Skip to main content

Watch: Researchers in Minnesota capture a baby wolf's first howl

The 4-week-old wolf's howl is not quiet.

Researchers in northern Minnesota captured an extremely cute scene on one of its trail cameras recently: a gray wolf pup testing out its voice for the first time. 

The Voyageurs Wolf Project shared a video of the 4-week-old wolf practicing its howl, which is quite impressive for such a young pup. Here's the video (warning: it's loud, so check your volume):

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is a University of Minnesota research project that is studying the behavior of wolves in Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota. Researchers focus on what wolves do in the summer, when they're more solitary predators, and are trying to better understand the predation behavior and reproductive ecology of the animals, such as the number of pups that are born and where wolves have dens.

Researchers this spring have been visiting wolf dens in the park to count the number of pups. But because they can't always see the number of pups inside, they set up trail cameras to get a better count. 

"Sometimes the trail camera footage verifies our initial pup count and other times we realized how many pups we 'missed'," researchers said on Twitter

A few weeks ago, researchers said they counted five pups in a den but after checking their trail camera footage, they realized there were actually eight pups. 

In another series of tweets, researchers shared photos of the "Paradise Pack" that calls an old cedar tree home. Because the den was so narrow, they could only spot two pups when they visited in person. They put out trail cameras to see how many actually live in the den, and they counted five. 

And sometimes the trail cameras capture the wolf pups doing adorable wolf pup things, like howling for the first time. (The Voyageurs Wolf Project is raising money to buy a total of 120 trail camera packages. You can donate here.)

Researchers say the trail cameras help them study not only litter size but other parts of wolf ecology, such as denning behavior, pup survival, wolf pack and population size, and unique behaviors, like discovering wolves go fishing and eat blueberries, as well as other discoveries

Related [Dec. 18, 2018]: Watch: First-ever footage shows wolves hunting freshwater fish in Minnesota

They also say the trail cameras help them share their research with a larger audience, noting the footage has been viewed more than 28 million times on social media. And more cameras mean more videos. 

Related [April 15]: Researchers share first-ever collar camera footage from wild wolf

In a tweet Monday, researchers said they're wrapping up their pup counting and tagging efforts for the spring, noting they've counted and tagged wolf pups from seven different packs. 

Next, researchers will spend the summer trying to figure out how many of the pups survive. They plan to share updates on social media as time progresses. 

According to the Minnesota DNR's 2020 wolf population survey, there were an estimated 631 wolf packs and 2,696 wolves (but as few as 2,244 or as many as 3,252) in Minnesota in the winter of 2019-2020. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-05-23 at 9.58.36 PM

Eric Perkins, Miss Minnesota, Paul Fletcher create new podcast

The podcast is released Tuesdays at 8 a.m. and is available wherever you find podcasts.

Mock aircraft cabin.

MSP Airport debuts mock aircraft to help ease flying anxiety

The pre-flight experiences cover the TSA screening procedure, exploring a terminal, boarding a plane and meeting a pilot, and preparing for takeoff.

Scripps National Spelling Bee

These Minnesota kids will be competing at National Spelling Bee

The upcoming event in Maryland will be the first fully in-person Scripps National Spelling Bee since 2019.

covid, kids

New data shows how omicron has impacted kids in Minnesota

The new data shows breakthrough data during the omicron period, which began Dec. 19, 2021.

Javen Juan Moreno

Albert Lea shooting suspect arrested after 3 weeks on the run

He is accused of shooting a man in the upper thigh on May 1.


Motorcyclist, 59, killed after losing control on right curve

The Harley Davidson rider was thrown from his bike.

state capitol Minnesota

Minnesota's 2022 legislative session: What's happening?

A list of items agreed upon and yet to reach any bipartisan agreement in the latest legislative session.

water drain

Water main break floods 40-45 homes in St. Louis Park

The city says the rupture happened on Minnetonka Boulevard.

Eli Hart

Charges: 6-year-old Eli Hart shot up to 9 times by his mother

The 28-year-old is facing 2nd-degree murder charges.

dave lee wcco radio

Former WCCO Radio host Dave Lee moves into podcasts

His new podcast, called 'My First Concert,' launched last week.

Tow Boat

Tow boat collides with Mississippi River lock and dam in Alma, WI

The crash remains under investigation by the United States Coast Guard.

unsplash school bus

Police: Man in minivan approached kids, claimed he was former principal

Investigators say children were approached by a man in a white minivan who falsely claimed he'd been a local school principal.


wolf collar video

Researchers share first-ever collar camera footage from wild wolf

The Voyageurs Wolf Project called it "fascinating," showing that wolves in northern Minnesota clearly know how to hunt fish.

wolf pups

Watch: 6 adorable wolf pups playing in northern MN

Researchers say the pups "appear to be doing well."


'Rare' discovery: Wolf ate sibling's carcass, buried skull for later

This is the first time the Voyageurs Wolf Project has evidence of a wolf eating a pup from its own pack.

voyageurs trail camera

Video: Voyageurs camera captures remarkable footage of wildlife trail

There were wolves, moose, bears, lynx, a fisher, marten and other animals.

Female wolf illegally killed by poachers within Voyageurs Wolf Project.

Female wolf illegally killed in Voyageurs National Park

Researchers for the project said this is the fourth collared wolf that has been illegally killed in the past two years by poachers.

gray wolf

6 Wisconsin tribes sue to end upcoming wolf hunt

They cite treaty rights and a "disastrous February hunt."

wolf voyageurs snowmobile

Wolf exhibits 'extremely abnormal' behavior, approaches snowmobilers

The wolf got within 5 feet of a group of snowmobilers.

giant bear

Video: 'THE fattest bear we have ever seen' spotted on MN trail camera

"This might be THE fattest bear we have ever seen in our area," researchers said.