April 12, 2004 – August 13, 2018
Ayla was born to Tristan and Erin in the spring of 2004. As part of the first litter born to Wolf Park after a five year gap, she was eagerly welcomed into the family.
Ayla was the smallest of the four pups but cheerfully wrestled her siblings, climbed into human laps and generally caused mischief in the pack. During her first winter, Ayla and her sister, Kailani, decided sneaking up and biting their mother on the rump was a fun game. Erin found this less amusing and began chasing her daughters around the enclosure every time they came close to her. Erin was later removed from the pack to reduce the stress on the girls. Although Kailani settled into life in the pack without Erin, Ayla did not. Wotan and Wolfgang continued to harass her, often with Kailani’s assistance.
In the fall of 2006, Ayla was removed from the pack and placed in the retirement area. She was soon prancing up and down the fence thumbing her nose at her former pack mates.
Wanting to give the young wolf social time, the staff arranged play dates between her and her brothers, Renki and Ruedi. Renki and Ayla were some of the Park’s best hunters and were frequent participants in the (no longer held) wolf-bison demos. Eventually Renki and their father, Tristan, were removed from the main pack. The three wolves formed a happy little trio which stayed together for several years.
After Tristan passed away, Renki took turns living with Ayla and Kailani, depending on which sister would put up with him hoarding all the food. Ayla got along with him better and they usually shared an enclosure on non-feeding days. Renki passed away in 2018, making Ayla the oldest wolf in the park, and too old to receive a new live-in companion. Aspen the puppy visited her occasionally, and the staff made sure she received lots of human attention.
During the summer of 2018, Ayla was diagnosed with cancer. Due to age and health, the vet recommended against surgery. The staff worked hard to give her a good final summer. She began having play dates with Wolfgang, which she thoroughly enjoyed. As she began to lose weight, volunteers provided her with special foods to tempt her appetite.
Ayla departed this life peacefully at 7:25 p.m. on Monday, August 13. She’d refused food for several days prior and everyone recognized it was time.
She’ll be remembered as a goofy wolf who greeted visitors with demands for belly rubs and a cheerful smile. She gained brief internet fame with the ‘Moon-Moon Meme’ in which she was often featured as a fluff-brained were-wolf.