It’s no secret the Beardsley Zoo cares tremendously for their animals.  So, when one of their own unfortunately passes away, they grieve as though they lost a family member.  Sad to report that the zoo recently had to euthanize their red wolf, Harper.

CT Post reports that the zoo’s 12-year-old red wolf lost his battle with an aggressive form of cancer.  The zoo made the difficult decision to put him down after his health took a turn for the worse.

Zoo director Gregg Dancho confirmed his passing today:

“Harper will be deeply missed by all of us here at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo . He had a unique personality and related well both to his companion, Shy, and to his animal care staff. It has been our privilege to have known him since December, 2014.”

For many years, Harper was one of the first animals to greet the zoo’s guests.  Children delighted in his chill nature, as he normally enjoyed lazing in the sun, observing guests, and spending time with Shy.

Harper and Shy both participated in the Species Survival Program, which also includes the tigers and maned wolves.  The latter two have since reproduced with two mischievous tiger cubs and three adorable wolf pups.

Wildlife experts label the red wolf a critically endangered species.   Red wolves are actually one of the five most endangered wolf species in the world.  They once neared extinction in the 1900’s, but conservation efforts helped the population bounce back.

However, only about 50 red wolves remain in the wild.

And since Shy remains a crucial member of SPP, the zoo will search to find her a suitable mate to fill Harper’s paw prints.

As for Harper, the zoo did everything they could to save him.  Beardsley’s animal care and veterinary teams worked tirelessly to treat his cancer.  They tried battling his aggressive cancer with an equally aggressive regimen of medical therapy so he had a fighting chance.   But, in the past weeks, his health began tumbling downhill.

Eventually, the only humane option was to put him to sleep after his health began declining rapidly. The Zoo’s Quality of Life protocol supported the decision.

RIP, Harper.  The zoo won’t be the same without you.


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