Zoo’s red wolf euthanized after cancer battle

March 5, 2018 GMT

BRIDGEPORT — Staff at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo are grieving the death of Harper, a 12-year-old red wolf who was euthanized Feb. 26 after battling an agressive form of cancer.

A resident of the zoo for three years, the male wolf was beloved by the zoo community, according to a news release from Beardsley. “Harper will be deeply missed by all of us here at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo,” said zoo director Gregg Dancho in the release. “He had a unique personality and related well both to his companion, Shy, and to his animal care staff. It has been our privilege to have known him since December, 2014.”

Beardsley’s animal care and veterinary teams had been treating Harper’s cancer with a regimen of medical therapy, but he began to go downhill in the past several weeks. In the days leading up to his death, his animal care team had begun to notice his quality of life declining rapidly, and through the Zoo’s Quality of Life protocol, the difficult decision was made to euthanize him.

Harper was born on May 1, 2005, at The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, New York. In 2016, he was joined at the zoo by a female red wolf, Shy. The two were part of the Species Survival Program, a breeding and management program designed to preserve the long-term sustainability of captive-based animal populations. Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo will work with the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Species Survival Plan to identify another male Red wolf as a new companion for Shy.

The zoo remains home to not just Shy, but also two Mexican gray wolves, all extremely rare and on the endangered species list.