Earlier this week, a fire tore through Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, and while many animals were able to escape, a den of wolf pups got left behind. According to Huffington Post, firefighters found the pups dehydrated and hungry, and all but one survived.
The pups went unnoticed for a few days when the firefighters built a firebreak near the den.
“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,” firefighter Brian Nichols said. “Yesterday, a couple of guys were sitting there mopping up… and saw (one) come out.”
A smaller firefighter crawled into the den and pulled out four more pups for a total of three males and two females. A sixth was already dead by the time the pups were rescued. The rescuers held the pups and fed them glucose, which they wolfed down.
“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.”
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge said on their Facebook page, “Due to the disturbance the parents abandoned the den. The pups were not harmed by the fire although all had porcupine quills that were removed by the medics working on the fire line. The pups were all given water and glucose by the medics.”
The two week old pups are now recovering at the Alaska Zoo. Since they were handled by humans, they cannot be released in the wild, but they are looking for a new home for the five pups.