Two of Hogle Zoo’s senior citizens passed have died — an elderly wolf and an aged bobcat who both greatly exceeded their expected lifespans.
Glacier, a wolf who was just shy of his 13th birthday (average life expectancy is 8 years), and 22-year-old bobcat Tukut (average lifespan is 12-13 years) were euthanized because of declining health.
Glacier the gray wolf, who came to the zoo in 2009, had been slowing down when his health took a turn for the worse in recent days, according to his keeper. “He made it very clear that it was his time to go,” said Janice Thompson, who called the wolf “very sweet.”
“He had a very calm nature about him. Any time we fed him, we’d get stopped by lots of guests with questions. They were always so excited to see him. Glacier was a special wolf and was very loved by all the keepers. We’ll miss him.”
Tukut, who would have turned 23 in May, came to Hogle Zoo in 2002 and became a favorite of keepers and guests.
“We sort of joke [that] Tukut is a gateway cat,” said lead keeper Lindsay Renner. “He was the first foray into taking care of cats for many keepers. Often cats are aloof and do their own thing, but Tukut would always perk up when a keeper walked by. He was happy to see you.
“You could hear his purr from outside the enclosure a few feet away.”
Tukut “retired” a few years ago and was moved to Asian Highlands, where keepers could keep a closer watch on him. In recent weeks, he had become lethargic and lost interest in eating and interacting with his keepers.
“That’s when we knew something was wrong,” said Renner. “We could tell it was time.”
The zoo's surviving wolf, 11-year-old Angel, will either receive a new companion or be moved to a facility with other wolves, according to a zoo spokeswoman.
Hogle Zoo still has a juvenile bobcat, Loki, who was never housed with Tukut.