A wolfdog hybrid named Yuki who lives on an animal sanctuary in Florida has captured the hearts of the public.
Yuki, 12, was just eight months old when he was rescued from a kill shelter and sent to his new home at Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples in 2008.
According to the sanctuary, Yuki was found to be 87.5 per cent grey wolf, 8.6 per cent Siberian Husky, and 3.9 per cent German Shepherd.
But, despite living in relative anonymity for most of his life, Yuki, who is terminally ill, recently become a viral internet star after the sanctuary posted photographs of him on social media in an effort to raise money to care for him and for a larger space for the animals.
One video in particular, which illustrates just how big Yuki is compared to a human, received more than 65,000 views on Instagram and prompted speculations of photoshop.
Although Yuki is not actually exceptionally larger than the average dog at 120lbs (just slightly larger than the average large dog), Shy Wolf employee Brittany Allen disputed that the picture was photoshopped, writing on Instagram: “It’s just his fat angle guys. We all have one.”
And despite the wolfdog’s size, the sanctuary describes Yuki as a loving and “super goofy”.
According to the International Wolf Centre, because Yuki is mostly wolf, he is considered a “high-content wolfdog” ,a breed that has a life expectancy of 12 to 14 years.
The centre also says that wolves and dogs can breed together, but are “rare” in the wild because “the territorial nature of wolves leads them to protect their home ranges from intruding canines such as dogs, coyotes and other wolves”.
Despite receiving numerous requests from people keen to adopt Yuki, sadly the sanctuary has declined the offers because of Yuki’s blood cancer.
In a recent post, the sanctuary wrote on Facebook: “Sorry everyone, but I am not available for adoption. I am 12 years old and terminally ill so I will be staying with Shy Wolf with my pack friend Bella in our enclosure. However, you can sponsor me!”
To sponsor Yuki and the other animals at Shy Wolf Sanctuary, you can go here.