The Pups are three weeks old and doing okay. We are fortunate, for the most part, that the camera in the den is functional and that mom has left the pups in this denning location. We have another “human made” den, and there are numerous sites around the exhibit that mom has excavated.I’m glad she chose the front den to have her pups!
I say “for the most part” because on Tuesday May 16, F1858 moved one of her pups out of the den. This pup spent about an hour away from its siblings while mom picked a couple of spots to set it down, and then, eventually, returned the pup to the primary den. Ranger Greg snapped the following photos of this occurrence.(She moved a pup again on May 19… but no pictures 🙁 )
A guest at the wolf exhibit got a quick video clip of mom walking around with the pup (See Shea Miller’s footage at the following link-( https://www.facebook.com/shea.miller.98/videos/10154572996155737/ ).
It is interesting (and a bit nerve-racking) to watch mom move pups and see where she’ll put them (hopefully not a den location on the cliff!). The primary den is a great, safe, location with a camera for viewing. The rest of the exhibit is filled with all sorts of new challenges for the pups to navigate. Until they are around 5 weeks of age, pups are awkward and uncoordinated, with limited range of movement. Because very young pups cannot travel far, the mother may gently pick them up and transfer them from one homesite to another – back to the natal den from a “nest” in an open field, for instance.
I showed the pictures to a friend, and she sent me the below picture taken by Dave Mech, a biologist and renowned wolf expert.
Each new day as the pups get older has the chance for getting a view of a pup in person at the exhibit. Starting now we might start seeing a head pop out of the den any day.