zach Shoemaker feed wolf pups at the Alaska Zoo on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pups were rescued from the Funny River fire.
Loren Holmes
Alaska Zoo curator Shannon Jansen looks for porcupine quills in a wolf pup rescued from the Funny River fire. The pup and four of his siblings are temporarily housed at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. May 29, 2014.
Loren Holmes
Alaska Zoo keeper Jim Rutkowski holds a wolf pup at the Alaska Zoo on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pup and four of his siblings were rescued from the Funny River fire.
Loren Holmes
Five live wolf pups - four males and a female, all black in color - were rescued from the Funny River Horse Trail Fire line Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Cyndi Gardner
Medics Eric Zucker and Alicia Renfer hydrate and remove porcupine quills from the wolf pups that were found in their den next to a firebreak. Firefighters found the den while fighting the Funny River Horse Trail fire earlier in May. The firefighter who crawled in the den and pulled out the pups was Steven Niksik.
Stephen Miller
Five live wolf pups - four males and a female, all black in color - were rescued from the Funny River Horse Trail Fire line Tuesday, May 27, 2014.
Cyndi Gardner
Alaska Zoo keeper Zach Shoemaker feeds one of the wolf pups rescued from the Funny River fire on Thursday, May 29, 2014. The 2 1/2 pound pups are eating 250-300 calories per day.
Loren Holmes

The five wolf pups rescued from a den near the front lines of the Kenai Peninsula wildfire have found a home in Minnesota, officials said Friday.

The Minnesota Zoo, located in a Minneapolis-St. Paul suburb, has offered to take the entire litter, according to a statement from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. The announcement comes three days after the pups were pulled from a den near a firebreak in the Funny River fire, dehydrated and pierced with porcupine quills.

Since Tuesday night, the pups, two males and three females, have been in the care of the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. Each weighed about 2.5 pounds, a pound less than healthy weight.

Cyndi Gardner, acting permitting biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, said in a statement that the Minnesota Zoo has a relationship with Alaska Zoo and has been "a good partner with us in past orphaned wildlife situations." The zoo will be receiving a permit to allow it to house the wolves permanently, officials said.

The statement said the the pups will remain at the Alaska Zoo until veterinarians have determined they are old enough and healthy enough for transport. The zoo and the Department of Fish and Game also agreed that the five should stay together, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the Minnesota Zoo could not immediately be reached for comment.

Reach Devin Kelly at dkelly@adn.com.

 


By DEVIN KELLY
dkelly@adn.com