A beautiful and large white arctic wolf responds to audience coaxing by releasing a hauntingly lonesome howl.
Kenai is his name, and enthralling visitors to the San Diego Zoo is his game.
Kenai is an arctic wolf and also one of the featured attractions at the zoo. He’s a member of what the zoo refers to as their “super animal stars” or “animal ambassadors”, who provide guests with an unique and more intimate experience than might be found elsewhere on the zoo grounds.
Here in one of the zoo’s Backstage Pass events, an audience is “invited to touch and experience many up-close opportunities with some unbelievable critters”, including prodding Kenai into an arctic wolf’s signature howl.
Arctic wolves are a smaller and mostly white subspecies of the more widespread gray wolf. They occupy the High Arctic region: the northernmost edge of North America, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and onward to the North Pole. They subsist primarily on muskox and arctic hare.
Arctic wolves are also known to be less fearful of humans than other breeds of wolf, due presumably to the remote environment they inhabit and its consequential limited human presence.
Kenai is an 11-year-old male arctic wolf who was hand-raised by his trainer, and is easily one of the zoo’s star attractions.