KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Bays Mountain Park officials announced Wednesday that a 15-year-old member of the wolf pack died.
Netar, an elder female and former alpha of the park’s pack, died Monday in the wolf habitat. A release from Bays Mountain Park says she first arrived at the park in 2007 as a pup along with three of her siblings.
“Netar has been with us for a long time and brought joy to the staff, volunteers and thousands of park visitors,” said Megan Krager, a senior naturalist at the park. “We will miss her greatly.”
If Netar’s name sounds familiar, officials say that’s because she was named after the wolf program’s first donor, the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors (NETAR).
Naturalists say the elder female was never one of the louder wolves at the park.
“She was a funny pup and always getting in trouble,” said naturalist Rhonda Goins. “She was never the one to start the howls, being the quiet member of the pack, even as a youngster. She will be very missed by our staff, the volunteers as well as the public.”
Gray wolves were first introduced to Bays Mountain Park in 1992 and have since become a key component in the park’s educational efforts. The now larger pack is a big draw for visitors hoping to see them in their natural setting, the release states.
Following the death of Netar, the current pack is comprised of seven wolves. While wolves typically only live to be 6-8 years in the wild, their captivity lives tend to be significantly longer. Two previous wolves at the park lived to be 13, and Netar marks the oldest at 15.
“Netar served as a superb ambassador for her species and a most excellent representative of Bays Mountain Park,” said John Huron, a park volunteer who assists with caring for the wolves. “Fifteen winters spent outside in nothing but a fur coat definitely says something about your character.”
The park also announced the peaceful passing of another senior animal in March. Kirby the 18-year-old bobcat died after a much longer than average life at Bays Mountain on March 10, and park leadership has been searching for a new bobcat to house since.