ELY - Denali, a 13-year-old ambassador wolf at the International Wolf Center, was euthanized last Saturday after his condition deteriorated quickly.The gray wolf was born in 2008 at the Wildlife …
ELY - Denali, a 13-year-old ambassador wolf at the International Wolf Center, was euthanized last Saturday after his condition deteriorated quickly.
The gray wolf was born in 2008 at the Wildlife Science Center in Minnesota. He came to the International Wolf Center with his littermate, Aidan.
According to IWC Communications Director Chad Richardson, early reports last Saturday noted that Denali was very interactive and seemingly had no issues, but by Saturday evening that had changed.
At about 7 p.m. that night, a wolf care staff member noticed Denali’s gums were pale, his ears were cold and that he seemed dehydrated. Two additional wolf care staff members were quickly called in, including the Center’s longtime wolf curator, Lori Schmidt. As Denali’s condition deteriorated, the Center’s veterinarian, Dr. Kristine Woerheide, was also called in, Richardson said.
His condition continued to deteriorate and he was euthanized shortly thereafter. A necropsy was performed at the Ely Veterinary Clinic where Dr. Woerheide found a tumor on Denali’s liver that had ruptured. There were also calcifications throughout his lung lobes and a mass on his right atrium.
Tissue samples were collected and are being sent to a pathologist for further analysis.
“The benefit of working with socialized wolves is the trust that is developed between wolf care team members and the animals in our care,” Schmidt said. “This trust takes hours and hours to build during the critical bonding period as pups, but the benefits are never more important than those final moments when the hard decisions need to be made to end an animal’s suffering.”
Denali’s last minutes were spent surrounded by the wolf care team.
“He will be fondly remembered for his foreleg stabs, seeking attention from fellow packmates and staff doing wolf checks, as well as his bounding play-bows, when he was inviting anyone to chase him,” Schmidt said.
After 12 years in the exhibit pack, Denali joined the center’s retirement pack last October. In retirement, he joined Grizzer, a former packmate, and he adapted well to a calmer and more restful environment.
“He and his packmates at the Wolf Center have educated tens of thousands of visitors at the Center’s exhibit in Ely, as well as thousands of people throughout the world through regular YouTube videos, wolf logs and webcams,” Richardson said.
For more information about the International Wolf Center, visit wolf.org.