Elderly Mexican gray wolf dies at San Francisco zoo

National and World News

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Mexican gray wolf has died at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens at the advanced age of 15, the zoo reported.

The wolf, named Garcia, died Tuesday after experiencing a recent decline in the quality of life and was being treated for several age-related conditions, the zoo said in a statement.

Mexican gray wolves typically live up to 13 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity, the zoo said.

A subspecies of the gray wolf, the Mexican gray wolf once was abundant throughout Mexico and the Southwestern United States but by the 1970s had been nearly wiped out by hunters and ranchers.

Five wolves were trapped and bred in captivity. That helped repopulate the species, and there currently are nearly 200 wolves living in the wild and about 220 in the zoo and in other care.

Garcia was one of three male siblings who at the age of 11 were brought to the San Francisco zoo in 2016 as part of the conservation effort.

A major donor named them after her favorite rock stars: David Bowie, Prince and Jerry Garcia, said Tanya M. Peterson, CEO and executive director of San Francisco Zoological Society.

Caretakers described Garcia as bold, curious and playful and said he was a favorite with staff and visitors.

“Garcia was a wonderful ambassador for his wild counterparts,” Peterson said, “and was valuable in educating countless people about misconceptions surrounding wolves. He was beloved by so many and will be missed greatly.”

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