Trillian was born April 22, 1984, to Betsy, a wolf living at Wolf Park, a non-profit educational facility in Battle Ground, Indiana.
Betsy gave birth to two other females, Koshie and HB, as well as to a male named Taboo. After being removed from the pack for hand-raising, the litter was donated to the Philadelphia Zoo to eventually replace their aging wolf exhibit.
After the older wolves later died, Trillian became alpha female in her pack's rank order. Trillian "ruled" over her sisters for several years. No pups were born since her mate, Taboo, had been vasectomized.
Trillian enjoyed a measure of fame while at the zoo. Her picture was even used as the cover photo for the Hallmark® 1992 North American Wildlife calendar.
Then, in 1990, tragedy struck. The wolves were tranquilized for routine veterinary care, but Taboo had a fatal reaction to the anesthetic. With him gone, the pack's social order was upset, and a dominance fight resulted in injury to Koshie, the middle-ranking female.
The zoo decided to separate the wolves and find homes for them, converting Wolf Woods into a Cheetah display. HB, the lowest ranking wolf, went to the Metro Washington Park Zoo in Portland, Oregon, where she lived out the remainder of her life. Koshie was returned to Wolf Park, where she made a full recovery and lived out her life there. Trillian remained in a holding pen at the zoo for some time, until funds were raised to build a new enclosure for her so she, too, could be returned to her birthplace.
Of the four pups, Trillian lived the longest, setting a new wolf longevity record at Wolf Park.. Despite her advanced age , she maintained reasonably good health, even after recovering from a minor stroke. She kept an excellent warm coat for the cold Indiana winters. Although she became nearly deaf late in life, she enjoyed a good retirement at Wolf Park. She got to go on walks/runs in the bison pasture, and the dedicated volunteers at Wolf Park made sure that she got tasty treats and visits from humans whenever possible.
Trillian was known as the "kissing wolf" for her (sometimes frantic) kissing of human visitors. Despite the fact that she was hand-raised and socialized to humans from two weeks of age, she was still a wolf, a wild animal and definitely not a pet. But being socialized from such a young age enabled her caretakers to give her veterinary care without the extreme stress typically caused by such care given to captive wild animals.
Since I had followed Trillian's "career" ever since she was at the Philadelphia Zoo, and had visited her at Wolf Park whenever possible, I may be somewhat biased -- but I still think she was one of the prettiest wolves I had ever seen, and she was certainly an excellent ambassador for her species, helping to dispel the many myths about wolves and to educate people about their unique and important role in the ecosystem we all share.
I shall always treasure the many hours of video and the countless photos I have of this unforgettable wolf.
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