Alaska Firefighters Rescue Five Wolf Pups After Massive Wildfire

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Wolves? Terrifying. Wolf puppies? Devastatingly adorable. It's difficult to react to this story of Alaskan firefighters rescuing a litter of wolf pups in any way other than Squeeee!! And that would be a reasonable reaction. That would be a completely reasonable reaction.

It all started last Tuesday, when a group of firefighters responding to the destructive Kenai Peninsula wildfire heard a yipping sound coming from what they thought was a nearby den, Steve Miller, deputy manager of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, told the Alaska Dispatch.

Miller contacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game; when officials arrived, one wolf pup staggered out of the den, showing signs of dehydration and sporting a single, injurious porcupine quill.

Jeff Selinger, a Kenai-area wildlife biologist, looked to see if the pup's parents were nearby. But due to the wildfire and ensuing firefighter activity, that seemed an unlikely possibility.

"It was a pretty easy decision for [Selinger] to decide, 'Hey, these guys need some help," said Ken Marsh, information officer for the Department of Fish and Game.

Although the six-foot Selinger was too tall to crawl his way into the narrow den, a smaller firefighter ventured in to rescue the other wolf pups--striking a blow for the pups, as well as small firefighters everywhere.

Four more pups, all dehydrated and in various state of porcupine-related injury, were removed from the den. A sixth pup was also removed, but unfortunately did not survive.

Medics gave the pups sugar water to hydrate them, before the Department of Fish and Game brought them to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, where they were taken in. At two weeks old, the pups weigh about 2.5 pounds each (a half-pound less than normal), but appear to be doing well.

"They're just sleeping and eating," Jill Myer, the zoo's development director, told the Dispatch. "They're doing normal puppy things."

Myer said that, after being handled by humans, the pups will not be released back into the wild. The zoo, which already has a wolf pack in its care, plans to find them a permanent home.
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