HOWL Colorado

Solving the Mystery of the South Fork Wolf

The wolf lies on a metal table, its white legs and massive paws hanging over the edge. Kimberlee Beckmen, wildlife veterinarian, wears a white lab coat and purple gloves. Scalpel in hand, she positions herself at the wolf’s belly.
Beckmen, who just finished a necropsy on an arctic fox that had been hit by a truck on the Dalton Highway, leans in on a wolf found dead on a trail east of Fairbanks. She checked her database this morning, she says. More than 250 wolves have been on her table in the 12 years she has worked for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Many of those wolves had been trapped or shot. The cream-colored wolf now before Beckmen died of an unknown cause. Biologists Tom Paragi and Mike Taras sledded in the frozen wolf a few miles from where it had dropped on a snowmachine trail and lay until a dog musher discovered it…

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