SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Hogle Zoo made a sad announcement Thursday morning after two of the zoo's elderly animals were humanely euthanized.
Glacier, a gray wolf, and Tukut, a bobcat, "both lived well beyond their life expectancy and each independently told keepers it was time," a statement from the zoo said.
Glacier lived to 12 years and 10 months, which is nearly five years more than the average life expectancy of eight years for a gray wolf.
"He was a very sweet wolf and had a calm disposition," said Janice, Glacier's keeper, in the statement. "People were always so excited when they'd see him. Every time we fed him, we knew we'd be stopped by people with lots of questions. We'll miss him."
According to Hogle Zoo, Glacier's health began declining slowly over the past month, with a sharper decline in the days before he was euthanized.
Glacier's companion, Angel, is mourning. Zookeepers are still considering whether to find another companion for Angel or to send her to another facility.
"Wolves are pack animals, so her having a companion is of the utmost importance to use," said Erica Hansen, the Hogle Zoo manager of community relations.
Taking care to watch over Angel, her appetite and interaction with her keepers, Hansen said Angel seems to be doing fine.
"She seems to be doing great," Hansen said. "She's interacting with her keeps, her appetite seems healthy."
Tukut would have turned 23 in May, and lived about 10 years past the average life expectancy of 12-13 years for bobcats. Hogle Zoo's statement said Tukut had been receiving special "senior care" over the last two years and didn't share a cage with the zoo's other bobcat, Loki.
Tukut was considered a "gateway cat" at Hogle Zoo because he was the first cat that many of the zoo's keepers looked after.
"He loved interacting and he was always happy to see you," said Lindsay, Tukut's keeper, in the statement.
Lindsay added that zoo staffers will miss Tukut's loud purr, which could be heard from outside the exhibit.
Hogle Zoo patrons are encouraged to share their memories and kind words with the zoo's animal care team.