GREENSBORO — Just four days after announcing the birth of four maned wolf pups, the Greensboro Science Center shared the sad news Thursday that Nazca, the male that sired them, had to be euthanized.
“He was an amazing animal and will be missed by many staff here,” said Jessica Hoffman-Balder, general curator for the Greensboro Science Center.
Zoo staff made the decision to euthanize Nazca after an advanced stage of lung cancer was discovered this week.
Nazca was just shy of his 11th birthday. Maned wolves in captivity typically live to be 10 to 14 years old, the science center said.
Nazca exhibited a cough for several weeks. Staff observed some swelling in his neck last weekend. After he was brought in for an examination, the extent of the illness and his declining quality of life led to the decision to euthanize him, the center said in a statement.
During his time at the center, Nazca sired nine pups through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan. He and his first mate, Lana, had three pups in February 2011. He was then recommended to breed with Anaheim, who has been his mate since 2015. Together, they produced two successful litters, a male and female in March 2016, and two male and two female pups in December.
Maned wolves are native to the grasslands of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Though they are named a wolf and classified as a canid, they are closely related to foxes. They have long legs that allow them to see above the grass and large ears to hear over long distances. They are omnivores, which means their diet consists of small animals and plants. The thick black ruff on their back and neck gives them their name.
Hoffman-Balder said it is unclear how Nazca’s loss will affect the new litter.
“Nazca has been a great dad to previous litters and exhibited a lot of play and strong care instincts with them. We are saddened that this last litter of his will not get to experience that,” Hoffman-Balder said.
Hoffman-Balder said a new male would be dangerous for the pups and the center has no plans to get another male at this time. The pups will need to be held for at least a year before any adjustments are made to the center’s maned wolf population.
In anticipation of the birth of the pups, the maned wolf exhibit was closed in December. It will reopen Feb. 11.