The pup, who has been named Boise, has been sent to Busch Gardens Virginia, where he’s been placed with a German short-haired pointer foster mother and two melanistic wolf foster siblings that were born at a captive-breeding facility in Montana.
Attempts to locate Boise’s pack were failures.
My guess is that Boise may have been born to one of female wolves in his pack who was not the pair-bonded breeding females. Pups born to these females often have a low survival rate. They aren’t born in the main den, and it’s not unusual for all the puppies born to these females to die.
It may have happened that the main breeding female’s pups were born first and as they matured, the pack moved them to another den. If Boise’s mother had been one of these females, she would have also moved, and she may have had a very hard time taking care of him. She would have to help attend the main breeding female’s litter, which would have been some distance from Boise’s den.
And eventually, she may have had to abandon him in order to keep up with her pack.
Yellowstone wolves often have multiple breeding females, and there is a relatively high survival rate among the pups born to these females that are not the main breeding females in the pack.
But in most wolf populations, if a wolf pup isn’t born to that female’s litter, his chances of survival are pretty low.