Bays Mountain Park saddened by passing of Unalii

Bays Mountain Park is sad to announce the death of one of its wolves, Unalii.

Unalii passed away in his enclosure the morning of January 29. The cause of death is currently under review by veterinarian staff at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

On January 28, Unalii appeared lethargic while displaying swelling/bleeding of the rear right thigh and leg. The symptoms had a rapid onset and park staff immediately notified local veterinarian staff.

Staff and volunteers worked that night under the direction of the park’s veterinarian to offer treatment until Unalii could be seen by a veterinarian in person the next day. Unfortunately, Unalii passed prior to that appointment.

A veterinarian, who visits the park quarterly to check on the animals, saw Unalii twice in December for an injured leg. The veterinarian believed Unalii suffered a ligament strain and prescribed medication for pain. She noted no signs of infection or other injury.

“I feel that due to the rapid nature of Unalii’s passing, there would not have been anything that could have been done differently to change this outcome,” said Sara Anderson, veterinarian for Bays Mountain Park.

Park staff routinely observe the animals throughout the day and if anything is out of the ordinary, the issue is addressed in a timely manner. Volunteers and guests often call and text park staff if they notice an issue with the animals. Park staff are trained to treat minor injuries, but if the issue can’t be resolved, a veterinarian with the credential to treat the animals is called immediately.

Unalii (Cherokee for “Friend”) was born in 2014 in Sandstone, MN and had been at Bays Mountain Park since he was 6 weeks old. Unalii is best known for his children’s book, Unalii’s Unexpected Adventure, published in celebration of Bays Mountain Park’s 50th Anniversary.

“He had a kind and friendly spirit that endeared him to anyone that worked with him,” said Park Manager Megan Krager. “He was known to be a big eater and always tried to make his way to the front of the chow line at feeding time. Everyone at the park will miss him greatly.”

If you would like to make a donation to Bays Mountain Park in support of the wolves, visit and click on “Give.”