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mackenzieAmbassador Wolf MacKenzie died in her sleep Wednesday, May 21 at 15 years-old. 

For those of you who would like to honor MacKenzie, please consider a gift to the Wolf Care Fund in her memory. This fund goes directly to the continued care of current and future wolf pack mates.

MacKenzie, a Great Plains subspecies of the gray wolf, was born April 28, 1993. A black color phase wolf, MacKenzie was the dominant female since she was a pup and continued to be dominant in retirement, even until the day she died. For each wolf, you will see a weekly photo, notes on behavior or physical health and a video clip.

Please note, due to the large file size of the video clips, they will only be archived for 30 days. Text and images from logs do stay with each wolf as they travel from pups, to the Exhibit Pack to Retirement and to the Gone but Not Forgotten Pack.

Recent Logs for MacKenzie:

Mackenzie – May 26, 2008 12:00 AM

May 26th, 2008

This will be the last log as a Retired Pack wolf before she moves to the Gone, But Not Forgotten pack. I would like to thank the people who have sent emails about MacKenzie, I will be posting those in her pages in the upcoming weeks. I regret not getting video footage when Lakota returned to the pack and the subsequent days when MacKenzie and Lakota were the happiest they had been in years. Our focus was on getting Lakota back to the pen and healing her foot. As her log states, she had a remarkable recovery and never touched her sutures. I'm sure the lack of pain from that tumor made her feel great, and MacKenzie responded with social interaction. On the morning of the 21st, MacKenzie ate well, cached food, rolled over for staff and interacted with the staff raking straw in the enclosure. Staff were in the enclosure until about noon, when MacKenzie went to the back of the pen in the shade to sleep. This is where we found her, in the same sleeping position. The necropsy showed a tumor in her lungs, and it is likely that she had a Pulmonary embolism, but that may never be known. We are waiting for the lab reports, but what we do know, is that there was very little sign of struggle. It was a shock to say the least. We know that every day at this age could be their last, but it's still a shock. To say that she will be greatly missed by wolf care staff is a gross understatement. She was the matriarch of this facility who taught us so much about wolf behavior, dignity, status and retirement. The video is a small clip of a memorial video produced for MacKenzie, the web size restricts the entire clip, but please know that we have fond memories and photos of her life.

Mackenzie – May 18, 2008 12:00 AM

May 18th, 2008

It is always difficult to leave one wolf alone in an enclosure as they are social animals by nature, but the vet recommendation for Lakota to get 2 days of healing in a clean, restricted environment is in her best interest. After Lakota was taken off site to the vet clinic, MacKenzie spent time with wolf care staff and fed on several pounds of meat. She had some anxious pacing initially, but has settled down to lying in the front of the exhibit and greeting wolf care staff. By Saturday morning, she was doing well, but a deer leg on Saturday night also provided a great distraction. Normally separation of a pack member could result in that pack member not being accepted after a long separation because the rank order closes up and another wolf moves up in their spot, but in this case, it’s 2-15 year old females and Lakota is the omega. There’s no-one to take over her spot. MacKenzie is a confident wolf and doesn’t need to retake her status.

Mackenzie – May 12, 2008 12:00 AM

May 12th, 2008

MacKenzie is doing well, she has had many more interactions with Lakota in the past month than she had in the earlier part of the winter. This is usually an indication of how a wolf is physically doing, if they seek social contact, they seem to be feeling well.

Mackenzie – May 5, 2008 12:00 AM

May 5th, 2008

Lakota and MacKenzie had two treats in honor of their 15th birthday. On Monday, April 28th, the actual day that we celebrate as their birthday, they shared a bag of dried cranberries. Wolves have a bit of a sweet tooth, even in the wild; you can occasional blueberries in wolf scat. We don’t make a habit of this because we did have an issue a few years ago when Lakota over indulged on raspberries that she picked on the edge of the enclosure, but it is a good treat. The second treat came in the form of a roasting hen that they received as their mid-week meal. What a difference a few days can make, the photo of Lakota digging in the snow for berries was a Monday photo, the photo of MacKenzie carrying the chicken in a nearly snow free enclosure was a Wednesday photo.

Mackenzie – Apr 28, 2008 12:00 AM

April 28th, 2008

MacKenzie continues to be very interactive in asserting her dominance over Lakota. This is all very calm and postured behaviors, but it is clear that she still has a good mental capacity and remains a very focused wolf. Lakota and MacKenzie are 15 years old today, in honor of their birthday, they received a small amount of sundried cranberries from Paul and Christine Batiste, along with a donation to buy them something special for this week's dinner. We haven't decided yet, but I think we will likely get them a roasting chicken a piece.