SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A Mexican gray wolf has died at the advanced age of 15 at the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens, the zoo reported.
The wolf, named Garcia, died Tuesday after a recent decline in quality of life and was being treated for several age-related illnesses, the zoo said in a statement.
Mexican gray wolves typically live for up to 13 years in the wild and up to 15 years in captivity, the zoo said.
The Mexican gray wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, was once common throughout Mexico and the southwestern United States but was nearly wiped out by hunters and ranchers in the 1970s.
Five wolves were captured and bred in captivity. That has helped repopulate the species, and currently there are nearly 200 wolves in the wild and around 220 in the zoo and other care facilities.
Garcia was one of three male siblings who were brought to the San Francisco Zoo in 2016 as part of conservation efforts at the age of 11.
A major donor named them after their favorite rock stars: David Bowie, Prince and Jerry Garcia, said Tanya M. Peterson, CEO and executive director of the San Francisco Zoological Society.
Caretakers described Garcia as brave, curious, and playful, saying he was a favorite with staff and visitors.
“Garcia has been a wonderful ambassador for his savage colleagues,” said Peterson, “and has been invaluable in educating countless people about misunderstandings about wolves.” He was loved by so many and will be greatly missed. “