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Cameras Capture Young Wolf Pups Near Voyageurs National Park

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Researchers in northern Minnesota got their first look at this spring's wolf pups in a pack under study in Voyageurs National Park.

In a Facebook post, the Voyageurs Wolf Project said that cameras captured the pups Monday as they padded through the forest, working to keep up with their father as their mother followed behind. Researchers believe there are five new pups part of the "Paradise Pack."

This is the third litter of pups for the Paradise breeding pair in as many years. While none of the four pups in the first litter survived, two out of the five survived last year. So far, this year's litter looks healthy, researcher say.

wolf pups
(credit: Voyageurs Wolf Project)

News of the new litter comes roughly a week after University of Minnesota researchers announced that someone illegally shot and killed a wolf near the national park.

The wolf killed was part of a different breeding pair. The killing ended what was known as the "Tamarack Pack," as the mate as since become a lone wolf, and researchers say that other wolves will likely soon take over the territory.

In Minnesota and across the U.S., gray wolves are federally protected. While protections for wolves were removed during the Trump administration, a judge restored them in February, saying that federal officials failed to show that wolves in the Midwest could sustain their populations without the protections offered by the Endangered Species Act.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, there are an estimated 2,600 wolves in the state, in the Iron Range and in areas along the Canadian border.

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