WATERTOWN, NY — The New York State Zoo at Thompson Park is saddened to announce the passing of their eldest gray wolf, Kaja.
She became noticeably ill last Wednesday, March 25, and was under close veterinary care. Unfortunately, she passed peacefully overnight at the Zoo on March 30 of cancer.
Kaja was born in March, 2005, and became a permanent New York State Zoo resident in 2008 along with her lifelong mate, Keenai. Over the years, she has littered 30 pups – one, Luna, still resides at the Zoo with Keenai – and others housed at various zoos across the country.
In the wild, a gray wolf’s average lifespan is between 6-8 years. At 15 years old, Kaja has lived a long life with Keenai, daughter Luna and all of the staff that cared for her.
“Kaja will be greatly missed by all especially those guests that had the chance to hear the ‘howling ballads’ by her, Keenai and Luna while at the Zoo,” said Larry Sorel, Zoo CEO and Executive Director. “Her life was symbolic of our great conservation efforts, as well as the amazing work of the zookeepers here. We are proud to have had her in our care.”