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Photo by Center Staff

Photo by Center Staff

Maya, a Great Plains subspecies of the gray wolf, was born on May 5, 2004 and was a littermate to Grizzer. She matured to an adult female weight of 80 lbs. She was best described as the predator of the pack, if something is in quick motion, Maya was sure to track it and pounce. 

Maya was euthanized Tuesday, March 1st, 2011 after a veterinary determination that a compound fracture and dislocation to her left hind leg could not be repaired. The decision to euthanize Maya was made in accordance with requirements of the USDA Animal Welfare Act and an organizational euthanasia policy approved by the Center’s Vet Care Team. Maya’s death was a tragic loss and the dominance displayed by Maya will not be forgotten. She was a pack leader, and showed her status despite her smaller size. For those of you who would like to honor Maya, 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.

Recent Logs for Maya:

Maya – Mar 4, 2011 12:00 AM

March 4th, 2011

As you may have read in the press release, Maya was euthanized on Tuesday March 1st, 2011. The decision to euthanize was based on a defined scenario in the Euthanasia policy: an injury that requires major surgical intervention with a questionable outcome and potential recovery issues. But equally important is the influence of" Quality of Life" discussions which is our ethical responsibility to these captive wolves. A podcast is being developed to discuss the management scenarios surrounding this incident. This log serves the purpose to recognize the incredible spirit and appreciation we have for her. Maya was a special individual that taught us the behavioral capabilities of a dominant female. She didn't start out that way. As a pup, she was very timid and subordinate, but in between her first and second year of age, Shadow chose her to be his pair bonded pack mate. Maya's confidence excelled and she maintained that confidence and status until the day of her death. Captive wolf management is about the individual and their personalities that mesh to form a social pack. We will always value the time we spent with Maya, the memories are many and the lessons learned are great.

Maya – Feb 25, 2011 12:00 AM

February 25th, 2011

The Wolf Logs for the week will contain the same text for each wolf. The curator was at a conference during the week, and time is limited for Friday duties. The pack did well in the Curator's absence, it is important that wolf care is not dependent upon one individual, but a multitude of individuals that can meet the wolves' basic needs. There are 16 people associated with the wolf care program and all have their own strengths and skills that help manage the packs. Aidan continues to be confident and Grizzer is still showing some anxiety when Aidan puts his tail in a T-2 posture and follows him. There will be a Vermilion Community College Ethology class beginning some observations, and we hope to have some good data to share by the end of April.

Maya – Feb 18, 2011 12:00 AM

February 18th, 2011

Maya continues to be behaviorally stimulated by something. Her intensity of dominance as waned a bit, but she is presenting herself to Aidan, and very vocal. She still sleeps with Grizzer, but she has the right to socially align with any wolf in the enclosure, and she may use that right.

Maya – Feb 11, 2011 12:00 AM

February 11th, 2011

This is a continuation of the logs starting with Aidan, Denali, Grizzer and now Maya. Maya is good at her role as the dominant female. She has an intensity like no other. We know Maya's dominance can be heightened while she and Grizzer patrolled the upper enclosure, and if she can't get to what is agitating her, she will redirect. It's the way she's hardwired, and it doesn't make her an aggressive animal. In fact, after I stopped the altercation, she allowed me to fully inspect her coat, and while sensitive to a bite on her leg and paw, she was very gentle in that Vet inspection. There are times when wolves do what wolves do, that's why we say "Wolves live by social rules that have evolved with survival in the wild." Placement in captivity doesn't change that and while people may question why there's a need for a hierarchy in captivity where food resources are plentiful and life is easy, one can't expect an animal to not be influenced by their genetics.

Maya – Feb 4, 2011 12:00 AM

February 4th, 2011

Maya's been a bit of a challenge lately, becoming a bit possessive of wolf care staff. It's always critical that the dominant wolves get attention first, it generally keeps things calm. The snow depths are increasing weekly, it seems we have two choices this winter, sub-zero or warm and snowing. For Maya's short legs, the snow depths are getting a bit much, but wolves are known for creating trail systems and there is a well worn path around the perimeter of the enclosure. But, if Maya goes of the path, she sinks to her chin.