In a Thursday news release, park officials said they lost Tanasi on Dec. 13, when he “had to be given humane rest due to the aggressive progression of myelopathy, a debilitating degenerative disease affecting the spinal cord and nervous system.”
Tanasi was 11 years old. He arrived at Bays Mountain Park in 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,” park officials said in the release.
Tanasi’s name is derived from the Cherokee word meaning Tennessee.
Park officials said that since the habitat’s first three grey wolves were introduced in 1992, wolves have been an integral part of Bays Mountain’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,” according to the release.
Eight wolves comprise the current pack following Tanasi’s passing, including Tanasi’s sibling, Netar. In the wild, wolves live an average of six to eight years. Since 1992, Bays Mountain Park has had two wolves in captivity live to be a very senior 13 years old.
If you want to share any photos or memories of Tanasi, park officials ask that you post them on Facebook and tag Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium or Instagram and tag @baysmountainpark.
For more information on Bays Mountain, visit baysmountain.com or call (423) 229-9447.
About Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium
Annually, more than 200,000 visitors pass through the park making it one of the State of Tennessee’s Top 50 Most Visited Attractions, according to the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. One of the nation’s largest city-owned parks with 3,550 acres, Bays Mountain features roughly 40 miles of hiking trails, a state-of-the-art planetarium, wildlife habitats, fun exhibits, a 44-acre lake, a ropes course with zip line, trails for mountain biking and much, much more.