Saturday, July 15, 2006

Wolf Center's Lucas dies of chronic spine condition, old age

Animal was sole male in the Exhibit Pack from 1993-2000

STAFF REPORT - Mesabi Daily News

ELY — Lucas, one of the International Wolf Center’s ambassador wolves, was euthanized Tuesday at the Center in Ely, a IWC news release said. After several days of observation and consultation by wolf care staff and area veterinarians, it was determined Lucas would not recover from a chronic, degenerative spinal condition and other age-related issues.

Lucas, 13, was the sole male in the Exhibit Pack from his birth in 1993 to 2000. Wolves in the wild may live eight to 10 years. Captive wolves sometimes live as long as 14 to 16 years.

“We are saddened by Lucas’ death, but it was very apparent by the amount of pain he was in that it was his time to go,” said Wolf Curator Lori Schmidt. “He’s been with us more than 13 years, since he was about 10 days old. He lived a long life and was surrounded by compassionate staff members when he was euthanized.”

Jim Williams, Assistant Director for Education explained, “It was first noticed that Lucas was having difficulty standing on June 24. Several treatments were attempted and while Lucas had some individual days of improvement, his overall decline continued despite treatment. It was determined that euthanization was the most humane course of action.”

Born in the Center’s opening year of 1993, Lucas educated and entertained 600,000 visitors during his life. Lucas was a calm wolf known for his relatively non-aggressive behavior. Lucas’ status as sole male in the Exhibit Pack for seven years contributed to his calm demeanor. In 2000, he and his littermates, Mackenzie and Lakota, were moved into a retirement enclosure, separated from the Exhibit Pack.

Lucas will be cremated and his ashes will be spread at a location to be determined by Center staff members.

Founded in 1985, the International Wolf Center is a non-profit educational organization that advances the survival of wolf populations around the world by teaching about wolves, their relationship to wild lands and the human role in their future. The center pursues this mission through educational initiatives that include a membership program, learning vacations, an interpretive center in Northern Minnesota, international conferences, youth outreach programs, teacher education resources and workshops, a quarterly magazine and a Web site,

  • Mesabi Daily News

  • IWC- Lucas' Log

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