EL PASO, Texas -- The El Paso Zoo's 14-year-old Mexican Gray Wolf named Zephyr was euthanized on Wednesday due to multiple health issues stemming from his age, zoo officials said.
It was the zoo's second loss this year due to old age. In January, the zoo mourned the loss of Melor the Malayan Tiger.
Zephyr's death came after he and the zoo's other Mexican Wolf, a 13-year-old female named Polly, were recently moved to a new Chihuahuan desert exhibit at the zoo.
“I’m extremely happy that Zephyr was able to enjoy his spacious new facility, although for not nearly long enough with his having passed away today," said a mourning John Kiseda, the El Paso Zoo's animal curator. "From now on, I’ll always remember him looking very comfortable and contented, sleeping in the shade of ‘his’ large pine tree in his new exhibit.”
Zephyr came to the El Paso Zoo in the spring of 2016 from the Oklahoma City Zoo, but veterinarians said in recent times his health had taken a turn for the worse.
They "determined that the prognosis for a good quality of life was poor, and humane euthanasia was the best course of action," Kiseda said, noting that the typical life expectancy for such a wolf is around 11 years.
The Mexican gray wolf, or “lobo,” is considered one of the most endangered mammals in North America, zoo officials said. Because of breeding efforts at various zoos across the country, they said Mexican grey wolves were reintroduced into the wild in 1998 after being extinct for more than 30 years.