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On December 13, Bays Mountain Park lost a treasured member of its family. One of the wolf pack’s elder members, Tanasi, had to be given humane rest due to the aggressive progression of myelopathy, a debilitating degenerative disease affecting the spinal cord and nervous system. He was 11 years old.

Tanasi arrived at Bays Mountain Park late May 2007 as a pup from Bear Country U.S.A., located in Rapid City, South Dakota. During his time at the Park, thanks to his sweet-natured personality and friendly spirit, Tanasi captured the hearts of staff, volunteers, and visitors alike very early on as a pup and grew to become a well-respected Alpha Male within the pack. Tanasi’s name is derived from the Cherokee meaning Tennessee.

Since the habitat’s first three grey wolves were introduced to Bays Mountain Park in 1992, wolves have been an integral part of the Park’s educational efforts for schools throughout the region. Thousands of students and patrons attend wolf programs each year, and visitors often attend the Park specifically to see them in a natural woodland setting.

Eight wolves complete the current pack following Tanasi’s passing, including Tanasi’s sibling, Netar. In the wild, wolves live an average of six to eight years. In captivity, since 1992, Bays Mountain Park has had two wolves live to be a very senior 13 years old.

If you have any photos or memories of Tanasi, please share them on Facebook and tag Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium or Instagram and tag @baysmountainpark.

For more information on Bays Mountain, visit or call (423)229-9447.

Tanasi  the wolf