BILLINGS — ZooMontana in Billings is now home to a Grey Wolf pup.
The small male wolf pup was found on private property near Condon and followed the owners across their driveway. After waiting some time and realizing the pack was not going to return, the owners retrieved the pup in hopes of helping it. Shortly after, the owners contacted Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.
The following day, the Wolf/Carnivore Specialist for FWP Region 1 retrieved the pup, noting no visible injuries or concerns. Knowing the historic den of the Condon wolf pack was nearby, the wolf specialist searched for signs of the pack to no avail, making a release impossible.
The pup - named Simpson - will be slowly introduced to the Zoo’s two current wolf residents. The introduction will span several weeks to months, meaning the pup will not be on exhibit for some time according to ZooMontana director Jeff Ewelt.
“Wolf introductions can take time due to pack dynamics. Even though the Zoo’s pack is small, intros must still be done carefully” said Ewelt. “We know how excited folks will be to see him, but we must be patient.”
Grey Wolves are the world’s largest wild canines, with adults weighing anywhere between 60 and145 pounds. An adult can eat more than 20 pounds of meat in a single meal. Wolf populations are present in Alaska, northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, western Montana, northern Idaho, northeast Oregon, and the Yellowstone area of Wyoming. Wolves howl to solidify pack bonds and warn other wolf packs to stay away, but despite popular belief, wolves do not howl at the moon.
ZooMontana also recently added a newborn miniature donkey to their family after mother Ethel gave birth on June 13. The newborn, a female, is a welcome addition to the Zoo’s barn and was on her feet within an hour and nursing. All three miniature donkeys can be seen within the Zoo’s Homestead area.