SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Two red wolves have died, the Great Plains Zoo announced Friday. 

In a news release, the zoo said a decision to humanely euthanize the pair of wolves was made earlier this week. The pair of wolves were named Ayasha and Nayati. 

Aysha was born at the Great Plains Zoo on May 6, 2008, one of a two female pup litter. 

Nayati was born in a Connecticut zoo on May 7, 2007. He came to the Great Plains Zoo through a cooperative breeding effort between zoos aimed at saving red wolves from extinction. 

Ayasha. Photo from the Great Plains Zoo.

Zookeeper Angie Blommer said she named Ayasha because it means “little one” in the Cheyenne language. 

“She was the first baby born on my routine after I started. I was able to watch her birth via remote camera,” Blommer said in the release. 

The zoo said Ayasha and Nayati were successful breeders for the red wolf survival plan. Ayasha had two successful litters. The zoo says American red wolves are endangered with fewer than 30 surviving in the wild. 

Both Ayasha and Nayati were diagnosed with diseases in 2021. Nayati had a nasal squamous cell carcinoma, while Ayasha was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease. 

The zoo says Ayasha’s and Nayati’s favorite treats were rats, mice and pork – and they would hunt any bird, squirrel, skunk or opossum that dared enter their territory.