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Axel, along with his littermate Grayson, are arctic subspecies of the gray wolf species (Canis lupus) born in captivity at a facility in Canada. Axel may be distinguished by his lighter facial coloration, almond shaped eyes and somewhat slimmer face. As young adults, it may be difficult to distinguish specific characteristics until they reach maturity at 18 – 24 months of age. Arctic wolves’ native habitat is found in the northern regions of North America as well as along the eastern and northern shores of Greenland. There are several large islands that occupy this region including Ellsemere and Axel Hieberg islands. Axel’s name was selected in honor of the wolves that range on Axel Hieberg island.  This region is typically snow covered for most of the year, but a mid-June to mid-August thaw supports enough plant material to feed the arctic wolf’s prey: musk-ox, caribou and arctic hares.  


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Recent Logs for Axel:

Axel is always aware of where Aidan is Photo by Wolf Care Staff

Axel – Alert And Observant

November 9th, 2017

In recent weeks Axel seems to be more aligned with Boltz and they are keyed in to any perceived weakness that Aidan may show. Staff were watchful of any issues when the arctics rejoined Aidan in the exhibit. But, things were relatively calm. There were deer legs and chickens available, and Axel was more interested in getting the food than in harassing Aidan. After the rest of the pack reunited Axel’s focus remained on the food. At one point he tried to get a cached chicken that Aidan defended. Axel then went to the top of the pump housing to retrieve the deer leg that Aidan had abandoned to protect his cache. Apparently Aidan decided he’d rather have the deer leg so he dug up the chicken and gave it to Axel. They ate side-by-side for several minutes on the pump housing with no issues.

Axel jaw sparring with Grayson as Denali looks on. Photo by Wolf Care Staff

Axel Jaw Sparring With Grayson As Denali Looks On

October 12th, 2017

This week’s log was submitted by Wolf Photography Participant – Dana Pond and Bryan Holland

Axel and Denali were the first to feed on the deer carcass Saturday night. Eventually Grayson approached the carcass and fed with Aidan. During the weekend, Axel was an instigator several times doing mounts on Denali. Axel also engaged Grayson in chases and sparring.

Axel watches as Grayson finishes a bird

Axel – Appearing More Mature

September 1st, 2017

When determining the difference between Axel and Grayson, we can’t help but notice the more elongated face and overall adult-like appearance of Axel versus Grayson’s more pup-like features.  Yet, when it comes to behaviors, Axel clearly is still pushing some of the juvenile testing traits showing very little concern for wolf or human to show him some limits.   His weight continues to increase, reaching 105 pounds in this week’s monthly weigh-in.

Weight: 105

Axel has a more elongated muzzle than Grayson

Axel – Pup Patterns Repeated

August 2nd, 2017

This week’s logs were written by the Bio 1476 – Wolf Ethology Students:

At weekly Saturday night feeling, Denali kept Grayson away from the carcass, which allowed Axel to feed freely on the carcass.  After a good meal, Axel was lazy.  The warm temperatures had all the wolves seeking shade.  Axel brought the deer leg from the Saturday night feeding in to the shade and continued to feed.  Axel is an instigator of play, chases and any activity that require tail pulling.  If you see a wolf pulling a wolf’s tail, it would be Axel. Axel had many observations of tail-pulling as a pup.  He continues to maintain a weight near 100 pounds. 

Weight: 99.6

Axel - who's doing the observations at the Center's auditorium windows?

Axel – Wolf Watch

July 17th, 2017

Axel is the most interested in activities within the Center’s auditorium and is often at the window watching the people as they walk through the Center.  The predatory drive is active with the yearlings and is easily stimulated especially if people are excited, talking in high pitch voices or if kids are running.  We experienced some testing behavior between the yearlings and Denali.  Grayson took the lead, but Axel was pulling Denali’s tail similar to how he used to pull Grayson’s tail when they were pups.  This testing seems to have subsided over the weekend, but based on previous experience, the fall season will show more. Staff are actively working on protocols to address young wolf exuberance.  We need to be mindful of the fact that human intervention and separation can create a scenario that magnifies dominance situations.  It’s been our experience that the right distractions with appropriate timing can diffuses tense situations.