Laramie, Wy – Most of the gray wolf pups born in Yellowstone National Park last year have died. A federal wolf expert believes a dog disease - parvo virus - may have caused the dramatic loss.
The park's wolf project leader says only 22 of the 69 pups born last year are still alive -- the biggest drop in pup numbers since wolves were reintroduced to the park eleven years ago.
The greatest toll was on the park's northern range, where just eight of the 49 pups born last spring survived. Smith termed it a "catastrophic" loss.
Over the next few weeks, he says they plan to catch Yellowstone wolf pups and take blood samples, to see if suspicions about parvo virus are true. The disease can cause extreme diarrhea and dehydration. It can kill more vulnerable animals, like young pups.