Every parent remembers — and marvels — at their baby’s first words.
No doubt, wolf parents would be howling with delight at a pup’s first howl.
And happily for us humans, one such incredible moment in the wild was caught on video in the Northwoods region of Minnesota.
Footage of a wolf pup testing it vocal skills was captured via trail camera by the Voyageurs Wolf Project, an initiative by University of Minnesota to study the wolves in and around Voyageurs National Park in the state.
“Listen to some of this wolf pup’s first howls from only a few weeks ago!” the group posted on social media. “A little warning: the pup is pretty loud for only being 4-weeks old!”
The group is studying wolf behaviour, particularly what they do in the summer — a known gap in wolf ecology.
Part of the research is aided by trail cameras and now the organization is fundraising to purchase more critter cams.
You can help our project capture and share more neat footage like this by donating to our 2021 trail camera fund, where we are trying to purchase 120 more trail cameras for our project (7/7):https://t.co/VWGmikqOT1— Voyageurs Wolf Project (@VoyaWolfProject) May 19, 2021
The crowdfunding effort for more trail cameras raised more than $25,000 in one week toward its $36,000 goal.
“We are currently raising funds to purchase 120 more trail cameras for the project,” the group explained of the $300 needed for each unit.
The cameras help study wolf litters, pup survival, denning, pack size and turnover, as well as hunting habits and food preferences.
For example, Voyageurs caught a wolf on video gobbling blueberries last summer — believed to be the only such footage.
To our knowledge, this is the first-ever and only footage of wolves eating blueberries! Though, we know of a few clips of wolves eating other kinds of berries or fruits. We tried for 2 years to get this footage of wolves eating berries and finally got it in summer 2020! (1/6) pic.twitter.com/VLaw6mFqjK— Voyageurs Wolf Project (@VoyaWolfProject) January 5, 2021
And it also placed a camera on a collared wolf.
The resulting video, believed again to be a world’s first, showed the wolf chewing a leg bone of a deer and fishing.
“These trail cameras help us share our research with a broad audience,” Voyageurs added. “To date, our trail camera footage that we have shared on social media has been viewed over 28 million times and counting.”
The howling wolf pup video, which was just posted last week, has already been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.
And there will no doubt be more adorable wolf pup videos to come.
The group just finished its pup count and tagging project for the season and it’s already a wildly successful.
“We had the best year to date as got pup counts/tagged pups from 7 packs,” the group explained. “Now the real work begins: trying to figure out how many of these pups actually survive. More on that in the months to come!”
In short, stay tuned for more wolf news — and videos.
We are just wrapping up our pup count/pup tagging for the season. We had the best year to date as got pup counts/tagged pups from 7 packs. Now the real work begins: trying to figure out how many of these pups actually survive. More on that in the months to come! (1/4) pic.twitter.com/uHhyiMOToy— Voyageurs Wolf Project (@VoyaWolfProject) May 24, 2021
Photos: Voyageurs Wolf Project