SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Garcia, the 15-year-old Mexican gray wolf that’s resided at the San Francisco Zoo since 2016, died Tuesday of old age.

Zoo officials said that the wolf recently experienced a decline in quality of life. On average, Mexican gray wolves live between 13 and 15 years.

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“We are saddened by the loss of Garcia whose arrival here represented a turning point in the conservation of Mexican gray wolves,” said Tanya M. Peterson, CEO and Executive Director of San Francisco Zoological Society.

Garcia, a Mexican gray wolf, in its habitat at the San Francisco Zoo this year. (Marianne Hale/SF Zoo)

Garcia and two other 11-year-old male siblings, Bowie and Prince, came to the San Francisco Zoo as part of a collaboration between the Association of Zoo & Aquarium and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Mexican gray wolves were nearly wiped out by the 1970s. After being designated an endangered species in 1976, efforts were made to increase their population through supervised breeding. Since then, the population has grown from five wolves to over 200.

Zoo officials said that Garcia and his siblings were studied at the zoo but also served as ambassadors for the species.

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“Garcia was a wonderful ambassador for his wild counterparts and was valuable in educating countless people about misconceptions surrounding wolves. He was beloved by so many and will be missed greatly,” Peterson said.