Skip to main content

P-Awww: Orphaned wolf pups debut at Minnesota Zoo

  • Author:
  • Updated:

It's been a long journey for five young wolf pups, but they're finally settling into their permanent home at the Minnesota Zoo.

The "Funny River Five" were orphaned during Alaska's Funny River wildfire, which devastated over 200,000 acres on the Kenai Peninsula in May.

After two days and no sign of the two-week-old pups' mother, firefighters rescued them and brought them to the Alaska Zoo. Because the zoo already had an established wolf pack, the pups – named Gannett, Hooper, Husila, Stebbius and X-Ray, after the firefighters' hometowns and the fire crew who rescued them – were brought to the Minnesota Zoo when they were 8 weeks old.

"We are very grateful to the Alaska Zoo for giving these pups such excellent care when they were first rescued, and to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game for entrusting us with their permanent care," Minnesota Zoo Collection Manager Tony Fisher said, according to KARE 11. "It is rewarding for us to once again be able to provide a home for orphaned Alaskan animals."

The Minnesota Zoo hand-raised the pups, making sure they got the proper care and nutrition. And after spending the required amount of time in quarantine, they made their public debut Thursday morning, the Minnesota Zoo says.

The youngsters were also reunited with Josh Leutzinger (pictured at left in a photo provided by the Minnesota Zoo), the crew supervisor for the Gannett Glacier Fire Crew, who coordinated the effort to rescue the wolves, WCCO says.

This embed is invalid

Next Up

storm, severe weather

Threat of severe weather returns to Minnesota for 2 days

Isolated severe storms Wednesday, followed by scattered severe storms Thursday.


1 dead, 2 injured in crash at intersection in Ramsey

The crash happened at the intersection of Bunker Lake Blvd. and Sunfish Lake Blvd.

Tettegouche State Park bridge

Trails reopen as waters subside, but bridges damaged at Tettegouche State Park

Water levels on the river have dropped about six to eight feet since Friday.

Keith Harvell

Body pulled from Mississippi River ID'd as missing Elk River man

Keith Harvell had been missing since early last month.

900 W Broadway Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota - July 2021

2 victims identified in double-fatal north Minneapolis shooting

A 21-year-old man and a 51-year-old man were identified as the people who died at the scene this past weekend.

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.


7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.


Endangered dhole pups at the Minnesota Zoo

Zoo officials say the Asian wild dogs were born April 12 and 14, but an exact count is still unknown. The dhole pups are expected to spend more time outside their den in the coming weeks at the Apple Valley zoo.

New lynx kitten debuts at Minnesota Zoo

The zoo on Thursday unveiled its new Canada lynx kitten on the Medtronic Minnesota Trail. The male lynx, born May 11, has been behind the scenes with its mother. Now that he’s big enough to leave the den, he’s getting acquainted with his new exhibit.