Firefighters rescue abandoned wolf pups

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014 10:00pm
  • News
Photo contributed by Brian Nichols Firefighters rescued five wolf pups abandoned by mother during the Funny River Horse Trail wildfire.

Photo contributed by Brian Nichols Firefighters rescued five wolf pups abandoned by mother during the Funny River Horse Trail wildfire.

Dehydrated and injured by porcupine quills — Hooper Bay, Huslia, Stebbens, Gannet and X-ray were named after the firefighters who rescued them and the area in which they were found. The fire crews heard the abandoned wolf pups making noise while working to secure the western flank of a massive wild fire on the Kenai Peninsula

While the names may not stick, the three males and two female pups may survive after being taken to the Alaska Zoo by Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff.

The two-week-old pups were rescued from a den near Kasilof, said firefighter Brian Nichols who was on one of crews that found the pups.

“We actually cut through part of the den with the dozer and just kept going. Nobody realized anything, that was three or four days ago,” he said. “Yesterday, a couple of guys were sitting there mopping up … and saw (one) come out.”

The pups were in bad shape by the time Fish and Game wildlife biologist Jeff Selinger and Deputy Refuge Manager Steve Miller got to see them.

“All of them were injured by a porcupine and dehydrated,” Miller said.

The pups were determined to have been abandoned because of their dehydration, Miller said.

Two medics who were with the firefighting crew pulled some of the quills out, but didn’t feel comfortable pulling all of them out.

“Some had been abscessed,” Miller said.

Several firefighters got to hold the pups as Fish and Game and Refuge staff fed them a glucose mixture to help hydrate the worn out pups.

“It’s just like a holding a dog,” Nichols said. “They were hungry and trying to suckle on anything. It was just like holding a puppy, they’re so young they don’t know any better.”

So, the puppies were taken to Anchorage where Alaska Zoo managers were able to pull the rest of the quills out.

At least one of the pups, the runt, is on antibiotics and is being fed more to help him fatten him up.

“He got a lot of quills,” said Shannon Jensen, curator at the Alaska Zoo.

The pups are being fed milk replacer and handled extensively by zoo staff who are bottle feeding.

“They seem to be OK with the situation, as long as we’re feeding them,” she said.

Jensen said she doesn’t think it will be hard to get them adopted out.

“There’s one that howls, it’s pretty cute. It’s adorable,” Jensen said.

Firefighters have spotted several other animals as they’ve been fighting to keep the 186,862 acre wildfire out of area communities, Miller said. These include a moose and calf, a brown bear with two cubs and a black bear with three cubs.

“We saw one baby moose when we were cutting the line,” Nichols said. “It was about a day-old baby moose. It followed one of the dozer bosses around for a while and then mama came back and was not amused.”

Updated at 3:30 p.m. Friday:

The five wolf pups have found a new home at the Minnesota Zoo, south of Minneapolis-St. Paul in Apple Valley, Minnesota., according to an Alaska Department of Fish and Game media release.  

The zoo has offered to take the entire litter and will receive a permit to house them permanently, according to the release. 

The pups are still at the Alaska Zoo and will remain there until they are healthy and old enough to transport, according to the release. 


Reach Rashah McChesney at

More in News

Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander speaks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Kenai Municipal Airport on Friday, Aug. 6, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. A kiosk that will offer educational programming and interpretive products about the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is coming to the airport. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsua Clarion)
Wildlife refuge kiosk coming to airport

Kenai National Wildlife Refuge stickers, T-shirts, magnets, travel stamps and enamel pins will be available.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
5 more COVID deaths reported

The total nationwide fatalities surpass population of Alaska.

Velda Geller fills goodie bags at the Kenai Senior Center on Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 for next weekend’s drive-through trick-or-treat event. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
‘This has been a lifesaver’

Seniors seek human connection as pandemic continues.

Kenai City Hall on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
‘A very slippery slope that we need to be careful of’

Approval of library grant postponed after Kenai council requests to preview book purchases

This undated photo released by the Alaska State Department of Public Safety shows Robin Pelkey just before her 18th birthday. The remains of a woman known for 37 years only as Horseshoe Harriet, one of 17 victims of a notorious Alaska serial killer, have been identified through DNA profiling as Robin Pelkey, authorities said Friday, Oct. 22, 2021. (Alaska State Department of Public Safety via AP)
DNA match IDs serial killer’s victim after 37 years

Robin Pelkey was 19 and living on the streets of Anchorage when she was killed by Robert Hansen in the early 1980s, investigators said.

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Most Read