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Photo by: Saranda Oestreicher

Photo by: Saranda Oestreicher

Grayson, along with his littermate Axel, are arctic subspecies of the gray wolf species (Canis lupus) born in captivity at a facility in Canada.  Grayson may be distinguished by his darker coloration specifically in the mid-back or shoulder region. Grayson appears to have a broader skeletal structure. 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. 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.

For more information on our ambassador wolves, watch extended wolf videos on the International Wolf Center’s YouTube Channel or enjoy a close-up of wolf behavior on our Wolf Watch Cams.

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Recent Logs for Grayson:

Grayson - Focused on the Stalk Photo by Kelly Godfrey


November 9th, 2017

Separation for Aidan resulted in Grayson showing dominance over Denali.  Aidan and the arctics were separated from Denali and Boltz by two hours while Aidan recovered from his surgery. Grayson met Denali at the chute and dominated him immediately upon Denali’s entry back into the exhibit. Separation within a wolf pack can create a re-assertion of rank order, and as a young wolf, Grayson is tuned in to opportunities to increase his rank. Grayson continues to periodically give a solo, haunting howl. He seems to do this when he is keyed in to Aidan’s moods and/or stress.

Grayson being chased by Axel. Photo by Robert Sole

Grayson Being Chased By Axel

October 12th, 2017

This week’s log was submitted by Wolf Photography Weekend Participant – Robert Sole

During the photo weekend, Grayson was the target of chases and aggression from Axel and Denali. On Friday and Saturday, Grayson was defensive as Aidan, for the most part, stayed in the woods. Sunday morning, Axel was chasing Grayson with his tail raised to a T-1 position. Grayson has his tail at a T-3 position and his ears pricked backwards as he is being chased. Sunday morning, Aidan was much more active and moments before the photo was taken, he came to help Grayson and order was restored.  

Grayson making a meal out of migratory songbird

Grayson- Quick To Respond

September 1st, 2017

One of the issues we face in the fall season is the migration of small songbirds and the unfortunate flight of some of these visitors into the auditorium windows.  Usually the birds are stunned for a short period of time and are ready for flight in moments, but unfortunately, being stunned in a wolf enclosure has an inherent set of risks.  One of those risks is Grayson’s quick predatory drive and tendency for eating his catch.  Axel and Grayson were dominating the feedings as pups are allowed to do, but as they are reaching maturity, they tend to go back to the bottom of the rank order.  Saturday night feeding program over the last few weeks have been dominated by Denali who allows Axel to eat with him, but is defensive about Grayson.  In response, staff are cutting up the Saturday deer carcass into multiple parts to allow Grayson (And Boltz) a chance to possess their own piece of the carcass and avoid the competition with Denali.  We continue to see a slower growth rate in Grayson than Axel, lagging 15 pounds behind Axel and showing less adult facial features.  

Weight: 90

Grayson doing a humpback stretch

Grayson – Broader Muzzle- Maturing Toward Adulthood

August 2nd, 2017

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

With the excessive heat, Grayson has been seeking a lot of rest and shade during the day, often lying near Aidan and Axel.  Even with the stimulating noon enrichments, investigating is short lived due to the heat.  Grayson was more active at night with the cooler temperature.  Grayson had a good time jumping in the air trying to catch bugs.  Maybe he was trying to get them before they got him.  During the Saturday feeding, Denali guarded Grayson from the deer carcass, which allowed Axel to graze for a while.  Grayson looked to Aidan for some reassurance, but with a full belly himself, he was of little assistance.  Grayson continues to be the smaller of the two yearlings, but circumstances can change from day to day.  Although the days of the “Pups” eating first and getting all the resources are probably gone.  Wolf Care Staff will evaluate the fecals color and condition to indicate the food resources for each individual wolf and make sure all get their fair share. 

Weight: 88.9

Grayson is always interested in the activities around the wolf yard.

Grayson- Processing His Surroundings

July 20th, 2017

As a pup, Grayson was a bit more reserved, tended to watch before approaching and if it was too intimidating, he’d drop to a T-4 tucked tail posture and retreat.  As a yearling, there’s still some of that reserved behavior, but we definitely see him display more awareness of his surroundings and the behaviors of fellow packmates.  We have documented several instances where his observations have led to opportunities to gain a little status.  It’s what yearlings do and some do it better than others.  Grayson also seems to be more responsive to visual cues than Axel.  For wolf care staff, that is important when trying to assess and sometimes distract tension within the pack.  Grayson is known for giving an excited half howl when he’s made a visual connection with a wolf care staff member.